Sunday, July 28, 2013

Highlights of the 2013 Concours d'Elegance of America

Monique and I took Malcolm and Henry to the 2013 Concours d'Elegance of America in Plymouth, Michigan, on Sunday.  Not surprisingly, I took waaaaaaaay too many photos of all the beautiful cars. A visit to the Concours is prone to that sort of problem, since just about every car that is invited to be exhibited there is an amazing and astounding car.  

Look soon on the ol' Patio Boat for a few posts with photos of some similar groups of cars gathered together. But in the meantime, here are some of our favorites:

Monique reflects on the exhibit's entryway.

2014 Corvette Stingray.

1946 Ford Woodie Station Wagon.

Pontiac Silver Streak.

The radiator cap from a 1940 Packard Series 1806 Darrin Convertible.

Despite the rain we could see ourselves in this new Rolls-Royce.

1932 American Austin Series 275 Coupe, the Mini of its day.

1948 Fiat 500 B.

1973 Jaguar E-Type.

1947 Tatra T-87 Sedan.

1964 A/C Cobra.

1952 Jaguar XK-120 Coupe.

1938 Cord 812.

Mercedes SLs.

Malcolm and Henry check out a new Mercedes S550.

1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Sedanca De Ville.

Winged victory.

I can see myself in this old Rolls Royce. It's niiiiiiice.

1963 Corvette Stingray split-window coupe.

1963 Corvette Stingray split-window coupes.

It was a wee bit chilly for a July afternoon.

1963 Corvette Stingrays.

1931 Auburn 8-98 Speedster.

1917 Miller Golden Submarine.

1931 Duesenberg Model J.

1931 Duesenberg Model J.

1893 Shamrock Runabout.

And now Monique sees a little something she might like to have, a Mercedes 300 SL Gull Wing.

1926 Willys Knight Great Six.

1922 Lincoln Type 112 Sport Phaeton.

1925 Franklin Series 11 Sport Runabout.

Fiat Abarth.

1916 Detroit Electric Brougham.

 Jaguar E-Type.

Your intrepid automotive investigators.

One last reflection on the 2013 Concours d'Elegance of America. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Cedar Point Expedition

By popular demand, photos from yesterday's big Magee-Paret-Eckman expedition to the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.

The expedition makes its first stop after only two miles, breakfast at the Walled Lake Burger King.

Henry and Malcolm are brimming with excitement in the back seat.

Your intrepid explorers (l-r): Wendy Eckman, Anna Eckman, John Magee, Henry Paret, and Malcolm Paret.  Behind the camera for this and nearly all of our photos, the Fabulous Monique Magee, who cleverly used her photographic duties as a good excuse to keep her feet firmly and safely on the ground for most of the day. (We'll talk about the Mean Streak roller coaster a bit later.)

The first big ride, the maXair:

John: "So, Wendy, this ride just swings us around a bit while we spin around gently, right?"

Wendy: "Uh, yeah, sure. Go with that thought."

Here we see John safely and secured buckled into his ride seat.  He looks so serene, doesn't he?

Mere seconds later:

John: "Waaaaaaaah!"

John: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

John: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"  (Loosely translated: "Are we down, yet?")

John persuades Lexi to take him on a ride a bit more his speed, Sir Rub-a-Dub's Tubs.

The smart rider knows when to go for the carousel.

Meanwhile, our intrepid park explorers forge onwards.  This is the side of the Power Tower that takes you to the top and then drops you for a long, long free fall:

John: "So, Henry, this ride just takes us up for a gentle, scenic view, right?"

Henry: "Uh, yeah, sure. Go with that thought."

John: "Waaaaaaaah!"

John: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

John: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

Naturally, we then had to try the side of the Power Tower that rockets you upwards at top speed, then lets you down gently.  Here Malcolm tries to persuade me that we just going up for a gentle, scenic view.  By now I've grown too clever to fall for this ruse, yet I strapped myself in with the rest of them nonetheless.

I ain't bright.

What I like about this photo is that we rocketed upwards so fast that we had already rocketed out of frame by the time Monique clicked the shutter on the camera.

