The Professor and Texn nailed it but Dr Lemming and NZ Skyliner get points for accuracy while under the effect of psychotropic drugs.
Monday, December 17
It’s 1:30 am. I can’t fall asleep. I’m at a Brownsburg, Indiana Holiday Inn Express. I’ve just driven a bazillion miles from my sister’s home in Pennington, NJ through driving rainstorms to where my wife Suzy and I now are. I’m on what I call my Victory Tour. I’ve just finished a ten-year stint helping to build an APM (Automatic People Mover) system at Dulles International Airport (IAD), and I’m on my way back home to Salt Lake City, Utah.Suzy and I are doing the Tour in our 2012 Subaru Impreza 5-Door.
I’ve got the bitch (the car, not Suzy) packed to the gills with ten year’s worth of crap, and am concerned that a teeny 2.0 liter (litre for those of you in Canada, GB, Australia and NZ) will be able to handle the 84 mph (135 kph) speeds that we will be running west of the Missouri River, ie, Nebraska, Wyoming and Utah. Nebraska and Wyoming are distressingly wide so every mph you can squeak out without attracting the attention of the gendarmes means a shorter day.
We started from my sister’s house in Pennington, NJ Monday morning. We got a late start, about 9:30 am, so it was tough to rack up a lot of miles that day. By the time we got to Brownsburg (home of NASCAR’S Tony Stewart) we had racked up 684 mi (1100 km). We were beginning to hear that the weather was about to turn bad.
Tuesday, December 18
We take off from Brownsburg after having decided that we will not make a detour to Elburn, Illinois to check out the gravestone of my great-great-great-grandfather, Ebenezer Kendall, in the Blackberry Cemetery in that town. We have guests showing up at our home on Thursday so we have to make tracks.
I have driven I-80 through Iowa any number of times. Today was no great revelation, but there were more wind farms. As we were cruising along in Nebraska, Sue asked me what my favorite states were. I said that there were elements in each that I liked. She said that she was impressed with Iowa. Rolling hills, Grant Wood territory. Suzy is a painter (she graduated last week from the U of Utah with a BA in painting, her third degree). That evening we pushed through the rush hour in Omaha and on to Grand Isle, Nebraska. Watching the Weather Channel that night, we were told to expect the first major winter blizzard the next day at noon. And by the way, it’s really great to be able to sleep with a coed every night.
Wednesday, December 19
We arise at 5:30 am in Grand Isle so that we can get away early, maybe beat the coming storm. The weather is cold but clear. No snow. We hit the road. The two of us had decided to be extra conservative and gas up early during the day. The distances out west in the US aren’t to be trifled with, especially in Wyoming. Gas stops can be as much as 200 miles (322 km) apart. It can be lonely out there. We stopped for gas in Ogallala, NE after a couple of hours. Sue and I traded places and she became the driver. We continued on but by the time we arrived at Sidney, NE (home of Cabellas), things were looking decidedly snowy. And the wind was picking up.
From Sidney on past Pine Bluffs, Wyoming (WY), it was White Out City with strong crosswinds. The snow was dry so it was blowing across the road, but the wind gusts were upsetting our Subie. Suzy chose to follow semis since we could see their taillights. Otherwise, it was pretty scary out there.
By the time we reached Cheyenne, WY, the snow had stopped, but the roads were still icy and tricky.
Suzy drove on to Laramie where there was about six inches (152 mm) of fresh snow on the ground, but it was sunny and we gassed up. I took over the driving chores then, and with care, made it to our home in SLC by 5:45 pm after an 800-mile (1287 km) day. The bourbon tasted great!
The Impreza handled the snow and icy conditions with no sweat. The 84 mph cruising speeds were not a problem.
There was one glitch. Suzy had checked out Umberto Eco’s “Prague Cemetery” on CD from our local library. Let me tell you, even without the distraction of imminent snow, wind or death, “Prague Cemetery” is best listened to with a tab of LSD, and not in a car. Brain hurts.
The Impreza? One of the best cars I have ever driven.