Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Great Darby Road Trip - Day 24

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.

We focussed on covering ground today:  510 miles from Clayton, NM to Greenville, TX.  We made few stops except to change drivers, eat, and refuel.  At one of them, the guy across the gas pump cracked us up – watching Mike squeeze into the passenger’s seat with the top up, he said, “Dang!  I think that’s the first car I seen where you hafta lay down an’ roll over to get in it!”  We laughed and said he ought to see us try to get out!  Moments later, the starter motor gave up the ghost; we took advantage of the slight hill behind us for a reverse bump-start.  Later in the day Stella jumped out to push for another at a red light.  It wasn’t the first push of the day – earlier we’d mysteriously lost power in traffic and took refuge in a nearby parking lot.  Mike investigated but couldn’t deduce the cause; he had no problem restarting.  We’re hoping the problem isn’t with the generator / charging system.  As we get closer to home we’re slightly more inclined to cross our fingers and just hope Madge makes it! 
Our last excitement came just 30 miles short of our stopping point for the night.  Hoping to arrive before dark, we came upon a stationary convoy of tractor-trailers with oversized loads – entirely blocking both eastbound lanes of the highway.  Flummoxed, several of us took to the centre turn-lane to pass the blockage.  But, thwarted by the median and surprised by an angry truck driver standing in the road waving his arms, most turned round.  I ended up driving down the (thankfully quiet) wrong side of the road for 20 yards or so to a turn-off.  From there we watched the cock-up across the road as a flag man at the head of the convoy waved frantically and a driver sprinted up and down, until all six concrete bridge-spans had finally turned off.  The time we stopped allowed Mike to rig up a jump-wire to give us functioning tail-lights – eliminating our cause for concern about arriving after dark. 
Checking into Super 8, Dad was asked where we’d driven from today, but he couldn’t remember right off.  I think that says it all: we’re tired!  A very long push tomorrow would take us home.  All being well, we’d love to be there by evening.
But we’ll just have to see…

1 comment:

  1. Mike & Stella -

    Take it easy and good luck on the final leg. Google map shows about 600 miles from Greenville Texas to Fairhope. That would be at least a 2 day trip for me.

    Les Farmer


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