Friday, September 26, 2014

The Collected Big Road Trip Posts

A bit of housekeeping. Here, collected in one place are the links out to the various photoblog posts for this summer's Big Road Trip:

Out-of-office doggerel
Day Zero - The Dream Cruise
Days One through Three (Chicago, South Dakota)
Inside the Jaguar
Days Four and Five (Jewel Cave, Devil's Tower, Wyoming)
Day Six (Hot Springs State Park in Wyoming)
Yellowstone - Setting up Camp and Old Faithful
The Big Road Trip: Yellowstone - A Walk along the Upper Geyser Basin
Day Seven, Yellowstone Afternoon (Paint Pots, canyon, grizzly, elk)
Sunday in Yellowstone (bison, Mammoth Hot Springs, black bear)
Sunset in the Grand Tetons
Day Nine - A Drive Through the Rockies
Final Stop - A Visit with Babs at Lake Lotawana, Missouri

And here's a picture of Big Smoky photobombing the Grand Tetons. Just because.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wolverine Lake Village Council Election: League of Women Voters candidate reponses for John Magee

Sadly, I have nobody to blame but myself. While I was gallivanting across the country on The Big Road Trip in August and spending a couple of weeks mostly offline, I missed the League of Women Voters election questionnaire that came into my e-mail box. Then it got buried in the midst of the dozens of campaign spams of various types that crowd my e-mail every day while we're in election season. When I went to find out why I hadn't yet heard from them about the election this weekend, I quickly discovered that I had missed the deadline for reply.

I really hate this because I consider the annual LWV election guide to be one of the most indispensable resources for voters. And failing to get your answers into the guide is really a basic competence test for any campaign. I just failed that test. (I would fire my campaign manager if I could, but since I'm the campaign manager I'll settle for docking my campaign manager's salary. It is henceforth reduced from zero to minus zero.)

Here are the responses you would've seen in the LWV guide had I made the deadline, in hopes that perhaps a few folks will come across this post.

League of Women Voters candidate reponses for John Magee, candidate for Wolverine Lake Village Council:

Question 1 (150 Words or less):
Please provide biographical information and explain why you are running for village office and relevant qualities and skills you would bring to the position.

I have served as Village President for the last eight years, on the council for nine years, and previously as the chair of the water management board for five years. As your President I have led the village back to financial health during the most difficult economy in our history. We've kept our local police department and invested in much needed long-term infrastructure improvements for the lake, the parks and pathways, and the village complex. We found an excellent developer to take over the abandoned and tax-foreclosed Heron Hills vacant land.

We did all this without raising the village property tax millage. If re-elected I intend to ensure we continue on our path of financial stability, local policing, and long-term improvements and investments.

Question 2 (150 Words or less):
What are the top 3 Priority Issues that your village should address and what actions would you, as a village officials, take regarding each of them?

1) We must continue to live within our means while making the most efficient use of our tax revenues. Examples include re-using the millings from the Glengary repaving project to build new pathways and replacing the crumbling stucco exterior of the village office with more durable, better insulating materials.

2) We must continue to rebuild our home values by making Wolverine Lake a desirable destination for home buyers. This means continuing our great record of community policing while also investing in infrastructure, park improvements, pathways, and improved recreational opportunities for all of our residents.

3) We must continue to protect and improve the lake. Our program of comprehensive lake management uses a variety of tools -- harvesting, herbicides, and now our aeration project in the Penny Lake arm -- to produce the greatest improvement with the least wasted effort.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Big Road Trip: Out-of-office doggerel

I had to update my out-of-office message at work today, and came across the wee poem I left to greet my many e-mail correspondents when I departed on The Big Road Trip. I kinda like it, so I reckoned I'd share it here:

I'm camping with the grizzly bears,
and prairie dogs with squinty stares.
Perhaps I'll see a rabbit, jack.
I'll let you know when I get back.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Visit to the 2014 Battle of the Brits

Today the FUN MG and I went for a ride to attend the annual Battle of the Brits hosted by the Detroit Triumph Sports Car Club and the Metro Triumph Riders. The Battle of the Brits is the biggest British auto and motorcycle show of the year and features hundreds of classic British cars and motorcycles in a beautiful wooded setting at Camp Dearborn in Milford, Michigan.

