Home » I Drove The World’s Smallest Four-Seat Car Across America And It Reminded Me Of How Cars Can Change Your Life

I Drove The World’s Smallest Four-Seat Car Across America And It Reminded Me Of How Cars Can Change Your Life

Iq Vs America Ts1
ADVERTISEMENT

If you haven’t noticed, the pace of world change in these last ten years or so has been particularly fast, and what constitutes everyday life continues to evolve rapidly. An infectious disease ripped its way around the globe, car technology leaps forward every year, and it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between an Onion headline and real life. Thankfully, there is soul-calming experience as therapeutic as it is thrilling that we can all appreciate in these ever-changing times: the great American road trip.

Leave your problems at home, point that car in any direction, and discover the wonders this country has to offer. That’s exactly what my wife and I did in November when we decided to drive her Scion iQ from our apartment in northern Illinois to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Taking the world’s smallest four-seat car down Route 66 was an unforgettable experience, and not just because things got really weird.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

This was a trip at least two decades in the making. Historic U.S. Highway 66, also known as Route 66, was established on November 11, 1926. One of the original numbered U.S. Highways, Route 66 connected local, state, and other roads together in a route meandering its way from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California. Route 66 was advertised as the shortest and most scenic way for motorists to travel from Los Angeles to Chicago and the cities along the route.

Why Route 66 Is Famous

U.S. Highway 66 became more than just a highway between major cities. A history class will teach you that settlements and merchants will set themselves up on the banks of rivers. Something similar happened along the asphalt banks of Route 66. The route bolstered small towns, attracted business creation, and was an escape path for Americans looking to start a new life. Route 66 also delivered its promise of being a scenic route.

S8tld4v2sxrcmomzrjmw

ADVERTISEMENT

After World War II, Americans bought cars and hit the road, turning Route 66 into more than just a highway to elsewhere. Route 66 became a part of American lore and pop culture, showed up in media, and became a dream thrill for motorists and sightseers.

But it wouldn’t last forever. As the controlled-access Interstate Highway System marched mile after mile across the United States, the humble Route 66 was systematically replaced or built over. Route 66 officially died in 1985 after Williams, Arizona, lost the battle to keep I-40 from bypassing its section of Route 66. Those businesses and towns were devastated by the death of Route 66. Many entities and people work to preserve what’s left of the old system.

20240212 125747

Even though much of Route 66 is but a distant memory, it’s still an important part of history for those living near the route. Route 66 was something I learned about in grade school years ago, and that’s where the seeds were planted for this trip.

Sheryl and I tied the knot on October 1, 2022. We found brilliant ways to keep our wedding’s costs down, including renting out the entire EAA aviation museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for a fraction of the price of a traditional wedding venue. However, weddings are still crazy expensive, and we had to wait to do our dream honeymoon road trip. We attempted to try to do a mini honeymoon in California that December, but that was really a business trip with some fun stops.

ADVERTISEMENT
1280px Us 66 Rough
U.S. National Park Service

We finally pieced together the perfect honeymoon and executed it in the middle of last month, planting us at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on Valentine’s Day. As you’ve likely read before, we took an excursion train from our hotel to the Grand Canyon. However, we still had to get to Williams Arizona.

Sheryl and I looked at various options. One possibility would have been to take an Amtrak train to Williams, but the going rate for a private stateroom on a train back then was significantly more expensive than flying first class on a plane. Flying commercial is hardly romantic, even in good seats, so we decided it was time to do the dream road trip.

For a brief detour, I want to explain why this trip was so important to me.

The Open Road Is A Part Of Me

20240212 134040

Taking a car meant more to me than just transportation. For me, driving has always been one of the ultimate forms of freedom and the vehicle for me to be myself.

ADVERTISEMENT

64201bc59b554981fa8fd37ba57fd4fb

I don’t talk about myself often, but I’d like to share some of my personal life with you. It’s not easy living life as a transgender person or as someone who is intersex. Often, especially right now, it feels like I’m in a crowd screaming and while some people can hear me, few care what I have to say. It seems many actively don’t like me even being in the crowd. It also feels like there’s a conversation going on about what my future should legally look like, but I’m not allowed to have a say in it. At the very least, behind the wheel is a place where I can feel safe and the constant bickering and noise just melts away.

