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I’ve just landed in Brussels, and am sitting in the arrivals hall at a coffee shop awaiting the arrival of BD145 from LHR.  I’m in Belgium to attend the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa with Hans and Wido.  Hans and I are repeat F1 offenders, but this is Wido’s first GP.

I didn’t sleep on the flight, so I’m expecting to down a few Kwak’s (Belgian Beer) and pass out early today.  Hopefully I’ll be able to write and post some pix from our hotel near the circuit.

mJm

When we last left off, Helen and I were finishing breakfast and heading for the FCA 2008 Meet track events at Mosport.  I’ve never been there, but have known about the track since I was a little kid.  It used to host the Canadian Grand Prix until it moved to Montreal 30 years ago.

Our drive from Niagara Falls to Toronto was pretty uneventful.  We had the roof down, and drove through fog.  We contributed smiles and waves to numerous point and shoot and phone camera owners photo collections along the way.  You know, you really have to be careful what you do when driving in a 360 with the roof down.  It’s as private as the grounds around 10 Downing Street.

We had some excitement as we passed through Toronto.  It was intermittently foggy along the way, but as we got to Pickering, it started raining.  So I had to move us from leftmost lane to rightmost lane to reach the safe shoulder.  We accomplished that, and God bless the guys in Maranello for building this fully automatic and fast roof deployment system.  Up it went, left turn signal, shoulder and mirror check, then press left foot hard and go through the gears.  No worries there!

Since neither of us had been to Mosport, we programmed it into our TomTom GPS.  But, the damn thing took us to an exact point in a farmers field that was most definitely NOT a world renowned track.  Crap.  So, back to Bowmanville we went, as Helen consulted the printed directions the folks hosting the event gave us.  We now knew where we were going.  I made a couple of passes, because I absolutely HAD to make it to the track by 12pm to do my laps.  On my last pass, I caught up to what I saw in the distance was a black Ferrari.  As I closed in on it, to my delight, I saw that it was the Texas F430 Scuderia!  Thank you TomTom for screwing up and putting me in this spectacular spot.  We followed her into Mosport, and parked with a stable of other beauties.

We met up with some new friends and some folks I know from the Toronto area as we strolled through the venue.  Ferrari of Ontario had a huge display (including Remo’s F430 Scuderia and Schumachers F1 car).  I picked up a couple event shirts, and then we got ready for our laps.  It was $50/person and all for charity.  At 12:10 we were heading off, so me, not wanting to be late, had Sophia warmed up and moving towards the starting area at 12:00.  My eagerness paid off, because we were right behind the escort car, driven by one of the many instructors.  It was a beautiful yellow 599.

After a few pix, we were off.  Now nobody gave me a “do’s and don’ts” document, and it was up to my common sense and conscience to figure out what was appropriate.  But put me in a Ferrari on a spectacular track, and somehow my frame of reference shifts.  Luckily, riding in the right seat was the other half of my conscience!

Mosport is really a fun track, and I can see how challenging it would be when driven “in anger”.  Our leader was letting us have “reasonable” fun, but we were not going to see 100+ MPH today.  But that was fun enough.  Taking corners at 70MPH and feeling understeer was more than satisfying enough.  I decided well before we started the engine that I was leaving the traction control engaged.  Spinning the car and likely damaging it was not going to be something I wanted to happen.

So we did 3 laps in total, one “out lap”, one “hot lap” and one “in lap”.  It was all great fun, and Helen took some great pix during our drive.

Well, that’s it for now.  We’re back at the hotel in Toronto (after another rain-induced fast lane-change-pitstop-roof-raise.  It’s the awards dinner gala tonight, then up early and home tomorrow.  We’re driving the kids to Washington DC on Monday morning!

mJm

Yesterday morning, Helen and I started off on our first Road Rally.  I’ve never been on one, and Helen told me last night that the last time she was on one, she was in an accident (totally NOT her fault, BTW).

We, well actually, I, enrolled us in the “non-competitive” rally.  I thought that for our first, we should just enjoy the drive.  God knows what happens when my competitive fuse is lit, so I quite maturely, I think, decided that we’ll do that “nice drive to Niagara” challenge.

Well, funny enough, it’s Helen who put an end to that nonsense.  While queuing in line for the ladies restroom, Helen spoke with some women who had picked up their “Rally Forms” for the competitive drive.  She looked at ours, and said “this is lame, no clues, or challenges, just a drive”.  So we decided to improvise – instead of doing the lame drive, we would take the competitive challenge, but not be timed, and not actually compete for the prizes.  Sweet.

