I drove a car on a trip. Yes, really, I drove a car. First time this year that I’ve traveled by car. I’ve logged 23,000 miles on motorcycles in the last 12 months through Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, South Dakota, Minnesota and, of course, Nebraska. It’s easy to social distance when you’re the only one on the bike. The motels were nearly empty and I hit restaurants and bars during off times.
But, I digress. This trip would take me to St. Louis for Christmas. I had a sniffle at Thanksgiving, so it was me and the kittens at home for that holiday. Here you can see the St. Louis skyline, complete with the arch and the ferris wheel. The wheel changes colors and patterns in a non-stop light show.
My 450 mile trip starts out the week before, having the George Witt Service Team www.georgewitt.com give my car a complete inspection. It was a good thing, since one of the rear brakes was about to implode. Got that fixed, new wiper blades and an annual maintenance with good motor oil. They also found that my tires were too thin for the weather. So, I bought new tires that I knew would handle glare ice better than any other. Snow would be a piece of cake.
Two days before, I hand washed and detailed the car. She was ready for the car show. The next day, it snowed. So, I started my trip the following morning, on city streets covered with a light coating of Nebraska slush. I was only 5 miles out of the city when I ran out of slush and the roads were pretty dry, but my lovely car was covered with crud. From here, it was only an occasional segment of black ice. My winter driving experience taught me to disengage the cruise when on ice and to watch for it going under an overpass, on an intersection due to cross traffic or from the shade of trees close to the road. Any Mom can tell you that cross traffic puts down a mess on a clean road, just like foot traffic does to a clean kitchen floor.
After 50 miles, I turned off on Interstate 29 and that was the end of the ice. My little Acura TL is a great car. It’s small, has a very powerful V6 and takes tires rated to 160 mph. Set the cruise, put on my riding music and relax. That’s the first problem. Turn the steering wheel an inch and we’ve just changed lanes. This is a super handling sports sedan and is really fun to drive, but she’s like taking a Jack Russell terrier on a walk. She has to be all over the place all at once, all the time. I’m not used to this. My motorcycles run a nice straight line. Think of riding a bicycle. It just goes straight unless you have some input on the handlebars. So, I begin to get used to how this little race car handles.
I’m enjoying the super quiet ride. It’s the day before Christmas and I was on the road at 6:30 am. There’s hardly any truck traffic and I’m very happy to see that the truckers are able to take the time off. I hope most of them are home with their families. I’ve got a display that shows me how far I’ve traveled, how long I’ve been driving, my average speed and my miles per gallon. Press one more button and it tells me about how far I can go on the remaining gas I have in the tank. I will only need one fuel stop and I can do that any time on the route, as I’m only 50 miles short of making it on one tank.
Due to Covid and traveling on Christmas eve, I wanted to avoid a lunch stop at a crowded restaurant. I packed a package of cashews and some home made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. It was a nice change to be able to snack on nuts while driving, as this stuff tends to blow away in 70 mph winds on a bike. Once again, just like the terrier, my car didn’t like diverting my attention to tip back the nuts while driving. She keeps my attention on the road. For the record, I never text or talk while driving or riding. Never. I don’t even read incoming texts. The phone is for music. As I expected, my leg started to go to sleep and my bottom hurt eventually. My little Harley Soft tail Deluxe starts to cause discomfort almost right away, but I learn to overcome it. My Honda Goldwing is like riding on a Barca lounger in the back of a Cadillac. It is the most comfortable vehicle for me. So, suck it up, cupcake, it was 6 degrees F. when I left town and I had enough presents to fill the trunk. The bike is out of the question.
The music plays on as I roll along with light, courteous traffic. I have 500 songs in my biker play list. I run the gamut from Chuck Berry to Molly Hatchet to the classics of Mozart and Beethoven. I never know what will come up and life is good on the road. I arrive at my hotel. The parking lot is empty and I find there are only about 6 guests in the whole place.
I had a great time with family and leave the morning after Christmas. We didn’t go anywhere and it was a very small group. A heartwarming trip.
I am on the road at 5:30am and I still have the gas in my tank from the trip out. So, one gas stop is all I need. I am now accustomed to handling the terrier and we have bonded, except for my bottom. I set the cruise at the speed limit and make only one stop. Gas, bathroom, a bag of nuts and a bottle of water. Smoke the tires to get back on the road. I arrived home just a few minutes over 6 hours for a 450 mile trip. My car trip for the year.