Cobra Journal – Day 5

Day 5 – “On the road again. Just can’t wait…” With Willy Nelson ringing in our ears (not really) we leave the sophisticated urban atmosphere of Buffalo for the wilds of Vermont. Sunglasses on, sun block in place, hats tight on our heads, our intrepid duo hits the asphalt. But…before we can actually get anywhere, we need to stop at the Cobra’s best friend—the fuel pump. Ah, $28 of high test and now…we’re ready for the road.

After the last few days of bopping around city streets and short jaunts to the surrounding country, it really feels great to get out on the open road again. Baby sounds sweet; there is an impossibly blue-sky overhead (sans clouds) and a 6-hour pleasure cruise ahead of us. Paula is following in the ‘chase’ car and, this time, instead of playing road tag on the Thruway, we make a plan to meet up at the first rest stop that we hit around the one o’clock hour. What we didn’t figure is the different rates of speed we would be traveling at and where that would put us at that particular hour. More on that later.

Traffic is light for a Sunday but the ones that are on the road all seem to notice the Cobra and wave, gawk or otherwise make themselves silly…giving Anna a near permanent job as the token waver. Cup the hand, smile and do the beauty queen wave. Perfect. The first couple of hours are pleasantly uneventful…just the two of us enjoying the scenery, listening to the exhaust’s lullaby. As it gets close to one o-clock (our meeting hour) I’m just about to the DeWitt rest stop and give Paula a call to let her know our stop is coming up…to find out she has just stopped at the previous stop (about 25 miles back)! It’s going to be really hard to talk about not speeding this time! But hey, who knew?

Anna and I hang out and wait for Paula to catch up, tag up with her and then elect to take off, agreeing to meet up at the Amsterdam exit. Out to the parking lot and, behold! Right next to Baby is a spanking new Mini painted the exact same color. Cute (although you can’t repeat that I said that or much less thought it). Back on the road, it takes only mere moments and inexplicably…Anna falls to sleep. It has to be great to be a teenager. For only that particular age group could fall asleep amid the roar of exhaust, the hum of tires and the relentless wind. I am insanely jealous. Still, it’s nice just doing a little ‘polite’ motoring and basically enjoying the ride. Anna doesn’t ‘arise’ until Amsterdam…two hours down the road. Simply amazing.

The ride from Amsterdam, New York through Ballston Spa to the Northway is one of my favorite stretches of road. Dotted with farms and small towns, general stores and stoplights in the middle of nowhere, the road rolls through the hills of eastern New York, a sinuous strip of black amid the green landscape and unfettered exuberance of rural America. This is the ‘lost’ continent. That part of our world that we don’t know because we don’t notice it. But you can’t miss it in the Cobra. You’re only a foot off the ground and right out in the open.

Not much else to report. Paula and I play tag for rest of the way home, we wave to more admirers and manage to get through Lake George without having to sit in traffic—a real accomplishment on Sunday, that. Once we cross into Vermont, our anticipation rises. It’s been a wonderful, but long, last six hours in the saddle. One thing about a half a day in the Cobra vs. a half a day in your family hauler—driving Baby is not a passive experience and I feel…tired. Not exhausted but pleasantly spent. Like you feel after a good workout (if you’re into that kind of thing). The other thing you notice is that 6 hours in the Cobra feels like half the time you spend in any other vehicle. Does that mean I could get to Buffalo twice as fast? Or am I only half there? You’ll be the judge.

Well, that’s it. About 1000 miles of combined driving and who knows how many lives touched. Remember the first day’s journal? “I wonder who lives there?” Well, I wonder what folks who had a chance to see the ride are thinking right now? What dreams are they making? One thing’s for sure, there isn’t anyone on our trip who experienced Baby that wasn’t touched in some way. All that from some steel, some work and a dream. Pretty cool. Am I blessed, or what? See you down the road.

To the Epilogue, Back to Day 5