If I may quote myself from the other side of the Power Tower, "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

The rides continued. We don't have photos of everything we rode -- the gentle readers of the Patio Boat say in unison, "Thank Goodness!" -- but here are some of the ones we captured that did turn out well.

The Top Thrill Dragster:

The Top Thrill Dragster accelerates you to 120 mph in 3.8 seconds, shoots you 420 feet straight up in the air, then drops you that same 420 feet straight back down. I searched long and hard for the right phrase to describe this thing. And with a vocabulary the size of planets I've chosen to call it a "crazy-ass sum'bitch."

We rode many more roller coasters.  Official expedition photographer Monique caught some really nice pictures of their loops:

A bit tuckered out from all that roller-coastering, much of the expedition was ready for a turn on the swings while Henry and Malcolm waited in the mammoth line for the giant Millenium Force roller coaster, which has been voted "Best Roller Coaster in the World" seven times since it was built in 2001. We don't have any photos of that one, but they both said it was their favorite ride of the day.

After the swings, Monique and I took a truly dangerous thrill ride. We let Lexi chauffeur us through the Antique Automobiles.  (Just kidding, she was an excellent driver and it was a lovely and peaceful ride through the countryside.)

The Mean Streak, the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world when it was built in 1991:

Monique stepped out from behind the camera to survive a ride on the Mean Streak, despite that "tallest wooden roller coaster in the world" bit. She may have a fear of heights, but she is also a brave, brave woman.

We also tried our luck at some games of skill:

Henry tries the three-point basketball challenge.

Lexi climbs the rope ladder.

John swings the sledge-hammer.

A winner! I won a stuffed banana with an afro.  Honestly, I have no idea what I'll do with a stuffed banana with an afro, but I'm sure I'll treasure it.

Back for more roller coasters. This time it's the Magnum XL-200, the world's first hypercoaster:

Hmmn ... seems okay so far.  I wonder where this little trolley goes next?

That's our hill? Uh-oh.

We finally got a photo of everybody on the same roller-coaster car, thanks to the Magnum-XL-200 cam.  This gives us an excellent chance to rate everybody's roller-coaster enjoyment level on a scale from 1 (sheer terror) to 10 (having a most excellent time.)  Our participants, from front to back, left to right: Row 1, Lexi and Wendy; Row 2, Anna and John; Row 3, Malcolm and Henry.

Let's see the scores:

Lexi (5 out of 10): She claims this is her "smile face." I would never dispute that statement, but the enjoyment meter has its doubts.

Wendy (9 out of 10): Both she and her extremely dangerous hair are having a good time.

Anna (10 out of 10): The definition of roller-coaster fun.

John (8 out of 10): Apparently dancing to a Jimmy Buffet tune, a bit of an odd thing to do given the circumstances, but he seems to be enjoying himself.

Malcolm (1 out of 10): Terrified. It looks as if he's falling into a shark-nado in a chain-saw factory.

As for Henry? (Minus 10 out of 10): I can only compare his expression to one thing, Edvard Munch's "The Scream."

On to more rides, the Scrambler:

It was time for a bit of relief and a bite to eat.  John, Monique, Wendy, and Lexi stopped at the Joe Cool Cafe, where we found some much-needed heat relief in the form of air-conditioning, cold beverages, and dinner, while Malcolm, Henry, and Anna went off to ride other coasters like the GateKeeper, the Wicked Twister, and the Raptor.

Henry, Anna, Monique, and Malcolm outside the Joe Cool Cafe.

Henry, Malcolm, Monique, and Anna at Snoopy's Space Race, featuring the first Beagle on the Moon. We took this photo specially for Katie the Beagle.

Our Antique Automobiles chauffeur finds a drive more her style, the bumper cars!

The final photo (l-r) Monique, Malcolm, Anna, Wendy, Lexi, John's afro-banana, John, and Henry. A great time was had by all!  (Well, Monique still has some doubts about her decision to ride the Mean Streak.  Both otherwise a great time was had by all.)