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Intrepid Don Milligan’s notes on New England highways

I have not seen Bobbie and Don Milligan since 2005 in Connecticut at Lime Rock at the first Riley event Kay and Doug Campbell put on at the request of Victor Riley himself. From my archive of Riley photos you will see the Milligans in a Lime Rock field next to their 1933 Riley Earl of March Special. I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing their RM Roadster, which is set to travel to Middlebury, Shelburne and Burlington. It was Don who first called the club’s attention to the wonders of the Shelburne Museum. He grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, as did our Saturday host Eric Killorin.

Don’s roadster was the lone Riley at Lime Rock this year. Here’s Don’s note to me about driving, particularly driving a Riley, through Irene-ravaged New England, with his predictions about access to our event:

“Well, the Vermont tourism folks are advertising everyday on the radio that they are still alive and well in VT.

“On Tuesday 9/6/11 my wife and I returned from Cambridge, NY with the RMC. We carefully avoided travel thru VT, but did some cross country thru central Massachusetts. One of the roads paralleled a river and we had an opportunity to review a mild version of what must have happened in VT. Impressive ! ! !

“Saturday 9/10/11 my buddy from NY traveled across route 9 (west @ Bennington to east across southern VT) into NH. This road goes thru Wilmington,VT which took a serious hit. Road was passable all the way. Temporary bridges, one lane where half of the road was washed away and some dirt roads, but all serviceable. Work progresses at a pretty good pace. Downtown Wilmington was every bit as expected, but the roads thru were useable. I expect that any “main” thoroughfare into Middlebury will be OK by the time we get there. If we have rain for our tour, we might expect a muddy field. Those who feel that their “baby” might get “dirty” will have ulcers. So be it, any Vermonter worth his salt can get around. Tourists are on their own. Damn Yankees will take a hit and get to work fixing things.

“Round trip Andover to Lime Rock Park, CT, north to Cambridge, NY and return to Andover was 668 miles. Rained all the way home, but just light rain. Top down all the way. RM behaved as it should. Lime Rock Park, vintage racing and all sorts of foreign and domestic machinery had but one Riley – ours. Keep in mind, that ours is a very scruffy Riley. However, we were amazed by how many people, Lime Rock folks and spectators, who went out of their way and actually thanked us for bringing the car. The vast majority feel it should be left unrestored. Guess it’s the in thing now.

“Sunday at LRP is a quiet day with no racing. There’s a church across the road from the park. They have a concours and club day for all sorts of marques. When we drove in to find a parking space, the folks checking cars in put the arm on us to enter their concours. They worked pretty hard on us as I had no intention on getting involved with their damn concours machinery with our poor old Riley that was loaded with luggage pending our journey to upstate NY. They prevailed and entered us in the {“Virgin Vehicles” Just as we found it, or non-restored originals} class. That’s what is says on the trophy. Got second place there. Had a hard time finding a place to put the damn thing in the car with all the luggage. It was a very unusual weekend with all the interest in the Riley. Also had “special” parking on Friday and Saturday of the event along with many other “special interest” machinery.

“All good fun ! ! !”

See you in Vermont, Don.

For a better look at the Milligans and their March Special, click on the image. It will enlarge.

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