Archive for September, 2015|Monthly archive page

10 Tips For Group Motorcycle Riding

For motorcycle riders, there’s nothing sweeter than hitting the open road with a group of your friends. No one knows that better than GEICO Motorcycle, host of the Hot Bike Tour (September 9 to 13, 2015), a 1,000-mile group ride from Iowa to Montana.

But group trips can be chaotic, so having some guidelines to follow is important.
“Riding in a group is fun,” says Corey Eastman of Bonnier Motorcycle Group, one of the organizers of the Hot Bike Tour. “But you should observe a few general rules to ensure that all riders are safe and stay within the group.”

With that in mind, here are 10 top tips from Eastman, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the American Motorcyclists Association that will help ensure a safe group ride.

  1. Before hitting the road, hold a riders meeting to discuss the route and where you’ll be stopping for fuel and food.
  2. Go over basic hand signals. There’s nothing worse than trying to yell, “I’m on empty. Let’s pull over for some gas!” at 60 mph, while wearing a helmet.
  3. Make sure your bike is in tip-top shape and the gas tank is full. You don’t want to be the person who derails a two-day trip on mile three.
  4. Pick a lead rider. He or she should have lots of experience, be good with directions and know the skill level of everyone in the group.
  5. Choose a chase rider who will bring up the rear and make sure people don’t fall too far behind.
  6. Don’t ride next to someone else. Instead, stagger yourselves within a lane. That will give you enough room to swerve around any obstacles or hazards.
  7. When turns get sharp or visibility is bad, switch to single file.
  8. Stay at least two seconds behind the rider in front of you. If the weather is bad or the road is rough, leave even more room.
  9. While riding, don’t become mesmerized by the bike in front of you. (That’s especially easy to do on long-distance trips.) Instead, keep your eyes on the road and remember your training.
  10. When the time comes to park, try to get everyone off the road as quickly as possible. And wherever you stop, make sure there’s enough space for your entire group. It’s no fun trying to cram 100 bikes into the parking lot of a small roadside diner.

Group riding is about teamwork and communication, so pay attention to the rules and everyone will be able to enjoy the ride.

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Chrysler celebrates nine decades of driving innovation

It has been nine decades since Walter P. Chrysler founded the car company that bears his name, and today, as it was in the beginning, Chrysler is on the forefront of design and innovation.

By being a leader in these areas, Chrysler has made cutting edge vehicles that are both stylish and fun to drive for customers.

These traits of innovation and cutting edge design at an affordable price can be found today in the Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and Chrysler Town & Country.

These modern-day models draw upon the foundation laid more than 90 years ago by Walter P. Chrysler, who was leading Maxwell Motors in 1924 and released the first automobile to carry the Chrysler name, the Chrysler Six. The car featured a six-cylinder engine and four-wheel hydraulic brakes.

This spirit of innovation – and providing a safe vehicle at a fair price – continued after Chrysler founded Chrysler Corporation in 1925.

“He wanted to be a player in the industry,” said FCA US Manager of Historical Archives Brandt Rosenbusch, who stated that Chrysler focused on continuous improvement, firm engineering and building a safe vehicle at a fair price. “He always hoped to have a car bearing his name.”

The company soon introduced cars named after their top speed, such as the Chrysler 72 and the high-end Imperial model that competed against Cadillac.

In the 1930s as the Great Depression gripped the country, the company remained competitive with affordable cars and technological advancements, including “Floating Power,” which reduced the vibration felt from the engine in the body of the car. Chrysler also introduced the downdraft carburetor, automatic spark control and rustproofed, welded steel bodies.

It was also during this decade that the groundbreaking Chrysler Airflow was introduced. The car, which was introduced in 1934, took its design cues from aircraft with aerodynamic features in a teardrop shape.

Walter P. Chrysler pictured with a Chrysler Airflow model.

While it impressed the engineering community, it wasn’t commercially successful. But the new body construction and engine placement signaled a new age of automobile design.

The start of the new decade also marked the end of an era as Walter P. Chrysler died in August 1940. Despite the death of the company founder, Chrysler continued to move forward with innovations, such as the development of a four-speed gearbox with two ranges, the introduction of the Thunderbolt and the Town & Country sedan.

When the nation went to war, Chrysler halted civilian production of automobiles in 1942 and retooled. Among the products Chrysler made for the war effort included the M-4 Sherman tank, “Sea Mule” marine tugs and Chrysler-Bell air raid sirens.

The end of the war in 1945 allowed Chrysler to resume production of civilian vehicles, and led to the release of new, more powerful engines in the 1950s.