It actually made the drive alot more fun.  And, unfortunately, slowed me down, and kept me at times going SLOWER than the traffic behind me.  Hey, you try finding the “copper mailbox” at 70MPH.  We started the rally at Legendary Motor Cars in Halton where we were treated to a continental breakfast, and a fascinating tour of their restoration facilities.  And their showroom, Oh My God.  Helen doesn’t know this, but I smuggled out one of their current offering/price lists in my underwear.  And they have a beautiful F40.  It’s also the home to the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame.  Will I see Matthew on the walls there one day?  Who knows!

It was a bit rainy as we started off (at 9:57am, according to my “we’re not really competing, but I just want to know” wife).  The first challenge was “Something a giant chocolate Easter bunny would leave”.  No fricken clue.  Ok, confession.  I hadn’t quite grasped the “slow drive == better observation” concept, as I headfaked my traction control through my first corner.  Sweet start, IMHO.

I won’t take you through the whole adventure, but a couple of key points need to be made.  First, I have found, thanks to this rally, some INCREDIBLE roads around the Halton/Niagara Escarpment area.  Wow.  You have to experience this stuff for yourself.  I’m going back often.  Second, when I see “Road Closed” at what I believe to be the “first opportunity to turn left”, I’m assuming the Rally organizers know about this closure.  <insert ASS U ME reference here>.  That “little” issue had us driving down  HWY 8 looking for a stop sign (the obvious idiocy of that task didn’t make itself apparent to me as I was driving).  So anyhow, we had a wicked backtrack involving U-turns and Queen E runs.

The rally ended at Vineland Vinyards, a beautiful setting.  Vineyards surrounded by Ferraris is a site to behold.  We were all enjoying the food and wine sampling, and touring the production facilities.

Alas, time was marching on, and I wanted to get us to Niagara Falls before the weather turned again.  We took the scenic route through Niagara-on-the-Lake, and eventually arrived at the Sheraton Fallsview hotel.  Did you know that every Friday and Saturday night there are fireworks over the Falls?  Neither did I, but don’t tell Helen because I have her convinced that I did ;)

Our room was right at the top.  Penthouse level.  There are only 2 rooms there, and it’s so exclusive that not even the elevators go there!  When I made the reservation, all I asked for was a Falls view room.  I will attribute the complementary upgrade to Sophia!

So, we’re now finishing breakfast, and getting ready for Track Day!  Sophia will enjoy the legendary turns and hills of The Mosport International Raceway today.  I can’t wait!

mJm

Anticipation is building.  I awoke at 3am this morning with my mind going through a list of final ‘to-dos’ and things to pack for our annual trip to Montreal for the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix.  It’s a weekend I look forward to with great excitement every year.  Montreal is a great city, and during the F1 weekend, the city is one big party.

I’ve put alot of effort, starting months ago, into this trip.  If you don’t jump on this in December/January, you risk not getting the tickets you want, and not having a place to stay.  This year, we’re staying at the Marriott Chateau Champlain right on Peel Street.  Peel and Crecent are ground zero for the big off-circuit events for the weeknd.  Crecent Street is closed to traffic and has all kinds of exhibits as well as a full blown concert stage.  The bars and restaurants are always overflowing.  Peel Street is where there are car exhibitions, where on Thursday night Ferrari owners park their cars for people to enjoy.

On Thursday night, we have reservations at La Queue de Cheval (which, I’m told by our French-speaking friend Heather means “The Horses Ass” – note I was apparently “mislead” in this translation.  It’s “Horse’s Tail”).  Notwithstanding the name, it is a great steakhouse right down the street from our hotel.  Friday night we’re dining with some other car enthusiasts at The Ferreira Cafe and Saturday night, I’ve once again scored us entry to the BMW Sauber Team Dinner at BICE.  It’s shaping up to be another massively fun event.

The only thing that has me a bit concerned right now is the weather.  It’s looking like we’ll get some rain.  But I’m holding out hope for sunshine, and if it does rain, will take advantage of the conditions to get some hopefully great shots of the cars shooting up rooster tails.  Speaking of pictures, I’m lugging even more gear this time.  I don’t like swapping lenses at the circuit (it’s dusty) so I’m bringing a second body (my old 20D) that will have my super-wide angle lens, while my new 5D will have the big glass.  Because the walk from the parking lot (oh, yeah, forgot to mention, I scored some parking on the island thanks to Sophia), I am going to get one of those portable luggage racks so I can wheel my camera bag around.

