Road trip across america 2016

2y ago


Having shipped my 1962 MG Midget from Kauai, Hawaii to Oakland, California, I began the 2600 mile journey across America to get the car to my new home in North Carolina. After an initial attempt at crossing the California desert in the summer of 2015, I ended up storing the car in a self storage in Bakersfield, CA. The 107° temperatures proved to be more than I, or the car, could withstand. I sealed it up snuggly in a 10' x 10' unit, set the lock and hopped a plane for North Carolina.

Outside the hotel room in Bakersfield, CA

I returned this past September for a second attempt at the crossing. This time, the weather was still warm but quite tolerable. I took a cab from the airport over to the storage unit and found the car a bit dusty, but otherwise, just how I had left it. The brakes were a bit soft from sitting, but after a little bleeding they were good to go. I filled a spare can with gas, installed a new set of points and washed the car inside and out. I took a hotel room for the night and planned to head out early the next morning. I always like to get started just before sunrise on these long road trips. The traffic is typically light, the weather is cool and I love seeing the sun come up as I'm cruising down the highway. The first day out, the sun rose low in the Mojave Desert. Bringing with it breathtaking views of the rolling sands and Joshua trees that make that landscape so distinct. The little 948 A-series motor hummed along down Highway 58 heading to Barstow.

Highway 58 in California

Over the next couple of days I would deal with points going bad and an oil gasket leak at the filter. I was able to call ahead to auto parts stores along the route and have the parts waiting for me as I arrived. At the advise of a friend, I switched brands of points and condenser and never experienced any issues for the rest of the journey. Well, with ignition timing anyway. I hit the only rain of the trip just before Flagstaff, AZ. Only lasted for a few hours and the rest of the time I experienced epic weather. A real plus in a roadster.

Top up for a bit of rain near Flagstaff, AZ.

Crossing through Arizona on the way to New Mexico, I decided to take a small excursion to view the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. It was such a beautiful day and the scenery is spectacular. The park has a nice curvy loop road that was a blast in the little Midget. Crowds were light which made for nice photo opportunities.

The Painted Desert, AZ.

The trip across New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas is basically flat with not a lot to see along Highway 40. I took to driving on into the nights to make up some miles. I was excited to get to the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. I had driven there some years back when I first brought the Midget from Pennsylvania to Hawaii and it was may favorite part of the trip. The Smokey Mountains are an indescribable beauty. Being back in the Midget was a very special experience that I highly recommend.

The Smokey Mountains

It's a quick trip from Asheville, NC to my home near Raleigh. I had trouble with the starter on the morning I headed for home, so I stopped in town to try and find a replacement. No luck, so I simply bump started the car and went on my way. The simplicity of these early cars is what makes them so appealing to me. With a few basic spares and a small tool kit, I can confidently drive it anywhere.

Rest-stop along Highway 40

After six days on the road, I and the car were ready for some rest and relaxation. The trip went very well and the car had survived without any major mechanical or cosmetic damage. This was my second crossing in the Midget and the third time in total. I highly recommend the journey to anyone that may be driven to give it a go. You're sure to meet interesting people along the way and take in some amazing sites regardless of the route you chose. It is certainly not the fastest way from coast to coast, but I believe it to be the most enjoyable.

at home in North Carolina

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

– Mark Twain
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