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Indiana to Virginia and back....1,700 miles...mud, snow, rain...and 100+ driving...

1 May 2001
Point of No Return
Many people may be aware of my continuing series of stories titled, 'Indiana to _______ and back again...,' which chronicle the experiences of an NSX vagabond and his trusty steed 'Lightning'. Well, last week brought about another round of interesting mountain tops and pitfalls as our hero (me) managed to burn through an almost heinous amount of Premium Fuel in a VERY short time. ;)

The day started much like many others have in my life, staring at the alarm clock with daggers shooting at the digital time display, hair standing on end, praying for just 5 minutes more of sweet, sweet, sleep. It was a Friday, and I was to be departing at 7 a.m. for an S2000 event in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Some may ask why I decided to drive an NSX to an S2000 event. Well, quite honestly the NSX gets better fuel economy for me, has more space, a bigger fuel tank, and is more comfortable for me to drive. Go figure. I do also own an S2000, but space is space. :D

Anyway, I decided that I hated waking up that early after only having 4 hours rest, so I slept a little bit more and woke up at 8 a.m. instead. Feeling much better I completed my morning duties of slowly dragging about the house, tripping on furniture, pouring a tall glass of Tropicana Grapefruit Juice, tripping on the cat AND the dog (dang pets!!), and then trying to shower and shave while still only about half conscious. Do not try that at your own home, as I am a trained professional. ;)

Finally out in the garage, I tossed my stuff into the trunk of the '94 NSX (man, that all fits...cool), pluged in my new FM modulator of my iPod, checked tire pressures, kissed the wife goodbye, and I was off onto the road at roughly 9:33 a.m. ready to go. Accelerating down the on-ramp with the windows down, loving the morning air, and smiling to myself...the dash clock read 9:44 a.m. and I was off. Feeling great I knew that the road was the place for me that day, yet by 9:45 a.m. I was stopped on the highway with traffic backed up, a car on fire ahead of me, and I was stuck in a lane that ended in 1,000 feet, all the while I was still about 805 miles from my destination. It took all of about 2 minutes sitting there to realize that this was not the best plan, so doing some quick route calculations I found a shallow spot in the median, angled in, and spun myself a little bit of a U-turn!! The looks on people face when you do a maneuver such as that in an NSX is priceless, and if I had not been looking for officers of the law I probably would have taken pictures of the other motorists faces....it was that good.

After some back road negotiations, the NSX and I managed to find our way back onto straight and open highways again. It always seems amazing to me how well the NSX drives on long trips. Even with a lowered suspension, upsized wheels and tires, and racing seats, the NSX is one of the best long distance cars I have ever owned. We quickly settled in to our comfort speeds of 90-95 and kept on moving down the open roads, running with 'wolf packs' of other motorists bound for someplace other than where they were. Several thousand miles of experience, and more than a couple of hours spent by the side of the road with the police, have taught me to run in the middle to tail ends of these 'packs' and let the guy at the front trip the radar/laser traps. Luckily this trick worked as our group came over a hill at about 90 when the trusty Valentine One screamed, 'BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP,' (which losely translated means, SLOW THE HELL DOWN NOW). ARGH!!!! There in the median was a State Police officer zapping the front of the pack. I managed to slow down, and upon passing the officer (my speedometer still reading 73) I decided to slow more using light pressure on the e-brake as to keep the brake lights off and make me seem more innocent than I was. I grit my teeth, prayed for a bit, prayed some more, then just begged for the officer to leave me alone. Evidently my prayers were answered and the policeman passed me and pulled over some poor schmuck who had not even bothered to slow down when he passed the officers patrol car. Ahhh.....lucky me. :)

My luck continued as I had been noticing that there was a white Infiniti I35 that had been keeping pace with me for about 150 miles and when I pulled into a Service Center so did they. Anyone who owns an NSX or other exotic sports car is used to this sort of thing, so I exited the car and answered the questions that soon came from the Infiniti's passengers. The funny part was that as I talked to the nice people in the Infiniti I found out they were going to Virginia Beach as well and lived 10 MINUTES from where I was going!! COOL!! Looks like I found a traveling buddy. They insisted on buying me coffee and soon we were off...only about 660 miles to go.

