Is the Dream Cruise Running on empty? RANTS by Peter M. De Lorenzo Detroit. This is Dream Cruise week in the Motor City, or is it Dream Cruise month? What started out as a day-long event years ago is now a week-long happening, and even a month-long trip for some - much to the perennial consternation of the Royal Oak police. Some hand-wringers are questioning the "relevance" of the Dream Cruise in this day and age, what with Detroit perpetually on the ropes and the incessant whining about our collective carbon footprints and all kinds of other Green-tinged disasters hovering over us. But to those whose thinking is veering off in that direction, I would tell them that the Dream Cruise is more relevant than ever, not only for Detroit, but for the rest of America at large. The machines on display at the Dream Cruise speak to a time when America was not fettered by the hand-wringers and others of their ilk who today can't make a decision to save their lives without a group hug and a discussion of the "feelings" involved. The machines being showcased on the greatest eight-lane boulevard in America this week weren't clinically sanitized or dumbed-down to the lowest common denominator. They weren't the result of a plodding consensus or a "measured" response to anything. Instead, they bristle with passion, vision and an unencumbered spirit - the kind that the majority of the vehicles we have to choose from today are decidedly lacking. The Dream Cruise may be viewed by some as a tasteless exercise in nostalgia for a time that wasn't all that good to begin with, or a gross waste of our planet's natural resources, or both. And they would be missing the point entirely. To those who espouse that viewpoint, I would say: Go back to your mind-numbing, pass-fail, nobody loses, "It's okay as long as you tried" orchestrated existence of predetermined mediocrity, because thankfully, that kind of relentlessly apologetic America is not on display here this week. The Dream Cruise is about an era in Detroit and America when this country was still "on" - when high-risk decision-making was not only part of the game, it was part of the strategy of actually winning the game. That sounds strange, doesn't it? But once upon a time, we actually played to win the game. The Dream Cruise honors a time when Detroit thrived on creativity, ingenuity and an unbridled exuberance that resonated on the highways and byways all across America. And it's exactly those characteristics that Detroit has to rediscover in order to survive - and thrive - again. The Dream Cruise running on empty? Not even close. Instead, it's our annual wake-up call to remind us of what we're capable of and that we can do better. Much better.