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'86 560SL, '52 Packard Mayfair, '27 Pontiac
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103 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I hesitate to criticize The Ohio Backroads Adventure Tour we just completed with our 560SL put on by the Western Reserve (Cleveland) section of MBCA because I know the time and effort it takes to put such an event together. The problems we had with the tour weren’t entirely the fault of the organizers. But to improve future tours, some suggestions for organizers might be in order to make tours more enjoyable for all.
First, we were expecting a different type of tour than what it turned out to be. Car tours we've experienced over the last 20 years with VMCCA, AACA, CCCA or the Packard Club have always been designed for classic or vintage cars. Having new cars touring with us was just something we were not used too. Modern cars on the tour wouldn't in itself pose a problem if drivers not had their car's performance as their first priority. We were constantly just trying to "stay out of their way" and we eventually left the tour route completely. Speed limits were completely ignored. There is a time and place for that kind of driving, but on public roads winding through an unknown area is not! At one time my wife was actually in tears out of fear when a tour participant passed six or eight of us on a double yellow line (hilly, curved road)…at night! . Two or three of the tour participants made the tour route an unsafe place to be much of the time.
The scenery was great, but many participants missed most if it because of their hard driving. I was looking in my rear-view mirror at three pointed star on my bumper most of the time. We were also expecting more stops along the way to visit and learn about the area through which we were traveling. We actually made several stops on our own that made our visits to the area interesting. I feel good tours include preplanned coffee stops, ice cream breaks, and two or three planned points of interest like small car collections, etc. throughout each day. Lunches are usually provided by the tour organizers too. All of these things keep tour participants together and friendships are nurtured throughout the days driving "together." None of that occurred on the Ohio Backroads Adventure tour. Less miles and more POI would improve the drive greatly. Additionally, the driving directions were at best "approximate" and landmarks were non-existent where road signs were confusing. Tourists really shouldn't have to rely on GPS. The detour we experienced wasn't even noted, so suggestions weren't made and we were on our own. Because of the detour, the "suggested" mileage guide went out the window too. A good tour guide would be aware of any detours as the route should be checked at the eleventh hour before starting.
Many of the tour participants were not friendly and in a word, snobbish. As newbie’s on the tour, we really didn't feel very welcomed as we usually ignored by most and were only included when WE made the effort. It got old, and we finally gave up. I don't even think anyone actually realized we left the tour. If we had had more stops throughout the day, people would see that everyone is or isn't still touring. An example of the snobbishness was a remark made by a driver after I told him that I had stopped to let a farmer know that his steers were on the highway. Our fellow tourist said, "You actually talked to THOSE people?" Really? Maybe he would have a different attitude if he would have hit a cow doing 80 mph with his $100K ride!
All in all, this touring experience with the MBCA was not what we had expected. However, we actually got two tours for the price of one....our first, and our last!
 

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1989 560 SL - Signal Red & Palomino; 2011 C-300 - Black on Black 4MATIC
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1,153 Posts
So the "Adventure" was getting back in one piece? Wow, so far the Westchester/CT region MBCA has been excellent, and the new MB folks as well as those with older models seem to mix well, we were actually a little surprised so many owners of newer, expensive stuff were as interested in the little SL as they were.

41 Pack, This has always been my concern whenever someone suggests antiquers and hot rodders are one in the same and we need to "band together" to keep uncle Sam and various do gooders at bay, I could not agree less. Some (but not all) of those guys behave like real idiots on the road, and at least in CT, there have been several incidents in recent years where a hot rod is involved in an accident (3 fatal I can recall) and the media portrays it as an accident involving an "antique car" - does not help our position as we fight to retain our vintage plates, better insurance rates, etc. I get you may want to exercise a performance car at times, but not in a tour setting, putting others at risk as you describe, and giving law enforcement an impression of the overall group. Who wants to be the one pulled over for another's idiotic behavior? There is also a difference between enthusiastic driving and reckless driving.

On attitude, you really cannot do too much to control that. Other clubs are like that as well, but my guess is at least some of the members will make for good company, if not, there are plenty of clubs out there.

That said, I would take the 5 minutes to pass your thoughts on to the region president, it may do some good. We have been in several clubs over the years, many good, some not so much. I find the local make up is really the biggest factor.
 

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1988 560SL 71000mi, 2015 S550 4Matic
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194 Posts
I agree with Oldworldshepherds, let the club president know. My local Desert Stars MBCA section here in Arizona welcomes all. I remember my first meeting and it seemed that everyone made a point to come over and meet the new guy and say nice things about his car. The get togethers are tailored to welcome all.
Michael in Arizona
 

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Outstanding Contributor , Bob's Your Uncle!
-----'83 280 SL----- 5 speed....The PIG
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29,512 Posts
I haven't been involved with a "club" drive...except for various Paloozas which usually has small numbers.....and we have been known to, ah, speed here and there.

But not in a club convoy....geez...how Mickey Mouse.

I looked into a few friday night show and shines in the Toronto areas.
Usually in the parking lot of some club and usually the younger crowd with their bitched up AMG wannabees or Daddy's ride. You can tell by the posting the maturity level. I don't have the patience anymore for that kind of attitude even though I was probably a little like that in my younger days.

But I have met lots of Benz owners and the majority are great people. Some , however....well let's just say....I have enough friends at the moment.
 

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1988 560SL Signal Red, Palamino Interior, 2017 C43, Brilliant Blue, Designio Saddle Brown Interior
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45 Posts
I'm really sorry to hear this. I know of one couple in my section that were on that trip as well. As others have said, we welcome all. Unfortunately, we also can't control the behavior of those who join in our events. As an officer in our section, I will certainly make sure the right people are aware of your concerns. Thanks for sharing them with us.
 

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1989 560SL
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2,062 Posts
We went on a MB event that I found on another page. A driving event with a starting spot and following a route having to hit certain marks thought some very nice back country in Florida. Around some very nice small towns and lakes, think the total mileage was around 150 miles?? Ending up at a club house at a housing development which had a bar with draft beer. About 15-18 cars in the group with Marty and I being on the young side and it was timed event, fastest won.
We dropped off after about 1/2 way and had a nice drive and went to the club house to have a beer and meet with everybody and was the first one there. Was questioned on how we completed it so quick and why we dropped off the route. We actually had fun messing with them, not an event I would go back to. All the ones with AMG jackets were over 60 for sure. Not always the young guys.
 

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1999 Porsche 911 / 2013 ML350 / 2006 Mini Cooper S
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671 Posts
Sorry to hear of your bad experiences. I almost signed up for that one. I don't like "funeral procession" convoys very much, but the kind of aggressive driving that you described is just plain unsafe...and stupid.
 
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