Monday, June 17, 2013

The Great Darby Road Trip - Day 25 and Home Again

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. 


Apologies that we haven't written a proper post since our return on Saturday night.  It was a very long day, and we've spent the last couple resting and seeing family before Stella's flight back to the UK tomorrow.

We decided to make Saturday the final push; by then getting home was our top priority.  We didn't fancy another night in a hotel, and stopping anywhere east of Alexandria, Louisiana, seemed, we kept going!  Crossing parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, it was a record day for the number of states visited.  Our license plate was no longer the attention-attracting oddity it had been out West.  We were amused by sights along the road like the Y'all Come Back Cafe and the It'll Do Deli. 

By this point the starter motor was dead weight so our main criteria for choosing gas stations or eateries was, "Does the parking lot have a hill?"  We slinked off ever-so-quietly from each place we stopped...sometimes with one foot out the door to get some momentum.  The ongoing electrical fault with the tail-lights meant wiring up the brake lights to serve in their place as it grew dark in Slidell, Mississippi.  MG owners: Always travel with a jump wire. 

Otherwise Madge didn't miss a beat during 617 miles at near-constant high RPMs.  We were blessed with temperatures in the mere high 80s (although no longer what they call 'a dry heat'!), and some clouds.  We crossed the 20-some miles of the Atchafalaya swamplands.  Traffic for the most part was manageable, though some more challenging - including a near-incident between another car and a motorcyclist going so fast they appeared out of thin air. 

Nancy was surprised that we'd be back a day earlier than she expected.  When we arrived home just after 10pm, she'd made us a really tasty meal - just what we needed.  We all enjoyed it together with a well-deserved bottle of wine.  It was wonderful to be home to familiar surroundings - and beds!  It will probably take some time to get used to being stationary and to stretch out after 6,251 miles cramped in an MG.

Above all, looking back at where we've travelled, what we've done, and who we've seen and met, we feel incredibly lucky to have been able to make the journey.  Even without the MGA's great performance all the way there and back, it would have been the trip of a lifetime.  We've loved regaling family with stories and looking at photos since we got back. During the trip, it was no small comfort to think of friends following our progress here on the blog. 

Some scary, some mundane, some gross, some funny - we've made a wealth of special memories.  Thanks so much for keeping up with us and letting us share some of them!


  1. Katharine McDonnellJune 17, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    Happy Birthday Mike and Welcome Home!

  2. Stella - You know the childrens story, 'The Little Engine That Could'. Now it is time for you to write the story, 'The Little Red Car that Could'!!! Congrats!!! - Dennis

  3. Thanks! Sorry we haven't posted any photos yet - we got back on Saturday night but we've been resting up. More tomorrow :)

  4. Way to go Stella and Mike! It was great fun following your progress.
    – David @ Moss

  5. I am so glad you made it home safely. I have enjoyed following your adventures.

    Becky K - SABCC


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