I arrived reasonably early during the setup, so the FUN MG got a front-row seat for the festivities. This is the only car show I enter, mostly just to add another car to the total for the Windsor-Detroit MG Club, since "most cars entered" is the big trophy among the clubs. In truth the FUN MG is a driver, not a show car. But I try to take it reasonably seriously, so I always give the FUN MG a good cleaning and vacuuming beforehand. It's usually looking its best on the Sunday morning of the show:

Of course, all of the cars are looking their best. That's what makes is a great show for looking around at the other cars.

And look! Great-looking MGBs are far as the eye can see! There are so many MGBs in the show that they are divided into four categories to reflect the major changes in the car over the years: early chrome-bumper MGBs (1962 to 1968), late chrome-bumper MGBs (1969 to 1974), early rubber-bumper MGBs (1974-1/2 to 1976), and late rubber-bumper MGBs (1977 to 1980.) The FUN MG is a 1976 car, so it was entered in the early rubber-bumper category.

Let's go for a walk around the show. We'll start with the MGBs:


Old Minis:

Let's stop back by the MGs. There were lots of MGAs to be seen:

MG Midgets:

Let's visit some older MGs. Here's a 1954 MG TF with a 383 Chevy V8. I can't really say how much of this hot rod is original MG TF and how much is kit car. But I can predict it goes really, really fast!

Here's a 1947 MG TC:

Here's a truly old MG, a 1930 M-Type, one of the earliest mass-produced MG sports cars and one of only a couple hundred left in the world:

Not surprisingly, I spent a lot of time with the Jaguars. We'll start with one of my all-time favorite cars, Jaguar E-Types:

This 1970 E-Type was simply yummy. I have a well known weakness for British Racing Green with a tan interior. Frankly, I believe everybody should be relieved I didn't try to hot-wire it and steal it in the middle of the show.

On with the E-Types:

Dang, that V12 is a lot of engine crowded into the front of this car!

Here's a 1954 Jaguar XKSS, the rare passenger version of the D-Type racing car.

And here's a 2015 Jaguar F-Type Coupe. Amazingly enough it looked as if it fit right in among all the E-Types, a real tribute to its styling:

Here are the Jaguar sedans and saloons. There were a couple really beautiful Mk II saloons, but for some reason the brown car -- a 1976 XJ6-C, a hardtop coupe version of the XJ6 sedan -- caught my eye:

The were quite a few more modern Jaguar sports cars there, too. Here's an XJS Convertible:

XJS HE Coupe. The HE stands for "High Efficiency" and was a special higher-powered model:

Here's a 2002 XKR. What I liked about this is that it has the same 370-hp 4.0 liter supercharged V8 as my supercharged XJ8 Vanden Plas, but it's been shoved into a much smaller convertible. That engine in this car is a tight fit. I know how fast my big sedan is with this engine, so this convertible must really move:

Hey, what's this 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible doing out on the field?!

Ah, that explains it. Carry on.

Speaking of the Triumph Sportscar Club, it's about time we saw some Triumphs. Let's start with some Spitfires:

Triumph Stags:



And now, a confession. I walked among the British motorbikes, and they were very cool, but I didn't take any pictures of them. So, instead I'll take you back where we started with the FUN MG and a long line of MGBs:

With all my wandering about I didn't get over to the judging tent in time to find out if the Windsor-Detroit MG Club had indeed defended its "Most Entrants" title, though to my eye it looked as if we probably carried the day.

However, I was in time to hear the judging results for the MGs. And guess what?

First in class for early rubber-bumper MGBs? The FUN MG!

Victory! Victory! Rah-rah-rah!
Victory! Victory! Sis-boom-bah!

Congratulations, little MG. I always knew you had it in you!