I cannot tell you exactly when I first fell in love with cars, but it was when I was younger than 5 when an uncle gave me an old Pontiac Firebird Matchbox car. I mark that as the start of the obsession that had me collecting literal thousands of Matchbox, Maisto, and other diecast cars as a kid. Of course, as an adult, I am the caretaker of a couple of dozen cars and motorcycles. When I got my Playstation 2 in 2001 at eight years old, my first games were Grand Theft Auto 3 and Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec. And I didn’t play Grand Theft Auto the way it was meant to be played. No, I obeyed traffic lights and went at the same speed as the AI cars.

At around the same time, my parents also bought me a red Manco Critter off-road go-kart. That simple one-wheel-drive kart is where I learned the basics of car control and is almost certainly where I gained a bit of my daredevil spirit.

545b04430d8d631ef6c0e02ad3aaa1ef
Auction Ninja

Going to school was never a particularly fun time. My family moved around a lot growing up — sometimes more than once a year — and it was equal parts fascinating and terrifying. I got to see how two schools in the same county could offer vastly different qualities of education. It also didn’t seem to matter which school I ended up in as classmates would always find something to bully me about. Perhaps they found my voice too high, my skin too dark, or my mannerisms not masculine enough. I wish it was just words. In 2007, a person who still wants to call themselves my friend dragged me across a field by my hair. My jaw occasionally clicks as a reminder of a time when I was punched in the face for trying to defend myself from a bully. School was horrifying enough that I faked illnesses just to stay home.

ADVERTISEMENT

When I was lucky enough to stay home, my head was behind the wheel, be it a videogame or sending my kart through the forest. My bullies may have had muscles, but they couldn’t beat me on the dirt track.

As I got older, my body started developing a more feminine shape. My parents took me to a number of doctors and I was informed that my body was basically an estrogen factory. They warned that, by going into puberty, I was going to go through some wild changes that would closely follow the development of a female than a male. Little did they know, I already knew something was off, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

Looking into a mirror was a strange curiosity. I saw myself and knew it was me, but there was something wrong that I couldn’t describe for years. Any pleas to help me figure it out were met with terrifying pushback. The feelings I felt were “unbecoming” and “sin,” I was told. So, I was on my own. I tried on my first bra in 2008 at the age of 15 and for the first time in my life, I looked in the mirror and didn’t feel like something was off. But again, I still had no idea why I felt the way I did.

47b9453804ee4edfd47165881d147c95

Being the curious person that I am, I decided to experiment further. My family, notably my parents, continued to be a hurdle. I knew from experience that they had very negative opinions of gay people. As I grew up, they frequently tried to teach me that the worst thing that I could ever become was a gay man. I didn’t know what “transgender” was back then, but I did have a feeling what I was doing was probably worse in their eye than being gay. Our home was a place where I had no privacy, where getting discovered would be a nightmare. So, I kept my experimentation to times when both parents were at work.

ADVERTISEMENT

Thankfully, I’d soon get my driver’s license, which meant that I could start to figure myself out away from home. I started searching for places where I could be by myself and found the Illinois Beach State Park. I discovered that everyone went to the southern unit but not the northern unit, which sat directly next to a decommissioned nuclear power station.

Ab476d7521f68fb4a7599a3b6d5df898

I would borrow my parents’ 2003 GMC Envoy XL and hit the road. The Illinois Beach State Park quickly became my favorite place in the world. I could do anything there, I could be whoever I wanted there. The beach was deserted and there wasn’t anyone to tell me no or to judge me.

Later, I got my first car, a 2001 Kia Rio sedan, and that pile of junk turned into so much more than a vehicle. It was my lifeboat, and since it was my car, it was also my sanctuary. I didn’t have privacy at home, but I had it in my car. It wasn’t so much transportation as it was my personal escape capsule.