In 1951, Chrysler introduced its hemispheric-head V-8 engine – also known as the HEMI, which was initially installed in the Chrysler Saratoga, New Yorker and Imperial. The Chrysler 300 was introduced in 1955 and featured a 300-horsepower HEMI, which not only made it the most powerful full-size car in the world, but also a force to be reckoned with on the NASCAR circuit. The Kiekhaefer Mercury Outboard Racing team won 20 of its 40 NASCAR races.

The company’s entire line of cars was honored in 1957 with Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year” award, and that same year, Chrysler introduced the first rear window defogger and child guard rear door locks.

This focus on design and safety continued into the 1960s as Chrysler moved to unibody construction, which not only improved fuel economy, but also provided greater protection to passengers in a crash. The company also offered the first five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

In the 1970s, Chrysler began to offer smaller vehicles in response to fuel shortages and oil embargoes. While the company pivoted on the size of cars, it continued to offer new features, including electronic ignition.

The decade also saw the introduction of actor Ricardo Montalban as the pitchman for the Chrysler Cordoba in 1975, and three years later, Lee Iacocca was named president of Chrysler Corporation.

With the arrival of the 1980s, the company was dealing with a financial crisis, which led to a new generation of vehicles for the company. The Aries and Reliant K-cars were introduced in 1982 along with the front-wheel-drive Chrysler LeBaron. Then, in 1984, a whole new segment was introduced into the automotive industry with the minivan. The front-wheel-drive, compact van created a new segment in the automotive market and became an industry standard in the decades following its release.

The 1990s brought the debut of new sedans, minivan enhancements and the return of a familiar nameplate. The Concorde sedan debuted in 1993 and featured a new “cab forward” design, which created more interior cabin room for passengers. Two years later, Chrysler introduced the mid-size Chrysler Cirrus, which also featured the “cab forward” design.

The third generation of minivan was introduced in 1996 with new features, including a second sliding door for the passenger side Easy-Out roller seats. Chrysler brought back the 300 nameplate in 1999, and the 300M sedan was named Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year.”

As the decade came to end, Chrysler merged with Daimler and launched a number of new vehicles in the start of the new millennium. The fourth-generation minivan was introduced with new features, such as a power liftgate. In 2001, the PT Cruiser debuted and was named Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year.” The Chrysler Pacifica was introduced in 2004 and was predecessor to today’s popular crossover segment.

A rear-wheel-drive Chrysler 300 was introduced in 2005 and was named Motor Trend’s “Car of the Year.”

After undergoing bankruptcy, and becoming part of FIAT, the company introduced the new Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan in 2014, which included a number of affordable luxury features, such as lane departure warning, heated steering wheel and an all-wheel-drive system.

Ninety years ago, Chrysler founded what was known as “Detroit’s engineering company,” according to Rosenbusch, and that founding principle has remained in the company’s DNA with powerful engines, the latest in passenger safety technology and even creating a new segment – the minivan.

“(Chrysler) engineers have continued to develop and bring innovations into the Chrysler brand and models,” Rosenbusch said.

Stay tuned to see what Chrysler brand has to offer over the next 90 years.

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The history of Dodge

The Dodge brothers initially worked with Ransom E. Olds and Henry P. Ford, using their skills to advance the fledgling industry as well as to hone their craft. The money the brothers earned working for Ford enabled them to set out on their own, launching the company that bore their name in 1914.

The first Dodges cost nearly twice as much as the popular Ford Model T, but were innovative and outfitted with 12-volt electrical systems and the first all-steel bodies. Dodges were also equipped with an electrical starter, which made it far easier and safer to engage the ignition.

Following the brothers’ deaths, Dodge operated independently until their widows sold the company to Walter P. Chrysler in 1928. Before that, the company expanded its product line, built its first trucks and took over the Graham Brothers company.

Initially, Dodge products under Chrysler were unique, but gradually Dodge assumed Chrysler engines and the separately managed company was renamed the Dodge Division in 1935. Leading up to World War II, Dodge continued to build a series of coupes, convertibles and sedans.

After the war, a collection of new models was released, including the Hemi-powered Coronet. The Dodge Royal and Lancer also debuted, and were followed in 1960 by the Dodge Dart, an all-new entry-level model.

In 1966, Dodge jumped into the pony car fray with the Dodge Charger, a model that was longer and heavier than the Ford Mustang and based on the Coronet’s chassis. It was joined in 1970 by the Dodge Challenger, a sport coupe that was built for five years than resurrected nearly four decades later.

