Ascent of Twombly Mountain on 2012-03-19

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:Ford Host
Date:Monday, March 19, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Car
Peak:Twombly Mountain
    Elevation:1150 ft / 350 m

Ascent Trip Report

A very lucky drive up.

I had read both TR on this Co (Bob Schwab and Bill Schuler), so I knew what to expect but I decided to pay a visit anyway since I was in the area ...... in life you don't succeed if you don't try ..... it would be an excellent decision, and as I have experienced numerous times in my life, this is another example that "Someone is always watching over me".

We approached from the south by driving north on M53 to a left turn on 34 Mile Road north of Romeo, 2.8 miles west to a right on Fisher Road, .5 miles to the Main Entrance and the Visitors Parking for
"The Ford Michigan Proving Ground", 74240 Fisher Road , Romeo, MI. phone #586-752-8624.

I knew from experience that any guard/watchman/receptionist/etc. will for the most part always say "No", because it's the easiest thing to do ..... in life it's a minority of people that will go out of their way to help someone.
When I saw "Visitor", something said to me, "They have Visitors?, I got a chance here.", so I decided to go the office.
The lobby didn't have a receptionist, "Oh, Oh, not good, I guess they don't get too many Visitors here".
You have to sign your name in a register and have to put the name of "Person to Visit". I put down Manager, my plan was to ask/talk to him for approval.
Once signed-in "What do I do?", there was no receptionist/bell/phone to call, so I knocked on the glass door .... twice. After a short time a lady walked up to the door talking on her cell phone.
She said to the person on the other end, as she opened the door "Give me a minute please."
"Yes what can I do for you." she smiled.
As I proceeded to tell her what I wanted, a man came up, jumped in the discussion, introduced himself as a department manager.
"Can I help you", he asked.
I put forth my case.
"When to do you want to go?", came a "I-couldn't-believe" reply ..... Wow, elation doesn't properly explain my feelings.
He agreed to take me up right away, "I'll pick you up at your car."
"Sorry, no cameras."
He drove me up the east side road, which starts as a 17% grade and ends at 29%. To make a long story short, we were up and down in 15 minutes ..... we both got out of the car to walk the HP and enjoy the view.
The view of the property is truly outstanding, what follows is short resume of what I learned from my host.

The mountain peak has been lowered/flattened to a 40 yards diameter circle, 4 hill roads descend a paved circular road, 3 with grades of 29%, 45% & 60%(a scarry straight drop) and the 4th a rough dirt road.
The view of the 3,880 acre site is outstanding, it has over 140 mile of roads, 5 mile High Speed Oval Track (180 mph max speed), 5 mile Gravel Route, AWD Hill Route. Ford does all of their testing here.
The farm land originally known as Hill Top Farms was acquired by Fisher farms and purchased by Ford in the nineteen fifties.

When my host dropped me off at my car I told him that I normally enter a TR in PB and asked him if could use his name and title as reference, "Consider yourself lucky as being the only one in your club to visit this summit." (I didn't tell him of Bob's Visit of 2002). He didn't say so in so many words but my guess is that it may be a problem for him to give out his name.
My feeling is that Ford would/should allow perhaps prearranged yearly group visits .... after all, it's good PR. I would love a tour of this whole facility.
Yesterday we spent most of the day at the Henry Ford Museum, a must see place, unfortunately they don't offer tours of their production line on Sundays.

I must of thanked my host 6 times for his amazing heart felt goodness, a generous man.


Summary Total Data
    Route:drive up by a ford employee
    Trailhead:fisher road entrance  

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