Funny things happen on trips I have noticed. Experiences that you just do not get from flying, or simply parking your butt at home because driving seems too tedious. Things like having someone give you their cell phone number after having known you only 5 minutes and buying you coffee and inviting you over to their house the next day. Conversations about their brother who lives in the same city that I do, and in the background watching a pack of cars fly by at WAY above the posted speed limit. Or standing at another Service Center in the mountains, highway twisting up into an almost endless haze, a light drizzle falling on your hair, and watching someone you will never see again scold their children for picking on their little sister as their other brother lays passed out in the back of their faded red Ford minivan. The road is a strange and wonderful place to be, and can only be felt and experienced by doing trips such as this.

The other thing is how sometimes you find yourself in a timewarp. As I drove along in the NSX with my favorite music playing I realized how much of a blessing it was to be able to feel like time was not moving. It was just like the NSX and I were on a permanent pass from the worries of the world around us. I did not care about the fact that the car was dirty as all hell, the gas prices were stupid expensive, or that there was probably work I should be doing. Road trips in the NSX seem to have the greatest effect on me as the NSX is a car of dreams, and I feel it has the power to induce a dream state. If you really buy the car to drive and to enjoy, and not just to impress other people or something stupid like that, then the NSX becomes an escape hatch to a world of perfection. Not once during this trip did I want 500 hp or a carbon fiber body on my car, I just loved the fact that I had the chance to enjoy a car that few people ever do. When life is that good, time does not exist.

My whole trip was like that. Unfortunately I was only in Virginia Beach for about 8 hours before an emergency made me get right back in the NSX and drive the 810 miles home. Did I happen to mention that I yet AGAIN got caught in a freak snow storm in this car?? Right around Cleveland, Ohio I ran into a snow storm that had caused so many wrecks that the highway was littered with broken cars, stranded motorists, and overworked cops. I ended up meeting my wife, our dog, and my mother there (as they were one of those accidents) and we all became stranded at a Comfort Inn where we watched bad TV and called friends that lived locally to convince them it was a great idea for them to come out in the snow to see us (which they did). Funny thing is it was a great night anyway. The NSX was sitting under 5 inches of snow, I was stuck in Cleveland, Ohio about 200 miles from home tired from having little sleep, my Honda Accord had been hit by some jacka$$ who was speeding in the snow and tagged the driver side quarter panel sending the car into a 360 degree spin into a cement median at about 60 mph, and my life was great because everyone was still there to experience it all with me. Years from now we will look back on this and laugh again at how funny life can be.

Eventually the NSX and I continued our trek home when the roads cleared a bit the next day. The car drove wonderfully, and I managed to drive almost 1,700 miles between Friday morning and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Indiana time. My NSX and I navigated through snow, ice, rain, mud, grass, and highway medians.....piled on more trash from snacks and 'on the go' food that I thought was possible....found new areas in the NSX to hold empty Starbucks containers.....wasted more gas than most other NSX owners use in 6 months...and loved it. My NSX is quickly approaching 88,900 miles and I love it more and more every day. These cars are rocketships for the soul and the mind.....buy your ticket now, before they are all gone. Trust me....you need it. ;)
Re: Indiana to Virginia and back....1,700 miles...mud, snow, rain...and 100+ driving...

Did I mention that I love my car??? Just checking. ;)
Re: Indiana to Virginia and back....1,700 miles...mud, snow, rain...and 100+ driving...

But it sounds like you made the best of it. Man, I can't wait to live my own NSX stories like this :)
Mitch, I thought you were in Michigan, watching Carguy!'s CGT? :biggrin:

Your stories are always fun to read. Keep 'em coming, please. :smile:
Re: Indiana to Virginia and back....1,700 miles...mud, snow, rain...and 100+ driving...

damn....how do you have all this time traveling!??! :biggrin:
Re: Indiana to Virginia and back....1,700 miles...mud, snow, rain...and 100+ driving...

That snow storm on saturday here in Cleveland was one last winter BITCH SLAP from Mother Nature. Pleasant gal she is.
Re: Indiana to Virginia and back....1,700 miles...mud, snow, rain...and 100+ driving...

chumch said:
That snow storm on saturday here in Cleveland was one last winter BITCH SLAP from Mother Nature. Pleasant gal she is.

I see you are from Middleburg Heights.....do you know where the Comfort Inn off of Highway 71 is?? That is where I had to stay. :frown: