“I hope that all of you continue to take both joy and solace in the simple act of driving. There is nothing quite like firing up your own car and traveling on your own terms. We will miss it when it is gone. Let’s hope that day never comes.” ~ Jack Baruth – Avoidable Contact
This is a compilation of comments I have made in the thirty eight Blog Posts during and after the trip. The number in word form that begins each comment is the post from which it was taken if you wish to get context for the comment. My hope is that the comments taken together here will form a picture of the impressions I had from the Places, Roads, Weather, People and the Elan itself on this once in a lifetime trip. Enjoy.
One. [In eastern Colorado and Kansas] the wind is relentless. While the day was very nice, and warmed as I went down in altitude, the wind nearly ruined the day.
Five. I must be just ahead of whatever weather front is forecast each day because it has been very windy for three out of the five days I have been on the road. The good news is that I have avoided any real rain. Yea!!
Seven. I avoided any real rain yet again today. That is until the evening when it really rained and kept up through the night and until midafternoon Sunday.
Fifteen. I left the top up as it was cold and, when there is not a lot of variety of scenery as today, that is a more pleasant, and warmer, way to roll.
Sixteen. I felt cold. When I left it was 36 degrees and there was snow beside the road. Last week they had a foot of snow so it is a good thing I didn’t head there first! But the cold wasn’t the real problem; the wind was. First, the rain turned to snow, the temperature dropped and I even put on a knit hat in addition to my warm jacket and gloves. Today I finally got the moisture I have been avoiding. And I got it all, rain, sleet, snow and wind. I guess I need to revise what I said yesterday…The rain, it’s plain, stays mainly here in Maine.
Nineteen. Well it all caught up with me today…the weather that is. I woke to a steady soaking rain and a soaked car. There was water in the footwells before I even got in the car! The rain got heavier as I went south on Rt 44 and on the aptly named Diagonal Road heading due southwest. I stayed dry from the waist up, except for my left shoulder, but my left leg was soaked from the knee down (including my shoe) within 15 minutes.
Halftime. [The] forecast turned out to be pretty close to what I actually encountered. It was a bit warmer in Florida than I had expected so early in the spring and a lot cooler in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont than I thought it would be, but on the whole it was very pleasant and mostly dry. These are the best conditions for my little car and I was pretty lucky.
West Three. And another surprise was how cool it was. Again I had anticipated hot temps but the weather was cool and the wind minimal until late morning when it really began to blow.
West Five. The day dawned, it was raining lightly, the sky was completely overcast and so was my mood. I was stuck with a clutchless car and a rainy day for what I had planned would be a special day on the Pacific Coast Highway.
West Eight. Today was a gloomy cold day with fog almost all the way up the coast. That was a great disappointment because I have driven the Oregon coast before and it is really beautiful so I missed out on seeing the scenery hidden behind the fog. Despite the weather, I was pretty comfortable as long as I was in the trees. Once out of them, the wind driven fog right off the sea was mighty cold. And on Cape Perpetua on an exposed ridge the wind was particularly violent and raw.
West Nine. Upon reaching the other side of the river, the fog closed in and there were no services for over 50 miles. It was gloomy and I was alone on the road. It looked way too much like a Wes Craven movie. I was using the wipers about five seconds out of 30 as it was just enough moisture to dim my view of the road.
West Twelve. The last several days have started out cool, almost cold, but by the mid- afternoon it is genuinely hot. It is 84 degrees here in Hardin. MT now and the A/C in the motel room is very welcome.
West Fourteen. Highway 230 southwest out of Wyoming and into Colorado was delightful, but the weather looked foreboding. A huge storm cloud was just east of me and I could see rain falling from it. The wind picked up and the temperature dropped so I was relieved when I turned south onto CO 125 and the sun reappeared. [The] weather was looking worse due south and I thought I might skirt it by going slightly west to Kremmling rather than through Granby. I was right all the way to the junction of CO 134 with US 40 only six miles west of Kremmling. Several big fat drops hit the windshield so I immediately stopped and began the top erecting process. The rain splattered a few drops but held off until I got to the motel in Kremmling and parked under the portico. Then it came down!
A general comment about wind and weather and why I included it among the Observation topics:
In a modern car, by which I mean anything built in the last 30 years, the manufacturers have done an excellent job of isolating us from the goings on outside the car. We have complete climate control which will keep us comfortable regardless of the conditions outside whether too cold, hot, wet or windy. We also have very effective defrosters and wipers to keep the windshield clear.
None of this is true in the Elan or most other cars from the 1960’s for that matter, The heater in that era was still an option on some cars and not particularly effective in many. Defrosting was hit or miss, mostly miss, and wipers were still vacuum operated in many cars meaning that when one went up a long hill and there was little vacuum the wipers would slow or even stop. And as for Air Conditioning, it was available in some luxury cars but not in any small cars or sports cars as the systems were so heavy and bulky.
The net result is that in the Elan I felt every change in temperature, noticed every smell, watched every drop of rain move across the car and come inside, and wiped the inside of the windshield when it fogged first thing in the humid morning. Weather was a real, living thing to me, not just something outside I might notice in passing.
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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