By Jason Sethre
There are quite a few famous songs about road trips that speak to American’s love affair with automobiles.
They are not just a mode of transportations. They represent freedom.
Willie Nelson sang, “On the road again… Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway… We’re the best of friends… Insisting that the world keep turning our way,” in 1980.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers created a timeless tune in 1989 with “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” A classic song from a classic artist, “It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down… I had the radio on, I was drivin’… Trees went by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway… I was flyin’.”
And, then there’s the band actually named The Cars. You can’t tell me these guys didn’t love cars when they sang “Drive” in 1984. These lyrical geniuses created a household name and distinguishable sound with, “You can’t go on… Thinking nothing’s wrong, oh no… Who’s gonna drive you home… Tonight?”
That list of songs goes on and on, like a long and winding road that leads us through the valleys and bluffs of Historic Bluff Country (aka The Driftless Region).
It’s about taking in your surroundings. Soaking up the sun. Experiencing life as it should be lived.
On a perfectly sunny day in Bluff Country, there’s a good chance you’ll see a convoy of classic cars taking the scenic route.
These classic car enthusiasts will be on their way to car shows, riding in a piece of American history.
And, while the world may be leaning toward electric, there is something special about the roaring sounds and smells of a gas-powered engine. Maybe this drives their passion for the classics.
For these classic car nuts, they don’t just own a vintage automobile. They own the road. With their windows down, their hobby takes them places.
There are a number of car clubs throughout the region.
The “Bluff Country Cruisers” car club was formed in 1997 in Decorah, Iowa, when a few car buffs got together to discuss their love of cars.
After the car club was established, word got out and the organization immediately grew to 20 members. The first officers were Dave Gilbert (president), Roger Nelson (vice president), Tina Neuzil (secretary), and Jon Curtis (treasurer).
The car club has since grown to 36 members. An annual membership fee is $20.
The Bluff Country Cruiser Car Club has hosted car shows for 19 years. They organize an annual poker run in the fall. All proceeds are given to local charities. The charity the club supports the most – closest to their heart – is the Celebration of Life for breast cancer. To date, they have donated over $4,000 to various charities throughout Northeast Iowa.
The club meets the second Wednesday of the month (April thru September) at various area restaurants.
The club poker run is always the second Sunday in September. A scenic route is mapped out by club members, with poker stops, dinner and it ends with awards and door prizes.
In October, the club’s final cruise is to Breitbach’s Dining in Balltown for dinner. It is a beautiful fall drive and always well attended.
Once a month usually, on a Sunday, members cruise out of town to various restaurants and areas. They are always open to new restaurant ideas.
The club hosts a Christmas party every year. New members are invited and welcome to join. Newsletters and emails are sent to members on a regular basis.
The current club officers are Don Kelly (president), Karl Schroeder (vice president), Phyllis Elsbernd (secretary), and Nora Hemesath (treasurer).
If you have a classic car or just want to drive your everyday driver, you are welcome to join the Bluff Country Cruisers for fun trips and conversation with other car buffs. It’s a great way to make new friends who have a common interest. Cars. Restaurants. Tunes.
And, along the way, maybe you’ll hear a familiar song, “Baby, you can drive my car… Yes, I’m gonna be a star… Baby, you can drive my car… And maybe I’ll love you.” Yeah, that’s at the top of the most car enthusiast’s list, for sure. The Beatles energized our motors with “Drive My Car” in 1965.
For more information on the Bluff Country Cruiser Car Club, contact Phyllis Elsbernd at (563) 562-3753, (563) 419-4179 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information regarding the car club can also be found at www.bluffcountrycruisers.com.