See Chicago And Melt
Mary couldn’t get away until Friday, so we left at 9am. Straight into two rush hour traffic jams. Once free we cruised at 75 mph, which was pretty risky in the world’s most conspicuous car. Somewhere in Illinois we discovered that all the phone numbers and directions to the event were at home, excepting those to Motel 6. At midnight Rt 90 dumped us into downtown Chicago which was reenacting the DeathStar trench battle with Tie fighters driven by Boston drivers. After surviving Boston lane changes, (select car in other lane, crash into same), we were given a new treat: the midnight traffic jam. Eventually we reached Motel 6, and discovered the sort of people who check into this establishment at 2 a.m.
Saturday morning we tracked down the Northbrook Holiday Inn, who claimed they could now rent us a room - and a jolly elf had left fliers for Woodwork! Jared answered his phone with "We’re outside the hotel, we’ll wait for you". Without checking into the hotel, we abandoned plans to see the Museum of Science and Industry in downtown Chicago, featuring the world’s only surviving type IX U-boat ("we don’t want to drive INTO Chicago again, do we?") and join a convoy to Someplace. Someplace was Jared’s favorite hardware store. Mary didn’t know why we were there as there were no obvious TVR parts (no rusty or greasy bits moldering in heaps). Next stop was the Illinois Jurassic Park featuring hundreds of 50s and 60s Detroit dinosaurs. "Why do we like these things? They were the same wallowing barges we hated in the seventies." I asked. "Because they’re old now" said somebody. Now the Ford Expedition has replaced the Impala as Ultimate Evil. Sated on cast iron, the convoy wended it’s way via the only twisty road in 400 miles to a restaurant resembling a castle, about a mile from Jared’s house, where the TVR lunch was held at 3 O’clock...we were slightly behind schedule. After much good nattering, Jared revealed the rest of the day’s itinerary...he would nip off to develop the group pictures while we went back to the hotel for a rest, and then back to Jared’s for the TVR dinner.
Jared’s house was unreal. Three people were directing traffic as twenty TVRs were parked around Jared’s son’s Land Rover collection. Dinner was in the garage. Not a damp, greasy garage suitable for old cars, but a four car garage converted to a photo studio with kitchen, living room, bath and computer center. Jared’s Vixen was on jacks with one corner off. "That’s what most TVRs look like – in pieces." I told Mary. Although we’d driven 846 miles, we still lost longest distance to the indefatigable Dave Price, from Montreal, who actually brought a TVR, not his Lotus 7. The auction was very low key due to the late hour. Mary accidentally bought the original art for an old Woodwork poster; it took 20 minutes to convince Jared it wouldn’t fit through our car door. Back at the hotel, I noticed we’d driven 100 miles that day.
Sunday was sunny and hotter, unlike the beginning of the week, which governed my packing. The vendors were as unprepared for the heat as I was, and were out of drinkable liquids by 1pm. Wandering amongst the 800 cars I noticed that the three longest distance cars seemed to be TVRs. By 2 p.m. it was 100 degrees at the show, so Mary and I decided to return to the nice, air conditioned hotel.
Monday morning was hot and rainy. The thought of a nice hot TVR ride in downtown traffic was so appealing we decided to head home. After the obligatory traffic jam, we cruised at 80 to 85 until we saw a sign "Fireworks Warehouse 1/3 mile from highway". "I require fireworks" said Mary. I could see the headlines: "Triumph explodes in tunnel, 85 buried alive". We bought a bag full. Now our rest stops were limited to 15 minutes so we wouldn’t leave too big a puddle of transmission oil and our ordnance wouldn’t cook off in the back of the car. We stopped for the night at the border of Pennsylvania. Tuesday evening we arrived home to discover the easiest way to unpack was to throw pumps (the shoe type) and other sundry objects through the fresh air roof. Water pumps and explosives went carefully out the door.
I would like to give special thanks to Jared and the other folks out west for putting on the last two Woodworks.
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Last updated on 6/24/99.