Friday was my last day of service in the United States Army. Once I’d received by certificate of Honorable Discharge and said my goodbyes to all my friends and coworkers, I began my trip home, from Kansas to Massachusetts. Nonstop, the 1500+ mile drive would take about 23 hours.
I left at about 3:30 in the afternoon and hit Kansas City during rush hour. It was fine at first, as the picture shows. But then once I got closer it was gridlock. Nothing like trying to jam I-70 into a single lane in the middle of the city!
Out of Kansas City and into Missouri, it got dull. Traffic cut down and the roads were straight and boring. Nothing really to report, besides seeing an AMG GT in a Mercedes dealership I passed. Just outside of St. Louis, I passed another Saab. Silver, same body style, just with an performance exhaust. He drove back up to me and we nodded at each other in agreement for our Swedish tastes. Soon after I had to fuel up. The nice weather had increased the amount of bugs, and my windshield and front end were showing that.
Onwards into Illinois, I was greeted by smooth, empty roads. Finally a chance to test out Night Panel! At some point I was passed by something fast with a turbo V8. Wasn’t able to make out the car. Oh Illinois, thanks for providing the most hassle free part of the trip!
Next came Indiana. None of which I was able to see. Not because it was dark, but because of it was incredibly foggy the entire way through. Less than a tenth of a mile in visibility at times. Just outside of Ohio, I finally stopped to catch some sleep. I would have stopped earlier, but I couldn’t see signs for rest areas until I was right on them, and I didn’t feel like dove bombing in. I woke two hours later feeling great. Well besides the stiff neck. My bad back was feeling great and the heated seat must’ve helped throughout the drive.
I thought I was out of the fog, but it didn’t clear until I reached Dayton, where I had to make the horrible decision to not stop and wait for the National Museum of the United States Air Force to open. I’ll stop by again someday. Fueled up again and off I went, continuing towards Pennsylvania. North East Ohio, while boring, did at least have snow.
Man, this part of the trip was dull and also where bad roads really began again, especially towards Akron. Northern Pennsylvania wouldn’t be much better, but at least I finally got to drive through mountains for the first time in years. I was met by more fog and snow, as well as terrific views when the fog wasn’t there. There was the occasional flurry or shower until I reached northeast Pennsylvania and refueled. My final fuel stop. Rain turned to snow and snow turned into an Audi R8 V10 Spyder in my rear view as I passed an eighteen wheeler. “I know what you are” I said as the R8's daytime running lights pierced my soul. He passed me and let the 5.2 liter V10 howl. First time I’d ever seen an R8 or heard that V10 with my own ears. I’m sold. I want one now. Props to the driver for using it on a less than stellar day. Pretty sure that car made my day more than coming home.
Through the chaos that is getting into 84 through Scranton I made my way to the Hudson River and towards the killing field that is 84 in Connecticut. Oh how I forgot how much I hate driving in that state. At least I got a reckless driver pulled over for tailgating me next to a cop in Hartford. Thanks again to that officer.
Finally I made it to Massachusetts and home. Tired as all hell and in a car that went from being clean to completely dirty. But I wanted to see how dirty it would get, similar to how I’m interested in how dirty race cars are at the end of endurance events. The Saab was a beast and got great performance. It’s earned its place in my heart.