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Green Protestor: End the Dream Cruise

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There’s been a constant battle, out in California, between those who want to celebrate our automotive heritage and those who’d like to banish it. Environmental activists have repeatedly moved to bar cars older than a certain age, ostensibly to remove the biggest polluters from the highway. There’s a bit of truth to the campaign. A subcompact 1980 Chevette, with a non-working catalytic converter and a misfiring spark plug, can dump more pollution into the air during its daily commute than a big Bentley coupe would emit on a cross-country round-trip.

The problem is that such legislation could also ban true classics, those hot rods, muscle cars and vintage pre-War collectibles that are as much a part of California’s heritage as surfers and Valley girls. Luckily, a well-organized response by politically savvy gearheads has kept lawmakers from overreacting.

But are we Michiganders about the face a similar, perhaps well-intended but equally bone-headed, anti-car campaign taking aim at the premier U.S. classic car event? Joellen Gilchrist is a motivated environmental activist, and host of one of the Step It Up events taking place across the U.S. this weekend. But in a Detroit Free Press article, she pans the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

For those few readers not familiar with the event, it’s a tribute to the days when GTOs, Mustangs and Barracudas ruled Detroit’s main drag, Woodward Ave., endlessly cruising, “American Graffiti”-style on hot Summer nights. It’s typical to see at least 60,000 classic cars turn out for this late-August event, some participants shipping their cars over from places as far away as Australia. A million or more fans line the curbs of Woodward just to watch.

The event is fun, declares Gilchrist, but she contends, “It’s time for it to be over.”

Okay, let’s face it, with all those mostly pre-emissions system) cars rolling down Woodward Ave., the air can get a little foul. Some years back, another classic car event was scheduled for the Detroit-Windsor Freedom Festival, a joint U.S./Canadian Independence Day celebration. As a judge, I got to ride in a ‘30s Packard convertible – through the tunnel connecting the two cities, under the Detroit River. By the time we reached the other side, my lungs were as black as a lifelong chain smoker’s. So I get the concerns. But banning the dream cruise? Might as well bar the Kentucky Derby because of the solid pollutants it creates.

Now, I admit I’d prefer not to see all my neighbors commuting in ‘60s-vintage sedans. But it’s absurd to think about banning the Dream Cruise, a one-day slice of Americana that’s got a distinct leg up on many other celebrations of our nation’s past – active audience participation, if you will. Luckily, it appears Gilchrist isn’t gaining quite the support she might have in eco-crazed California. Those who want clean air on that one August Saturday just might consider driving their Priuses – or riding their bicycles – up to pristine Northern Michigan.


PLANNING A PROTEST: Dream Cruise in crosshairs --Detroit Free Press
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Comments (26)
  1. The pollution and greenhouse gases emitted by the goodwood event wouldn't come close to that by those involved in the "Step it up" events, so it would better for the environment to pan them instead.
     
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  2. C'mon, folks! Do you really think banning the Dream Cruise will, "help," the environment? If the environmental wackos don't want to participate, then they don't have to. Does she have a solution for the businesses in the area who will lose revenue? Detroit has enough problems, let people have fun for a few days.
     
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  3. It is possible to be both a car nut and environmentally conscious. You immediately lose your side of the argument when you use the term "environmental wackos" or some simlarly lame epithet. There's nothing wacky about protecting the only planet we have. Without a habitable planet to live on, the Dream Cruise and lost business revenue are less than meaningless.

    That said, I don't agree with banning the Dream Cruise or removing cool old cars from the road. Those things are a tiny fraction of the problem. New cars need to continue to dramatically advance in terms of fuel efficiency and emissions reduction. Detroit has the ability to make big things happen. They need to take the lead and do it and stop making excuses.
     
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  4. Only the Amish in the US could honestly call themselves environmentalists, IMO, and I don't hear them casting stones....for any NUMBER of issues.
     
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  5. Cancel the Dream Cruise? That's heresy! It's drawn me from Los Angeles 8 years in a row; half flying in, half driving in. I come to hang out with my buddies in the Motown Muscle car club, see the Tigers play and cruise Woodward. This event is great for Detroit and for car lovers. I, and others from out of town, spend lots of money on motels, food and tickets.
     
