The Great American Road-Trip – Last Two Days, 10 and 11

Moments, in words and photos, of our 7704 mile (12,398 km,) 11 day trip across the USA and back in a 1965 MGB roadster.

This series began here

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Approximate return route from San Francisco to New Jersey

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DAY 10:

Tuesday, Aug. 22nd, 1967      956 miles (1,539 km)    ~16 driving hours 

 Western Kansas to Ohio

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Sometime in the middle of the night, Tom moved out of our luxury duplex apartment (car!) to the spaciousness of the grass, but apparently had some issues with insects, as close examination of the photo shows a can of RAID nearby.

60 miles west of Hays, Kansas. Rest area on Interstate 70.   Another fine nights sleep, at roadside America

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I continued sleeping while Tom started us moving at about 8:45 AM CDT, our primary objective now was simply getting home. Our secondary objective was a much overdue shower, which might explain why Tom left me in the car overnight, and why we were grumpy. About two hours later we dropped down about 20 miles to Kanapolis State Park, with wonderful facilities including showers, and snacks on the edge of it’s lake. We spent about an hour there, before winding our way back up to Interstate 70 in Salina, myself behind the wheel.

 Kanapolis State Park, Kansas       Ice cream cones, $.15; Malts and shakes, $.30; Sundaes, $.20 to $.30

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The weather was nice; the top down, and Kansas was uneventful. The turnpike from Topeka to Kansas City was $1.10, fairly expensive. Tom would take the wheel again after I drove about 220 miles and by twilight we were crossing the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri on the Rt. 66/Rt. 40 bridge where we had a nice view of the new Gateway-to-the-West Arch, and Busch Stadium II; the latter lit up for a Cardinals game.

 Crossing the Mississippi, the new St. Louis Gateway Arch, and Busch Memorial Stadium II, under the lights.

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An incident happened right after the bridge. An over rambunctious group of drunk kids in a wreck of a car came along side (at 65 mph,) yelled obscenities, and threw a bottle at us. It missed, but for a long several minutes they were harassing us, Tom understandably mad as hell, even AFTER they sped away. It was an interesting way to break the tedium of driving! It also was similar, but very different from the malt shake incident in Las Vegas! 

Interstate 70 was not complete through most of Illinois, and US 40 was relatively slow. At one point in the night, my straw hat blew out of the car and was instantly run over by a large truck! Sympathetically, Tom went back, and we stuffed the remains in the trunk. I’m afraid that was the highlight for the roughly 350-mile nighttime drive across Illinois and Indiana. I do recall hearing a Chicago radio station, and the mention of “Cousin Brucie” the popular WABC-AM DJ from New York City. But for the most part, I was asleep as Tom did over 500 miles (804 km) before stopping 3 miles beyond the Indiana state line, in Ohio. It was about 2 AM EDT.


DAY 11:

Wednesday, Aug. 23rd, 1967   676 miles (1,088 km) ~12.5 hours  

Western Ohio to Home

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The highway rest area just inside Ohio was the best we had seen. Spacious, clean cut grass, beautiful. There is no picture, because we didn’t care! It was 7:00 AM; we were 700 something miles from home, and to us, akin to a hop, skip and jump. Rt. 40 and Interstate 70 traded places across the state, we gassed up in Springfield, 12.9 gallons, costing $4.80, and would do it again a couple of hours later in Pennsylvania.

Looking back at the Wheeling Tunnel, just east of the Ohio River

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About 150 miles further, now on the Pennsylvania Turnpike we drove through Rays Hill Tunnel, one of several along the highway.

Rays Hill Tunnel, Pennsylvania Turnpike near Breesewood

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 Historical Note: A year after we were here, Rays Hill Tunnel along with nearby Sideling Tunnel, was abandoned (1968) when a new 4 lane by-pass was opened. When this original section of the turnpike opened in 1940, it utilized several railroad tunnels bored in the early 1880’s through the ancient Appalachian Mountains in southern Pennsylvania. Ultimately its purpose, the South Pennsylvania Railroad, was never completed and the tunnels remained unused for 55 years. But for 28 more years they served as the new Super Highway’s right of way until its narrow two lanes proved inadequate for traffic volume. Of note in our 1967 picture above is the original stainless steel lettering. Today (2013) the tunnels are a biking and hiking treasure, maintained by the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy. (Credit to Wikipedia)

 Current (2013) map showing abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike

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The final stretch of our adventure, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, we took Rt. 22 into New Jersey, to the Garden State Parkway, and arrived home in Bergenfield at 7:25 PM, after 676 miles (1088 km) today, and a total of 7704 miles (12,398 km) to complete our incredibly memorable trip of a lifetime. 

 Seconds after stepping out of the MGB – one final picture, dirt and all

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Some Statistics

Miles on odometer:           7704 (12,398 km) +  roughly 50 additional  miles on family miles tour in Los Angeles.

Most in one day:                 1118 miles (1799 km) 21 hours.

Total time:                          ~10 days, 19 hours

Total driving time:            183/2 = roughly 90 hours each

Average Gas cost:             $.409 per gallon

Highest:                               $.449  (Grand Canyon/Yosemite); $.439,  Flagstaff Arizona

Lowest:                                $.309 (LA); $.319 (Western Pennsylvania)

Gas and oil used:               289 US Gal., $117.80. 13 US Qts. Oil, Av. $.568  per quart

Average mpg                       26.8

All expenses:                       Food, room, purchases, entertainment, tolls,  film, etc.: (~$150 each.) 