The 1970s and 1980s had Dodge actively downsizing their vehicles and working with its Japanese partner, Mitsubishi, to supply product. Indeed, the subcompact Dodge Colt was imported from Japan, while the compact Dodge Omni was built stateside, but relied on Volkswagenengines initially.

Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and much of the 2000s, Dodge products were badge engineered twins to Plymouth or Chrysler brand models, and included the Dodge Aries K. But there were some distinctions too, including the Dodge Viper, which was introduced in 1992 as a competitor for the Chevrolet Corvette. The Dodge Ram truck line was also unique and a midsize Dodge Dakota pickup truck was also available.

In more recent years, Dodge has become Fiat Chrysler’s performance brand with the Dodge Charger sedan and Challenger coupe, including supercharged Hellcat models leading the way. Two utility vehicles, Durango and Journey, and the compact Dart round out the model line.

Dodge remains a mainstream brand, despite the emphasis on performance. Top competitors include Chevrolet and Ford, as well as ToyotaHondaNissan, Volkswagen, HyundaiKiaMazda and Mitsubishi. Ram trucks are now sold separately; Jeep might be considered for SUVs and the Chrysler brand for its midsize 200 sedan.

Fall Car Care Month Checklist: Winter is on the Way

October is Fall Car Care Month, and the Car Care Council reminds motorists that checking their vehicles before the temperatures drop is a sensible way to avoid being stranded out in the cold and the unexpected expense of emergency repairs.
“The last thing any driver needs is a vehicle that breaks down in cold, harsh winter weather. Winter magnifies existing problems like hard starts, sluggish performance and rough idling,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Whether you perform the check or maintenance yourself or go to the repair shop, it’s a small investment of time and money to ensure peace of mind, and help avoid the cost and hassle of a breakdown during severe weather.”
The Car Care Council recommends the following Fall Car Care Month checklist to make sure your vehicle is ready for cold winter weather ahead.
Heating, Wipers & Lights
  • Make sure heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly.
  • Consider winter wiper blades and use cold-weather washer fluid. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
  • Check to see that all exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed.
Tires & Brakes
  • Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure of all tires, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads.
  • During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly.
  • Have the brakes checked. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item.
Gas, Oil & Filters
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full throughout the cold weather to prevent moisture from forming in gas lines and possibly freezing.
  • Be diligent about changing the oil and filter at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate.
  • Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time.
System Checks – Charging, Cooling & Exhaust
  • Have the battery and charging system checked, as cold weather is hard on batteries.
  • Clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system. As a rule of thumb, this should be done every two years.
  • Have the exhaust system checked for carbon monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed.
Pack the Essentials
  • Make sure that your ice scraper and snow brush are accessible and ready to use.
  • Stock an emergency kit with jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, extra clothes, bottled water, nonperishable food and a first aid kit with any needed medication.
  • Order a free copy of the recently-updated 80-page Car Care Guide for your glove box at
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit

Halloween Ghosts and Goodies at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad

us for several days of silly Halloween fun when the Village is filled
with friendly witches, happy ghosts and some of your favorite spooky
friends.  Find your way through an amusing straw maze and an enchanted
forest where trees have eyes.  Watch an old-fashioned magic show and
take a 40-minute ride on the famous Huckleberry Ghost Train Express!
There are trick-or-treat stations throughout the Village with plenty of
doughnuts and candy for everyone!


Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad 
6140 Bray Road, Flint, MI 48505


Hours & Rates  
Dates:          Open October 3-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25 and 28-31
Hours:             Weekdays: 5:00 to 9:00 pm
                     Weekends: 12:00 Noon to 9:00 pm
Ticket sales end at 8:30 pm
booths open 15 minutes before the event, ticket sales end at 8:30 pm.
The last regularly scheduled train runs at 7:30 pm. It is highly
recommended that you purchase your Huckleberry Railroad train tickets
early as they do sell out in advance. For your convenience, summer,
Halloween and Christmas tickets are sold year round.

Ticket ages:  All persons older than 12 months.  No group discounts.
Village Only Ticket (Any day)
Combination Ticket: Village/Train (Any day) -OR- Village/Belle (Saturday and Sunday)
Deluxe Ticket: Village, Train AND Belle
(Saturday and Sunday)
Genesee Belle Tickets
Add onto a combination ticket, purchase in conjunction
with a free admission-only pass, or add onto a family pass during the
Halloween program.  Cost is $3.00 per person for everyone 13 months and

Amusement rides
The Charles W. Parker Carousel, Superior Wheel,
miniature mechanical pony cart, miniature Flyer Train, and Venetian
swing and wheelchair swing. $1.25 each or 4 rides for $4.00. Open during
Village operating hours.