As my experimentation continued, I got sloppy. It resulted in interrogation sessions from my parents befitting a murder investigation. Each harsh word sank into my head like a dagger. Eventually, I became depressed, which meant more interrogations and being told how being sad and girly was the worst thing that could ever happen.

ADVERTISEMENT

7715415d2c2bead10c37b3fdb8686dbc

When it all became too much, I hopped into that little red Kia and drove until I ran out of road, tears and music. I didn’t even know how to describe what was happening — I didn’t even learn what “transgender” was until I was 21. I had no idea who I was and everyone I tried to reach reacted by trying to punish me. But the Kia didn’t care. It dutifully carried me to wherever I pointed it. Oftentimes I felt it was just me, that car, and the open road.

I owned the car for a year and 11,000 miles. I pat the little car on its roof when I sold it to CarMax, the check from the sale becoming my down payment for my first Smart. Even when the Kia was gone it was helping me out.

457894 413460941998936 48215056

The Smart carried the Kia’s torch. I continued my experimentation to the point where I felt I needed to give myself a name, Mercedes, and tinted the car’s windows so the car could function as a secret mobile closet. In 2014, after years of figuring myself out and working with professionals in secret, I came out as trans. My world turned upside down as my parents saw their worst fears realized and I lost almost every friend I had ever made. Childhood friendships vanished overnight and I was on my own. Like the Kia, the Smart and the open road carried me when nobody else would.

ADVERTISEMENT

This is a long way of saying that without cars and without the freedom offered by cars and the road, I probably wouldn’t be here. When life feels it’s going the wrong way, I still hop in or straddle a seat, turn a key, and just go somewhere, anywhere. Being able to do this road trip with my wife was the ultimate version of the trips I’ve done my whole life.

The Car

20240216 133909

The next question was what car would we take? Sheryl packed a comically huge suitcase. I couldn’t fit everything she packed, everything I packed, plus some basic tools into the back of a Smart. That meant we couldn’t take any of my five Smarts or any car I own with a smaller trunk like the Saturn Sky Red Line or the Honda Beat. I also wanted to make sure we got there without any issues, so that ruled out the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI, one of my Volkswagen diesel wagons, and her BMW E39 wagon. The V10 TDI is working great, for now, while one of my wagons has a title issue and her wagon burns a quart of oil every 50 miles.

The rest of my cars were either too slow for highway travel, like the Suzuki Every, too thirsty, like the bus, or had a manual transmission, which Sheryl could not operate. That left us with two really solid choices: The BMW E61 wagon I bought from The Bishop or Sheryl’s newly-acquired Scion iQ. We chose the smaller, less comfortable car of the two. The BMW was the better choice, but we loved the idea of taking a tiny car for such a long voyage.

20240215 150358

ADVERTISEMENT

So, what is it like taking the world’s smallest four-seat car (at least in the modern day) on such a long trip? I’ll break it down.

Illinois

Our honeymoon trip was scheduled to take just over an entire week, with most of it happening in Williams, Arizona. We figured we would drive through the first weekend, arrive at Williams on Monday, and then drive through the second weekend to get back home. The original plan had us leaving on Friday, February 10, but other obligations delayed our departure to Saturday afternoon.

To make up for lost time, we skipped the entire Illinois portion of Route 66. We’ve already driven on Route 66 in Illinois. It’s well-marked with lots of great places to see, including a Pontiac car museum that isn’t where you would expect it to be. Instead, we drove down I-55, which is one of the interstates that replaced Route 66. We didn’t miss much, as Route 66 often just follows the interstates that replaced it, functioning as a frontage road.

The Scion iQ was an interesting choice for this trip. You already know how Toyota marketed the car, but there’s more to it than that. The iQ was a competitor to the Smart Fortwo, a pair of cars designed to make city parking easier. While they can be used for long-distance travel, you can tell that the engineers behind these vehicles weren’t thinking too hard about it. For example, Smart didn’t start offering cruise control until 2011 and the Scion iQ was never offered in America with cruise control.