Performance of car:          Exceptional. No issues except Pikes Peak; no  needed repairs; engaging to drive; and  surprisingly comfortable.


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26 thoughts on “The Great American Road-Trip – Last Two Days, 10 and 11

    1. Thanks Sartenada. A lot can be learned and inferred from statistics, and recording them at the time of this trip proved extremely valuable in the projects research. Always looking forward to your coming posts. M

  1. So journey’s end. What an amazing trip of a lifetime indeed! I’ve enjoyed every mile with you M, thanks so much for sharing this with us, I’ve really looked forward to reading all about your adventures. I’m glad that those kids didn’t do more harm and sped off when they did! Prices have changed just a little. I wonder what a trip like this would cost today?
    I’ll end this comment with the one word that sums up what I feel about your wonderful posts – Kowabunga 🙂

    1. Thanks Sherri. I enjoyed your comments, and mentions of about areas familiar to you when you were in the states. Prices today would probably be about 8 to 10 times higher than at the time of the trip. But wouldn’t it be nice if prices were as then, except maybe for our income! M 🙂

  2. Your travel log has stirred so many memories for me – born in Colorado, for many years, we made the trek to Ohio/Kentucky to visit the family members left behind when Mom and Dad migrated west – and in my young adulthood, I sometimes made the journey by myself – – ahhh…the memories of I-70, through Kansas, in July, in a Dodge Van with no air-conditioner – – –


    1. Even back then, here in New Jersey, an empty road was rare. To us, then, driving through the plains was such a unique experience – especially at night. And as far as A/C, it’s not only the comfort we’re used to now, but the relative quiet. Thanks for your comments. M

    1. Thanks for your comment CCJ. It was interesting “passing by” your neighborhood in California, at least in retrospect! The car was phenomenal considering MG’s have a cautious reputation on the long road. And yes, Tom and I survived and we continue to occasionally travel with our spouses, including a riverboat trip on the Seine last year not unlike your most enjoyable adventures so well presented on WordPress.

    1. The destination was a wonderful goal, the journey a priceless experience. Recanting it in this project, an unexpected pleasure . Thanks for your comment Malcolm.

  3. Very nice. As I read this I could not help wonder how difference of an experience it would be today.

    Not sure it would be as pleasant, but one never knows. We both love driving excursions, and out “circle tour” of the US is still in the books. Soon, we hope.

    1. Sadly, in many ways it would be different – mostly due to a hundred or so million more people in this country, with just the same number of natural attractions. It takes more patience and deodorant to make it work. (!?) M

  4. Bill

    Wonderful story. Brings back memories of my trip from Topeka to Seattle in June of 1965 in my 1964 Iris Blue mgb.

  5. That was an excellent series and brought back so many pictures of my Summer 1973 tour of the United States west of the Mississippi.

    I loved all the pictures, too. I had several thousand pictures and spent time scanning them when scanners hit the home market. Sadly, I sold the pictures in 2001 and then the Great Hard Drive Crash of August 2005 wiped out all of my scanned pictures. Thus I am pictureless for my journey, which is why your series was particularly enjoyable.

    1. So sorry to hear about your photo losses. It took several years for me to scan 13,000 or so slides, and I’m still doing several thousand prints. But I also have kept all the originals, and hopefully adequately backed up the scans – several hard drives at different locations. But your plight is far too common.
      Thanks for the comment, and glad you found similarities to your trip. I would have like to seen some of those lost images. M

      1. That’s a great pic of the station wagon entering Rays Hill Tunnel on the PA Turnpike. I’m currently working on an article on the PA Turnpike and an wondering if it would be OK for me to use that pic with my article. Please let me know.
        Tim E.

        1. No problem, Tim. The story of the PATP and it’s tunnels is quite remarkable. So yes, you have my permission to use the picture, and if you wish to mention some of the comments I had made, that’s fine also. Marty

  6. Roger Sweeny

    Wow. What a trip. Cool posts.

    My wife and I were married in June, 1981 and took a two month honeymoon, car camping across country and back–in a little Ford Fiesta with no air conditioning. So we drove with the windows open a lot. A poor man’s convertible! We did many of the same things: out I-40, seeing the country change, Petrified Forest, Meteor Crater, Grand Canyon (South Rim; the North Rim was years later), driving up the California coast. Since we had more time, we went all the way from the Mexican border to the turn-off to Crater Lake almost at the Oregon border.

    When our kids were old enough, we went cross-country with them, twice, filling in what we hadn’t seen–Limon, CO :)–and showing them the best of what we had. As empty-nesters, we’ve continued. That motel looks so much like the one we stayed in three years ago in Pawhuska, OK, when we explored the prairie preserves in the Flint Hills/Osage Hills. Having a son in St. Louis means we do a lot of exploring of the center of the country.

    We can’t drive nearly as much as we could–night traveling is out if we have a choice and the road weariness sets in a lot quicker–but it’s still fun. Anyway, I loved reading this and looking at your pictures.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Roger. Jeanne and I also have traveled quite a bit (never enough) in the states, first before our kids, than with them. But there is so much more I’d like to do – Some of your mentions would certainly be on the bucket list. Hope to hear more about some of your adventures someday. M 🙂

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