The Sunbeams started to arrive on Wednesday afternoon. No reason to put off the start of the event, so a group of us walked a block to dine at one of the great restaurants near the hotel, Buzzard Billy’s Flying Carp Cafe.
Official registration opened in the hotel lobby about noon on Thursday and the pace kept Tom Jeffers and his crew busy until moving to the hospitality room around 8PM. At the same time Pam Jeffers, Joanie and Al Erickson and their crew were busy setting up two hospitality areas, one in Riverside Park for the MoonTunes concert and the other in the Hospitability room on theeighth floor of the Hotel. By the end of the night, the Radisson Hotel parking lot was filling up with Sunbeams and the Hospitability room was buzzing with conversations.
Friday started with a drive through the Driftless area of Vernon County to tour Organic Valley and S&S Cycle. The Driftless region escaped glaciation during the last ice age and is consequently characterized by steep, forested ridges, deeply carved river valleys, and geology characterized by spring-fed waterfalls and cold-water trout streams.
The tour at Organic Valley was centered around the importance of organic food, followed by a tour of the facility and lunch in their employee lunch room. The food was GREAT!
Before leaving the parking lot, Tom Hillmann’s Tiger started leaking at the heater core. It was bypassed and water from Organic Valley was used to top off the radiator.
After the short drive to S&S Cycle, Larry Marrocca’s Tiger was running a little rough. An enthusiastic S&S employee/guide got under the hood to help adjust the carburetor.
We broke into small groups for the tour of the museum and facility. The planned drive back to the Radisson Hotel was west toward and then along the Mississippi River to La Crosse. People who followed the route — and not GPS — saw some great vistas.
Friday late afternoon and evening were meetings for judges and the board of directors followed by dining at many of the nearby restaurants. People in the hospitality room were treated to Rosettes (a Norwegian pastry made by Pam) and/or a Brandy Old Fashioned (a Wisconsin specialty prepared by our own Al Erickson).
The Saturday Concours was held under shelter at Copeland Park along the Black River. There were 45 Sunbeams, of which five were Rare Rootes, seven Alpines and 33 Tigers. An Oktoberfest lunch of brats (or skin on hot dogs) and German potato salad was enjoyed before the membership meeting.
Back at the hotel, Eric Gibeaut and Al Geschke presented a tech session on the replacement steering wheel hub.
Sunday started out with the slightly delayed arrival of our bagged lunches from the Harvest Bread Company. Then the Autocross drivers headed to Winona Technical College while those going to the Elmer’s Auto and Toy Museum (no pictures allowed!) staged for a mass start to Fountain City. After viewing the amazing collection at the museum, several stopped by the Autocross on the way back to the Hotel.
The Pearl Street Banjo Band entertained before and during dinner at the banquet. Al Erickson was the perfect MC for the event. After a brief presentation on the Rootes Archives by Roger Plaskett, door prizes and awards were handed out. Everyone then headed to the Hospitality Room to say their goodbyes.
Special thanks to Al and Joanie Erickson who helped us put on this years United, along with family, friends and neighbors: Ron Jeffers, Jim Orleff, Martin and Sue Ferrari, and Randy Johnson.
Sound system was provided by Joe Davy.
Saturday lunch was prepared by Buck and Gail Oliver.
United Photos by Jim Orleff.