Monday, June 30, 2008

Day Two: Hampshire, IL to Albert Lea, MN

It's the unexpected gems that dazzle you on a road trip. When we get to Taliesin, the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, we find that tour tickets are sold out but we enjoy a DVD presentation about the history of the estate in the visitor's centre. We head into the nearby town of Spring Green, Wisconsin and find the Chamber of Commerce and the M & I Bank [pictured here] designed by William Wesley Peters, an associate of Wright's.
At La Crosse, WI, we cross the Mississippi into Minnesota and stay at the Ramada Inn in Albert Lea, MN. Distance covered today - 597 km (371 miles).

smart Alecs:
  • Cook at Gables Restaurant in Richland Center, Wisconsin asked, " Is that you'se guyses little electric thingy out there?"
  • Lady in a Nissan Ultima holds up as sign up to the window that says, "CUTE CAR!" as they pass us on the I90 near exit 166.
Wildlife Watch:
  • we've seen many large birds of prey wheeling in the sky but are not sure whether they are eagles or not
  • baby bunny is nibbling on the grass behind our motel as we pull in to park

Day One: Home to Hampshire, IL

Left home at 6:00 am, having packed the smart car the night before. No problems on the 401 westbound to Windsor where we get in line for the border crossing at 10:25 and cleared customs by 11:10. We by pass Detroit heading south through Michigan & Indiana and loop around the south end of Lake Michigan and Chicago (seen here) on the I90 toll road.
We book into the Super 8 Motel in Hampshire, Illinois knowing we've done the hardest days driving of the tour - 913 km (570 miles).

smart Alecs:

  • Customs Officer at Windsor/Detroit border crossing, "You're going to Montana in that?!"
  • Guy at rest stop near Kalamazoo, Michigan, "You bought that at the right time. I saw them all over Italy."

Wildlife Watch:

  • 3 white-tailed deer, two of which we discouraged from crossing the highway by using the horn
  • 1 groundhog, ditto
  • large snapping turtle showed no signs of wishing to tangle with traffic
View map of tour here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Wild West Tour

Trudi is packed up and ready to roll at sunrise tomorrow as we head westward out of Ontario into the states at Detroit, Michigan.
Our last American tour with the smart car was to North Carolina in the summer of 2007. I'm sure the scenery in Montana, our destination, will rival this view of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Smart Fortwo ED: It’s a total shock – I love it

To her surprise,Vicki Butler-Henderson gets a huge buzz from the new Smart
I’ve never been a fan of the Smart car, not least because it doesn’t like to be spelt with a capital S. I’ve been a snob about its short, stubby shape for a decade but I’ve just turned 180 degrees and am sold on this electric version – though just this version, I hasten to add.
At long last it’s okay to be seen driving a car that’s attached to a plug, and it’s so of-the-moment that it turns you a pleasant shade of green.
It makes perfect sense if you live in a town peppered with electric recharging posts and if you favour Prada over passengers (it’s got as much room inside as a tumble dryer).
Nobody in or out of the car would suspect that it lacks an internal combustion engine as you hoof it away from the lights, and up to 30mph it doesn’t let the side down.

Read full story here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

smart edition limited one

The smart edition limited one is now available for all those who seek that certain something extra while appreciating the comfort of the smart fortwo passion. Available as a coupé or cabriolet, it combines an exclusive colour scheme with a mix of high-quality materials to great effect - both inside and out. View e-brochure here.
The interior focuses on clear lines and fine details. Leather in stylish cognac brown with a contrasting two-colour seam defines the character of the interior and lends it a personal touch. A warm, brown tone prevails throughout, from the heated leather seats through the interior door trims, the 3-spoke leather sports steering wheel with integrated gearshift and the leather gear knob to the leather trims on the velour floor mats. Additional highlights in matte silver on the speedometer, cockpit clock, rev counter and steering wheel provide a harmonious contrast and round off the modern character. In this way, the style of the smart fortwo is maintained and developed in impressive fashion. Starting from: $20,900 coupe, $23,900 cabriolet