I am not done talking about this very important event in this automotive writer's life.
In the past few pieces, I took you through the psychosis of getting through a day-and-a-half of new experiences, new venues, new contacts and colleagues – along with reconnecting with others. There were plenty of firsts to recount – some worth ticking off the bucket list.
If there was one thing I walked away from the Midwest Automotive Media Association Spring Rally this past week was a renewed vigor for this work.
Two years ago, I made the decision to concentrate my writing efforts into a single subject. That yielded amazing results. Online numbers are up for both this site and Lavender Magazine's website. My content output is down, but I am indeed concentrating on regaining a quality edge against just putting out "something" to induce traffic.
This year also yielded a good chunk of vehicles for review. Yet, I was looking for more stories and walked away with a two good ones for next month – one was being finalized before I got to the Osthoff Resort. That yield is very good – and quite unexpected.
The accomplishment of attending one of the best media drive events in the USA is huge. The breadth of experiences a journalist can have – track time on one of the great road courses in this country, off-roading, autocrossing and so forth – solidified the feedback many who attended this event for years are in agreement with.
Not to mention, an event such as this shows how small the world is when concentrated in one arena. Mutual friends and acquaintances come up in conversation. Agreements on who they are and their reputation are indeed worth the thought process. In all, I am blessed to be around a great group of people in and around MAMA and the entire automotive community.
Aside from the stories, the experiences, the vehicles driven and the people, what did I really bring home from Elkhart Lake?
I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do, but knowing I can do it next time is good enough for me. If not at Road America, I would like to accomplish a lap at a similar course to fulfill that glaring line item on my bucket list.
There was one sad note to the affair.
I got to know Patrick Hepsen through my contacts and acquaintances at Chrysler. We had great conversations at auto shows and media events about the SUV products, automotive enthusiasm and the histories we bring to our current positions. When it was announced that Hepsen could not make it to the Rally due to battling a Stage 4 Cancer, it woke up the room. It woke me up.
To close this multiple part look at the MAMA Spring Rally, my friends at Chrysler know how much I enjoy my working relationship with them. My thoughts are with Patrick, his family and all of his co-workers at Chrysler. He is one of the great folks in his role you truly want to meet, know and enjoy a conversation with. His passion for the product, knowledge of the industry and love for the experience he brought from his love for the automotive.
Get well soon, Patrick.