Anyhow, lots to do at home before we leave.  I’d mention the massive renovation underway in our basement and garage but I don’t have time to get into that.  Another day…

mJm

There’s a long list of things to get through this week. I’m pretty excited about a few of them. This new healthy diet I’m on (low carbs, no alcohol..you read that right-NO ALCOHOL, and “limited caffeine) has been a challenge at times. I am a carb addict. From my childhood I’ve had this affliction. Give me a loaf of French bread and some butter, and I’m in heaven. Lately, I’ve been eating salads. And lots of omelets. And drinking nothing but water and an occasional Timmy’s (double cream in place of my double-double). Drinking cold water on a hot day after some form of physical exertion is great. Drinking cold water watching CSI sucks.

I can’t wait for next Monday night. That’ll be the end of the 14 days of basically no carbs/alcohol. I think I’ll get a good bottle of wine to share with Helen, and a second one just for me! The thing that keeps me going is that it’s working. I’m losing weight, and am kicking the soda habit (hopefully for good).

Tomorrow, we have one of the 2 garage renovation company’s coming for a look and to build a plan and estimate. I’m excited about this, because it’s the one domain of our home where I think I get to call almost all of the shots! We also have our decorator coming to discuss the downstairs renovation. That’s mostly Helen’s gig, while I get to move my office to another room downstairs which is bigger, and I get carte blanche on that. Helen can always close the door if it’s not fit for guests to see ;)

Helen has tennis tomorrow morning, so I am going to the driving range to hit a few buckets. There’s a good chance I’ll be playing Pebble Beach in the near future with a good friend in California. So I better get tuned up pronto. Our home course opens this week too, and I can’t wait to play my first round of the season (if you don’t count my round at Pebble in January – oh, man, am I living a charmed life!)

Helen and I have divided the homework/tutoring for our daughter in a neat way. It’s working out really well so far. Helen handles Math (which is appropriate given her B.Math), and I get to handle Science (per my B.Sc). Tonight, my daughter and I covered sound waves. We reviewed the basics of wave motion, and she now has a pretty good grasp on how to tell from a wave form whether it is a loud/soft or high/low. She even learned about Hertz and frequency. We’ll start reviewing the Schrödinger Equation next week, and she’ll be ready for Quantum Mechanics in Grade 5. Or maybe we’ll just take it easy ;)

One of our vehicles is in the shop tonight. We discovered the hard way that while you can’t put diesel gas into a non-diesel gas vehicle due to the size of the pump nozzle, the reverse is NOT the case. Beware, yellow does NOT always mean diesel, especially if your regular gas station was recently converted from GTO to Sunoco.

Live and learn!
mJm

Well, I’ve had a day to recover/reflect on our journey. As long as the trip was, it all seems to be over so quickly.

I guess the first question to ask was, “Was it worth it?”. Without hesitation, ABSOLUTELY! This roadtrip so far exceeded my expectations on many fronts. I must first pay homage to BMW for producing a car that can run with this magical combination of ride quality, finesse and POWER. I certainly bonded with my M5 in a way that surprised me.

The ride out was an adventure with an old friend with whom I’ve spent too little time over the years. I’m confident we’ll remedy that going forward. Ravindra was great fun, and we were able to keep each other entertained and sane through some of the duller stretches (no offense, IA, NE).

The roadtrip was a wonderful way to mentally transition from my McAfee life to my new one. There’s something very theraputic to me about long drives. Maybe it’s the variety, maybe it’s the clarity of thinking that comes from driving. I’m not sure, but I do know that each night on this trip, I felt great.

And when Helen arrived in San Francisco, the adventure began anew. We were going to see things and stay places that neither of us had ever been. After the trip, we joked about unvoiced concerns we both had initially about whether this trip would destroy our marriage! Stuck in a car for 8 days with your spouse can be a potentially dangerous situation. I’m happy to say that we both agreed it was just what we needed together. I didn’t have to drop Helen off at the nearest airport and continue the trip alone! Phew!

