Because a couple of my nephews are in the USAF, and one has managed to get himself stationed in England flying KC-135's older than me, and the other is now moving cross country from New Jersey to Seattle (to still fly C-17's. Go figure), I have come into possession of a car. It's a 1986 BMW 325e.
It was bought by England Nephew to use during his training stateside. Since he dabbled in Land Rovers, the BMW was an economical way to get back and forth at a time when gas prices were $4/gallon (remember those days? They're approaching again). When he left for the old country, his brother took it over and it has spent the last couple of years in occasional use in Phiily/Trenton. Now that he's getting moved to Seattle, the car isn't going with him, so, enter me. I'll soon have a second licensed teen driver, so, this will give us the extra car we may need for a while to tide the two over.
In this scenario, there's only one slight problem. The car is in Trenton, we're in Atlanta. As luck would have it, one of my sisters lives minutes from my nephew, and so, they have agreed to be caretakers for a couple of weeks, get the car in smooth order (as much as a 200k miles, 25 year old car can be) and hold on to it for me.
Thus, the concept of a Road Trip is born.
Since I had enough vacation left to take two weeks this Christmas, I thought this might be the ideal time to get the car. If I pick it up the week after Christmas, it gives me 2 or 3 days to get it back South, and with family along the way conveniently located, free sleepovers, if needed.
A couple of weeks ago, after finalizing this deal, I started looking for flights to get to Philadelphia, and this week is an excellent time for low fares. So low, in fact, that my youngest, 15 y.o. daughter decided she'd like to come along for the trip. In her mind, I must confess, she loves to fly, so she was lured by the prospect of 2 hours in an airplane, and perhaps by the TSA spectacle. I dunno on that one. In fact, she likes air travel so much that she isn't fazed by the prospect of 850 miles with Dad in a suspect car, in cold weather. I should remind my dear readers that in May 2009, the two of us road tripped to Cedar Point on Lake Erie in Ohio to go to an amusement park, so we've spent 10 pleasant hours in a car together. So, it's not as unbelievable as you may think.
Anyway, the trip is scheduled to start tomorrow. Given the blizzard that just hit Philly and points north, I'd say our timing was incredibly lucky. Air travel should be busy, but at full speed tomorrow (in fact, we're already checked-in) and the roads should be cleared by Weds all the way south for us, when we plan to begin our journey. So far, all our luck has been good, which seems ominous. The car has needed little work to make it roadworthy, the most major repair that it requires (a timing belt replacement) was done not too many miles ago, and the weather seems to be opening up for us. Honestly, it almost seems too good, so please pray and keep your fingers crossed. Of course, in this day and age of cell phones and credit cards, you're never too far from a qualified mechanic, should you need one.
Our trip will take us from Yardley, PA, to Gettysburg, PA. Being within a couple hours of Gettysburg, I want her to see one of the most important sites in American history. As a Southerner, I hope it'll hold special significance for her, as it does for me, where so many gallant and brave men on both sides fought and died, and where our Union was saved. From there, we are going to turn south head for I-81, and take off for the longest segment of our trip, to my parents' home in Greensboro, where we hope to arrive Wednesday evening. Just in time for a heaping plate of North Carolina barbecue. If you're reading, Mom & Dad - have it ready.
After that, it's the relatively simple 300 mile trip home to Atlanta down I-85. I plan to do some documenting on twitter along the way. You can follow me, or, if you're familiar with Twitter, look for the hashtag, #bmwtrip.
See you along the way