the immense desert, empty and inspired with spiritual promises
Like many Englishmen, from that green and pleasant land, I have a strong personal affinity for the desert. I like the high plains and the heat of Red Rock Country in the late summer. There is a simplicity about the desert, you are either right or you’re in deep trouble, and there’s little ground in-between.
And now, when England cowers cold beneath our autumn mists and morning frost, I yearn to be back in the blazing sunshine and heat of California, New Mexico, Arizona, or Nevada. Preferably on a long spontaneous road trip, driving a Mustang convertible with a cool lady riding shotgun.
Sweetheart, yes it’s true, I’m so happy to be stuck with you
deep in red rock country
in that desert we pray to God
but we trust in ourselves as men
in Arizona they salt margaritas, not sidewalks and roads
in Arizona, nothing but a Mustang convertible will do.
In August I will be taking a long vacation in the USA to witness the forthcoming total eclipse of the sun, which happens on August 21st.
For various reasons I will be flying out to John Wayne Airport, in Orange County, California ~ and then taking a long, long road trip from Orange County to Jackson Wyoming. It’s about 1,000 miles through California, Nevada, and Utah to get to Jackson Wyoming. I’ll be driving a Mustang convertible.
Ergo, I’ve just bought myself a Sat-Nav, or Satellite Navigation device, or GPS ~ depending on which version of English you use. And you know what? I swore I would never use an in-car sat-nav / GPS.
But, America is a big place and I have no desire to get lost in the wilds of Utah.
So there you go, amazingly you can buy a USA maps sat-nav / GPS from Amazon in the UK for less than $100.
Just to be safe, I’ll also be buying a paper map ~ and a new camera.
click the link
There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still a fire inside.
As we grow older, we are justified in taking far more risks, embarking on far more adventures, pursuing far more dangerous dreams, than is someone in their more youthful years.
It’s not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams. ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I read an article in my news feed about a 101 years old great-grandfather who has just taken up skydiving. You may think that sounds crazy, but what has Verdun Hayes got to lose? The veteran of D Day has already lived a long life, and if he kills himself doing something dangerous, by how may days, months, or years has he cut his life short? Not that many I’d bet.
Contrast this with a man in his twenties, who has just started a family ~ just the kind of man we would expect to go skydiving. If he kills himself, not only has he cut his life short by maybe 50 years, he’s also orphaned his children and widowed his wife. Maybe that young father should be careful, risk averse, not very adventurous.
I would argue that as we grow older we have much less to lose than we had when we were young, so why not gamble more, take more risks, become more adventurous in our senior years?
A twenty-three years long study in Ohio determined that people who saw growing older as something positive lived a whopping seven and a half years longer than those who didn’t. ~ Victoria Moran
Later this year I’m flying out to California, picking up a Mustang convertible, meeting up with ‘the girl who rides shotgun’, then driving across California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming to witness a total eclipse of the sun on Monday August 21st. I think that’s a pretty crazy adventure, but what have I got to lose? Not a lot.
Taking risks with your wealth, health, and happiness, (not to mention taking risks with your life), is not really for the young. As we grow older we can afford to gamble more because we have much less to lose.
Don’t waste your life by working another 10 years slaving away in that 40 hours a week job. Have fun instead, add adventure to your senior years, you have nothing to lose except your unhappiness.
Some say a good road trip is a great way to spend your vacation, or a great way to spend any time you have with your girl, or any time you don’t have to do something else for that matter.
My very first long-distance road trip was from my place in the North of England to a little villa on a vineyard in Tuscany. At it’s very best that’s 24 solid hours driving, assuming no delays, and that you don’t go out of your way sightseeing and driving mountain roads just for the sake of it. All told it’s a drive of around 1,350 miles, each way. Perhaps I was being optimistic to think my Triumph TR6 would make it there and back without breaking down, at least once. (I was younger and better-looking then.)
In my opinion, there are seven essentials for a successful road trip:
- A cool car.
- Enough money.
- The right girl.
- A great driving road.
- Good weather.
- A relaxed attitude to deadlines and commitments.
- Time. Lots and lots of time.
Not necessarily in order of importance ~ however, if you don’t have all seven then your road trip adventure isn’t going to be all you hoped it would be.
If you are using your own car, then you also need to take along a decent tool kit, some spares, and the knowledge to use both.
It is vitally important that the girl riding shotgun is someone who you really like hanging out with, because you are going to be spending a lot of time cooped-up together. That has been my mistake on more than one occasion, because taking a long road trip with the wrong girl can give new meaning to the concept that there are sixty minutes in every hour, and twenty-four hours in every day.
(It helps if she knows how to take a great picture.)
There are three kinds of road trip;
- Where the destination is important. Usually the time is also important. You have to be in say; Tuscany by Tuesday…
- Where you have organised everything in advance, including booking your overnight accommodations.
- Where the destination is immaterial and time is of no pressing importance. Except perhaps, you have to go back to work in a couple of weeks or so.
Guess which type of road trip is the best? But then, you do what you want as long as you stay cool and relaxed.
As an example of organising everything in advance was a road trip I took down the Loire Valley. Because I wanted to stay in a different château each night, this all had to be booked and paid for before I set off. (If the girl riding shotgun is the least bit ‘precious’ don’t make her pack all her luggage in the back of a tiny 7 ~ or she will sulk.)
For my next road trip I want to follow as much as I can of the old Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, ending with dinner at The Lobster. Say 2,200 miles. For something shorter there’s the PCH which runs from Orange County in Southern California to Mendocino County in the North. About 600 miles. What the hell, I have the time and money to do both, preferably in a muscle car.
pictures by jack collier
and the girl riding shotgun
It’s not a sports car.
Real sports cars don’t have wooly power steering, air conditioning, four seats and a decent boot, (trunk). However, all 3 versions of the Mustang come with more than 300 bhp, and reasonable independent suspension. The downside is there almost two tonnes to lug around, (3705 lbs), most of which is sitting over the front wheels.
In comparison a Porsche 911 has around 400 bhp and weighs around 3,300 lbs, (still a porker, still with all of the weight behind the rear wheels).
The six speed auto-box is slick, but don’t bother with the ‘sport’ setting.
A Porsche will set one back around $84,000. You can buy a Mustang for $33,000. Men would buy a Mustang. Wankers buy a Porsche. Only real men would buy a 7.
esprit universel, amant, combattant, écrivian
Only bums walk. Drive a Mustang.
At least it looks good. Dynamically it’s a big fluffy dog.
The 2015 Ford Mustang is a good car on the freeway, outside bars, and for impressing women. On the other hand, don’t necessarily date a woman who is impressed by a Ford, unless it’s a Mustang.
Who would buy anything but the convertible? Steve McQueen you are not.