Our 300 Club's Holland Meet is now history. A huge thanks to Keith and Judy for hosting a wonderful Meet. They connected with the Weather Gods, and provided 5 days of perfect weather for us to enjoy all the wonderful venues they lined up, and for keeping our Beautiful Brutes and a sampling of other classic Mopars all shiny and clean. The hotel's car wash area was hardly visited!

The event kicked off with a Wednesday evening Drivers' Orientation Meeting. Thursday's events were a visit to Windmill Island in downtown Holland; a guided tour of Zeeland Architectural Components, the Boonstras' millwork business; and viewing the VerHage Mopar Museum.

Windmill Island's main attraction was the large De Zwaan operating windmill that was dismantled in The Netherlands, and reconstructed in Michigan. Interesting factoids included the positioning of the cross-shaped windmill arms during World War II The Dutch positioned the arms to direct the Allied Air Force to the Nazis' hideouts on the ground, enabling quicker Allied victory. The windmill was also a provider of Village news lower arm positioned just to the left of vertical broadcast a baby's birth; lower arm positioned just to the right of vertical broadcast a death. The windmill's miller, Alisa Crawford, was a youngish woman who's the only female admitted to the Miller's professional grain miller's guild of The Netherlands. She's not very tall, but quickly climbs about 5 or 6 stories of ladders, several times each day, carrying 50 pound sacks of product over her shoulder. She also climbs up the 4 windmill arms to attach sails, when wind conditions require them.

Zeeland Architectural Components was also fascinating both the regular production, and the architectural, divisions. Those of us who walked the plant really enjoyed seeing the vintage carts on which inventory was moved around the building. And some of the large milling machinery that looked to be 75-100 years old, was still operating as new! On January 20, 2017, at the Inauguration of our next U.S. President, look for the railing that's erected along the front of the U.S. Capitol Building, and remember that this long length of railing came from the Boonstras' shop. We enjoyed seeing the cabinets with a myriad of small cubbyholes, containing cutting tools used to mill products, both recent and from decades ago. Fascinating to see were restorations in progress of some early 20th Century furnishings from the Henry Ford House.

Sandwiched in between these two tours was enjoyment of barbeque sandwiches provided on the grounds of Windmill Island by a local food truck. Then we headed over to the VerHage Mopar Museum to see a collection of several pre-1955 Mopars, and post-1965 Mopars lots of great A-bodies, along with a Chrysler Airflow and Town & Country.

Friday's events began with our Club Business Meeting, followed by a photo-op cruise to the Felt Mansion; then a short drive to downtown Saugatuck, with many of our 300s parked in a reserved area along the waterfront. Folks enjoyed strolling downtown, checking out the town's artsy shops, and quaint feel.

Early afternoon found us venturing over to the Dune Rides depot, where we boarded three Dodge diesel people-carriers driven by our entertaining tour guides blasting up the sand dunes, then down, drifting around the banked curves. Amazingly, we lost no Club members! We learned interesting history of the dunes' formation, dating back to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when the lush forest of this southern Michigan locale was cut down to supply lumber to rebuild Chicago from its ashes. No trees left, the Lake Michigan winds blew the sands higher and higher each year, until grasses were planted to halt the area's reconfiguration

We capped off this delightful Friday with our boat cruise on Lake Macatawa on a very comfortable evening. The paddlewheel boat was family-owned and operated good food, good company and a fun relaxing evening.

Saturday morning found us detailing our 300s for our 45-mile drive to the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI. It was a real treat for all of us and especially Club members for whom this was their first visit to this wonderful venue. The morning clouds vacated to wonderful warm midday sunshine glistening on our Brutes! We started heading back to Holland in a few groups mid-to-late afternoon. Johnnie Slayton was driving his Cloud white 300-B which had a front flex hose problem and caught fire enroute (Rear brake had also seized up as he arrived at Gilmore). So Johnnie immediately pulled into a Burger King, driving the wrong way through the Drive-Thru, followed by several 300s that were trailing him. I understand that Jamie Hyde quickly extinguished the fire. Johnnie picked up his trailer from the hotel, and then trailered his B back to Holland. A little later that afternoon, John Begian in his black 300-G convertible, followed by Carl Bilter driving Mark Obermann's Claret 300-J coupe, followed by me in my white 300-F coupe headed out from Gilmore. Less than 10 miles from starting out, John's 413 blew a freeze plug, so we pulled over onto the narrow gravel / grassy side median of the 2-lane country road. We called Ralph Rhees, who was in Holland and in process of loading his '70 green 300 coupe into his enclosed trailer. Ralph unloaded his 300, and drove the 35 miles with Jim Rockey to come and retrieve John's G - they were our saviors, and we couldn't thank them enough!

We all drove back to the hotel, without further excitement, and enjoyed a wonderful banquet. Awards were passed out to the day's class winners, with the capstone a special Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Gil Cunningham, a co-founder of Chrysler 300 Club International. This was the first ever of these awards presented by our Club. Tributes were paid to Gil by Don Warnaar, Jeff Miklas and Terry McTaggart. Gil, a man of few words, accepted the award, standing with his wife Carol, and accompanied by a large contingent of his family at the dinner table. Check out the video of this presentation that's posted on our Club website.

