Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Great Darby Road Trip - Day 5

 Mike Darby, well-known British car restorer and SABCC'er is on the road his newly-restored 1959 MGA roadster with daughter Stella, undertaking the dream trip of a lifetime. The Darby duo will be traveling from their Alabama Gulf Coast home to Southern California, then up the Pacific Coast to Oregon and then back to the Heart of Dixie. 

Stella has kindly agreed to send along a daily report of their progress as well as observations of the people and places that make up our nation.

Tonight we are shattered after a long and eventful day.

We stuffed ourselves at breakfast at a great café, including the best pancakes either of us ever tasted!  Route 66 took us a fair few miles further, until it literally became a dead end.  On a whim, we trekked a few miles off the interstate to visit Bluewater State Park.

It turned out to be an unexpectedly beautiful 7-mile long lake, true to its name, deep blue in colour – we were able to take a few short walks in gorgeous scenery, which was well worth the detour.  Later we tracked parallel to the interstate on a New Mexico state highway, for a break from the wind and semi trucks – although the road was far too bumpy for the sensibilities of a genteel MGA!  Across the state line we had to re-join I-40, but took another break to visit the impressive Petrified Forest and Painted Desert National Park.  There we met Jenny and Bill, drivers of a ’67 MGB whom we’d passed a few miles back and who pulled off to say hello – on their way to California. 

After another satisfying meal in family-run Tom & Suzie’s Diner in Holbrook, we carried on all the way to Flagstaff, Arizona in hopes of having time to visit the Grand Canyon tomorrow.  This last leg of the journey meant we got to watch a desert sunset over mountains, as well as the full yellow moon rising in the rear view mirror – what a view!

The car has been very cooperative today, despite the beating meted out by the old Route 66 – some atrocious road surfaces!  It (the car – we must name her – any suggestions??) has run well all day.  We’ve now covered over 1900 miles from home.  The only hiccup today was on the interstate at speed.  Stella had just passed a U-Haul truck and trailer when the ignition switched itself off.  I bet the driver had a name for our car by the time we got out of his way!  It turned out to be the ignition switch itself, which makes contact before it clicks fully into place.  We were quickly on the way again, but the incident was a little hard on the driver’s nerves!  Not harder than finding a hotel on Memorial Day weekend…but thankfully we’re now settled and ready for a good night’s rest!


  1. wow the ignition switching off sounds hairy Stella, well done for keeping your cool! How about Ruby as a name for the car? Glad you're having a great trip, Helen xxx

  2. Haha, thanks! There wasn't really much time to lose my cool, to be honest :) Ruby is a good suggestion too... xx


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