At the beginning of May, I took a Road Trip. It is capitalized because I drove over 2,000 miles. The impetus for this Magnificent Journey was a car.

Not just any car but the one I'd been searching for a long time. I ran a wild-card, shotgun blast search on Google and the 2002 Sterling Gray, 3.0i, manual transmission, Z3 popped up in Pennsylvania. I live in Houston. After a month of numerous phone calls with the owner, who I was surprised believed that I was a serious prospect since I'd answered a free ad on Craigslist, we made a deal and I bought an airplane ticket.

Friday I flew to Philadelphia, PA to look at the car and have it checked by a mechanic (Fat lot of good it did me in the end. Two weeks after my return, I had to have a new clutch). I was looking forward to my train trip to Harrisburg, through the Mennonite country, BUT

I have a touch of neuropathy in my feet, am OUT OF SHAPE and avoid stairs at all costs. Guess what? Going to the train that took me from the airport to Amtrak, I had to haul my bags down a flight of steep stairs. At the Amtrak station, ditto. Needless to say, I made it, fearing that I'd crash and burn on the descent.

For weeks, I had talked with Dan more than I'd talked with my family. In the train station, I heard, "Linda," and turned around. Dan looked nothing like I'd imagined. He was in a word handsome—and it turned out very witty. I mention that here only for texture for my tale as this is a romance blog. He was also married to a very nice woman with three lovely children.

At gone five, we completed our transaction. I'd forgotten my thyroid meds, phoned my doctor and had another few minutes to wait. By six, I decided to leave Harrisburg and drive as far as I could, though I was exhausted. My son, every mindful of my welfare, had dropped me at the airport at 6 AM for an 8:30 flight.

My destination, at all times, was Deals Gap, North Carolina, Highway 129, 11 miles with 318 hairpin curves that attracts motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts alike. I was bound and determined to get a sticker for my new car after I'd mastered the Tail of the Dragon (web site advert: Ride me if you dare.) http://www.tailofthedragon.com/

First night, I only made it 50 miles before I crashed at a Hampton Inn. Next morning, I popped out of bed, gobbled a free continental breakfast (you know how good they are) and grabbed Z for the next leg of our journey. Since I was flying solo, anthropomorphism rapidly occurred, and the car became Z3PO. I'd been told that when they first hit the market they were called "land shark" because of the long, sloping nose.

On my trip through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, I'd intended to see our PFS Beth, but I'd left her telephone number at home. I did a short side trip to Staunton, took a top back drive to the scene of one of my great adventures—an English Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Worcester where my stallion Alegre and I joined the King's Calvary. Another story, another road trip.

Sundown Saturday, we made beautiful downtown Fancy Gap, Virginia—a dot on the map, but I was too tired to drive farther in the dark, in the mountains. My accommodation was one of those one-story L-shaped motels that you once saw so much in the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains. Z3PO was incensed at the potholed parking lot. But the motel had a restaurant attached, or the other way around, not quite sure. I had a REAL hamburger, genuine beef, lettuce and a tomato with flavor. Two guys from Canada were unpacking next door to my very sparse (not even a phone) room and we started talking. They were antique enthusiasts returning from a show in New Orleans. They offered me a rum and coke and I accepted. We sat in plastic chairs, sipping our drinks, from very different climes geographically and personally. I have a folder of memories. This one was filed under how nice people can be.
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW.

3 comments

  1. Mary Ricksen // July 24, 2008 at 3:52 PM  

    It's too bad your son couldn't have taken the trip with you. Now that would have made it fun. Sounds like you made some friends, and saw some beautiful views in my favorite place the Smoky Mountains.
    The clutch, we'll Murphy's Law you know. At least it wasn't the motor.

  2. Mary Marvella // July 24, 2008 at 8:49 PM  

    Sounds like one of our road trips, but without me to talk you to death!

    I think I've been on that hairpin-make-you-throw-up road in a '66 Mustang. My Ex had a floor shift and made me ill and wore his clutch foot out!

  3. Nightingale // July 24, 2008 at 9:01 PM  

    It was a lot of fun and I have pictures to prove it but I couldn't find the disk. I'm so organized.