Ghost Train Departures

Weekdays: 5:50 pm, 6:40 pm, and 7:30 pm.
Weekends: 12:50 pm, 1:40 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:20 pm,
4:10 pm, 5:00 pm, 5:50 pm, 6:40 pm, and 7:30 pm.

Extra train runs generally are added on Friday and Saturday nights
(except for opening weekend) due to demand at the ticket gate.
Generally, we do not sell advance tickets for the extra trains.  If
needed, extra trains will run at 8:20 pm, 9:10 pm, and 10:00 pm.
Reservations will let visitors know if they are selling tickets for
extra trains.  The last regularly scheduled train runs at 7:30 pm.  To
order advance tickets, call 800.648.7275, ext. 6.

Boarding time for the train is 20 minutes prior to the schedule departure. Genesee Belle Cruises

Cruises will depart at: 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, & 7pmReservations
Buy your train tickets early!  Tickets can be purchased throughout
the year.  Reservation office hours (walk in and by phone) are Monday
through Friday, from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. 
Tickets may be purchased in advance with Visa, Discover, Master Card, and American Express.  Call 800.648.7275, ext. 6.

If you have a group of 20 or more, we can hold tickets for you with a 50% deposit.

Fabulous Fun Food
Saturday & Sunday: 1:00-8:00 pm
Monday – Friday: 5:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 1:00 – 5:00 pm
The Genesee County Parks and
Recreation Commission has taken great care to enhance the
accessibility of Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad with
its dirt roads and uneven boardwalks by offering free of charge on a
first–come, first-serve basis, a limited supply of conventional
(non-electric) wheelchairs.  If you need a wheelchair, it is
recommended that you bring your own— especially on busy weekends.

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Car Care with Kids

New drivers love their cars, but they typically don’t realize what it
takes to maintain them. The Car Care Council recommends having fun
teaching children about the importance of car care long before they can
drive so they know how routine maintenance impacts the safety and
dependability of their vehicle.

“Many children love learning how cars operate, however, they don’t
really understand the nuts and bolts of what it takes to properly
maintain a car,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
“By taking the time to teach your children the basics of car care, they
will not only learn to appreciate the value of taking care of a car, but
they will be more informed and better prepared for the day they become a
car owner.”

There are many do-it-yourself service procedures that can be
performed by parents and children together. The Car Care Council
suggests starting with three easy and fun maintenance steps to give
children a general overview of car maintenance.

Check Lights and Wiper Blades – Explain to children the
importance of being able to see and be seen when driving. Show them how
to replace the wiper blades and work together to make sure all interior
and exterior lights work properly.

Wash the Car – Kids love to help wash the car. Ask them to
look for any dents, dings, scratches or cracked glass, as these
problems, when left unattended, can lead to more expensive repairs down
the line.

Check the Oil – Show children how to check the oil and explain
how periodic oil and filter changes help keep your car clean on the
inside of the engine. Also explain that other vehicle fluids, such as
windshield solvent, should be checked and refilled to keep the car
running properly.
To help understand and explain the importance of auto care, the Car
Care Council developed its popular Car Care Guide. Available in English
and Spanish, the 80-page guide can be ordered free-of-charge at

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car
Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of
regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of
the council’s Car Care Guide or for more information, visit

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Back to school: Make sure your kids have medical identification and emergency contacts

New lunchbox. Check. Notebooks. Check. Pencils. Check. Emergency phone numbers. Check?

Parents and caregivers may have a checklist this week to help them
ensure their child is ready to go back to school.  However, many
probably haven’t thought to add ‘preparing their child for what to do in
the event of a medical emergency’ to their list.

Heading back to school means children (especially young adults) have
more freedom and independence. That also means mom or dad isn’t right by
his/her child’s side every minute of the day, especially when he/she
gets hurt on the playground or for teenagers, gets in a car accident on
the way home from school.

But mom and dad, don’t panic just yet! There are a few easy and
simple things you can do right now to help your child be prepared for a
medical emergency and unexpected trip to the emergency department:

– Handwritten medical card: For a quick, low-tech
fix, have your child place a handwritten folded card with any
significant health problems, medications being taken and any allergies
that he/she has in his/her backpack, wallet or purse near an
identification card. Including the phone number for your family doctor
can make it easier for healthcare workers to find out information about
your child.

