2016 – USA (week 1)

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22nd August 2016

No going back…..

Drove down to Southampton to load the Morgan into a container. The shipping has been arranged by Fabian at Bespoke Handling and the chaps at J & A Marshall were very helpful and friendly. There were plenty of cars going in and out including a very tasty Ferrari and some nice old American muscle cars. I think the 3-wheeler is in good hands.

I fly out in less than 3-weeks on 9/11 (gulp)! I think I have packed as many spares and tools as practical, even a spare drive belt under the front cowl. I have also packed most of my clothes so I can travel out fairly light when I fly.

I really am looking forward to the adventure ahead, and feeling a little nervous too.

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26th August 2016

I checked the tracker this afternoon as the ship is due out today. I really hope there is a ship there!!!

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This is the ship…

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I’m tracking the ship – how paranoid is that. It is now on the way out of port and heading for the big apple.

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3rd September 2016

The ship with my container has arrived in New York! Only a week to go before my adventure begins.

 

11th September 2016

This is it then. I’m writing this in the departure lounge of Heathrow Terminal 5. I have seen Josephine off on her coach back to Birmingham after a surprisingly emotional parting and made my way through security. Next stop New York City.

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Last night we went to Wembley stadium to see Billy Joel. What an excellent night. So nice of him to put on such a party on my birthday. The music was great and he really can still play that piano at the age of 67 and his voice was as good as ever. The sax player was outstanding and the concert lasted a non-stop 2 1/2 hours. I would definitely see him again. I am now in a New York State of mind………

 

Finally made it to New York. The flight was over an hour late and i had to wait 45 minutes before my transfer turned up. Traffic was very busy into the City and I finally arrived at the Comfort Inn Times Square at 11.00 pm local time or 4.00 am UK time. Too tired to do anything but drink tea and go to bed now. The real adventure starts tomorrow. Zzzzzzzzzzz……

 

12th September 2016

Up early this morning as I couldn’t sleep past 6.30. Out for a walk then a nice New York breakfast before heading back to the hotel to get the address for the shipping agents warehouse. Bus 190 is what google maps told me I wanted so I headed out of the hotel a couple of blocks to the Port Authority Bus Station. a.JPG

The bus station was huge – more like an airport. Information told me I needed gate 232 so I followed the signs and found the gate. Within 5 minutes I was on board and moving out. 57 stops and a hour and a half later I got off and walked the remaining 20 minutes to Horseless Carriages.

I have to admit to being quite relieved when RH03MOG was there waiting for me. After a bit of paperwork the car started first time and I was off.

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I spent the afternoon on the New Jersey side and enjoyed a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty – I just had to get that photo of the car and the Statue of Liberty. I then headed back into Manhattan and the same hotel on West 39th Street near Times Square that I had started out from this morning. The drive in was not as hair raising as I was expecting and I got lots of great comments from other drivers and pedestrians as I made my way through New York. Overall a very good day. The weather has been perfect, the car is running well and all is going to plan – so far.

Off to Washington tomorrow and lunch with Ken, my new best (and only) American friend from the talkmorgan forum who has invited me over for lunch. What a hospitable chap he sounds.

The westward journey begins…..

13th September 2016

Today was never going to be the best driving day with most of it being spent on I95 but it was more than made up for by the lovely people I met today. I started by driving around Manhattan leaving over the Brooklyn  bridge. I have always considered this bridge to be the start line for my journey with the finishing line being the Golden Gate Bridge.

The roads were pretty busy starting out  but at least the big trucks were separated out from the cars. I continue my way west being photographed or videoed as I go and made good progress towards Baltimore. I met up with Ken from the talkmorgan forum at his beautiful old house. He has a lovely green (to match the house) 3-wheeler and he treated me to a beautiful run out through some stunning countryside to a place for lunch. The Crabcake sandwich was delicious as was the ice-cream from the farm shop. Thanks Ken.

I had such a good time with Ken and with the Washington traffic I was late getting to The Washington Capital Skyline. Bruce and Gail were already there waiting for me so I checked in and left with them. We went to an Irish Pub for a meeting of the Morgan Car Club of Washington. the food was great and I met more interesting people all with Morgan stories to tell. I was given their club badge and even a water canteen for my travels.

This has really been a day about meeting new people who have been so friendly and welcoming. I really hope I have a chance to meet them all again some day.

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14th September 2016

Well, getting out of Washington was interesting. Different freeways with the same number going different ways. Some with cash only, some with eazypay only – completely baffling even with sat-nav.

After regrouping over a large coffee – I don’t know where – I plotted a new route. Much better. I made my way to the north entrance of Skyline Drive.

Skyline Drive is a 109-mile winding road that runs the entire length of the Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, generally along the ridge of the mountains. The speed limit is just 35mph max but that’s fine. With over 100 overlooks the scenery is beautiful especially on a hot clear day like today. There is no need to rush. 

Tonight I’m in Waynesboro staying in a charming Bed & Breakfast. Really nice and exactly how you would picture it – including the wooden front porch.

