Updated: Aug 4, 2019
All bets were on for the 2019 JAGM visit to Mad Dogs and Englishmen
This year the Caravan to Hickory Corners took on a little chance. Last year's overnight experience was a bit less than stellar, so the ante was upped for 2019. Refuge was provided by our native siblings courtesy of the Firekeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek.
Eight vehicles made the three and a half hour journey across mid-Michigan. Six were Jaguars; one Morgan and one Jeep. We were told the Jeep driver had experience with high-performance Chevies and would bring up the tail of the pack as the chase car. The Morgan was a Plus 8 so there were no issues keeping up a brisk pace. Mother Nature gave the voyagers a fine start with mild temps and clear skies. Maybe it was the mixture of Marques that caused confusion, but the balmy climate took on its own mixture and doused the Caravan on more than a few occasions before the Casino was in sight. This prompted a couple side-of-the-road shows with foldable tops being hurried into the "up" position.
The Casino Hotel is relatively new and was very impressive. The desk clerk put the entire group on one floor which was convenient. The rooms were large and nicely appointed. Sixteen of us had dinner in one of the main dining rooms. Meals were reasonably priced and the quantity generous. As the Casino encompasses the main floor of the Hotel, it was impossible to avoid placing a few good bets. To spur the evening along, all the participants were provided two rolls of nickels with instruction to bet with vigor and return at 9:00 AM to compare winnings. Now what was not known to the organizers, who need to frequent these establishments more often, you no longer gamble with "real" money, but with a slip of paper issued by the Casino. So the nickels were "converted" and the whir of bandits commenced.
Many tales of nearly missed fortunes were expressed as the group re-gathered to compare successes. One lucky player, Pauline Blunt, took top honors turning here eighty nickles into more than thirty five dollars. Her winnings earned her a certificate for a free shirt, or hat, at the MD&E apparel tent.
The Sunday drive to the Car Show was almost an hour, so breakfast and check-out were completed by 8:30 AM. Some of the best two-lane roads are in, and around, this area and the route took many of the more picturesque ones. The day's weather was perfect for a drive; crystal clear and crist. Upon arrival at the Show, everyone was directed to their proper display position.
Bob Matejek had packed his Jeep with pop-ups, sun screens and JAGM banners, which were promptly erected under shade trees across from the vintage gas station. The MD&E Show is always well attended and this year was no exception. Seemed like there were many more British cars this year than last. Congratulations are in order for Jim Ricca; first place, E-Type Roadster, Mark Sperduti, second place, E-Type Roadster, Jack Valentine; second place for Any Model Jaguar thru 1960, and Howard Richards, first place with his 2007 XK8. Quite a showing for JAGM!
At three PM the return caravaners lined up and began the return drive east. As is customary, a mandatory stop for ice cream was made en route to rest the cars and cool off the occupants.
Thanks to everyone who participated. Special thanks to Sue Gucfa for providing all the delicious snacks at our Sunday oasis.
Mike and Kris
A video of the caravan after an ice cream stop on the final leg of the drive to the Firekeepers Casino & Hotel in Battle Creek.
Below is a slide show of the event. Click on the right or left arrows to move through the slide show.