Text by Rich Ray - Photography by Don Woods
The 32nd annual CCCA Museum Experience on the Gilmore Museum campus in Hickory Corners, Michigan took place June 1st – 3rd. It was a great event and included an overnight driving tour, a "mini-CARavan", on Friday and Saturday. The actual Experience was on Sunday, June 3 where Cadillac and LaSalle were featured marques along with the CCCA Full Classics®.
This year's Grand Marshal was well-known author and car collector, Clive Cussler. He and his wife joined the tour which left Friday morning driving country roads south to the Thomas W. Longley Covered Bridge in Centreville, Michigan. This structure, named after the first settler in the area, is the longest remaining wooden covered bridge in Michigan. Its three spans built in 1887 of white pine, stretch 282 feet across the St. Joseph River. We had a brief stop for a "Kodak" moment and then traveled through Centreville on our way into Indiana and Shipshewana. Named for a Potawatomi Indian Chief in 1887, it is the third largest Amish and Mennonite community in the U.S. Known for its weekly antique auction and "flea" market, Shipshewana's 670 residents entertain over a million tourists a year. We enjoyed a huge family-style lunch followed by a very entertaining musical show, Half-Stitched, at the Blue Gate Restaurant, Bakery and Theatre. We then headed for our hotel in Stevensville, Michigan on Lake Michigan. We enjoyed more food during a dinner at the nearby Tosi's Restaurant. Saturday morning, the group headed north to Holland, Michigan to visit the Clyde Poll Museum where we enjoyed a small collection of cars coupled with an amazing collection of individually designed electric erector sets, over 900 toy trucks and hundreds of dolls including boxed Barbie dolls going back to the early sixties. The group then enjoyed a country drive through rich, southern Michigan farmland to lunch at the HawksHead Restaurant & Golf Club. Following lunch, we continued our relaxing drive to our host hotel in Kalamazoo. We arrived with just enough time to freshen up and join other Experience participants for dinner at the Gilmore Museum Heritage Center. Experience participants who did not join the overnight driving tour had the opportunity to lunch at the Gull Lake Country Club, with cake to celebrate long time CCCA member Jerry Steelman's birthday, followed by boat rides in vintage wood boats on nearby Gull Lake, courtesy of Bill Parfet.
Sunday, show day, started out with early rain which politely followed the schedule by stopping at 8:00 am. Judging got quickly underway, followed by lunch on the show field. There was plenty of time to enjoy the ever-growing Gilmore Car Museum campus as well as the enhanced CCCA Museum barn. The Experience Drive-By Awards Presentation featured Clive Cussler, Bob Joynt and David Schultz and was followed by a Farewell dinner. It was a most enjoyable weekend!