View Full Version : On the road with Grace again

06-30-2010, 11:40 AM
Forty years ago, my brother, Bob, and I loaded up my 1963 VW Karmann Ghia and headed west from News Jersey for a week’s road trip. Among other places we visited were the Henry Ford Museum, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Air Force Museum. And for probably about forty years we’ve been thinking about taking another road trip – either as a trip down memory lane or to try and recapture the past or something like that. When Cathy’s and my son, Sam, was a teenager, Bob and I thought about including him in the road trip, but something seemed to always get in the way of our actually taking it.

I was really up for the trip a couple of years ago, but Bob said we had to wait until it had been an even forty years since our first one. We decided at that time that we would drive one of our old cars, either his 1950 Hudson Commodore 8 4-door sedan or our 1954 Studebaker Commander Regal Starliner. I think that all along Bob wanted to take the Studebaker for a number of reasons: 1) it’s restored (the Hudson is a No. 3 more or less original); 2) it has been reliable (not that his Hudson isn’t); 3) he’s not the mechanically-minded one in the family; 4) I keep a stock of spare parts and tools in the trunk of the Studebaker; 5) the Starliner we call Grace is a much flashier car than a gunmetal gray step-down Hudson; and possibly 6) if something breaks on the Studebaker, he won’t have to pay the bill. Either car will cruise all day at highway speeds (just ask Bob about his 82 MPH speeding ticket). All in all, however, I don’t mind that we’ll be driving Grace. She’s fun to drive and gets lots of attention. Besides, one of our stops will be Grace’s birth place – South Bend, Indiana.

We’ll be leaving from Hummelstown, PA on Wednesday , July 7th and head for Auburn, Indiana where we’ll tour the Auburn Cord Duesenburg Museum and stop for the night. On Thursday we’ll head north to Shipshewana and Eldon Hostetler’s Hudson Essex Terraplane Museum. Afterward we’ll drive on to South Bend and take in the Studebaker National Museum and complete our day by driving out to the Milwaukee Mile at the Wisconsin State Fair Grounds and the Millers at Milwaukee vintage race car meet. (I wonder if they’d like a ‘54 Studebaker pace car for their Offy Roadsters?) The meet begins Friday, July 9th and we won’t plan on leaving until Saturday afternoon when we’ll drive down to Indy to see the speedway and museum again. It will probably take great effort to break away from draw of so many Indy race cars, but we’ll do our best to leave the speedway on Sunday for the last leg of our trip – Dayton, Ohio and the Air Force Museum. Forty years ago, most of the collection was outdoors. No more. Then on Monday, July 12th, we’ll head back to Hummelstown.

So here is our itinerary:

Day 1 (7/7) – Hummelstown, PA to Auburn, IN (527 miles)
Day 2 (7/8) – Auburn to Shipshewana to South Bend to Milwaukee, WI (281 miles)
Day 3 (7/9) – Milwaukee Mile
Day 4 (7/10) – Milwaukee to Indianapolis, IN (278 miles)
Day 5 (7/11) – Indianapolis to Dayton, OH (116 miles)
Day 6 (7/12) – Dayton to Hummelstown (450 miles)

If you happen to be anywhere near our stopping points, stop and say hello. Of course, I’ll have my SDC members roster in case of trouble, and since I’m going to borrow my wife’s laptop, I’ll try to keep up a running commentary on the SDC Forum.

Wish us fair weather and good, clear roads.

Alan Mende

Hummelstown, PA

06-30-2010, 01:47 PM
That is fantastic! I love this kind of stuff. In 1978 I had a 10,000 mile summer trip (off from college) with two friends in a VW Rabbit. We went from San Diego to Washington DC, north to Nova Scotia, east to Detroit, around Chicago and back north into Canada to Washington state, then south back to San Diego. I've lost touch of the two friends over the years, but have many times thought about that trip and doing it again, maybe with my two sons this time.

06-30-2010, 02:17 PM
Only the best of luck to you Alan. Wish I was going along with you as it sounds like a great trip. I hope to be traveling in the next few weeks myself but suspect we will ride the Ford with its ice cold air (I got old one day and need creature comforts) however we may try to find another Stude to bring back home. Good Luck, Steve

06-30-2010, 03:05 PM
Nearly a week's trip. Sounds like tons of fun. Hopefully, Grace will live up to her name as she usually does.:)

May the weather be perfect, the roads dry, and all the idiots at home!;):)

06-30-2010, 03:20 PM
Very good. I always love a road trip! Have a great- and safe- and trouble-free trip!

52 Ragtop
06-30-2010, 09:22 PM
When in Indy, be sure to look me up! I am about 2o miles north of Downtown Indy, and about 30 miles from the track!