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  6. Ban the Dream Cruise? You're crazy! I don't like when Tennis matches come on ESPN, when they could be showing a baseball game, so how about we ban tennis? Also, I don't like it when liberals protest the war, so how about we ban liberals. Makes sense, right?

    Put it this way, an art gallery is a place where artists go to display their passion; their masterpiece. The Woodward Dream Cruise is a place where artists of another form go to show the vehicles they worked on for years on end, until 2 a.m. on work nights. Let us have our hobby.

    The Dream Cruise brings in a lot of money into the city/suburbs of Detroit. It is a socially healthy event, in which an individual can meet new people, learn more about vehicles, and even find a passion. I have made many close friends for life through the hobby of Automobiles.
     
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  7. ANYONE who has fallen for the man-made global climate change hoax is a complete and total mental defective.
     
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  8. Yep, let's kill ALL the old cars off. Hmmm, maybe the folks who like old cars, too. They're just as dangerous. Take away their old Trans Ams and Goat and they'd probably go out and cut the catalytic converter off of a Prius.
    Oh, wait, now that's a cool idea. Let's see if we can get a million people to line Woodward Ave., or Pasadena Blvd., to watch 60,000 hybrids go by.
    Oh, yeah
     
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  9. The Woodward Dream Cruise is a social/cultural celebration of our youth, not a celebration of the emissions and pollutants produced when we pooled our singles to buy $5 worth of gas for a Saturday night of cruising!

    Many of us kids who cruised Woodward grew up to be the automotive engineers who gave us today's vehicles that produce a fraction of the emissions and sip only a fraction of the fuel as our rides of the late 60s and early 70s. And those engineers continue to refine hybrid technology; and work toward zero emissions.

    We don't have to ignore or abandon our past in order to improve our future.

    So, I'll meet you all on Woodward in August - I'll be at the curb in my lawn chair with my cooler and my "Light 'em Up!" sign ...
     
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  10. Let cooler heads prevail. If we can do something about global warming, it would seem logical that public proclaminations that are seemingly self-serving are out the window.
    Seriously, we are not going to do without cars anytime soon; indeed; since the 60s we have made great strides on the pollution front. I'm sure we'd like cars to run on water, but that won't happen by this August, if ever. Let cooler heads prevail, rather than having everyone making unsubstantiated statements and yelling "o my God" at the thought of driving an automobile.
     
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  11. Let cooler heads prevail. If we can do something about global warming, it would seem logical that public proclaminations that are seemingly self-serving are out the window.
    Seriously, we are not going to do without cars anytime soon; indeed; since the 60s we have made great strides on the pollution front. I'm sure we'd like cars to run on water, but that won't happen by this August, if ever. Let cooler heads prevail, rather than having everyone making unsubstantiated statements and yelling "o my God" at the thought of driving an automobile.

    Read more about Everett Rupert at www.EverettRupert.com.
     
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  12. I say instead, let's ban the gas guzzlin' pickups, SUV's and Big rigs. Bring back the 55 mph speed limit! These would all help clean up the environment more than banning the cruise. They ain't gonna happen either so the cruise ban shouldn't happen either.
     
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  13. Well, Joe, who posted his comments at 2:07 this afternoon, certainly has proven that at least one mental defective walks the earth. At one end of the spectrum, we have Joellen Gilchrist; at the other end, and equally nutty, we have Joe.

    Without going into the logistics of billions of pollutant-pumping cylinders springing into being over the last 150 years and their inevitable effects, let's just say they must be doing something. Sole cause, contributor to natural change, whatever.

    Here's the crux of the biscuit: As Patti Smith once sang, to live is just to die. Or was that Lou Reed? Anyway, the end result is that, just by living, destruction is inevitable. The obvious corollary (well, obvious to anyone with a brain -- which, I guess, rules out both Joellen and Joe) is that unplanned destruction is stupid.

    So, I'm giving up my two-stroke dirt bike for a four-stroke thumper; I'm going to start sticking to the trails instead of blasting through the woods; I'll ride my Ducati to work instead of driving the truck; I'll pay even more attention to my vehicles’ state of tune and the air pressure levels in their tires; and I'll write letters to various editors urging a calm-headed, rational approach to saving the planet, maintaining the planet, or not wrecking the planet, however you'd prefer to see it.

