Well, I'm back.
For those following the adventures of our hero, you will recall that when we
left him he was pondering a clutch problem in preparation for a 800 mile
round trip from Detroit to Madison Wisconsin.
The trip started around 7:00A.M. last Tuesday. The first couple of hours
found me battling gridlock as I maneuvered my way through the traffic cone
forest that is metro-Detroit area traffic. Finally, I spot my salvation,
the exit onto US-12 east of Saline, MI. This road is well suited for the B,
as it winds it way over and through the Irish Hills. The road is dotted
along the way with the type of little burgs which extend their welcome on
the Jaycee's sign at the edge of town. Two lanes, mostly decent pavement,
and lots of beautiful scenery.
As I continue west, the road flattens out a bit, and the mornings mist still
lays low over the abundant corn fields. The pungent aroma of manure hangs
in the air. The pace remains brisk, but I am in no hurry.
As Indiana approaches, I stop for lunch. I get some funny looks from the
locals, but they are pleasant nonetheless. The cool morning has given way
to a hot sun and a sky so blue that it almost hurts to look at. I break out
some sunscreen, but fear that it's already too late. US-12 through Indiana
proves to be less endearing than the map would have you believe.
Unfortunately the highway is a bit too far inland to have any view of Lake
Michigan. The road remains a superior alternative to the Interstate, but
the countryside is spotted with steel mills and the like - not exactly
picturesque. I am struck by the depressing site of Gary, Indiana. The
boarded and burnt buildings lining the road. It is here that I enter the
Interstate to get me through the Chicago sprawl.
The B doesn't much like the trip though Chicago, and I echo it's mood, but
we both soldier on. When it seems that it will never end, the end is in
sight, as the exit for US-12 appears near Arlington Heights IL. Feeling
overheated (me - not the car), and dry, I stopped in a road house for a
beer. I picked this one due to the red T-type parked out front. Turns out
to be a replica, but the place was friendly, and cool inside. A couple of
refreshing beverages, and some lively banter with some people who I'll
probably never see again, and I'm off again. The suburbs of Chicago retreat
in my rearview mirror, as the road once again opens up to welcome us. A
short two hours later, we arrive in our destination.
The return trip home followed a similar route, except with a bit longer
mind-numbing drone on the Interstate, when it became important to make time.
All said though, it was a great time. Total miles traveled were 978, about
880 miles getting there and back. The car ran flawlessly. Fuel economy
average was a whisker less than 31 MPG. 1/2 quart of oil. And top down for
the entire time!