It was the weekend of the MSRA’s Super Secret Fun Run, and I had some serious catching-up to do. Hadn’t driven the Nova much, except to work and around town in between some minor upkeep, wiring fixes, and the like. This day would change that.
Dragged myself out of bed while it was still dark outside, threw the last of my gear in the car and headed out to a 7:30 AM rendezvous in Glenwood. The car was running great. As I hammered down, the edge of night was melting into a blend of cloud gray and radioactive orange and I thought to myself: If I wasn’t out here on the road, at this time of the morning, I’d be missing all this. Sleeping-in may be overrated.
Running a little late, I called my buddy Tom to warn him and swung in to top off the tank and grab a roll and some personal octane booster for the road. Tom knows all the back roads, and we took them – me following his lead, rolling past shining lakes and lush fields and tall pines, seeing the back-country scenery that’s really best enjoyed as part of a caravan of hotrods. A caravan of two, but it still beats rolling alone. I’ve missed that. Cruising with friends can make a lousy trip tolerable, and always makes a good trip even more fun. I’ve made a mental note to do it more often.
So we rolled in to Brainerd Raceway right on schedule, got our fill of rods and racing, drenched with sun, had a delicious supper furnished by the MSRA, and Tom took off for home. I debated with myself, trying to figure if I wanted to pitch a tent and sleep on the ground or hit the ground running and point the hood toward home. The dark side won out. The throttle foot needed exercise. Fairly certain that I’d never find the same roads after dark that we followed in the daylight to get there, I took the main highways home.
This leg of the trip, passing through Staples, featured another day’s-end spectacular with that nuclear orange you just won’t find in any color chip book. With just enough rain to smear the bug juice on the windshield, heading down long, dark roads with an abnormal over-abundance of edgy night critters, I was starting to push it a little harder than I usually do. I wanted to get home.
Again, the car didn’t miss a beat. As I walked into the house, I just couldn’t resist. I did something that I’m sure none of you have ever done….. I reached over, patting the car softly on the trunk lid.
And the radiator gurgled. I swear…..