John Kalmar: 2012 Year In Review

Favorite car color: Black

When it comes to choosing my favorite car color, I think back to one of Henry Ford’s most memorable quotes: “People can have the Model T in any color — so long as it’s black.” It may not be as flashy nor eye-catching as more vibrant hues on the color wheel, and it certainly doesn’t keep the interior of a car cool during the dog days of summer, but there’s something about a black car that’s appealing. I think it’s the certain sense of attitude that it gives a vehicle, no matter the size. I’ll take whatever I can get while driving my black Chevy Malibu (complete with Michigan State alumni license plate cover and Spartan sticker) around Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan.

Favorite drive: Lexington to Loretto, KY

While living in the “South” for the past year, I was able to experience the unique ways of life offered in Kentucky; most notably horse racing, Kentucky Fried Chicken and of course, bourbon. The latter of the three is part of a booming business in the Bluegrass State, with many distilleries offering tours of their facilities (and even some taste testing at the end). One of the most popular tours takes place at Maker’s Mark. What makes it notable is the remote and scenic location, as well as the insightful behind-the-scenes look at the process of bourbon making. My brother-in-law and I ventured from Lexington this past summer with just a GPS between the two of us, bound for the middle-of-nowhere, Kentucky, aka Loretto. Driving down winding, two lane highways, in and out of valleys and through towns with no more than a couple traffic lights, we got the “real” Kentucky experience on our quest to Maker’s Mark. I’m just thankful that the GPS never lost its signal and we didn’t end up stranded in bourbon country. On second thought, maybe that wouldn’t have been so bad after all…

Worst drive: I-75 through Ohio

Disclaimer: despite being a native Michigander, I really don’t have much of a problem with the state of Ohio. But I do have a problem with driving on I-75 through the Buckeye state. I had to make the drive a couple of times in 2012 while traveling from Louisville to Detroit and the metro area in Michigan. Each time I thanked my lucky stars whenever I saw the “Welcome to Pure Michigan” sign greeting my arrival back in the Great Lakes state. Perhaps it’s the lack of scenery, or industrial feel of nearly every city I drove through on the highway, but the 5-hour trip to Michigan felt much longer each and every time.  I’d gladly take I-65 through Indiana (the only thing that state offers for scenery are corn fields and gas stations) than have to drive down I-75 again when traveling south.

— John Kalmar