I’m finishing the day off with beer and food, watching baseball (no idea what’s going on) and listening to a blues band in the local sports bar. It’s about as American as I can imagine!

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Blue Ridge Parkway tomorrow.

15th September 2016

Lovely breakfast this morning served by the owner the Belle Hearth Bed & Breakfast. A nice group of people to chat to as we eat including a British couple as well as two American couples.

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After the customary photographs being taken as I leave I am very quickly onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. This road was one of the reasons for this trip as it appears in my book of the best roads in the world and it has not disappointed. The road flows more than Skyline drive with a faster speed limit. The views again have been breathtaking You just can’t stop at every overlook but every one I have visited has been gorgeous.

At one overlook I came across a couple driving a 1952 MG. They are on a real quest collecting photographs from every drivable state in the USA over the next 6 weeks – Now there is an idea!

My last stop of the day was at Mabry Mill. Such a pretty spot right at the roadside and there was nobody there. The parkway has been very quiet but there was literally not a single person there. Such a tranquil place. Eventually a couple arrived so I had someone to take the photograph.

Oh, I did make one more brief stop after being chased down by an Indian family who turned round to take a look at the car after passing in the other direction. The driver owns a hotel just off the parkway and offered me a free room for the night. I had a reservation at an interesting place so I declined his kind offer, we all shook hands  and I continued on my way after a few dozen more photographs were taken.

I am writing this in a town called Galax. I am staying at the Doctors Inn. Another lovely old (by American standards) house. I am the only person here. The key was left next to the front door with a welcome note. It is a lovely place. The owner live above his garage adjacent to the house. He has let me park in with his lovely MGA. An excellent day.

 

16th September 2016

As the only guest at the Inn Margo, the Inn Keeper prepared breakfast just for me. It was very good and all served on fine china in a very grand dining room. I was told the history of the house built in 1913 (just 63 years after my house!) and Margo clearly loves this place and is very proud of it.

I left Galax surrounded by the usual cameras in mist and a little drizzle. This is the first time I have worn a jacket in the whole trip. Route 58 turned out to be a lovely windy road and was much more interesting than I expected. It climbed into the hills and I went into the cloud but as I came down again the clouds evaporated and I was into bright sunshine again. Turn after turn through dense woodland with trees dropping high vines down to the ground. This was much better than I was expecting and went all the way to Damascus. I stopped here for coffee and walked a short but very pretty trail made up from the old railway tracks.

As  was getting ready to set off again one local asked me if I was (insert accent here) ‘ridin the Snake?’ I didn’t know it but the road just out from there is very twisty climbing up and down the hills. It was a good road and almost like some of the Alpine roads I have driven but not as high. So yes, I did ‘ride the snake.’

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The roads this afternoon were not as interesting as the hills flattened out. It was getting very hot and the roadside thermometer I passed showed 94 degrees. The clouds were building and I could see what looked like the odd shower in the distance. I was wrong! I suddenly drove into a complete deluge. It only lasted about 3 minutes but I was totally soaked – and very refreshing it was too. I was cool at least for the next few minutes as I rapidly dried out.

I arrived at Maryville low on fuel so I went to fill up. One chap started talking to me and suggested I joined him at a local Friday car meet a couple of blocks away. I went to the hotel (boring two story motel style), checked in, showered and headed for the car meet.

There was a big variety of cars and trucks on display from old Ford model A’s to MGs to huge Chevrolets and modern sports cars. My car would had fitted in the boot (trunk) of most of the other cars but it did draw quite a crowd. I didn’t spend too much time looking at the other cars as I had so many questions to answer. I left as it was just getting dark and headed for a bite then to my room. Tired now.Zzzzzzz

9 thoughts on “2016 – USA (week 1)

  1. Always fun to watch another travel. Having shipped a Morgan to Southampton from Tacoma, Washington, and travelled to LeMans 50th and Assen 40th then to Boston and a travel Home to Seattle on the Northern Route I appreciate Your effort.

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    Seattle

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  2. hey, you are always welcome for lunch and stay as long as you want….in switzerland at my place (of course with your m3w)!!!
    cheers mate and stay safe
    andy

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  3. Not sure You saw My caution but in the West You will be driving into the setting sun. You need eye protection. Also watch your fuel. I stopped for fuel at about a 1/2 tank. Services can be sparse. One tank on My +4 was about 250 miles.

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  4. Hi,
    Do you know when you will be in the San Francisco area? I am with Isis Imports, the SF Morgan dealership. We don’t have much going on at Pier 33 at the moment, however if you have any interest in coming to our Sonoma County location in Bodega (just over an hour north of S.F. and would bring you across the Golden Gate Bridge) we would be happy to have you come for a meal and a pint.

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  5. Not sure if my previous comment was lost in cyberspace. Please contact me if you would like to make a stop at the oldest USA Morgan dealership in the USA, just an hour north of SF across the Golden Gate Bridge!

    Tcherek

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