||Saturday - September 22, 2012SEWI Tour - Rustic RoadsHosts: Don & Linda|
The Don & Linda McCann Incredible Unforgettable Rustic Roads Rollicking Ride
September 22, 2012
The start of the day was simple enough with plenty of cold rain and a chilling wind from the northwest. A few hearty souls braved the crummy weather to make the drive from remote towns. The BMC was found inside Wendy’s huddled around tables chasing the chill with hot coffee and donuts. Linda passed out instructions and collected autographs while Don reviewed the rules for the day. All that coffee must have worked because by the time the BMC was ready to drive, the sun was out and the roads were dry.
The drive was a celebration of Southeast Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads System and Linda and Don’s instructions were replete with historic explanations and highlights of the route. My navigator was home nursing a cold (or was she shopping, I forget which); anyway I tried reading the highlights a couple of times, but after driving over the curb and hitting a trash bin, I gave up and decided to enjoy the scenery.
About two-thirds of the group of 17 cars dropped their tops as Miata 03 led the group out of the parking lot and onto the road. At Mile 6.1 we turned onto Rustic Road R 37. The group hummed along at a brisk pace without the usual two wheel corner turns or scary crashing through the woods.
As far as this writer is concerned, there is nothing like rural Wisconsin for scenic beauty. Other states have beautiful scenery, but there is nothing like rural Wisconsin anywhere that I have been. We twisted through dark leafy woods and zigzagged down slopes blanketed with fading crops and speckled with dairy cows. Rusty barbed wire fences traced squiggly lines along the roadside swales. White painted wood fences kept the livestock and Miatae separated. We passed collapsing wood farm buildings and barns nice enough to live in. A pair of aged stone silos garnished an empty field.
On Rustic Road R5 we passed Colonel Heg Memorial Park. As noted in the instructions, the good Colonel was the highest ranking Civil War casualty from Wisconsin. I understand that ‘Heg’ is pronounced “XZUHK”, the same as you would if you had a peanut skin stuck in your throat. We sped past Civil War era stone buildings and aging Victorian mansions of wood and brick clinging desperately to their vanishing dignity. A tiny school house guarded a tight corner. This part of Wisconsin was being settled while the Civil War was ripping apart the eastern states at the same time the Indians were being driven from the west. At Burlington we took a break at Echo Veterans Memorial Park where the parking lot hugged choppy Echo Lake. The blustery wind was kicking up white caps and giving the lingering geese a taste of winter to come. A few hearty souls headed for the local ice cream joint, but I didn’t see anyone walking around in the cold wind with a cone or a banana split.
Back in the cars, we travelled down roads lined with the glowing coals of sumac threatening to burst into flames any day now. Trees were dusty with yellowing leaves and an occasional maple had been brushed with the glowing watercolors of autumn. Falling leaves showered our little cars as we spun through the woods. On Maxwell Street in Lake Geneva we passed a horse and carriage sauntering along the curb, a reminder that we were still in an area rich in history in spite of the luxurious yachts and high end vehicles passing by. At Knollwood Drive an alert constable eyed us with suspicion as we carefully minded the speed limit. At Williams Bay, we took a break and walked along the lake front admiring a lovely wooden Chris Craft speed boat and a venerable Jaguar convertible.
The final leg took us around Lake Geneva and through fields lined with faded corn stalks drying in the sun and shriveled bean plants waiting for the plow. An old tractor huddled in the shade of a peeling barn, its red paint burnished by age to a dusty orange. A lady in a hooded shirt stood by her mower as she paused in her chores to watch our parade of colorful machines roar down her street.
The drive ended at Michael’s on the Lake, a charming little restaurant located at the end of a dusty road and balanced on the edge of the shores of Eagle Lake in Kansasville, Wisconsin, where the BMC wound down and shared stories of the day. Happily, this drive also encouraged two new members to sign on, Tim Deadrich and Gary Koepke.
Thank you Don and Linda McCann for leading a memorable event and kudos to Jim and Marcy Hotz for sweep duties. With all the intervening traffic, Jim and Marcy had their hands full keeping the road swept of lost Miatae.
Footnote: For those who asked, Crystal Blue Metallic paint was available on 2001 and 2002 MX-5 Miatas (from www.miata.net )
Photo Gallery by Henry N.