There really aren’t any regrets for me. A trip like this requires some compromises in routing. The US is a big country, and you just can’t see all of it in the time we planned. But what we did see was awe inspiring. I’ve long had an affection for the US, and for Americans. Having spent so much time working and living in the US has instilled a special bond. I could have taken more pictures I guess, but I can always say that. I’m just happy I got that reflection shot just west of Salt Lake City of the mountains as I was driving at 80MPH. (Thanks again for taking the wheel, Ravindra!)

Ok, let’s talk data now. I kept all my gas receipts, and had GPS logs to provide routing/position/altitude stats.

Total Trip Length: 10417km (6511m)
Highest Altitude: 11132ft asl (Rockies on I-70W)

States Visited: MI, IN, IL, IA, NE, CO, UT, NV, CA, AZ, NM, TX, OK, MO (14 states)

Fuel Consumed: 376 Gallons
Total Fuel Cost: $1379 US
Average Fuel Cost: $3.70 $/gallon
Cheapest Fuel: $3.079 $/gallon in Newton, IA
Most Expensive Fuel: $4.596 $/gallon Waterloo, Ont

Other Consumables:
Tires: 2 Continental ContiSportContact 2 255/40ZR19
Oil: 1.5L of Castrol 10W60 Synthetic
Subway Visits: 3 (2 out, 1 back)

Thanks to all who followed along with us on the blog. It was fun to document the adventures as close to when they happened as possible. I have lots of video footage to process, and I’ll figure out how to make the best footage (including our special episode of “COPS – Nebraska” featuring officer Jason John).

Finally, if you’re ever considering a trip like this, I recommend spending a reasonable amount of time plotting your route, and determining alternate routes/hotels. It doesn’t take alot of time, but knowing that you’re prepared for weather, traffic and any other surprise takes the stress out of the trip. And fill a gas can with fuel and secure it in the trunk of your car. We never needed it, but it was comforting to know that it was there if we did. And always try to keep the car filled with at least 1/4 tank. You won’t start squriming in your seat wondering if you’ll make it because a quarter tank will get you a pretty long way (unless you’re in P500 mode and shifting at 8000 RPM.

And bring an iPod. The fun two guys can have singing “Dancing Queen” through the mountains of Nevada cannot be overstated.

mJm

Just a short update to let you know that we both arrived home safely just before 1pm. I have to review the GPS telemetry and pictures before I do a full review posting.

It was an incredible journey, and we’re both so happy we did it together. More tomorrow.

BTW, Kubica got pole today for the Grand Prix of Bahrain. It’s the first time a Pole has been on pole ;)

mJm

It was a short drive today, which was a relief, because we were expecting rain. We awoke early, as we have all through the trip, and saw that the weather channel was calling for rain between St. Louis and Chicago. But what really caught our attention was the revelation that tornados and thunder storms were called for in the zone between Amarillo and Oklahoma City. We are truly blessed on this trip. We missed the tornado warning by 1 day.

When we started our journey in St. Louis this morning, it was raining. This concerned me mainly because I still needed to get our “Melen North American Tour” picture under the Arch. We made our way down to the riverside, and fortunately, there was a tented structure across from the Arch.

I spent a few minutes setting up and figuring out how to make this shot work. When you are that close to something that big, in wet weather, it makes the composition a bit tougher. I think we got the shot I wanted, and then off we went for our trip to Chicago.
Helen has never been to Chicago. I’ve been many times on business, and way too many times through O’Hare (the 2nd busiest airport in the world). But this trip was pure pleasure, and I was looking forward to it.

The GPS did a great job (again) getting us to the hotel. We checked in with no fuss, and checked in at home. We wanted to see Chicago from a high vantage point, so we trekked off to the Sear’s Tower, which at one point was the tallest building in the world. It’s no longer the tallest, having been surpassed by buildings in Malaysia, Taipai and most recently, Dubai. The fact that these contests apparently include the height of their antennae make this a bit of a joke. But the boys in Dubai are going All In. That building is massive. It must take you half your work day just to get up and down it.

By the time we did the “History of the Sears Tower” film, and looked around up top, it was getting close to dinner time.

We headed back to the Fairmont in a taxi, and while we were en route, a large white limo pulled up next to us. Helen was sure that Oprah was inside. I have no data to refute her claim, so I will agree that it was Oprah.

Tomorrow is our first non-driving day since Helen arrived last Friday. I’m looking forward to just relaxing for a day before heading home. I can’t wait to see our kids again. This was a long trip, even my my standards. But they are clearly enjoying their time with Grandma and Papa.

