A large travel dump Featuring the 2019 Nissan Altima
As I look back on 2019, one of the things I’m grateful for is the little bit of travel I got to do this year. I don’t usually get to travel as much I would like. I have a full time job, a family, and a fleet of unreliable cars that tend to break down several hours from home, but this year was different. Over the course of the summer my employer loaned me a 2019 Altima 2.5S and sent me to a few weeks of training in Nashville Tennessee and Dallas Texas. I found myself excited to drive a brand new car a few hundred miles despite finding the Altima’s styling distasteful. When I departed for my first trip the odometer read 60 miles and the interior was rich with new shoe smell. I was headed to Nashville, and as the number on the odometer ticked into the triple digits I decided to make the most of the trip and get off of the interstate so that I could experience the riches that rural southern highways have to offer. As the Altima’s Garish grille devoured road I kept my eyes peeled for old cars and abandonments while also taking note of how comfortably numb the ride was.
After I had settled into Nashville I found myself pushing the Altima hard on the roads that laced over and through the hills. The car felt surprisingly spry although the steering felt predictably numb. The new PR25DD engine was adequate when accelerating out of a curve, but ran out of steam when ascending hills and I found throttle response to be sluggish even with sport mode engaged. Through all of this, the biggest surprise to me was how well the CVT coped. To be honest I managed to have a lot of fun in the Altima, but I was left wondering how much better the experience could have been if I had the available SR-VC Turbo model with its 2.0 liter variable compression engine and the ability to paddle shift.
Once I had wrapped up 4 days of business, I had a day to explore. I spent a lot of that time as a day drinking pedestrian, hopping from bar to restaurant, to bar while keeping an eye out for photographic opportunity. Exploring downtown Nashville was a great way to finish off a business trip before heading back home to New Orleans the next morning.
On my way back the Altima soothed me. One fault that I did find was that when listening to music or podcasts through bluetooth the controls displayed on the 8" touchscreen did nothing. To be fair I have a pretty old Android phone. Still, I found it to be quiet and comfortable. Especially compared to the antiques that I’m used to driving. I was about half way home when I decided to get off the interstate and poke around Birmingham AL for a little bit. there I found RMR 4X4. A place specializing in sales and service of Land Rovers of all ages.
Fast forward to August. I’m back in the Altima and I’m back in Nashville. The drive up was as unremarkable as the car that carried me. I wrapped up my commitments a day early like last time, but instead of day drinking, I’ve set my sights on the Lane Motor Museum. What once was a commercial bakery now houses one of the most impressive collections of European vehicles in North America. I spent hours fawning over the Lane collection paying especial attention to the Group B era European and bubble era Japanese cars. That’s not to say I didn’t absorb as much information as I could about the more obscure vehicles. The subjects in the museum span all genre of private transportation and encompasses over 100 years of automotive history. Vehicles ranged from race cars to hyper milers and from cutting edge to archaic.
One of the most interesting cars at the Lane Motor Museum though, wasn’t part of the collection. The owner of this M3 sport evo is a long time employee of the museum who said he has daily driven this rarity for over 20 years.
Next I went to the Marathon Motor works. A gentrified turn of the century automobile factory now housing whiskey bars, restaurants, and office space. The walls are lined with old tools and milling equipment. It was nice that they managed to keep and embrace the buildings history while still making it a profitable space, but being filled with boutique bars and art galleries made it feel a lot like a tourist trap.
With the whole weekend in front of me and nothing to do but head home, I decided to make a big detour to Rusty’s Movie Car Museum in Jackson TN. This is a one-man operation. Rusty owns all of the cars on display and will personally give you a tour of his collection. Many of the cars here are screen used while others are replicas. The claim to fame here are screen used Fast and Furious movie cars, but Rusty’s is also home to a General Lee, Ecto1, and a handful of other vehicles ranging from iconic to “featured in Norbit”
After leaving Rusty’s, it was time to head home, but I figured I’d stay on the backroads and soak in the sights. I went south through Alabama, Mississippi, and finally, back home to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Just before finding this honey hole my camera died.
Now it’s September and I’m on my way to Dallas for More training. Again I find myself in the same bland and blue Altima, devouring interstate in comfortable invisibility. By now I felt at home in the car. My 2.5S wasn’t equipped with adaptive cruise control, but I wish it was. As soon as I crossed the Louisiana-Texas state line I hopped off the interstate to explore the highways of East Texas. I drove parallel to the interstate and found a good number of old cars before getting back on just before Dallas.
after 4 days of training and 3 nights of drinking in Dallas I had another free day. The first place I found myself was outside of a closed Gas Monkey Garage. I had better luck at Gateway Classic Cars, a dealership specializing in collector cars of all types. These guys were cool enough to let me into their warehouse and take as many pictures as I wanted as long as I shouted them out on social media which I happily did. their inventory was impressive and varied, and their warehouse made for good photos.
At some point, I learned that the Mecum Auction was in full swing, so of course I ended up there. I actually wrote a few words about it here. I expected a lot of very old men bidding over vintage domestics and muscle cars, and I wasn’t wrong, but there were also lots of European and Japanese vehicles to be found. actually there were interesting vehicles of all categories and they were all available to own if your pockets were deep enough. I could have hung out all day, but it was time to take the trusty Altima home.
So, after putting thousands of miles on the 2019 Altima I’ve learned that behind its stupid. Stupid face, its actually a pretty great road-tripper and even a fun driver’s car, especially if equipped well. the standard keyless entry made the day to day life of someone living out of a hotel that much easier and it allowed me to relax between destinations. That said, my standards for automotive comfort are pretty low.
Its been a good year. Not only have I been making progress in my career, but I’ve gotten to see some cool things while doing it. My only regret is that all of this had to be pressed into one post. I have so many more pictures that I didn’t get to share and stories either glossed over or left out, but I’m glad I finally got to share. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone who made it this far.