Our friend Drew is doing a very rare and cool thing. He is collecting entries and going to have a contest for his wax company One Better Wax. It is the only stuff that touches my paint. Drew doesn’t know that I am sharing this.
I just got back from the trip to New York City. I took the Buick Rendezvous this time and I did something really really crazy. I took the rear seats out of the vehicle, not only the third row seat but the second row seats also. Before I get on with this story I want to show you a cool picture of a brand new Cadillac CT6 that was filling up behind me.
While I didn’t have any plans to bring anything back having the vehicle empty I figured was a good idea to do just in case. What I also did was bring a blowup mattress with me. Not just any blowup mattress but a full-size blowup mattress. The back of a car is so big that I told my girl that I was going to put in cabinets. I think maybe a bathroom and a disco ball just like an old 1970’s custom van.
Of course that didn’t fly but as long as I’m not touching her car she doesn’t care. I did the trip which was 2590 miles each way.The way I went as I went is from Tucson down to El Paso and across Texas to Dallas and then up through Arkansas, Tennessee and up the Appalachian Mountains into Pennsylvania.I didn’t hit one toll until I got to Staten Island.
I choose this route because we are in southern Arizona and if I go North there is a chance that I would hit snow. This time of year it seems like either Flagstaff, Albuquerque or Oklahoma get freak snowstorms so I avoid at all cost no sense is a driving in that stuff if I don’t have to. It only adds an extra hundred miles on the trip so it’s not like I’m really wasting a lot of time and gas.
I didn’t have a set schedule for when I had to be in New York but I had to do an inspection with the insurance company again. FEMA opened the flood case and gave us some extra money nothing even close to what we were supposed to get but the extra money will be going to the bank. Who knows it may be for a classic Cadillac.
I left Tucson on Thursday morning at 6 AM and I drove until I got tired I ended up 13 to 14 hours later in Weatherford Texas about 100 miles west of Dallas. I only stopped for the night in a hotel because I had to use the Internet to do work on the computer.
The next day I got up around seven and I left the hotel around nine and I drove until I got tired. I guess around 9 o’clock at night I was in Memphis, a little bit East of Memphis I wanted to get to Memphis when it wasn’t rush hour. Every time I go through there seems like it’s crowded. I pulled over into a rest stop and I slept on the blow up bed for about four hours and when I woke up I was fully rejuvenated.
It was the middle of the night so I ended up driving another five or six hours to the other side of Nashville more towards the Bristol and then I took another four hour nap maybe five hours. Then I got up and I drove the whole entire way to New York City which was another 13 to 14 hours. I was totally exhausted by the time I got there and ended up I was there at Saturday night at around 11 o’clock.
So was a good 3 day trip I guess to New York City. I averaged about 24 miles to the gallon with the Buick Rendezvous which I was happy about. I didn’t have any bad weather or see any rain. When I left there was a storm in the Dallas area that was leaving I thought I was gonna catch up to it but I didn’t. There was also a storm behind me in California that end up fading out and going south so that never caught up to me either. I got very lucky with the weather again.
I stayed in New York City for about a week. I had to move everything else that was in the house because they are coming to raise the house. The house is going up over 10 feet closer to 11 and the Government is paying for it. If I didn’t raise the house our house flood insurance would be like $7000 to $8000 a year because the feds stop subsidizing the flood insurance, which we didn’t know they was subsidizing the first place. After spending a week in New York I decided to drive back.
Since I was in no hurry I took my time and stayed in hotels and never used the blowup mattress at all even though it was still fully inflated in the back of the car. My goal on the first day after running around like a maniac doing last-minute prep for the house was to get out of the city. I left New York City around 4 o’clock. Just wanted to get out the city so I would have a fresh clean start the next day.
I got in the car and was in bumper-to-bumper traffic in Brooklyn on the Belt Parkway. Then I was in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Verrazano Bridge. Then I was in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Staten Island expressway, until Waze gave me an alternate route and saved me 38 minutes. If you’re not using the Waze app I think you’re crazy. Besides giving you directions on how to get out of traffic jams also tells you where the cops are, for the most part. I can’t rave enough about the Waze app. It also gives you local gas prices and directions to the nearest station.
