It seems to be travel time. I did a round trip to Boise to see relatives. For an old guy, a two day drive. I saw new country and got a road trip in; I like road trips, preferably alone. The next trip was the big one. Fly to New York and drive a car back to Denver.
My stepdaughter has a high zoot job and a high zoot apartment in Manhattan. She is now a confirmed New Yorker and decided to go without a car. New York is one of the few places in the country where or makes sense to be carless.
So, we cashed a bunch of points for a first class ticket to LaGuardia. I took a cab to her place, we had aa pizza across the street from her building, slept, and got on the road by 9:00 AM. She gave us a great deal on her 2006 BMW with 60000 miles on it. What a machine. I drive a base model Toyota pickup that is so base it doesn’t have a passenger side door lock. The BMW has most every option they put on them that year. I can now operate about twenty percent of the features.
I drove north up the Roosevelt Parkway, went across the George Washington Bridge to I-80, and rolled west. The portion of New Jersey I crossed is truly the Garden State. There were lots of trees displaying their fall colors, a nice rural area. Soon, I was in
Pennsylvania. I like that state. Hilly, wooded, nice farms, and striking fall colors. Green, gold, red, gold, brown, and a lovely Crimson. Pennsylvania has lots of wildlife, and the traffic takes its toll. There are solutions for the road kill problem, but they are expensive, so change is slow.
Next is Ohio, and I-80 swarming with cops. I saw many more patrol cars in Ohio than the rest of the route. The state is flat, with the American monoculture: corn. The truck traffic on I-80 is dense and fast moving. Everyone scoots along at 5mph over the limit until a truck decides to pass another and it is time to slow down.
I stayed in a hotel outside Sandusky, one of the cities on Lake Erie. Next day, the rest of Ohio, then Indiana. I liked Indiana, farms, hills, and colorful woods. Then, the flat tire alarm came on. The Beemer has run flat tires and no spare. I tried airing the tire with no luck, so I turned off to Lake Station, a town just east of Hammond.
What a place. I stopped at the first repair shop and they confirmed the tire was so worn it would not hold air. They didn’t have a replacement; the BMW has rare low profile sporty tires. They sent me into town where there were several tire shops. Wow, what a place. The town is not at the top of the economic ladder; in fact it is on the bottom rung. The newest buildings on the Main Street were the dollar store and the big, new county library.
I went to four tire shops , none of them sold new tires. In one shop I had to yell into the back to get someone to come out. The guy was a meth head, with sores all over his face and an empty look in his eyes. Another didn’t have the size I needed. I finally went to a busy shop with a Hispanic staff and the tire I needed. Nice guys working there and the right tire. They got me going again for less than sixty bucks.
I then entered Chicagoland. There seems to be a trend to do construction work on highways in any metropolitan area. Miles of cones closing a lane with nothing going on, then a short distance where the work is happening. I got through the mess OK, and stayed at a hotel just west of the Quad Cities.
I got to cross the Mississippi. It is big there, even above the Ohio and the Missouri. The Missouri was narrow and looked deep. The Platte was a real contrast, wide and shallow with lots of islands and sand bars.
I like Iowa, probably because I am from farm country. I stayed in a nice hotel and had a real dinner instead of drive-up junk. There was a big AA-AlAnon conference going on, so not many drunks. Iowa has less trucking, and the road kill animals are smaller than in Pennsylvania.
That BMW is a great road car. When my back started hurting, I would sit up straight until my butt started hurting. No amount of padding helps either condition. My lower spine is a mess, and my butt is skinny-can’t keep my pants up. The cruise control is easy to use and was a big help. Cruise in the rural areas, alert and careful in the cities.
It was a long day across Iowa and Nebraska. In my younger days I would have gone on to Denver, but the old guy stayed in North Platte. We have two Cabelas here so there was no temptation to go to Sidney. I-76 goes right to Denver. Home just after noon.
Now, Carol and I are learning how to use all the features on the car. Our next task is deciding what to do with three cars. What to keep, what to sell? The BMW is high maintenance, the Matrix is getting old, and my 4×4 Tacoma is so cheap it doesn’t have an outside lock on the passenger side, the seat is hard, and the only amenities are air conditioning and a decent sound system.
We have more road trips coming up, and the BMW is great, but rear wheel drive. The Matrix is still decent, and the Taco sucks for long distances. What to do?