– Download an app: Almost everyone today has a smart
phone, older children included. There are a few apps that can be used to
store your health information which you can update regularly. Most of
these apps offer the option to keep vital and personal health
information behind a password-protected area. However, you can make some
of that information available in the event of an emergency to assist
those taking care of you. If your child has a smart phone, help them
download a health information app and keep it updated.

– ICE your child’s phone: No, I’m not talking about putting your child’s phone on ice. ICE stands for in case of emergency
and these three letters can be placed in front of the name of a close
contact such as a parent, sibling, etc. Many emergency responders will
search a critical patient’s cell phone for the ICE label to help them
get in contact with family that can provide crucial information when
minutes really count. And better yet, this option works on even the
oldest versions of cell phones.

– Commercial products: You may be familiar with the
original version of the medical identification card, the so-called
medical alert bracelet. These remain a staple for those with certain
medical conditions such as seizure disorders, diabetes, etc. However
modern technology has provided a number of other options to help you or
your child be medically identifiable to emergency medical providers.
Many of the companies that offer medical alert style bracelets also
market other medical ID products.  A brief search on the internet can
help you decide if one of these products would be best for your child.


Whichever method you and your child decide is best, it’s important to
make sure your child has medical identification communicating vital
health information in the event of a serious medical emergency. Make
sure you add this quick emergency preparedness step to your back to
school checklist!

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Motormen Breeze-Out Event Huge Success!

Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday for our 1st Annual Motormen Breeze-out event to benefit the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office Motorcycle Unit led by Sgt. Lee Smith! More than 100 motorcycles hit the road with us yesterday morning to raise money for a good cause.

The money raised will go to helping the unit continue its community service and keep the units motorcycles running when they are in need of repair.

We are happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of this great event and to give back to such a great cause! The Sheriff’s Department does a lot for our community. We appreciate everything the Wayne Counties Sheriff Department does and are proud to help them! We are looking forward to a continued partnership for future events!

On behalf of Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Sgt Smith took part in the fundraiser along with other law enforcement including Border Patrol, as well as biker clubs.

The group started here at Dick Scott Motorcycles in Livonia. The ride traveled for 55 miles through several municipalities and ended at Merriman Hollow in Hines Park in Westland. Those who took part in the event were amazed at all of the support from drivers riding by.

Three Ps of Auto Care: Preventative, Proactive, Prepared

In recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, the non-profit Car Care Council reminds motorists of the importance of the three Ps of auto care to make sure their vehicle is ready for the unexpected.
1. Preventative – Reduce the chance of unplanned, costly car trouble by following a vehicle service schedule and performing routine maintenance. The Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle.
2. Proactive: If you find your vehicle needs repairs, be sure to address them in a timely manner to avoid more extensive work down the road. Before traveling longer distances, perform a pre-trip inspection before your journey begins so you have an opportunity to have any repairs made by a trusted technician before hitting the road.
3Prepared: Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle in case an unexpected situation arises. The kit should include jumper cables, a road atlas, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, water, non-perishable food and blankets. Be sure your cell phone is fully charged and order a free copy of the Car Care Council’s Car Care Guide for your glove box.
“Emergencies and natural disasters come in a variety of forms. Being car care aware and taking proactive steps in advance will help ensure that your vehicle is in proper working order so you will be better prepared if you encounter a problem while on the road,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.
To learn about the American Public Health Association’s Get Ready program and how to stay safe behind the wheel when a disaster hits, visit
Being prepared for a disaster also means getting your car ready to go at a moment’s notice and restocking an emergency kit for the unexpected.  The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit more at:

Wrangler looks to aluminum suspension, not body

The Jeep Grand Cherokee may have shown the future direction of the Jeep Wrangler: using aluminum and other lightweight materials for the suspension and peripherals, but not for the frame or key body parts.

Cheap body repairs are important for Wrangler, because it’s intended to be taken off-road. However, if the company can use relatively light, “high-strength” steel alloy for skid plates and more aluminum in the suspension and other major components, it could still cut weight, or at least maintain weight in the face of higher safety standards (both Federal and insurance-industry).

Key design changes, including using permanent A-pillars and having the windshield itself slide down over the hood rather than folding down both the windshield and pillars at once, could help the Wrangler to have greater “natural” torsional stiffness, so that chassis reinforcement would not be needed, also cutting weight while letting the Wrangler meet normal rollover standards.

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is also likely to have a hydroformed frame, as Ram trucks do, increasing stiffness without weight gains. Some reports claim the windshield and grille will only be a little more slanted than the current Wrangler.

This gives the company more time to develop aluminum-bodied cars. Scuttlebutt now has the Grand Cherokee as the first to go with the expensive but lightweight metal.

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