Tomorrow, Helen wants to tour the “Magnificent Mile”. That reminds me, I have to cut up my credit cards tonight :P

We were reflecting over dinner about how lucky we are, and what an incredible experience this trip has been. I’m so happy this “crazy idea” I had way back became reality, because I’ve seen and experienced things that money can’t buy, and got to spend a week all alone with the girl I love. You can’t beat that!

mJm


Note: Some content may not be appropriate for young readers.

Our longest drive of the trip is behind us. We started early this morning in Amarillo, and planned to take I-40E to Oklahoma City, and then I-44E to St. Louis.

But before I review today’s activities, there’s a few things I’ve missed in my previous posts that I want to put on the record.

1) Attention Rogers Wireless. Your “partners” serving the US Southwest are horrible. For them to call themselves wireless communications providers is a complete joke. I had a call with a colleague that started just before the Nevada/Arizona border at the Hoover Dam. The call dropped at least 6 times. And a few hours later, in New Mexico, we tried to call home to talk to our kids and Grandma and Papa with the same results. Whoever runs these companies, and collects fees should be ASHAMED. You’re bad at what you do, and your shareholders and customers should drop you on your incompetent ass. Ok, that felt good.

2) Why are there so many vasectomy reversal billboards in Arizona? There’s clearly a market for this, because there we so many ads for this service that you couldn’t help but wonder what was going on in Arizona.

3) Should you be able to buy booze and fireworks at the same superstore? We saw stores that sold *only* booze and fireworks. What level of government thinks that this is a combination that makes sense?

4) KEEP TO THE RIGHT EXCEPT TO PASS. Every other leg of the trip was fine, but this one had too many left lane hogs.

5) Don’t call my wife Ma’am. It pisses her off.

6) Don’t let me drive for more than 11 hours because I forget where I’m’s going.

7) Amarillo has farms with a billion cows on them. We drove by them, and used a very complex algorithm to estimate the number of cows we saw. When it goes for a mile, and all you see are cows, it automatically is a billion. How would you like your steak done tonight, sir?

Alright, I think we can review today’s trek. We both knew going into today’s journey that it was going to be the longest and least interesting of our voyage. But we both had a great attitude, and were going to make it fun. We left Amarillo around 7:30am CDT this morning, and headed east on I-40. I had checked the weather before the trip, and it was calling for thunderstorms in Oklahoma City by noon, and rain/storms throughout the rest of the trek through Oklahoma. I wasn’t worried though. I had new wipers installed, and the front tires were new in California. But I knew bad weather would kill my lap times. But you have to go with the flow on this kind of trip.

The countryside was rolling, through the whole day, but we were on a steady decline towards the Mississippi. As we were heading east through Texas, we encountered “the largest cross in the western hemisphere”. This trip was full of “biggest/largest” sites. We saw the “biggest giftshop in the world” as well. The most striking observation was the devastation of the forests bordering the Interstate. Vast numbers of trees were snapped in half, and most had large limbs broken off. It was a very strange sight. It looked like some angry giant had wandered through kicking and punching the trees on his way to dinner. The fury of the tornadoes in this part of the US is right there for you to see. I can’t imagine what it’s like to sit in your home in the midst of one of these storms.

When things were getting dull on the road, and we’d exhausted all of ABBA’s greatest hits, we played trivia games. Helen brought out the cards, and the miles flew by. My answers were predictable. I either knew the answer, and proudly shouted it out, or says “stupid question, who cares”. Did you know that there are 3 types of poodles? Miniature, Toy and Standard. Duh!

During one of our pit stops, we decided to do some tourist shopping. We got a couple of little things for the kids, and then discovered the cowboy hat section. All of a sudden, owning a cowboy hat seemed like the most important thing in the world to me. After trying several on (and yes, only XL would fit my fat head), I settled on a winner. Helen needed a bit of encouragement, but after trying a few, she found one she liked. So off we went, 2 Canadians wearing cowboy hats, bombing down I-40 in an M5 singing ABBA songs. I believe that made us “unique”.

We encountered a few State Revenue Enhancement Officers in their shiny cars today. The radar detector was performing perfectly. It became a game for us. The alarm would go off, and then we’d try to be the first to spot the Smokey. This game got so intense that we missed our off-ramp in Oklahoma City and had to backtrack. Thanks, GPS devices, sorry for the extra work.

