“You have reached your destination…”

Jul 30th 2010: Travel

Famous last words anyone with a Tomtom GPS is familiar with. After spending several days with a friend in DC I am on my way to Boston, my last stop before going for the final destination, New York. As I am driving, with a quick stop in Philadelphia, with the windows wide open because of the broken A/C and with the radio loud because of the open windows, I first start to notice some vibrations. Initially I blame it on the poor roads on the East Coast. They don’t build them like California does. But then, some time later, some odd sounds are becoming more and more prominent every 50 miles or so. Closing my window and turning off the radio, I discover to my horror that the car is now making the nastiest crunching noises. And it continues to rapidly getting worse.

I weigh my options: either continue to Boston, show the engine who is boss, and run the risk of dying at 70mph (and it showing me who is really boss) or call it a trip and head to New York, which, conveniently, is just 15 minutes away as I am confronted with this executive decision. I opt for the latter. I think it is my car’s way of saying “I’ve had it. Thanks for that last opportunity to see this country, but I’m done with my bucket list now and am going to die.” After serving me with one problem after another, it has reached its final resting place. Anyone looking for a … erm … well used Subaru with … erm … character? It’ll be cheap!

And so, just like that, the long adventure that seemed to go on for ever and ever, suddenly ended. Over. That’s it. No more driving. No more living out of my car.  No more figuring out where to spend the night. No more. Weird. And surreal. I think it’ll take me a few days to get over and adjust. But with additional time in New York I really look forward to relaxing a little. It might sound odd, but a long trip like that, when you are the only one who gets to do all the driving, is somewhat exhausting. And during week seven I really hit a wall when I stopped caring about how pretty this and that place is. And so it’s good that it ended now. It opens the possibility for another mini-road trip through the North East, visiting all those places I missed, like Pittsburgh, Montreal, Quebec, Maine, Boston, and New Haven, with fresh eyes again.

Having come to the end, it is now it is time to quantify this trip. Was it worth it? Let’s do the numbers:

0 accidents (yay)
1 annual alien parade
1 car break down
1 car break in
1 freaking big country
2 speeding tickets
3 parking tickets
3 fantastic CS hosts (thank you!)
6 ways to eat bison
7 friends who shared the trip at least in parts with me
7 on-the-road blog articles
8 full weeks on the road
11 US national parks (+5 in Canada)
15 gallons of coolant to keep the engine from blowing to smithereens
20 miles of back-country backpacking in the smoky mountains – my only real exercise on this trip
24 US states visited
33 degrees Fahrenheit: lowest temperature of trip (Yellowstone)
75 rolls of film shot
110 degrees Fahrenheit: highest temperature of trip (Louisiana, Virginia)
188 Asphalt Days mini-blog posts
600 miles – most miles driven in a single day
3,626 digital photos taken
10,557 miles driven total

One overwhelming experience: priceless. I think I need a vacation…

PS: In case you haven’t seen it, the map of my trip progress is here.

Posted in Travel by Ernst Bruening on July 30th, 2010 at 7:18 pm.

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