ADVERTISEMENT

However, Toyota was a little better at making the iQ feel more “normal.” At 10 feet, the car is 14 inches longer than a Smart Fortwo. Its width of 66.1 inches makes it 5 inches wider than a second-generation Smart Fortwo. Officially, the iQ has four seats and it can comfortably seat three American-size adults. However, Sheryl and I use the car as a two-seater with a big trunk.

Under the sliver of a hood is a 1.3-liter four-cylinder making 93 HP and 89 lb-ft of torque delivered to the front wheels through a CVT. The 2,127-pound Scion iQ weighs about 300 more pounds than a second-gen Smart, but the iQ is faster.

Something we noticed early on is that the iQ, or at least our iQ, is a car that punishes you for going fast. My gas-powered Smarts will still deliver 40 mpg at 80 mph. But they have computer-controlled manual transmissions.

ADVERTISEMENT

The CVT-equipped iQ will do above 40 mpg at 60 mph and will still get 38 to 39 mpg at 70 mph. Our fuel economy drops to about 30 mpg at 80 mph and it’s all downhill from there. Sometimes, such as when we dealt with heavy headwinds or mountain passes, the CVT had the engine revving high and it seemed like the car was just shoveling fuel into its engine. That’s not something that happens with my Smarts.

At the very least, the iQ takes just $18 to fill up, which I cannot say about my premium fuel-loving Smarts. And it was easy to ignore the fuel economy when we jammed out to the tunes pumped out by the iQ’s good stereo.

Missouri

20240211 111402

Sheryl and I decided to mark the official start of the trip in St. Louis. We’d start by walking under the Gateway Arch before heading southwest.

Unfortunately, the denizens of St. Louis had other plans. A drunk man took offense to the iQ and then to us, threatening to damage the vehicle and cause a scuffle because we were “harshing his vibe.” That was enough for us to skip St. Louis, but we couldn’t leave because the man was literally tossing himself at the vehicle’s hood. I’m still not sure what happened that night, but we found a brief gap between his nonsense and took it, running red lights just to get out of there.

ADVERTISEMENT

20240211 111503

That experience was scary enough that we just drove on straight through to Rolla, where we set down for the night. The morning after, we decided to continue down Route 66. As I said before, Route 66 often just follows the highway. Sure, there are some detours here and there, but the road is largely just a frontage road.

Admittedly, I didn’t expect that. When you Google Route 66, you see lots of touristy stuff and perhaps pictures of long, desolate road. Route 66 does have that, but most of the time you’ll just be driving next to an Interstate. That makes sense as the interstate replaced Route 66, but it becomes much clearer when you’re actually driving the route.

20240211 111716

The other thing I didn’t expect was poor signage. Illinois was pretty good at marking what roads count as Route 66, so you could navigate without assistance. Missouri is hit-and-miss. You’ll see a Route 66 sign, take a turn, and then have no idea if you’re on the correct path or not. It only got worse in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, which required frequent checks of digital maps.

ADVERTISEMENT

One of the biggest stops in Missouri is a place called Uranus. It isn’t an actual town, but a collection of businesses obsessed with butt-based humor. The tourist stop has humorous signage, what’s allegedly the world’s largest belt buckle, and staff are encouraged to make Uranus jokes whenever possible.

20240211 113254

It was a fun 30-minute diversion and it wasn’t long before I figured out that Route 66 is full of those. You’ll see something, stop for 15 to 30 minutes, and then get back on the road.

Oklahoma And Texas

Another thing we learned is that you absolutely need more than a weekend to complete a Route 66 trip. The road spans some 2,400 miles. Doing that distance on an interstate over a weekend requires few stops, let alone doing it on a slower historical route. I quickly learned that driving the slow speeds of Route 66 and stopping at abandoned buildings plus tourist traps meant we’d never get to Williams by Monday afternoon.

20240211 143450

ADVERTISEMENT

Sheryl and I had to admit that we didn’t plan this all too well and as a result, we drove on the interstate far longer than we expected. This meant losing the path of Route 66 for most of Oklahoma as we made up time on the Interstate. A reader tells me that in doing so, we missed a sweet museum that has a GM EV1. Drat!