    Maybe, if this approach finds other followers, we'll be able to have the Dream Cruise, not to mention the Indy 500, Long Beach Grand Prix, USGP at Laguna Seca, and all the other races, classic and not, for the rest of time. Hell, maybe folk'll start cruising University Avenue in St. Paul again.
     
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  14. It would be better to just kill off NASCAR, INDY, & F1 Racing and this would have a better effect on the overall enviroment. The Dream Cruise would be only a fraction of one of these races! You would also kill of 2nd hand smoke too!

    I personally like the fact that a Toyota Prius actually fails a state Emissions test personally!
     
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  15. Didn't Al Gore ride around in HUGE SUV's as the VP? Why didn't he have a Toyota Prius converted for that duty? He seems sooooo worried about what everyone else drives! As for the Tree Huggers that want to ban old cars & cruises, go climb a tree!
     
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  16. Now you dam' yanquis aew not wise!,The war in Iraq cauaes more global pollution than 1000 dream cruises,Now imagine that the Free and liberated People's Republic of Vietnam send your way a ICBM! as a just revenge for what yo done to them!.Besides I invented a device that cut and recycle emission of my Facel Vega that use 'Chrysler' polluting engine,then Why the Hell you Honkey Tonk Yankees can't invent the same?!,let's meet tomorrow 9.00 AM sharp under the 9th Bridge in Paris,and I'll show you my invention,actually I invented it with Mr. Wang of The People Republic of China,He and I (We collectively) like to donate our invention for a local mfr. in your polluted and hopressly messed up country of the USA ,so you won't continue to mess up the world ,like you always been doing so far!.
    Au revoire pqar l'reservoir a domain a Paris midi ,sous l' pont nef (C'est mon noveau maison et chateau)en la bateau ROUGE!.
     
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  17. Why doesn't Al Gore live what he preaches? He needs to be an example of fuel conservation if he is to be a valid spokesman. Too many of the people who would ban the "Cruise" let their spokespeople off the hook when it comes to using private jets, yachts and/or limos. Those "leaders" need to practice what they preach. Anyone who has taken Political Science 101 knows that the 2000 Election should have not have come down to the vote in Florida. Al had everything in his favor except the liability of his own arrogance. How does a man as intelligent as Al lose his own state of Tennesse and Bill Clinton's home state of Arkansas? Keep the "Cruise" and dump Al.
     
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  18. Marquis, vous es un incompetent........
    1) FRANCE started the Vietnam War..... and has started more wars and been a much more arrogant imperialist nation forcing their so-called culture upon innocent people around the globe than the United States ever has. And your country beheaded more innocent people than the Islamic terrorists have!!!
    2) If your invention is so great, and the US is so terrible, why don't you offer your invention to some wonderful French auto maker like Renault? Could it be that your economy is so bad that a local manufacturer would have a hard time introducing this revolutionary new product? Or has Carlos Ghosn already laughed you out of his office?
    3) Maybe you should go get a real job. That's right, you probabaly can't find a job unless you are a LAZY middle-aged white native French person working 30 hours a week with 6 weeks paid vacation. In France the young and minorities have no job opportunities.... I wonder why? Can you say EXTREME SOCIALISM KILLS ECONOMIES? They should come to America where even Honkey Tonk Yankees can become President of the United States! :-)

    Je ne parle pas du Francais..... Pero hablo espanol, y creo que tu eres un tonto borracho francais que no intiende nada del mundo aparte de lo que ves en su televisor.... has visitado a los estados unidos? Probablemente nunca..........
     
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  19. It's simple really, all cars over, umm say, 25 years old must have
    their spark plugs removed and the holes permanently plugged.
    They can be displayed on trailers pulled by electric tow vehicles.
    Problem solved!
    Now, what to do about old motorcycles, vintage aircraft,
    amateur rocketry ......
     
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  20. Hey You Greenie-Eco Socialists...
    What about the emissions emitted EVERYDAY from Mexico, China, India, Pakasitan and the other third-world culprits? All the 60's-era muscle cars in operation can't top the pollution in these non-EPA and OSHA regulated countries! The USA has the cleanest air and drinking water in the free-industrialized world. The rest of the WORLD should be following our standards!
     