The first day I ended up in Carlisle Pennsylvania at an Econolodge hotel where I spent the night. I guess it was about a 6 or 7 hour drive out of New York City after all the traffic. The next day I drove down from Carlisle Pennsylvania and I stayed somewhere around Knoxville. I spent the whole time doing Choice hotels as I had the app on the iPad and it was easy to find hotel rooms on the fly.
I would normally drive about six or seven hours then pullover and then use the Choice hotels app on the iPad to find a hotel for the night a couple hours away. I averaged about $50 a night on the hotels being a choice hotels member, and using AAA hotel discount. Sometimes one deal was better than the other but most of the time the AAA rate was the better of the two.
After leaving the hotel in Knoxville and up driving across Tennessee and I stayed somewhere near Texarkana Texas. I had a little problem in Arkansas as soon as I hit the bridge in Arkansas and I used my turn signal, the dashboard gave me an indication that I had a directional light out. I quickly found an AutoZone in West Memphis Arkansas and they took really good care of me. I had to buy a screwdriver and change the light in the AutoZone parking lot. I wish I had gotten the ladies name behind the counter because she was good and made sure I was ok before I left on the road.
The rest of the trip was uneventful I was driving with the goal in mind of getting home by the Super Bowl. I’ve been an Atlanta Falcon fan since 1980, and after watching the fourth-quarter collapse I felt bad that I made it home to watch the game in the first place.
The last night I spent in a hotel in El Paso I stayed at Quality Inn near the airport next go to Rudy’s barbecue which was really really good because I love Rudy’s barbecue.
That was my trip in a nutshell so I’m back in Arizona and I’m waiting for my neighbors to send pictures of the house being raised. It has been of long four year journey, the paperwork was far worse then the flood itself. Our family lost about nine houses in general, but the important thing is nobody got hurt. Things can be replaced, people cant.
The lesson learned from the hurricane is if they tell you to evacuate do it you can always come back to the mess. There isn’t a damn thing you can do during the hurricane that will save anything. The only thing you do is put your life in jeopardy.
That’s it for my trip from New York City or to what I should say to New York City and back. I should write a little book up about the trip and what you need to do long distance wise to your car before and after.
I do have to find a guy for windshields out here as I have for 4 or 5 little divots where the rocks came up and hit the windshield nothing to write home about. But I need to address them before they get worse. If you have a glass guy in the Tucson area let me know.
I hate to say it but after years of having the forum on the site I had to take it down. I didn’t get much action anymore anyway, a lot of people signed up but a lot of people did not know how to use the forum software and the forum was dying a slow death. The rise of social media, Facebook in particular is what really hurt traffic to the forum.
From this point going forward we will use the Cadillac Country Club page and the Cadillac Country Club group which I started with but I haven’t really promoted I will put links here for you guys to join. I would like to get the Facebook group running a little bit more so invite your friends. And I would like to have some comments on the Facebook fan page.
If you can comment on both of them I would be very happy. It takes a lot of work to keep the site going! Between coming up with new articles, new newsletters, and the technical parts of the website it has become a lot of work for me. I may be looking for volunteers to help out from time to time. Right now the best way you can help out is to share and use the Facebook pages.
Right now our email list is about 38,000 strong and our open rate to our email list is totally crazy it seems like everybody opens up our emails and reads them and enjoys them. I get a lot of comments back from the newsletters. And I enjoy that so much commenting on the page itself. I also get a lot of emails and answering emails takes up a lot of time but I enjoy them and I enjoy seeing the pictures so keep them coming. That’s it for this week the comment and share this newsletter with your friends.
I know it has been a while since you have heard from me. With the Holidays and all it has been total confusion around here. We had to move out of the house in Phoenix after the owner decided he wanted to sell it. We scrambled for a place and we settled on an area in Tucson. I spent the month of December driving back and forth moving stuff.
I did finally pick up a SUV to help with the move (Because renting a truck would have been easier). After looking at 10 or so Cadillac SRX’s I couldn’t find one that didn’t have issues. I was only looking for 2004 and 2005 models since they are larger and I like the look of them.
I saw a dealership that had one in Tucson and went there to test drive it but it had been sold the day before. While I was there I test drove a Tahoe and it was not the best ride ever. It had something wrong with the steering and had too much play. It reminded me of driving my neighbors old cabin cruiser. I then looked over and a gold car caught my eye.