Texas was an unexpected trip. Admittedly, I did zero checking of the weather along the route. I expected Williams and the Grand Canyon to be cold, but I, perhaps foolishly, thought Texas was going to bring some warmth. It did not.

In fact, a snowstorm hit as we left Oklahoma City by way of I-40. Now I started paying attention to the weather and reports indicated somewhere around four inches of snow were going to fall in Texas along I-40. I didn’t think anything of it because four inches of snow is nothing where we live. However, a dusting of snow is a big deal for northern Texas.

20240211 201310

20240212 102111

ADVERTISEMENT

Driving through Texas was a slog as the snow seemingly caught up so many unsuspecting Texans. We witnessed at least three overturned semis, several jackknifed semis, and countless cars that spun off of the highway, either flipping or getting stuck.

It’s easy to point and laugh and say that Texans can’t drive in the snow, but there’s more to it than that. Texas just doesn’t know how to remove snow from highways.

20240212 104059

20240212 101631

We witnessed plow trucks dumping snow into lanes of traffic or into exit lanes. The latter meant that some exits were inaccessible to anything without at least a foot of ground clearance. This snow froze into large, solid chunks of ice, turning the highway into car-killing minefields. Add the lack of traction aids, be it salt or sand, and even portions of the road that looked clean were treacherous. Texas managed to make four inches of snow feel as dangerous as a northern blizzard.

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite that, we soldiered our way on to Amarillo, where we went to sleep for the night. The next morning, we hit up the famous Cadillac Ranch, which is as awesome in real life as it is in pictures. It’s pretty amazing how intact these cars remain, even with so many layers of paint on top.

20240212 100824

20240212 100326

20240212 100828

We were still behind time so we decided to split Texas into partial drives on Route 66 and make up time by hopping on I-40. Once again, Route 66 follows I-40 through much of Texas, so that was easy.

ADVERTISEMENT

New Mexico

As we got closer to Arizona, Route 66 got a lot cooler once again. Route 66 in New Mexico started off with a free car museum buried deep in a gas station.

20240212 102958

20240212 103404

The cars inside weren’t anything you hadn’t seen before, but it was so cool to see a pocket of car culture practically in the middle of nowhere.

New Mexico also offered its own interesting adventure on Route 66. Instead of driving straight to Albuquerque, we found that Route 66 had a pre-1937 alignment that turned north toward Las Vegas (not Nevada) before curving west to Santa Fe. I found myself drawn into this detour and we took it.

ADVERTISEMENT

20240212 124844

20240212 125459

This was the Route 66 I’ve seen in pictures. It was just a lonely road that went on as far as the eye could see. There were no services and no cellular reception. This alignment of Route 66 was just pure scenic and driving enjoyment. Sure, we got to Albuquerque way later than expected, but it was totally worth it.

New Mexico also gave Sheryl her first taste of driving the iQ at altitude as we had to drive at altitudes exceeding 6,000 feet. The iQ became a bit more wheezy than expected. It was still able to hold highway speed limits but the power loss at altitude definitely had the engine revving higher to keep traveling with the speed of traffic.

Arizona

20240212 172248

ADVERTISEMENT

As we left New Mexico, we learned that Route 66 through Arizona largely followed I-40. Route 66 was so close to I-40 that we just looked at it from the interstate. If we saw anything interesting, we pulled over to look at it. The biggest draw for me was the ruins of the Twin Arrows Trading Post.

During the week, we would ride down I-40 to visit the famous Meteor Crater. Yep, it’s a giant hole in the ground and you bet it’s worth the price of admission.

20240213 143406

Route 66 branched off in Flagstaff, where you could look at old-school motels and other structures, and it branched off again in Williams, which was our destination. Williams is a tourist town and gets its fame from being the town that connects you to the Grand Canyon. It’s also the last town to get bypassed by Route 66.

