June 9 - Wolf Creek, S.P. - Mid-America Auto Museum - Effingham, IL

I got up this morning and had breakfast and then headed towards Effingham. I stopped at a gas station in Strasburg to fill up. I asked the guy there if he knew where "The Real Source" was. That's the company hosting the car show this weekend.

"Oh, the Corvette place, he's got a bunch of 'em down there." he answered.
"Well, I'm in town for a Volkswagen show there this weekend." I replied...what's the deal with the Corvettes?!
Apparently everyone knows the place as a Corvette museum. Turns out that the same people own three companies. One is an aftermarket parts company for Corvettes, another for Volkswagens and a third for Porsches.
"Well," he began, "you're gonna wanna go down here about an 8th of a mile and turn right at the meat packing plant, you'll see a big cow out front. Turn left there onto the county road and take it all the way to 45 and go South. It'll be on your right about 4 miles down."
I thanked him for the directions and headed out. I saw the "big cow" - fiberglass - outside of a small butcher / meat packing place and followed his directions. I came to a complex of buildings with a huge grass field in front and turned in. There was a lot of activity. People setting up large tents and booths and things, getting everything ready for the car show. I went into the office and asked where the car museum was and was pointed towards a large pole barn. I walked down a blacktopped drive that intersected with another road around this complex. There were street signs on the corner....one read "454 Big Block Drive" the other read "Stingray Avenue", so I guess this guy is into Corvettes. I entered the museum.

The first room was full of Volkswagens, Beetles from the 50's mostly, 4 or 5 of them and a Karmann Ghia. They all had plaques in front of them explaining what they were. They were all excellent examples, very low mileage and all of the documentation that went along with them. Original bills of sale, old photos, etc. A really nice red and black cabriolet originally delivered to a buyer in Sao Paolo, Brazil in the 50's was my favorite. The walls of the place were covered in "automobilia", posters, old gas station signs, neon lights. It was pretty neat.

I went into the bigger room, full of corvettes, all with very low mileage, special models, etc. I'm don't really care much for Corvettes, but there was one that caught my eye. Very obviously a purpose built racing car, the red number 4 in the photo below. I read the plaque and found out that it raced at the 1971 Le Mans 24 hour race in France and won its class. I kept looking around for a while and decided that I'd like to have a little place like that someday....different cars, but a similar kind of deal. I'll let you know how I do in that regard.....give me 20 years or so.

I drove into town and went to Krogers for some supplies and headed back towards the campground....back the way the guy at the gas station suggested. That county road was pretty rough, a lot of gravel. It took me past a bunch of farms. The farm houses were close to this road and the farm fields extended past the houses. Everybody I saw on that road, checking their mailboxes, driving tractors, a few kids riding their bicycles, they all waved to me. I waved back of course.

When I got back to the campground...it's Friday evening, I found that the place was filling up quite a bit. A family pulled up to the site next to mine. I've explained some of the state park phenomenon to you and the unusually large amount of Camaros and Firebirds you can find at them, and throughout rural American for that matter. Take a close look at the last photo to the right....yep, that's a white Firebird at the campsite next to me.

The next few days will be filled with cars and car stories...I hope that doesn't bore anyone too much. They are a huge part of our culture really. In such a big country with such a network of roads and highways, with virtually no train or bus traffic to carry people from place to place, and a population not willing to give up an ounce of independence, we rely on the automobile We drive through restaurants and eat in them because we're usually in a hurry, we read the paper in them on the way to work....after we shave and put on our make-up using the lighted mirror in the sun visor of course. We go to drive in movies in them....or we used to anyway. They let other people draw conclusions about us....each car seems to have it's stereotypical driver. I really see it out here, and the stereotypes are often true. VVVRRRROOOOOOMMMMMMM!

The Volkswagen room at the Mid-America Auto Museum.

Nice looking early Volkswagen Karmann Ghia .

1959 Bettle Convertible, originally delivered to Sao Paol, Brazil.

The Corvette Room.

Le Mans Class winning Corvette.

Another view of the Corvettes.
My spot at the campgound.

Camaro at the campsite next to mine.

The vehicle