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2023 Twisty Bits Fall Drive

On Sunday, October 15th twenty-five people met at the northwest corner of the Meijer parking lot in Ann Arbor. For those who arrived a bit early, there was a Starbucks and Meijer’s restrooms just a short walk away.

We had fifteen cars on the Twisty Bits drive. Six were Jaguars and nine were non-Jaguars, including a 60s-era P-1800 Volvo, MGs, Fiat, Fit, and a Jeep. A good mix of the JAGM and WDMGC clubs. Two of our drivers were the President of the WDMGC (all MG) and Chairman of the Rowdies (MGA’s).

I had been watching the weather forecast and our changing fortunes for days before the event. I was very glad Sunday morning, to jump into the Jag and head from Indiana to Ann Arbor into a beautiful sunrise! With temperatures hovering in the 50s and scattered clouds and blue skies we set off on an approximately 100-mile figure eight drive on two-lane backroads with a stop about midway at the historic Sharon Mills County Park near Manchester. This is the third time l have run this tour, going back 15 years or so. The route has not needed to be changed over the years except there are one or two more sets of traffic lights rather than 4-way stops now. The driving instructions included turn-by-turn tulip directions regarding the course direction, and the cumulative mileage at the change. A word about tulip instructions. The name came from the Tulip Rally, which was first used in the 1950s. They are a popular way to more completely communicate the change ahead. However, one of the references brought a few questions as our driving map author is better versed in such references than many of us were. The one element on the map that generated the same question from four drivers was what is a “blind brow”. The term “brow” means the crest of a hill, and the use of “blind” means that you might not see the turn until you are on top of the change. Useful information to be sure.

Everyone managed the tour in style and after about an hour we stopped at the Mill. They had nice restrooms and a large pavilion where we sat and ate our picnic lunches. It was a bit brisk, but a very enjoyable break. During the tour, 2 other clubs Porsches, Triumphs, and Austin Healeys ran past us in the opposite direction. The day was very popular for imported car runs.

The return trip to Meijer went well. The roads overall were surprisingly smooth with only a short distance containing bumpy pavement. The Twisty Bits tour lived up to its name with plenty of curves and undulations to negotiate. MG’s being all manual transmissions had fun with plenty of shifting required. I don’t think we had any manual Jaguars on the tour. As is typical, the group took about a half hour to dissipate after the drive as some catching up was still occurring.

Everyone had a good time, even if the color change was not quite at its peak yet. Example of Tulip Driving Instructions. The ball is oriented at the bottom of the change, or where you currently are located.

Philip Wiltshire and Phil Crutchfield

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