Eastbound Day 21 – Philadelphia to Concord

Thursday, 14 April 1994

Concord - final car washWe head up the New Jersey Turnpike, skirt around New York City, which is completely enshrouded in an evil cloud of brown smog which would embarrass a Los Angeleno, and head north into New England. There’s one final pause just five miles before Tom Brosnahan’s place in Concord, when we stop to wash the Caddy. We all feel it deserves it, 35 years old and we cover nearly 5500 miles with just $70 of repairs along the way. And a steady 11.5 miles per gallon. With 4000 miles of dirt washed off (I’d washed it in Flagstaff, Arizona) it looks terrific, gleaming baby blue and the biggest fins on earth. Just a mile down the road we stop to phone our Concord friend to ask directions and immediately another car pulls over in front of us to ask about it and gawk.

So the car is parked until we’ll come back in mid-June to start the return trip. Meanwhile Tom is going to try and get the air-con working. We’ll also get the brakes checked and try and cut the oil consumption a bit. So until then the big Caddy and my small OmniBook computer can take a rest.

For me it would be Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, the desert and cactus scenery around Tucson, Sun Studios in Memphis and Falling Water in western Pennyslvania. What about our kids (our daughter Tashi, aged 13, and son Kieran, aged 11), who survived the back seat remarkably well:

Tashi – My five favorite parts of crossing America were: Las Vegas the land of lights color & the ridiculous. Also Phoenix probably because of the basketball game we saw more then anything – Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets. It was great, except it was a bit unfair because everyone cheered the home team & really booed the away team which would put any team off. Thirdly I loved the Grand Canyon for its beautiful views & the marvellous colors of the rock. (Just wish it wasn’t so dry.)

Fourthly I thought the future museum at Philadelphia was really clever. All the computers & games of the future were very good & lots of fun to use. Like the one that could show you yourself aging & the one that could show what kind of jobs the future held & which ones would suit you. And last but not least I liked staying at our friends places. Sally Roberts in California, Rob Rachowiecki in Arizona & Tom Brosnahan Boston.

PS – I couldn’t forget the factory outlets. They were great & cheap.

Kieran – My favourite thing was the basketball game at Phoenix it was the Phoenix Suns vs the Denver Nuggets. It may not have been the Chicago Bulls vs Orlando Magic which I would have loved, but I’ll tell you one thing it was an unreal game.

There were also other cool things like Las Vegas, that was really cool. They had the best hotels in the world. I couldn’t believe that at the Luxor hotel they had a great big Sphinx in front of a massive pyramid which was the hotel. It had rides inside it and a Nile river which you could ride down in a boat, And it had pokies (Australian for slot machines) everywhere and great food. (America is definitely a place for making sumo wrestlers) There was a light on top of the pyramid which was four billion candle power. It’s said you could read a book by its light ten miles into space, not that anyone’s ever tried, but I guess it’s possible?

And I liked the Grand Canyon because we went on this awesome four hour walk it was tiring but hey there were some sensational views. So if you’re thinking of going to America the land of opportunity, the American dream, pack your bags and your Lonely Planet travel guide and hit the road. {Preferably in a Cadillac!}

An Eastbound Postscript
Our 35 year old Caddy may have got us from San Francisco to Boston OK but Tom Brosnahan’s reasonably new Plymouth Voyager almost didn’t get us to Logan Airport. With a 5.20 pm flight to catch we got caught in a traffic jam going into the Logan tunnel and at 4.45 the temperature gauge suddenly shot off the dial and do-something-quick lights started to flash. We had to abandon Tom and his steaming car (we decided the electric cooling fan must have gone on strike) and grab a taxi, making the flight with minutes to spare. I’m now in England with a Fiat Uno which would comfortably fit in the trunk of the Caddy, it would have made a good lifeboat.