“It was an Elan. A delightful little thing famously made of Kleenex and unicorn farts.” ~ Sam Smith
DAY FOURTEEN – What a wonderful day!
As you might imagine I started out a bit tentative with all the new replacement parts as I followed Ray and a bundled up Linda in his Elan. It was cold enough to be brisk so of course Ray set a “brisk” pace and I figured that with two in his car I should be able to go as well as he could so I did! The car was a revelation. More settled and yet compliant than before I gained confidence fast. It was a good thing too because Ray took me up an old Hillclimb route that used to be called Springtown and it is now called Drifting Drive, where Roger Penske set fast time of day back in 1959 or so in a Porsche RSK. Ray had competed there too. Now, I was driving fast but Ray was truly “Smokin’!” It was a hoot. When we came back down, Ray and Linda turned right and I turned left to follow the Delaware River on highway 611 through the Delaware Water Gap, where 40 miles of the Delaware River run briskly between high bluffs and forested shores. It was simply lovely.
I stayed on the west side of the Delaware so long that I never even went into New Jersey but went straight into New York at Port Jervis. From there I took US 209 on a nice traverse across rural New York to a crossing of the Hudson just north of Kingston to a town called Red Hook, NY. There I met up with Chris Perkins, a writer for Road& Track. He interviewed me over lunch at a cool little diner in the middle of Red Hook and after we ate we were joined by Dave Burnett the photographer who drew the short straw. Chris and Dave had a spot in mind next to the Hudson River as a location for photos and I followed on some interestingly twisty roads while Chris drove and Dave hung out the right window to capture the Elan in motion, I hope the shots turn out and I hope Chris can turn my babble into something worth reading. Stay tuned to see what happens.
After the editorial interlude, I had some ground to make up but as I drove north into Massachusetts and Vermont it became harder and harder to keep up a pace. The speed limits were lower (35-50 range rather than the 55-60 I had been used to) and driving much faster was quite a challenge even in my enhanced Elan due to traffic that was going even slower than the limit and mile after mile of double yellow line prohibiting passing anywhere. The net result is that for the first time in 14 days I did not make my target stopping point of Concord, NH but rather had to settle for Keene, NH about 50 mile short. That means a longer day tomorrow but I think it will be possible with the more level terrain in Maine. You see, with apologies to Lerner and Lowe, the terrain in Maine, is mainly made of plain.
Impressions from the fourteenth day:
• This seeming catastrophe may have been a blessing in disguise…the Elan feels better than it ever has and inspires confidence in any situation or corner. So this is how it is when it’s right!
• There are wonderful roads, beautiful scenery and interesting things around RD headquarters, and if I didn’t love Colorado so much, it would be a quite nice place to be I am sure. Nice place you’ve got there Ray!
• The temperatures today were just delightful so this was the first pleasant full day after the cold snap of the last few days. It definitely cooled off in Vermont as I went up in elevation to over 2,500 feet. There were some very steep grades reminiscent of Colorado as well.
• Somehow, through Instagram connections and my son Josh, the Cross Country Elan had enough going for it that it caught the eye of Chris Perkins at R&T who thought it story worthy. Now the whole automotive world will know about this boondoggle. My condolences Chris and Dave.
Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!
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