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.
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Approximate return route from San Francisco to New Jersey
Tuesday, Aug. 22nd, 1967 956 miles (1,539 km) ~16 driving hours
Western Kansas to Ohio
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
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
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.
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.
Wednesday, Aug. 23rd, 1967 676 miles (1,088 km) ~12.5 hours
Western Ohio to Home
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
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
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
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
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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