It's 4:30 on Wednesday and we are in Heath, OH, awaiting the Capri Club Swarm event. We are here a day early because we thought it best with the weather and all. This proved to be a good decision. It’s just now starting to rain.
Power Tour ended on Friday and we made our way to the night's lodging and collapsed. Saturday and Sunday were our regularly scheduled recovery days. Our lodging was the Huron Comfort Inn and our room was literally overlooking the Huron River flowing into Lake Erie. The lake itself is very blue however the river flowing by us was definitely brown. But with all the storm action, we’re probably lucky its not a mudflow. Lake Erie is higher than normal and, on the second night there, a small storm came up and waves were pushing driftwood and tree trunks were being washed up onto the landing under our window.
But, when the rain stopped (and the sun eventually came out), it was a really beautiful place to sightsee. We found a great restaurant and quaint, well-kept neighborhoods to walk through. We even made our way out to the lighthouse at the mouth of the river. (Well, most of the way. Marcia wouldn’t let us go the final 100 yards because she was afraid a wave would knock me in and I would drown. Right, a wave.)
This was enough that we chose to stay an extra 2 days, but we still drove down here today and arrived a day early (for Swarm). We tried to check into our room at 12:30 but, no, “Too early; not ready”. So we went out and washed CAT. She hadn’t been cleaned since the beginning of Power Tour and, with all the weather we drove through, she was a mess. Found a DIY car wash, got the mud and bugs off her and then had lunch. Once that was done, it was time for check-in and a bit of a rest.
It’s Monday evening and we are near Des Moines. It is also 2 days and 750 miles after we left Swarm, crisscrossing the countryside, visiting in-laws and drinking 5-hours Energy power shots. But it is done (the obligatory family visits) and we are on the “home highway”, I-80; the yellow brick road that will take us home. We have been on the road for a little over a month and are sooooo ready to be back in our own bed. But we still have a way to go.
And, there is a danger. We have a tendency to push a little harder the closer we get to home until we end up doing a red-eyed, bonsai run on the last stretch and then collapse, zombie-like, into the house; avoiding the sun for a day or two. In the past, each year we promise ourselves we are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past. And, each year, it still happens. Maybe this year will be different. (And maybe, this year, the sun will rise in the west...)
Remember what I said a couple days ago about the “tendency to push a little harder the closer we get to home”? Well, that snake bit us today and it was quite sneaky.
We have been operating in a “get up and go” mode for a little over a month now and we've gotten quite efficient at it. For example, this morning I woke up at 5:30 am and went into full-automatic mode without thinking about the repercussions. I get a shower, get dressed, wake up Marcia, go down get breakfast at 6 am. Marcia gets up, showers, dresses and packs the bags. I come back upstairs with a luggage cart. Marcia goes downstairs, gets breakfast and checks out. While that’s happening, I load the cart, do a final check of the room, go downstairs and load the car. By time that’s done, Marcia comes out, we jump in the car and we are gone. Wake up at 5:30. On the road at 7:30.
Efficient but totally wrong for our day. We had planned a low-stress, 4-hour drive to our next hotel but, even with a stop for gas, we arrived there waaaay early at 12:30; much too early to check-in (the rooms weren’t ready). No problem. We will just drive on to the next hotel. Unfortunately, on this this section of I-80, resources are really spaced out. Next lodging is 1 ½ hours away. Now the drive is 5 ½ hours. Except, we missed it because access to it was actually on a different freeway and we didn’t figure this out until we were 15 miles past it. And without thinking it completely through, I said, “Well, it’s silly to drive back. Why don’t we just continue on to our usual hotel. It should be just ahead…”
“…Just ahead…” proved to be another 1 ½ hours. Now we were tired, sweaty and a bit testy. CAT was running fine but her oil temperature was already higher than I expected and still climbing. Oh, did I mention we charging up the Continental Divide, 8500 ft, at 80 mph (the speed limit) and it was a little bit warm outside (90+ degrees)? We got to the usual hotel and they were full. Luckily, the new hotel across the street wasn’t. We got a room and collapsed.
I freely admit starting this ball rolling this morning by being a bit too “gun-ho” and not thinking things through. This can happen when you have been on the road for a long time and you really, really, REALLY want to be home. So tomorrow, we will not leave this hotel until 10 pm, we have a plan and we will stick to it. I hope…
Home at last! This saga has been the longest (and most diverse) road trip I have made to date. We arrived on Saturday afternoon and, after opening the house (and shop) and making it habitable again, we essentially collapsed. Didn’t even unpack CAT. (That didn’t happen until Sunday.) But we survived…
For those who like numbers, we were officially on the road for 32 days. We covered 7,100 miles, driven through 1/3 of the states and all the continental time zones except Hawaii and Alaska. (Sorry, guys. Maybe next time…)
We attended the Hot Rod Power Tour, the Capri Swarm and a couple of in-law family lunches. I’ve been introduced to my new favorite beer; Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. Still have no idea how to pronounce it. (But, really, is that important?) What IS important, I have no idea if I will even be able to find it on the West Coast. Paradise lost?
Met a crazy guy named Keith Lively. He heads up a crew which goes out and documents potential project cars in junkyards and posts them on the website JunkyardLife.com. As he sees it, good junkyards are disappearing and, with them, all the potential project cars. He wants people to see what out there before they’re gone.
BTY. Keith’s ride on Power Tour was a ’66 Chevy Impala. The entire floor was cut out and dropped onto a Denali AWD chassis. All the Denali stock mechanical and electrical systems were retained. He even tows a car carrier with it, no problem. Search for “Power Tour Plan: All the way in a 1966 AWD Impala” on YouTube.
At Swarm, I finally met Chris Reese, owner of Capri Parts USA. I had bought some interior fiberglass kick boards with integrated speaker mounts a couple years ago. Nice guys.
Finally, back home and CAT is going back into the shop and onto the lift for a checkup. We traveled some pretty rough roads on the trip with a couple particularly brutal potholes. CAT seem to handle them with no problems, but I am going to check just to be sure.
The interstate highways seemed to be in surprisingly good shape this year. There were construction sites, of course; replacing bridges and repaving roads. But the open roads appeared to be in far better shape than on previous trips. I guess the Stimulus Package of years past is starting to make some real headway.
Anyway, I can check off the Power Tour/Swarm trip for this year. We have a small road trip/car show in Klamath Falls, OR, planned for the Fall but that’s about it. We are now gearing up for volunteer work at the Hot August Nights car show event here in Reno. If you are in the area, look for it. It is spread across most of the city. Pretty nice.
It's been fun sharing this saga with you. Take a chance. Get out there and drive,,,
Summer Shandy by Linnies is only available in the spring through summer months. They make various beers but none of them the year round. It's brewed in WI. IF you can't get it locally perhaps we can arrange a shipment west. LOL!