Saturday, January 07, 2012

Travel Report: Greenville, Illinois, to MGA Research Corp., Burlington, Wisconsin

Driver: Scott Darnell, C-5/6 Quad
Vehicle: 2008 1500 2WD Chevrolet Silverado equipped with award-winning Further OPTIONS DMS mobility system.
Date: Jan. 19, 2011
Distance: 664 miles round trip ("count 'em - 3 tanks of gas!")


When my colleague Cristy Willman and I got on the road from Greenville at 4:00 A.M., it was 20 degrees and the roads were a little slippery.

The GPS - or "mouth" as we lovingly refer to her – took us much closer to Rockford, Illinois, but did steer us clear of Chicago.

It was a quiet drive, my co-pilot only needed one stop and we arrived at MGA Research Corporation, Burlington, Wisconson, at 9:40 A.M.

View Larger Map


NDAs were signed and into the facility we went... I was very impressed! After some visiting we were placed behind the safe barriers – with the crash-test dummies (a dozen or so... I swear they were moving, just managing to stop/freeze each time I looked over). Equipped with MGA Research safety glasses, we all witnessed a brand new vehicle smash head long into an unmoving wall at 35 miles per hour!

It only took a minute and we all gathered around to weigh the damage. I was impressed when the front doors opened just as intended... I'll just say, I'm sure it performed exactly as the manufactuer hoped it would. The data came out and was explained to us, all of the marks they needed to ascertain were met easily!

Then the different elements of crash testing were explained, like what we would need to do to surpass predefined safety marks... what we would have to do to get our pick-up truck and SUV to pass current legislation.

For anyone interested, our current truck application needs just one relatively simple tweak to bypass the need for crash testing. That's right - our structural modifications are so minimal that our trusted authorities inform us that, after making that one adjustment, we will not have to crash test!

Do please note that for anyone interested in having the factory seat put back into a position so that able-bodied people can drive the vehicle from it, we will have to crash test. At the end of the day, the information showed that all our homework has been fruitful, warranted and appreciated.

After exhausting everyone with my questions, we made our escape. We had not eaten anything all day, so we were both hoping for a little something up the food chain for a late lunch. Much to our joy, we found someplace I have long wanted to visit, having seen it on TLC as a stop on CBS's the Amazing Race. We chose to dine at Gino's East!

We filled up with gasoline first. You do know that if you pull up to a gas station at the pump and honk your horn, attendants will come out and pump your gas? It's a wonderful thing in our country, each time I've experienced it. I am most grateful to everyone who works at any store where gas is served, and where this duty falls to you. You are extremely appreciated!
After refueling, we wound our way through Lake Geneva, Wisconsin... a beautiful town with incredible architecture and a lake you can drive your truck out on! Seriously, we pulled down to the lakeside and there were little fishing houses, just like in the movie, "Grumpy Old Men" out on the lake. Some had pickup trucks parked right next to them!

Gino’s sits looking out over the park, where in the summer you can rent rowboats, and the small bay comes right up and kisses the town.

What I can also report is, deep dish Chicago style pizza at its very best! The bruschetta was fantastic... the pizza, well worth the wait!


Gino's East, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

We got back in the truck and headed back for home. We drove past many signs that are currently difficult to ignore – Antiques - Flea Markets - places I was oblivious to prior to my injury.

The ability to get out and go is certainly a priceless commodity. Thank goodness there are those who have fought the fight to establish this as a legitimate right for us all thus far.
I cannot wait for you all to have experiences like these... to once again look out over the hood of the vehicle you choose... as the scenery gently waves you on...

Home at 8:02 P.M.... another great day! Big thanks also to Cristy, her husband Mike, and all our friends, familymembers and partners that make these adventures possible. The efforts are already helping us get more new people back on the road in style!