What I really think!!

Mistakes:

1.  Packed too much stuff.  I blame 60% on “Global Warming”.  All of the northern states experienced a record hot summer, so, long sleeves and long pants were excess baggage.  Even delaying my Western Loop into September didn’t help.  Montana was hot, California was literally on fire, and Phoenix welcomed me with 108 degrees on September 15th.

2.)  Got too relaxed and let my guard down.  I had no problems on the Eastern Loop, but I got a little too relaxed on the Western Loop and came close to problems that I should have seen coming. Dumb luck got me out each time.

  • My first mistake came early morning in a rest stop.  There were no cars or trucks in the parking lot, but as I got out of the car a guy came over to “admire the car”.  The next thing I know, there is another guy coming up behind him.  Luckily, three cars pulled in at the same time and the two guys were distracted.  I got back in the car and drove off.  My teeth were floating by the time I got to the next exit with a very busy gas station, but I tried to be more aware.
  • The next mistakes came at gas stations where I should have scoped out the situation more closely before getting out of the car.  I never ran below a quarter tank, so I never really “had” to get gas.  Looking back in my written log, I noted four specific cases where I had to leave quickly.  Two were fights at other pumps, one was a large group walking up to cars just harassing for money, and the final case was a fight in the parking lot.

Suggestions:

1.)  Take a battery cube charger for your phone.  Sometimes your phone needs extra battery time, especially if you sleep in your car.  In an older car, the cigarette lighter doesn’t work when the car isn’t turned on.

2.)  Road Atlas/Road Atlas/Road Atlas.  Sometimes the phone nav-system didn’t get a signal so I was blind.  Some of it was due to simple geography, but driving nearly 100 miles through the California wild fires caused some blank spots, too.  A paper backup is both nostalgic and amazingly accurate.

3.)  Pack two smaller duffel bags instead of one big one.  One for quick overnight and the other for limited climate change cloths (coats, hats, gloves, heavy shirts, etc.)

There Really is a Santa – You Just need to Know Where To Look!

Photo thanks to Lord & Hooks Photography

Closing Thoughts:

I have intentionally never referred to the car as “my car”.  I knew the car would be gone when the journey was over, but I must say this car drove to each state in the lower 48 states plus the District of Columbia in one amazing summer.  It never left me stranded on the side of the road, it never let me down, and the folks at Chevrolet should be proud because after 52 years, this is an unbelievable car!

I can’t say as much about some of the highways and back roads I traveled, but those pot holes added to the adventure and made it possible for me to meet some great people along the way.  Thanks again to Austin Corvette, Corvette Specialists, Straight Lines, and Mile High for keeping the car on the road.

It is impossible to pick a favorite Capitol Building or capital city, but some really are worth the visit and others never got a chance to show their stuff like Boston.  I blew through Boston at about 3:00AM.  I loved the town and couldn’t get over the number of people out strolling or the number of places open at 3:00AM.  The picture below shows what you can do in Boston at 3:00AM and yes, I am on the sidewalk.

Jackson, MS still ranks as one of the friendliest Capitols I visited.  Great history, great people, and a great town for a ’66 Corvette.  I’m just sorry my timing was off and I missed the Beach Boys concert in Jackson.  I had the right car for the concert.

Montana’s Capitol in Helena had the best front steps, rivaled only by the front steps in Des Moines, IA, but the view north from the steps in Helena is unbelievable.

Many of the state capitol buildings try to look like our US Capitol, so it is a pleasant surprise when you find a capitol with unique architecture like Iowa, New York or Connecticut, and there are even more surprises when you see North Dakota, Florida, or Louisiana.  Then there are also the quiet surprises like Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico.

I have sent off letters with a picture of the car to the Governors’ offices in Alaska and Hawaii to see it they can take a picture of the picture in front of their Capitol Buildings.  Then I will have a complete set of all 50 state capitols with the car (in some fashion) in front.

Would I do this again?  In a heartbeat!  Would I do it again without air conditioning?  HELL NO!

This is a great country, but now that I am 68, I want to see the country with a little comfort.  Next year’s trip is all of the National Parks in the lower 48 states and the two in Alaska that can be reached off the ALCAN Highway.  The vehicle of choice – 1982 Jeep Grand Wagoneer with AIR CONDITIONING.  I love to drive and I can’t wait to see our national parks.  I have my National Park Lifetime Senior Pass and I’ll check out Dr. Olson’s most efficient route to the parks.

As I noted earlier, our US Capitol Building is often imitated, sometimes copied, but never really matched by other state capitol buildings.  Take a look at what I mean.  First the original:

Now some great copies:

There were more “look alike” capitols, but many were under construction.  This would be fun to do again just to see the capitols after construction.  I have looked at New Jersey’s Capitol in pictures, but construction fences make it hard to visualize the final version and Cheyenne was really hard to imagine.  Maybe someone could send me a picture of their capitols when they are finished if you managed to read this far.