In a book I recently read, one of the things recommended to do in your lifetime was to take a road trip. Six-thousand miles in six days was a road trip and then some. In less than a week's time, me and my traveling partner, Associate Editor Harley Camilleri, managed to dip our toes into the Pacific ocean, then the Atlantic ocean, and back to the crashing waves of the West Coast. Together, we raced past the sun and then chased it down again. It was one of those experiences that was every bit an adventure. Luckily, we took this challenge in style behind the wheel of Ford's newest heavy-duty rig, the '08 F-350 Super Duty King Ranch dualie with the all-new 6.4L twin-turbodiesel V-8. Does that sound like a blast? It was.
The journey was simple, tow my S-10 show truck to its new owner, my best friend Allan, who lives in my old hometown in Georgia, and then while in the state of adventure, cruise up to Atlanta and pick up my newest project, a '63 F-100. It sounded simple enough, besides several factors of risk, including towing a trailer that had one horribly bent axle, trailer brakes that worked when they wanted to, and my biggest concern: I still hadn't seen the old Ford pickup that was to be my new ride. Another area of concern was the cardinal sin of not taking a map with us. We were going to rely solely on the Ford's navigation unit to get us from coast to coast. Regardless of the numerous questions we had, on Sunday, May 13th at 9 p.m. we left beautiful Southern California for the wide-open road.
It all sounded glorious, until 28 miles into the trip when we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Super. Talking, telling stories, laughing at each other, drinking water, eating snacks, and the inevitable commenting on bad drivers was to be our next six days. Six was again the magical number as we agreed upon six-hour shifts for driving and sleeping. Driving straight across Interstate 10 through California into Arizona, the only things we couldn't pass were the diesel stations. Making awesome time, we blew through New Mexico and into El Paso, Texas, where the welcome sign was met with an empty stomach and the use of a turn signal into the parking lot of Cracker Barrel. After some good country cookin', we tackled the most demoralizing aspect of the trip, crossing the massive expanse known as the Lone Star State. Our goal was to make it to Houston in the first full day of driving, but after 26 straight hours, we ended up in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Mission accomplished. Sleeping in an actual bed was a priority and after five hours of napping in a hotel, then the streaking white lines were again blazing underneath us.
Our navigation showed only 1,000 miles to go once we reached Mississippi, and what a relief it was seeing triple-digits counting down on the mileage tracker. Crossing over huge bridges was a welcomed sight after having seen the doldrums of Texas for hours on end. During the month of May, fires blazed parts of Northern Florida and Southern Georgia and seeing the resulting haze meant we were getting even closer. The final fill-up at a diesel truck stop gave us an opportunity to hose off the Super Duty and grab some fried chicken; after all, we were now only 46 miles from our coveted destination. Arriving in the big metropolis of Pooler, right outside of Savannah, at 11:49 p.m. on Tuesday night was a huge relief. Let's get the party started, right? Wrong. At midnight in Pooler, the only activity was from cars with blue lights and sirens.