It is a 2003 Buick Rendezvous CXL. It has 119,000 miles on it and I paid 4800. As soon as I drove it I knew it was mine. It drives smooth like a 1980 Cadillac. It is large enough to move anything I want. It was a one owner car. I am planning on driving to NYC sometime this week with it. The never ending paperwork never seems to stop with the flood insurance. I have to have the NY house empty by Jan 31st so the Govt can come in and raise it.
Since it is only me and Deb I have removed the second row of seats and will be removing the 3rd row as soon as I go to the store for a 1/2 inch deep socket. If we need to move people around we will use her car instead. I took it to my mechanic and they looked it over and said I got a good deal.
My plan for driving to NY is to take I-10 to I-20 To I-30 To I-40 and then 81 up through the east coast states. Since the car is empty I have a blow up bed and sleeping bag for the back so if I get tired I can take a nap. It is 36 hours and 2500 miles.
Fill up the cooler and get some snacks and I should be good to go. I get about 400 miles to a tank of gas so I am thinking I empty 2 tanks a day for about 800 miles. We will see how that goes. I am open to any tips you may have.
Yesterday I had the honor to film the line up of cars heading to St Mary’s in Bayside for the annual East Coast Car Association Toys for Tots run. Check out the video below to see some pretty cool classic cars and motorcycles.
As promised, here is the story of my new daily driver; the car I now call Bebe which is short for Better Beater. It has replaced the ’01 SLS I was driving on a daily basis and always called my Beater.
My beloved Beater had rolled up something in excess of 70 K on the odometer and I was aware that I would be looking to replace the car in a year or so. One night in early June I was passing the time by perusing the internet looking under the heading of 2003 STS. I was hoping to find something out there with 50 K or less miles. I was secretly hoping to find one around 40 K but it was looking grim as the ads I was viewing were constantly touting the “low mileage” cars with 124 K or even more. Since I don’t consider anything over 100 K low mileage on that vintage Northstar, I was skimming over a lot of ads. Then I saw an ad claiming an ’03 STS with 22 thousand miles. At first I went right by the ad because I miss read the ad as 122 K. Then I went back and looked at the ad carefully. Initially convinced it was a misprint I studied the two dozen or so pictures included in the ad. I started to dare to think the ad just might be on the level. I emailed the owner of the car asking if the car was still available and for some additional information.
What followed was three days of long distance Q&A eventually leading to an equally long distance negotiating session and finally and agreed on selling price. Oh, did I mention that the car was located in Wilmington NC and I live in southern New Hampshire? This meant the car and I were separated by almost a thousand miles. The seller was a small used car dealer and assured me that the state of North Carolina had a temporary registration program that would allow me to legally drive the car home; all I had to do was get there.
Without going into the specifics, I am not a fan of flying so my trip was going to be somewhat of a challenge. I determined that the least costly way would be by bus. The longest bus trips I had taken in the past were generally less than one hundred miles and based on that I thought I knew what to expect. A word of advise, if anyone reading this has the opportunity to take a cross country bus trip – – DON’T.
Long story short, I survived the grueling twenty eight hour cross country excursion and arrived in Wilmington NC within ten minutes or so of the stated arrival time. I was picked up by Chuck, the seller, and after a quick stop at a branch of my bank went to see the car. It was stunning to say the least. After looking things over and some entertaining exchange of “car talk” I was the proud owner of a 2003 Cadillac STS with precisely 22,341 miles on the clock. What I consider to be the find of the year.
I spent a total of seventeen hours on the road and made it home much more relaxed and refreshed than after the bus ordeal. After careful scrutiny I have found the car needs some work to the suspension – after all, everything is thirteen years old under there. The parts have come in and I take it in for the needed repairs after the 4th of July and look forward to many years of delightful daily driving in my “new” old STS.
As an aside; this is my fourth Seville of this vintage. I’ve had, in order a ’98, an ’02, an ’01 and now this ’03. Anyone that has driven these cars in winter conditions – New Hampshire remember – can tell you that these vehicles whether by design or pure chance offer one of the most stable and confidence inspiring driving experiences on snow covered roads. I owned the ’02 when I was working and I had a forty mile commute, one way and would choose the STS to take to work in bad weather rather than my four wheel drive pick up; which was no slouch on snow covered roads but the STS was better.
Finally I would say to anyone searching for their “dream car”, be persistent, don’t get discouraged keep looking. When the time comes be prepared to take advantage of the situation and remember – don’t go by bus.