Day 2: June 20, 2015
Brews, Cars, and Neon

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While I was at Bell's Brewery yesterday, I let be known on Facebook that I was there. One response it drew was from Brian Rawson-Ketchum chiding me for not letting him know I was there. I hadn't thought about knowing anyone in the area let alone someone with an affinity for breweries. Brian also has an affinity for roads; I first met him at a Roadgeek gathering in Columbus, Ohio. A bit of Facebook chatter and some direct messaging led to us getting together for a beer.

We arranged to meet at Territorial Brewing in Springfield, Michigan. The target was their 11:30 opening time. I arrived a few minutes early and proceeded to take some pictures of the building. Two men chatting near the door turned out to be the owners who let me in just a little early which allowed me to take a few photos without customers and even do a little beer tasting before Brian got there. That's one of the owners, Charles, on the left of the picture with Brian in the middle.


I had driven from Kalamazoo to Springfield on expressway and more or less planned to return the same way then head north. Brian and Charles had a better idea. This is MI-89 a few miles east of Plainwell.

This is downtown Plainwell. The Old Mill Brewery caught my eye and I stopped in for lunch and refreshment. As I sipped beer and studied the menu, a fellow, who I guessed and later verified was the owner, stopped just around the corner of the bar and stuck out his hand. "How you doing?" he asked as we shook. After assuring him I was doing great, I returned the question. His reply was one of the best comments I've ever heard from a business owner to a customer: "I'm living the dream, thanks to you."

The exterior shot was taken after lunch. From across the street where I stood to take it, I could now see Plainwell Ice Cream Company back on the other side. I made a decision to check it out and took and unobstructed picture of the building. Then, as I waited to recross the street, the red T-Bird rolled by and my unobstructed shot became surplus. The place was rather crowded when I entered and the young workers hustled to supply everyone's treats. I took the picture of them relaxing a bit after the rush was over as I savored my coconut almond fudge.


I hadn't checked in with Roadside America in quite awhile but luckily did so not long after leaving Plainwell. I was past the optimum turnoff point for the Gilmore Car Museum but it was still less than half an hour away. Until I saw it on the GPS, I had no idea it was in the area but I recognized it instantly as one of the premier automobile collections in the country. It's even a bit appropriate that I stumbled onto the place on Father's Day Eve since I recall that Dad really enjoyed visiting here many years ago. He even bought a VHS tape of the museum which I think I have. I'll definitely have to watch it when I get home.

There are hundreds of cars here. These are some of the more rare specimens that happened to draw my interest today. The first picture is of a replica of the first automobile in the world, Karl Benz's 1886 motor car. I say replica because I'm sure it is although I didn't find that mentioned on any of the signs. By coincidence, I saw another replica at the Cincinnati Concours d'Excellence last week and, by another coincidence, my report on that was posted just hours before this page went online. The 1916 Packard Twin-Six racer sat forgotten for seventy years in a Paraguay shed. Next up is a 1934 DeSoto Airflow then a 1899 Locomobile Steam Runabout. The dark maroon car is the only survivor of three 1955 Lincoln Continental Mark II prototypes. The last car is a 1963 Chrysler Turbine. Of the fifty-five produced, only nine still exist and only three of those are functional.

The Whizzer was parked outside the motorcycle display building. My self propelled vehicle was a Whizzer. I've included the 1959 Triumph Bonneville because it was the bike I dreamed of while riding that Whizzer. I've ridden and driven a few but never owned one. I was really drawn to the 1910 FN because I've followed the blog and read the story of a fellow who rode one almost around the world just a few years ago in 2012. Seeing this bike "in the metal" makes his accomplishment even more impressive. caught

One of the reasons Brian and Charles suggested MI-89 was this 1886 bridge. It's not on MI-89 but is visible from it.

I think I was a bit out of place not having a fishing boat but I quite enjoyed my stay at the Bel Aire Motel. My room was certainly clean and comfortable through seasonal pricing understandably made it just a touch on the pricey side. Dusk came and went and I'd decided that the sign was not among the working but looked out one more time to see it glowing. After getting some shots of the sign by the road I decided to snap some of the lighted office area. As I walked with my tripod, a lady in a robe stepped from the office. I was not the reason she came out but, on seeing me, she asked "Can I help you?" in that way that means "What the hell are you doing?" I told her I was staying there and taking some pictures of the sign. I was also able to answer her questions about a car she had heard that had been her reason for coming outside. This was the motels owner (I had been checked in by a younger couple) and we proceeded to have a nice chat about the sign (recently repaired but still looking for parts to get all of the chasers working) and the motel (built in 1973, bought in 1993). She then suggested I go behind the motel and get pictures of the party deck which "is really cute at night". Indeed it is.

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