trip: NC - Tupelo, MS
Actual trip: : Burlington - Lexington, NC - Burlington (130
Crash and burn!
May 15 had finally arrived. This was the first day of our
continent-crisscrossing trip, which marked the end of the
exchange experience. Barbara D'Anna, our exchange coordinator
and chaperone, had received a rough itinerary so she had
an idea where to find us.
That morning we met at Dave's house and loaded the remaining
luggage. The CB-radios were checked, and the police detector
was installed. Everything was set. We were ready to go.
After a rainy start to the day, the sun appeared once in
a while as we moved westwards. The CBs were used extensively.
Chitchat and nonsense filled the airwaves. Every time a
car overtook the other, four fingers were displayed forming
a 'W', Wezz Coazz't, or even a middle finger in a friendly
salute. The spirit was high - even downright ecstatic. Nothing
but open road stood between the Pacific and us.
The traffic on I-40 was moderate and soon Greensboro popped
up in the horizon. We drove onto I-85 and continued towards
Charlotte. The initial radio frenzy had died down a little;
the novelty of the CBs was replaced by normal conversation
in the two cars. Marco and Manuel in the Mustang were taking
the lead when suddenly a strange oily smell appeared in
the trailing Camaro. Dave and Niels looked at each other
hoping the smell didn't emanate from their car. It wasn't.
Ahead of them the Mustang seemed to lose momentum and Manuel
appeared on the CB. Trouble! The leading car drove onto
the shoulder of the road and the Camaro followed suit. Marco
soon declared that he had lost the gears. The gearbox was
one big mess. In an act of frustration the hood was popped,
naturally, to no avail. This was a mild setback to say the
least. Less than 60 miles had been traveled. The entire
trip now seemed to be over before it even began.
Dave and Niels drove off the Interstate at the nearest exit
and found a gas station where Dave managed to organize a
tow truck. Meanwhile, back at the Mustang a state trooper
had pulled up to see what was going down.
Some time passed before the tow truck arrived. In a matter
of minutes the Mustang was loaded onto the bed of the truck
and we all drove to a Chevron station outside Lexington.
Two friendly mechanics had a quick look at the damage. The
diagnosis was disappointing. Marco phoned his host family
who promised to come and pick him up. The wait was spent
in quiet contemplation. Dave McCusker arrived in his Ford
LTD and had a brief conversation with the mechanics. It
would be at least 24 hours before the Mustang could be driven
again so we headed back to Burlington. Needless to say our
host families were quite surprised to see us return so soon.
Day 01: Leaving NC
Day 02: Tupelo, MS
Day 03: Henryetta, OH
Day 04: Roswell, NM
Day 05: Flagstaff, AZ
Day 06: Las Vegas, NV
Day 07: Victorville, CA
Day 08: Long Beach, CA
Day 09: Los Angeles, CA
Day 10: Thousand Oakes, CA
Day 11: Malibu, CA
Day 12: Lompoc, CA
Day 13: Lompoc, CA
Day 14: Palo Alto, CA
Day 15: Palo Alto, CA
Day 16: Fallon, NV
Day 17: Escalante, UT
Day 18: Grand Junction, CO
Day 19: Lafayette, CO
Day 20: Colby, KS
Day 21: St. Louis, MO
Day 22: Knoxville, TN
Day 23: Burlington, NC
Epilogue: Author's notes