Wednesday, March 17, 2010
If I Show You, You'll Have to Die!!!
Got up in Bowling Green and headed, not to the Corvette Museum, but to the Assembly Plant to see Henry Ford's innovation in action. ALL Corvettes are assembled in Bowling Green but one cannot bring anything--purses, cameras, cell phones etc--into the plant--so I'll have to try to tell you, briefly, what it was like! I have never seen such a thing before, nor has Bill, and may I say, the organization makes me happy--this is the way I like to function. You can reach blindfolded for a bolt and it is right where it is supposed to be---yes, yes, yes! I am sure the jobs are as numbingly boring as being a Customs' Inspector but is also as financially rewarding. The synchronization of conveyor belts is awe inspiring--and the timing of their movement is wonderful. Each auto moves so that there is six minutes for the job to be done and then the car is gone and another is there in its place. Six minutes doesn't sound like much to attach two doors and all the inside lining of them but no one on the line was racing--they were not lazing about but they also were not rushed--sometimes, I suppose you could chase your car down but sometimes it was lifted above you and moving onto an entirely different addition, such as tires. The best part though, two belts at angles to each other--like two railroad lines coming together--one has the car and chassis and the other has the engine attached to the transmission etc --the engine one is lower and the car is coming in above --the engine assembly is moving upward and the car downward--so slowly it was almost impossible to see them coming together--but then they were "married" --each bolt hole and projection lined up exactly right for the worker to torque and tighten etc. It was the most impressive part for me although several people with us --most memorably the couple who looked like back-up country musicians from the 60's---liked the first starting of the engine---one lady actually did a windmill " dance" for the workman and then gave him numerous ' thumbs -up' when he just revved the thing to deafness. Then into a small garage like thing to REALLY rev that baby and test who knows what--green lines and numbers etc,etc, etc. Squealing of tires led to a couple of bumpy type pads to set the suspension system and then into a car wash sort of deal to make sure there were no leaks and then out the garage door to the test drive road, which we didn't see to listen for strange noises etc. Now, if there were noises that could not be identified the car comes back into another garage like room where it is twisted and bounced obscenely to try to find what the noises are. I laughed to myself when I saw one lady, dressed in office garb, using a feeler gauge type thingie to make sure the hood and body and doors and body have some esoteric space and no more between them. The tour guide waxed euphoric about the keyless entry and keyless start up --I commented to Bill--just one more thing to go wrong and require hundreds of dollars to repair--that is when helmut-coiffed artificial leather cum fur jacketed multijeweled country girl in front of us turned to say how wonderful these features are--since she and helmut-coiffed tweed jacket with leather elbows and tasseled loafer male escort own one. I said, as she looked me up and down, I'm sure! Well, we all choose how to spend our money--the cheapest Corvette is $57,000---which is fine, since I've never cared to own a sportscar and only was there to see what an assembly line is like. It could have been tractors or trucks that were being assembled--I just wanted to see Henry's idea in action! Being curious about the origin of the components being assembled here I emailed the lady in charge of customer relations--it would seem that the large components such as doors and hood and glass is manufactured in Ohio. She told me that the number of components is so great that a complete list of parts and origin is not available but that each Corvette has a sticker which shows the percentage of parts of US origin, Mexican origin and Canadian origin. I cannot remember what Customs required for a product to be called US made!I LOVED the signs in the parking lots on the plants property--for GM vehicles only--all others will be towed. Don't know how serious they are but offhand I didn't see anything but GMs! Anyway, not being lover of hot cars Bill and I skipped the Corvette museum and instead headed to the rib shop. OMG--the best ribs I've ever eaten in my life--I am ruined. The gentleman who ran the place sounded like the warden from Cool Hand Luke--'" What we have here is a failure to communicate." Can you hear him???? But he looked nothing like that weasely man and was actually quite nice.And then we moved on to Glasgow, Ky taking pix of lovely houses and strange pruning of some Southern trees and the way they sprout shoots from each pruning site to form beautiful canopies. I remember trees in France pruned that way! In Glasgow we met Kristy a really sweet young lady--who asked me if I thought Kentucky is Southern. I said yes, I consider Ky in the South--she said no, she thinks of it as Appalachia. Well, I had to agree but Appalacia is not one of the normal divisions of our country! I gave her and her brother, Ryan, the last of my 1000 pt vouchers. They with Kristy's twin sister are headed to Nashville tonight ( Thurs) and will fly to Mexico tomorrow for six days. I urged them to have a great time but to be careful. The next day we headed up to Mammoth Caves--where Bill took a three hour tour. At first, I don't think he was going because I really wasn't interested at all. I've been to Howe Caverns and Russell Cave and the magnificent Carlsbad Caverns and am fine on Caves. I knew he wanted to go and am glad that, once he realized I was sincere that I could entertain myself just fine, he took the Snowball tour. As he left the bookstore lady who heard our conversation took me under her wing to tell me that there were less strenuous tours but I assured her that I didn't want to go caving. So then she told me there was her bookstore, a typical souvenir shop and a Ky made craft gift shop in the complex. Also there is a cafe and a restaurant and if I didn't want to read in the car that the hotel lobby was cozy with couches and deep seated chairs and even a TV. Armed with all the possibilities I returned to the car to retrieve my book, Kate, a memoir of a Confederate nurse. While there I called my sister to check on her recuperation, which is going well, and read USA today. then I headed for the bookstore but since I wasn't a getting into spelunking I wasn't interested in any of the titles. So I moved on to the souvenir shop--where I had a lovely chat with the clerk who worked as a secretary at the University in Louisville for 20 years. When their son moved to Europe this summer she and her husband sold their Louisville home and she left a job she loved to move to their vacation home. She thought she'd be able to get a job at the University in Glasgow only to find they only hire alumni, of which she is not one. She's really sad and says hindsight is 20/20 and she is living in the backwoods and misses Louisville. I just bet she does--almost in Ohio and Indiana. Sad! From there I moved on to the Crafts store where there were many lovely things--baskets, pottery, jewelry and odd metallic sculptures made of scrap metal--all outrageously expensive. The lady there and I agreed that it is time to clear out our homes not add more stuff! By this time I was starving so I moved to the cafe where I had the Jack sandwich and enjoyed watching the old lady who only made one club sandwich at a time, painstakingly choosing just the right one leaf of lettuce that went on each layer, examining it thoroughly and cutting off any blemishes, imagined or real!The little blonde waitress was quite solicitous--almost think she was making a move on me--but not really sure. Wasn't uncomfortable or alarmed just perplexed and amused. And then I took myself to the lobby and ensconced myself on a couch to read--but looking at the clock realized that it was 1245 and Bill would be back at 1:15. At 1 he appeared in the door looking for me. So we walked back to the car and for the ride to Elizabethtown we had the stories of our day to share, including the fact that you could not take bags, backpacks, knapsacks, cameras etc in the caves. Because of National Security!!! WHAT??? Now, for the contest! I was taking a picture of a billboard when a tractor trailer obscured the bottom of the message. So the first one who emails me what Hell is_______ ( that is, fill in the blank correctly) I shall send a luscious pistachio cookie right from Eagle Ranch in New Mexico! Who says my emails aren't fun???? Didn't take many pix today though we went to Heaven Hill distillery today and explored several Abe Lincoln sites as well as chatted at length with a couple from Utica, but my fingers are tired so that will wait for another day! For now, a good night!