P4-2022-01-02: 2021 Fall Color Tour Recap
Article by Lucas Phan
Photos by Jeff Boes, Chris Young and Lisa Molzon
This year’s Fall Color Tour was very similar to 2020 in terms of planning. Finding a cider mill and restaurant were our biggest challenges. Due to labor shortages, many restaurants and cider mills could not host us due to capacity limitation. Prices were also much higher than last year, on average costs have increased up to 40%. We spent a lot of time searching for a restaurant and park or cider mill who could accommodate us. We lucked out found Three Cedars Farm in Northville and Bravo! in Livonia to host us. Our dinner was limited to 50 people due to the restaurant’s capacity, but we did not limit number of drive participants. The SEMPCA Board of Directors decided to sponsor our cider and donuts.
We started our tour at Automotive Techniques in Novi. Jeff and Dave were kind enough to let us use their facility and provided cider and bottled water for Fall Color Tour participants. There were Porsches, classic vehicles and engines in their shop for participants to check out. We had a record turnout; 80 cars and 128 people joined our Fall Color Tour. We did not expect to have this large of turnout and had to change our plan the day before the event. We planned on five groups or leaders like in previous years, but with increase in participants we have to expand it to seven groups. Fortunately, Automotive Technique’s facility and parking lot allowed us to stage all 80 cars. Thank you to Chris Bohr, Andrew Vincent, Walt/Sabrina Crump, Howard Gilson/Karen, Chrissy Crowe/Gretus Hoogestraat, Mark/Rene VanderEyk, Marc/Lisa Molzon and Jim/Laurie Williams for leading the groups and ensuring a fun and safe event.
Like every Fall Color Tour, we pray for good weather, roads and colors. The weather prediction was bleak with heavy rain, but that did not deter our participants. We had good mix of Porsches from older air-cooled to latest models. As luck would have it, a heavy downpour hit right when we released the last driving group. Colors were not the greatest even late in the season. Luckily the roads and driving routes were enjoyable per the participants’ feedback.
Our mid-point break was at Three Cedars Farm. We were worried about the parking situation with the rain. Their typically nice flat parking turned into a large muddy field. I rushed from Novi to the cider mill with my wife to check on the situation. We worked with Three Cedars staff to look for the best parking spots to accommodate low ground clearance vehicles. I drove around in a rear wheel drive/front engine vehicle while my wife followed me in a 4×4 truck ready to pull me out if I ever got stuck. We found an area near the end of their parking lot to be the best to accommodate our group. From there, our participants were directed to a tent to enjoy excellent cider and donuts.
We went to Dexter/Hell/Pickney area for our second half of the tour. We arrived at the restaurant around 6 PM and dinner was served right after.
So, that’s the summary of the 2021 Fall Color Tour and dinner. This is my fourth time planning the Fall Color Tour. With the help of Chris Bohr, the event co-chair, we managed to put together this year’s tour. It is a rewarding experience as this event allows us as SEMPCA members and families to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. It’s not just the cars, it’s the people….