Unfortunately, Burt Bowkamp was unable to join us at the Banquet, due to a medical issue. He expressed his sincere regrets to Keith, and had really been looking forward to being with us.

Evenings during the Meet were spent admiring, and working on, our 300s in the parking lot, and trading stories and tech advice in our Hospitality Suite. Before closing, here's mention of other 300 challenges suffered by some of our friends
Carlton and Barb Schroeder, Greg and Sue Leggatt, and Dave and Carolyn Schwandt (with their factory Polar blue 300-F coupe) all ended up in sick-bay with one sort of malady or another, and were unable to join us
Lindsey Fuller was enroute, driving his freshly restored Terra cotta 300-F coupe from his home in Manitoba, and made it only as far as St. Paul with his F suffering brake system problems.
Mick and Martha Kreszock were driving their Regimental red 300-B from North Carolina, when its water pump blew in Ann Arbor. Within minutes of this breakdown, a local shop owner stopped and had the B towed to his impressive state-of-the-art garage, and had the B ready for pickup by Friday morning. So the B did make it to our Meet, and to our show at Gilmore!
The alternator on Mark Obermann's 300-J was making unwelcome noises on Friday. It was removed and replaced early Saturday morning with a modified double field unit. Mark's family and the J made it home to Illinois safely
Steve Beard had planned to drive his freshly restored Alaskan white 300-F coupe, but brake issues also kept that beauty at home in Ohio.
Len Astroth, with his nephew Bob, planned to drive Len's 300-F coupe from Missouri, but the car hadn't been driven in over 4 years, wasn't fully sorted out, and stayed home.

By now you may think none of the Beautiful Brutes showed off their stunning curvy bodies trouble-free. Not true! Our car show at Gilmore displayed the following Letter Cars, each worthy of its own centerfold
1955 C300 Daryl and Rita Miller, Platinum; Dave and Cindy Steiner, Platinum
1956 300-B Mick and Martha Kreszock, Regimental Red; Johnnie Slayton, Cloud white
1957 300-C Keith and Judy Boonstra, Gauguin red coupe; Jim and Andrea Krausmann, Jet black coupe, Wayne Kutschinski, Cloud white convertible
1959 300-E Henry and Carolyn Banach, Copper spice coupe; Al Vannice, Ivory white convertible
1960 300-F Michael and Linda Burke, Sunburst yellow coupe; Noel and Kanella Hastalis, white coupe
1961 300-G John Begian, Formal black convertible; Andy and Carole Mikonis, Alaskan white coupe; Brian and Kathy Frank, maroon convertible; Chet and Cindy Teater, Alaskan white coupe
1962 300-H Rolland and LaVonne Westra, Oyster white convertible
1963 300-J Mark, Pauline and Matthew Obermann, Claret
1964 300-K Don and Pat Cole, Formal black convertible

And the following iconic Mopars were part of our Gilmore car show
1962 300 Denielle Armstrong, Willow green coupe famous drag racing car of years past, driven by Denielle's late mother, Anne Armstrong
1962 300 - Bob and Mary Germain, convertible
1970 300 Ralph and Vickie Rhees, coupe; Tom and Jan Haberek, 4-door hardtop
1971 300 Dave and Sharyl McCain, coupe
1979 300 Norm VerHage
1960 New Yorker Gary and Kathie Runkel, coupe
1966 Imperial Don Verity
1974 Imperial Jamie Hyde, Dawn Ziegler, Gary Ziegler
1967 Dart John Grady (John had to depart early, and missed the car show.)

v Jim and Andrea Krausmann What an outstanding job Keith and Judy did for us in Holland! We had so much fun the variety of activities and attention to detail ensured EVERYONE had a great time. And the weather could not have been better. Many thanks to our illustrious meet hosts. One word awesome!
v Brian and Kathy Frank Keith and Judy did a great job of coordinating our events so we seamlessly went from one tour or activity to another. The weather was perfect! (A few members had issues with their cars but they can tell their stories and we can't blame the Boonstras for that.) We enjoyed a tour of Keith and Judy's business: what intricate woodworking. We had a great boat cruise with dinner on the lake. We saw a very nice Mopar car collection and the best was our show at The Gilmore Museum.
v Don Verity Many thanks to Keith and Judy for a great meet! You could not have planned a better meet or weather.
v John Grady I sure second that! Thank you all.
v Marshall Larson I lost my virginity at the meet. That was on me as it was my first. Thanks to Keith and Judy for a great time. Also many thanks to all those who chauffeured me about each day.
v Joe and Meg Williams I couldn't agree more! Keith and Judy did a great job. Weather was perfect and dune buggy ride was great fun! Great meet. Many thanks to Keith and Judy and everyone else that helped it come together!
v Al Vannice Thanks to the Boonstras for a great meet. I made it home with no problems.
v Mick and Martha Kreszock Ditto to everyone's comments about Keith's and Judy's Holland Meet. It was superb. No way to single out a favorite part; great activities (the tour of their manufacturing facility was fascinating), great hotel, great cars, and of course great friends old and new. And, oh yeah, the GILMORE!! Another grand 300 meet in the books thank you Keith and Judy!

Noel Hastalis

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