Street legal

Dayton’s golf cart grand tour

Photo: Touring Carts are safe and legal. They meet all Highway Traffic Safety regualtions for low speed vehicles.

By Lisa Bennett

When my editor, Ashley, asked me to cover a story about a golf cart tour of Dayton, it sounded like fun; but I have to admit I was a little skeptical. What can I say, I’m from New York. It takes a lot to impress me. Not that I don’t love Dayton, I really do. The city has so much potential! But compared to other cities, Dayton is small, so I had to wonder: What on earth could they possibly fill a two and a half hour tour with around here?

Murders and never-mentioned places

It turns out, there’s a LOT more to this fine city than I ever imagined! There was the house where the step ladder was invented, the shocking murder-mystery beneath a grate in Stivers School for the Arts, and a home with gorgeous stained glass dedicated to jazz artists and famous authors; and that was just in the first few minutes! We saw million-dollar homes, toured the most-happening party spots in Dayton and found crazy, never-mentioned places to visit that were both interesting and free. I learned more about Dayton in the first ten minutes of the tour than I’d learned in the entire four plus years I’ve lived in the area. I was mesmerized. So much so, I never even noticed the curious glances we got as we rode around in the decked-out golf cart. I can honestly say I’d never been in the back seat of a golf cart that was comfy and even had cup holders! Who knew?

A comfy, unique ride was only part of the fun, however. There were plenty of stops for photo ops, shopping, gawking at sites, or whatever else I could dream up – within reason of course. I doubt they would have let me try to race down Main Street with the cart. Perhaps the best part of the tour however, was the tour guides themselves. John Meixner and his daughter Audrey, age 13, and two sons, Aaron age 16 and Alex age 14 were nothing short of delightful! I was absolutely impressed with how much the kids knew about Dayton. Jokingly, I asked them what their grades were in history. Alex laughes and says, “My teacher says, ‘You better know all the Dayton questions because I know you’re part of a touring company.'” With as much as they were able to teach me about the area, I can only assume they all have A’s.

Disappearing twenties

It made me wonder, was it the history or something else that got them started? So of course, I had to ask. It turns out that working on their old golf cart was a fun winter project to keep themselves busy. Alex says “We said, you know what? We love our golf cart so much, let’s see if we can share it with the rest of Dayton.” He adds, “We also did it to show off Dayton and how great it’s becoming.” So the family drew up the plans for the tour, which also became a lesson in economics. “ It was to teach us how to run a business. We got to meet the attorney and the accountant where we learned about taxes,” Aaron says. It turns out the kids were surprised by what they learned. Alex laughs, “We thought that we could just keep a twenty dollar bill, but we couldn’t.” Their father John chuckles, “They were very disappointed walking out of the accountant’s office. When they went in they said, ‘All we’re going to do is make money.’ When they walked out, they said, ‘All we’re going to do is spend money.’” It was a tough lesson, but the kids seem to be having a lot of fun with it. Audrey loved being able to talk to the police and local politicians. “It was a really good conversation. I learned a lot from it.” she says. When I asked what her role is in the company, she replies, “I help with making decisions about what they should do next, what kind of tours they should do.” From what I can see, she’s a natural.

They may have struck out at the accountant’s office but according to Audrey, they got free candy from the police. Which led me to my next question: what was their favorite tour? Not surprisingly, it was a food tour. John explains that they had a passenger who wanted to do a food tour. John told him that they didn’t have one planned but that if he was willing to do it, then they were willing to try. John laughs, “The result was we spent three and a half hours with this guy and probably consumed 2,000 calories!” Aaron says, “That was one of the best tours of my life, let me tell you!”

I can honestly say that as much fun as I had on the tour (which was really just a sneak preview) I can’t imagine being able to pick a favorite. The truly remarkable piece about this company – besides it’s amazing young entrepreneurs – is the fact that even though they have themed tours such as a historical tour, a Halloween tour, a beer tour, etc., they are so passionate and knowledgeable about what they do that they can literally take a person’s suggestion for a tour and run with it, creating a tour that is both exciting and memorable for everyone.

For more information about Touring Carts or to schedule a tour to learn more about Dayton please visit www.TouringCarts.com.

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Lisa Bennett
Reach DCP freelance writer Lisa Bennett at LisaBennett@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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