This tour was highly praised by attendees at the Alfa Romeo Owner Club (AROC) national convention who were as diverse as visitors from the UK hitching rides in Alfas to a couple who had just driven their Alfa from Portland, Oregon. What made it so enjoyable was the character of the route, the accommodations, schedule, and the freedom to travel in small groups and meet up for meals and attractions.
And it was relatively cheap. The costs were basically what you and your car consume, plus accommodations, a minor and a major ferry ride, and two bridge tolls. Route instructions, roster of participants, chat group and photo album were all developed online using Google. At our first breakfast together we already knew about each other and our plans.
The roads around Lake Huron are more scenic and laid back than the roads around Lake Michigan and Lake Erie. Lakes Superior and Ontario don’t count because I don’t think an eight-day trip is realistic for starters. Our first Lago Huron Mille Miglia last summer was a three-night trip, starting and finishing in Pontiac (we added a third night and the circum-thumb leg while drinking beer on the beach the second night). I’d recommend May, June or September to avoid the peak season and summer heat. Early September would be ideal because the water is warmest. A fourth night could include a stop in Stratford for shopping, fine dining and theater, and a fifth night would allow for exploring the terrific roads and terrain on Manitoulin Island. A web album with photos and slide show function can be viewed online.
We finished our tour around Michigan’s “thumb” in Kimball, a bit south of Port Huron, to visit with Mike Kleeves and his crew that comprise Automobile Metal Shaping Company. In a spacious hangar on Airport Drive, they restore, fabricate, or duplicate incredible car bodies. Their equipment includes four power hammers, some English wheels and planishing hammers, two surface plates with 3-axis measuring armatures, a paint spray booth, and the usual metal fabrication equipment. I should add that they also fabricate “old school” bumpers. Without Mike’s skills and facility, my Maserati would have had to live with the awful repair job on its front bumper. Luckily, it now has a new center section perfectly grafted in place, followed up with a perfectly flat chromed surface in the middle done by Victoria Plating Ltd. in British Columbia, Canada.
You can click here to see the original announcement and detailed itinerary for this tour.