A next-door dream cruiseWritten by Roger Holliday Claudia Fischer | | email@example.com
Call it a confluence of coincidences. An intersection of indelible events and memories. Or just another example of the six degrees of separation. But whatever you call it … last week was a real doozy!
It started out on Sunday morning with a bang, not a whimper, as a 1996 blue-and-white liveried Grand Sport Corvette — more race car than road car — rolled onto our North Woods patch with a final triumphant exhaust blast that had Michigan wildlife for miles around scampering for cover.
Driven up from Virginia to participate in Detroit’s Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, the car resided quietly in our tackle room/garage while its owners, long time traveling companions, were treated to three days of Up North hospitality: A tour of Amish country, backyard barbecue featuring extra-special Rose City sausages, a fry-up of Lake Superior trout on a broad bend of the Au Sable River, and, of course, a party at Ma Deeter’s log cabin saloon.
But it was the Grand Sport’s final song as it blasted out of Mio en route to Cleveland that really took me back, some 40 years or more, to the late 1960s when two red-and-white Owens-Corning-sponsored Corvettes were tearing up the Midwest sports car scene, winning a National Championship and taking GT Class wins in the three long distance biggies of Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen.
As the PR guy for this sporting venture, the memories still linger strong for me, especially the day the race cars blipped through the caverns of Downtown Toledo, under tight police escort, for a show and tell in front of the Fiberglas Tower and subsequent visits to area schools and YMCAs.
Well, this very same week that the Dream Cruisers were strutting their stuff in Detroit, our nextdoor neighbor’s fleet-footed niece, Geena Gall (out of Grand Blanc and the University of Michigan), was fulfilling her own dream competing in the World Track and Field Championships in Berlin.
Running in the 800 meters, “our” Geena made it through her heat despite hurdling a fallen competitor, but then missed making the finals by a fraction of a second.
The 18-year-old South African who took the gold, Caster Semenya, international headlines, not just for her amazing time of 1:55 but also for a certain bold physique and husky voice. A question of gender is now being raised.
That reminded us that our Toledo Free press correspondent in Cape Town, South Africa, Andre Loubser, recently wrote that the whole country is a twit and a twingle over the Soccer World Cup being held there next year.
The games will apparently be played in ten stadiums, five new and five refurbished. But it’s the one in Cape Town that really excites him, with its 68,000 seats, a roof that rests on 72 columns and a stadium bowl that when lit at night appears to float on its base.
Andre was a roommate of mine in the early 60s when we both worked in Stuttgart, Germany for Porsche, which last week made news again when it was taken over by mighty Volkswagen in a surprise move involving the State of Saxony, the country of Qatar, and a whole bunch of interfamily wrangling.
And that itself was a reminder of the days when this scribbler was having a daily “Dream Cruise” of his own through the streets of Stuttgart.
Responsible for handling Porsche’s overseas clients, Americans mostly, I had to drive into town every morning to pick up registration papers and customs plates. As a 20-year old Brit (with scarcely enough cash to power my 125cc motor scooter), sitting behind the wheel of a factory Porsche Super 90, with the country music from the American Forces Network cranked up, I was certainly experiencing the stuff dreams are made of.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll be trading cruisers, Corvettes, Carreras and champion athletes for tales of whales and whisky and wild, wild mountain scenery as we move from the Highlands of Northern Michigan to the true Highlands of Scotland for a two-week British sojourn “North of the Border.”