The trip to pick up the “Burgundy Beast”
Over a few Brutal
Bitter beers, Chris had informed me that he had found a project car.
The car was a 1987 S4 5-speed, mechanically sound but in New Bern NC.
As I had once lived in NC I volunteered to fly back to NC and drive the
car back, if it worked out with my overseas contract work.
There were several
fits and starts in getting the deal together, bank issues, bad brain (in the
car), and higher plane fares. I
figured that Chris would end up having the car shipped back to Spokane.
However, one day he called and had found a cheap fare from Seattle, (a
red-eye of course); leaving Seattle at 1 AM Monday the19th, arriving in Raleigh
NC at 10:30 AM the same day.
Good connections, and
Mike agreed to drive the car from New Bern to Raleigh to meet me.
So, the flight from Spokane was late but I managed to catch the Northwest
flight out of Seattle. First stop Minneapolis---mechanical problems with the landing
gear sensor. One hour later we were
off and heading to Raleigh. But……almost
an hour into the flight the captain informs us that we are heading back to
Minneapolis because the sensor still doesn’t work! We land amongst a complete assortment of emergency vehicles
on a very clear field. Could this
have anything to do with the threatened Northwest mechanics strike?
Of course, the flight
is then cancelled and I end up going to LaGuardia to catch a later flight to
Raleigh that will arrive at 4:10 PM. By
this time Mike is back in New Bern, and I catch a little puddle jumper to New
Bern. Pick up the car that I
christen the “Burgundy Beast”, get a motel room and head out the next day.
runs great, fairly loud exhaust tones, but oh well.
Drive to Walnut Cove, a small town North of Winston Salem, first day only
300 miles. Have dinner and wine
with a couple of old friends. Almost
too much wine, as I wake up with a slight hangover the next day, but still get
on the road at 7:30 AM. Start
following the MapQuest instructions North.
Lots of heavy rain
all through West Virginia and Ohio, on through Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
Getting pretty familiar with the Beast.
Find that the heater is always on, so open the sunroof to get
ventilation. About this time I
start seriously smelling a “fresh” oil smell that becomes a little
irritating; but with the sun roof open, not a problem.
Rain mostly stays out. Hold
the speed at a little less than 80 mph, no problems.
Call another friend
from Indianapolis and end up at their place in Valparaiso Indiana about 50 miles
south of Chicago. Twelve hour drive
this second day, around 750 miles traveled.
Getting into the CD collection now as there is only cowboy music on the
The next morning I
discuss the day’s travel with my friend.
It is around 7:00 AM and he says the traffic into and around Chicago will
be very bad, best to wait until after 8:00.
So, head out around 8:15 to get around the metropolis of Chicago.
Seemingly innumerable tollbooth, still lots of traffic and slow downs,
but at least it is moving. Why are the tolls 40 cents?
And why do I never have the proper change? About Madison, Wisconsin the traffic thins somewhat and I get
out of the toll region. Road also
improves drastically, making one wonder what they do with all of those tolls?
Car still running
like a champ, increase velocity to 80 plus mph, find and keep with a fast pack.
Head for Fargo, North Dakota. Not
the end of the world, but you can see it from there.
Very little traffic after Minneapolis, and never see a policeman, but
still keep the speed reasonable. End
up in Fargo, another 12 hour day, around 800 miles traveled.
Splurge on a good
motel room with high speed internet access, breakfast et al. Next morning it is 14 degrees in Fargo. Car starts fine. Dirty
windshield so I try the washer and
nothing happens. Think that maybe
Mike in tropical NC has used just plain water in the washer, and it is now one
big ice cube.
Look on the map,
still a long way from Spokane but the time zones are with me. Less and less traffic through Montana, with the most
courteous drivers to date. Speed
limit is 75, so I stay about 90 mph. Not
familiar with the car officer, just got away from me………..but not stopped
and making great time. Then it is
Billings, Butte, and into Missoula. With
the two hour time difference it is only 6:00 PM and I am 165 miles from home.
What the heck, keep on going. Get
home in Coeur d’Alene around 8:30 PM, 1150 miles, about 15 and one half hours.
Call Chris that
evening. He is a little surprised
that I am home already, but ready to pick the car up the next morning.
We find that the oil smell is from a leaking rear cam seal dripping on
the Catalytic converter. Water on the driveway also indicates that Mike did not have
antifreeze washing fluid in the wash bottle.
seems pretty pleased with his new project.
There are quite a few “little” things to keep him busy over the next
year or so.
Find the fast pack and
stick with them. Car I find myself
most often pacing? Pontiac Grand
Prix and Grand Am??!! Except in
Montana when I have a great time with a Mercedes 500 and a BMW 750i.
Most US drivers need serious training in high speed driving. Keep in the right lane, and use the left to pass. Not a hard concept, but beyond the logic stream of 80% of Americans.
Average Mileage 21.7MPG.
spotted in almost 3000 miles:
An older 944