This past weekend, my friend Jayson Coombes flew up from Texas to visit. Main goal: attend the Cadillac LaSalle Club Grand National in Lombard and the Buick Club of America’s national meet in nearby Lisle.
It was nearly a once in a lifetime event. Two national clubs with extreme Broughamish tendencies would be less than three hours from home base. Sure, Chi-town has gotten even more third-worldish the last couple years, and I’d be lying if those events didn’t give me some pause. But via texts and several phone calls, we decided it was worth it.
And it was. It SO was. But we weren’t sure at first. OK, the show was June 25th. I avoid politics like I avoid sports, which is to say you won’t see a Cubs or Cardinals bumper sticker on my car, if you get my drift. But for those of you that do, you will recall certain court-ish events that occurred the previous Friday. This gave me additional concern, but by then, Jayson was already here. Plus, the event was in the high end Western suburbs, not the city proper.
And then, lo and behold: I was woken up Saturday morning by lightning pulsing.
And the previous week I’d idiotically worn a pair of loafers with pretty much zero cushioning for two days because they still look good and matched my Cole Haan belt. Again, doy. So that my left foot was throbbing and slightly swollen, because I’m not exactly a spring chicken any more, and because I’m stupid.
But when I finally woke up Saturday and it was pouring rain, it only intensified my resolve. Got dam it, I don’t care, I’m going! Eff off Mother Nature!
So we went. And a rainstorm chased us 2/3rds of the way there, making visibility extremely poor when behind the stupid semis doing the stupid ‘pass each other going 0.0007851 mph faster than the other one’ bull schtick. Asshats. But we made it to the Westin Chicago Lombard unscathed.
It was raining but not too bad, and we immediately spotted Jim Smith, my buddy who’s lived in Chicago his whole life and has attended every Chicago Auto Show since 1968.
We struck off to gawk at the cars and take pictures. We also met another pal, Jim Jordan, who brought a friend’s green ’57 Fleetwood Sixty Special all the way from Oklahoma City. Shortly thereafter I spied a MAGNIFICENT Persian Sand 1960 Eldorado Seville coupe and scampered off to take pictures.
Naturally we were as far as possible from the building when the rain started pouring. I’d been distracted photographing a Phantom Gray 1970 Fleetwood Brougham when it began. I stood under a tree for approximately 5 minutes when Jayson came running up, also seeking shelter. We stood there like idiots for about another ten minutes when we wordlessly agreed to say fuck it and ran for the hotel.
We met up with other Cadillac pals, both from the Chicago area and much further locales, and took a picture in front of Harry Caray’s restaurant. It was great seeing friends I ordinarily only communicate with thru FB or email.
But wait, there was a Buick show too wasn’t there? I didn’t really want to drive, as I’m from a smaller metropolitan area and while I have driven in Chicago, Milwaukee and Des Moines with only minor discomfort, I just didn’t want to deal.
But Jayson agreed to pilot the MKZ as he’s much more familiar with congestion and idiots, living near the Dallas Fort Worth area.
It was pretty good too, at the nearby Sheraton, but it was getting toward late afternoon and getting somewhat cloudy again (the sun came out after the rain, around 2 PM) and a lot of cars had left. But there were still a ton of compelling motorcars from Flint.
My favorite was the gold 1973 Riviera GS. Awooga.
Since I’d driven us up, Jayson drove us back, after stopping for dinner at the Harry Carey’s inside the Westin. It was pretty good, by the way.
When we left Moline about 8:15 AM, we had a full tank of gas, we got back to the Quad Cities with about 130 miles to empty, awesome. I never thought I’d buy a hybrid but I love my MKZ. It has all the luxury car gadgets, doesn’t look like the ‘hey look at me in my Prius I’m saving the world’ wheeled virtue signal-mobiles, decent room, and it was certified.
All in all a great trip. Jayson left Monday and I was at the office, but we said our farewells at lunch at a great Mexican place a block away. Good trip. Awesome trip, really. But I’m glad I’m back to the usual routine this week. I’m still recharging!