As we pulled into downtown St. Louis, and drove past the huge arch, I started to have brain fade. The GPS was taking us to the Renaissance Hotel, but I was sure we were staying at a Marriott. We drove past the Renaissance, which annoyed the GPS, and pulled over to the side of the road. We pulled out the MacBook to try and find a confirmation email (which wasn’t there). I tried to find an open WiFi access point, but among the 50+ available, NONE were open. WELL DONE ST. LOUIS! You’re taking security seriously. But how about a Metro-net with free WiFi for lost travellers. Helen had the sane suggestion: Do what the GPS is telling you. She had faith that when I programmed it 3 nights ago, I knew where we were going. She’s a smart girl. We did that, and I ran in to sheepishly ask “Mister, do I have a reservation here?” Yes, we were in the right spot. It turns out that Marriott owns this Renaissance hotel.

I gave the keys to the valet guy, because I’d clearly lost the ability to control a motorized vehicle. We checked in, had dinner, then went to the health club for a hot tub and sauna. The sauna didn’t work. But that didn’t matter. It was another great day.

I remarked to Helen after our night in LA that this felt like a second Honeymoon to me. We were spending a ton of time together, and experiencing things together for the first time. It’s been a trip of a lifetime, and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s going.

Tomorrow, we head off for the short (4 hour) trip to the Windy City. We’re going to spend 2 nights there at the Fairmont, and then finally head home. Grandma and Papa are having a wonderful time with the kids, but we’re really looking forward to seeing them again.

mJm

We both awoke early this morning, at around 5:30am MST. The fact that it was MST is relevant, because until we checked out, I wasn’t sure what timezone we were in. Arizona forgoes the DST drama, so we were living basically in PDT. That meant Texas would be 2 hours ahead of us, instead of 1.

Anyhow, Helen had a great idea. We were up before dawn, and she thought we should drive back to the Grand Canyon (about 10 mins) and watch the sunrise before heading off to Amarillo. So we quickly showered, packed and checked out. We arrived just after 6am, and there was already a small crowd gathered. The sky was pretty bright, but because of our altitude, the sun had not risen over the canyon yet.

I set up my gear, and prepared for an incredible experience. It was a beautiful sunrise, and we enjoyed the cool morning air and the spectacular site of the sun rising over the canyon, and bringing to life the rich colours of nature’s greatest canyon.


It was time to hit the road. This was going to be one of our two long driving days. The route would take us pretty much east across Arizona, New Mexico and northern Texas. One side trip I had planned was to visit the Arizona Meteor Crater. It is just a few miles south of I-40, and Helen agreed it would be neat to take a look at this magnificently preserved crater. When we stood on the rim and took in this spectacle, it was difficult to imagine how a chunk of iron about 150′ across could create this kind of devastation. Issac Newton had it right with mv^2 because that chunk of rock must have been really moving!

It was back on the road, and pretty much easy driving. We stopped for fuel and bio-breaks and watched the scenery fly by. Helen has been keeping a written record of all the different state license plates she’s seeing on the drive. It would be amazing to see all 50, but so far, we’re very close to 40, including Hawaii (we saw that in Vegas). One other fun thing we’re doing is waving out the window/sunroof when we pass a car/van/truck with Ontario license plates. The other drivers probably think we’re just some kooks, because we’re typically passing them at about 35mph faster than they’re going. We’ve had a few waves though!

The “big thing” in Amarillo as far as I am concerned is the Cadillac Ranch. Someone (a farmer I believe) half buried 10 Cadillacs in the ground in his field. They’re buried at an interesting angle, and it’s a bit of a tourist trap. I’ll have to read the real story behind this. In any event, I told Helen we were going to stop here before hitting the hotel. I assumed (incorrectly) that she know what this was. When we arrived, she was quite surprised. She thought I was taking her to some hill with a lots of Cadillacs on it because she heard “everything’s bigger in Texas”. We wandered out to explore, and had the place pretty much to ourselves. I think putting graffiti on the cars is welcomed, because there were cans of spraypaint, and it was clear lots of others had left their mark.

After the pictures, we set off to the hotel, which was nearby. We checked in, then headed to the Japanese Steakhouse next door (think Benihana). We ate, and now we’re ready to crash.

Tomorrow is the longest leg. Amarillo to St. Louis. Straight through Tornado country. I’m counting on the competency of the BMW aerodynamicists to keep us on the tarmac.

mJm

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