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  21. electric power, fuel of choice for the "enviromentalistos" that roam among us...
     
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  22. If were going to start banning these types of activities, then we should include the ellimination of fireworks on the Forth of July. The gun powder smoke, the debris that's put into the environment, how ridiculous.

    Let Americans be Americans!

    If you don't like it, then stay home.
     
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  23. HAH! What about drag racing and NASCAR and INDY and CART and Formula 1? I can SEE the Nitromethane fumes in the air when they fire a top fuel dragster. One race is probably worse than the entire weekend @ Woodward. Ahh... but there might be less resistance for someone to make a stand against Woodward versus organized sports. Imagine this lady standing in the middle of the infield @ Talladega trying to tell the 200,000 plus fans that they will no longer get to see their Sunday event. Want to bet that there would be a lynching?
     
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  24. These are the same lame, a little knowledge is dangerous, eco-nazis that are against a decent standard of living, intelligent science, and anything that is fun! The argument against cars are so incredibly stupid. Emission levels are such that cars are cleaner than the air they run on, the car has enabled a democratic standard of living and freedom unequaled in the world where not legislated to death, the real problem is in the unregulated 3rd world countries that want a piece of the action and are too concerned with how they get it. The idiot anti-CO2 lobby would do us all a favor if they simply stopped exhaling their excessive CO2! The junk science promoted by the almost-bright Gore supportors should have their knuckles rapped by a ruler and sent back to school- but not for Earth-Day propaganda. There are so many other really useful areas things could be improved, but aren't as easy, or as visible a target. Being environmentally sensitive is one thing, but the application of some un-common sense would be far more productive!
     
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  25. How many non-classics are crusing? How many of the 60,000 classics are driven to their parking spot and sit all day? What kind of shape are the classics' engines and how much do they actually polute? How much polution is created every day in L.A.'s gridlock? Why hasn't she protested rush hour? If the Dream Cruise does get cancelled, we'll do what happens on Monday - Friday prior to the day of the cruise: cruise anyway.
     
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  26. It's pretty sad how many people are so violently opposed to someone raising a question about one of the most wasteful demonstrations you can see anywhere in America. I live on the DC route, and I can tell you that it's not a question of "banning cars" or what the exact carbon footprint for the entire DC actually is. It's about trying to encourage people to make a transition to a less wasteful tradition in America. The logic here seems to be: "Why do anything to stop polluting if there is a greater polluter than me somewhere out there?" You could say the same thing about water conservation, protected species extinction, or even about poison in our foods or water supply. But you wouldn't, because then you'd sound like an IDIOT. So take a look at your argument. You don't want to sound like one, do you?

    Let's just be TOTALLY NUTS for a moment. Would you be willing to calculate your carbon emissions for your trip to the dream cruise? Many people come from miles around, and then run that inefficient engine at idle for an entire weekend. If you think this is insignificant, think again. It's MASSIVE. Seriously, it's the least you can do, just calculate your own footprint. Then figure out what you'd have to pay in offsets. Are you willing to pay this each year to attend? Because otherwise you are making ME and my CHILDREN pay for your waste. If you don't understand this, let me explain. The CO2 problem -- global warming -- hopefully you aren't still denying it's existence -- is something that will be measured in dollars more and more in the years to come. Goverments will spend trillions of dollars every year to combat the problems that CO2 causes. This will happen not in 50, nope not 40, not 30 or 20, but within 10 years the U.S. will begin to allocate as much money toward fighting climate change as we currently do on defense. Offsets are not "Courteous." They are essentially WHAT YOU OWE.

    ONCE AND FOR ALL, ANYONE CALLING GLOBAL WARMING JUNK SCIENCE NEEDS A SWIFT KICK TO THE HEAD. IF YOU AREN'T AWAKE YET, GET READY FOR THE WORLD TO GET PRETTY SCREWED UP WHILE YOU KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND.

    So yeah, I think you'll be hearing more and more people asking you to give up the ghost about this Dream Cruise stuff. I know! we all miss 1957. (Except for those of us who don't miss it.) It's just too late to cry about it, and your hobby is costing the rest of us money. So if you aren't willing to pay to play, then PLEASE find a new hobby.

    Either pay offsets or don't come here and idle your car.
     
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