Everything in Williams is geared toward the Grand Canyon and Route 66. The town is packed full of all sorts of stores. All of them sell vaguely the same things, usually stickers and replica Route 66 signs. Yes, some will sell hats, clothes, and Western gear, but it’s hilarious how many generic Route 66 sign replicas you can get from almost any store in Williams. It’s a bit silly, too, because these stores will have real vintage Route 66 memorabilia and neon signs, which will draw you in, but you can’t buy any of it.

ADVERTISEMENT

20240216 110348

20240213 103438

A local expert told me to be careful buying Route 66 signs online, too. Most that are said to be original are actually replicas, including all of the so-called original signs with three mounting holes in them. Sadly, if you, like me, want to buy something original from Route 66, you will find a lot of original Route 66 artifacts in Williams, but you can’t buy any of them.

Still, the town was great. Sheryl and I enjoyed breakfast at a vintage diner and dinner at a small family-owned restaurant. Williams is full of that small-town spirit, and it’s largely the good kind of spirit.

20240213 111303

ADVERTISEMENT

Of course, our draw to Williams was the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, which I wrote about in a different piece. That was another fun time and that little part of Arizona kept us captivated until it was time to leave on Friday. We relaxed on Monday, went shopping and to the Meteor Crater on Tuesday, took the train on Wednesday, and did the Grand Canyon by car on Thursday.

20240215 143224

20240215 155342

20240215 174824

We also had the Petrified Forest National Park in our plans as well as ideas to visit a nearby Buddhist temple and a Native reservation. But the truth is, we packed perhaps too many activities into a week-long vacation. We will have to come back and do Route 66 the right way again one day.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Way Back

The original plan was to take Route 66 back home, but Sheryl wanted to see the western side of the Rockies, so we plotted a new route home. The new route took us through Utah, where we saw breathtaking rock formations. I also got to go to Moab for the first time in my life, though we got there too late to have too much fun.

20240216 175034

The highlight of the way back for Sheryl was getting to take her car through the Rockies on I-70 through Colorado. The Scion iQ felt like it lost a lot of power on the grades and to be fair, the Continental Divide at the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel is at 11,112 feet, so the Scion certainly left some horses in the stable. However, that little car didn’t quit. It climbed the mountain, rounded Colorado’s scenic curves, and conquered the great American road trip.

20240217 115148

When all was said and done, we drove that little Scion iQ about 4,000 miles. It never skipped a beat or let us down. We also scored about 33 mpg as the average for the whole trip, which isn’t bad because we revved out that little engine. We gave the car no mercy and it didn’t give up.

ADVERTISEMENT

Turn That Key And Hit The Road

20240216 175556

Even though this was our honeymoon, I found myself thinking that this is why cars can remain a great thing. It’s so easy to sit in front of the computer screen and read the headlines. If you’re a trans person I know I don’t have to tell you that things aren’t looking good. That was also especially true in some of the states we drove through.

But, like those days seemingly long ago in my past, I felt great power in leaving that computer behind, turning the key of that little car, and just driving. For a little over a week, Sheryl and I felt untouchable as we traversed the nation. Sure, the problems didn’t go away, but the romance of the road trip will be unforgettable. If you can swing it, just hop in your car and drive somewhere. It doesn’t matter where, just go. You may find it refreshing, possibly in a life-changing way.

20240218 150327

Popular Stories

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
74 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Roofless
Roofless
25 days ago

We’re glad you’re here. ❤️

The Mark
The Mark
23 days ago

Keep your head held high.

PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
22 days ago

This was a fantastic piece. First and foremost, thank you for sharing your story. It probably feels like you’re screaming into a void – especially in the current political climate – but it’s so important for you to be your authentic self. Looking at the comments, it’s very nice to know I’m not the only one who is so glad that you’re part of The Autopian!

And I’m seriously impressed with you and your wife’s road trip in such a small car…overall, it seems like you had a blast! I remember being seriously intimidated the first few times I did a road trip in something smaller than a Suburban…

Danger Ranger
Danger Ranger
24 days ago

Thank you for being here and for your incredible articles. I truly appreciate you sharing your stories of triumph and I know you are inspiring others with your words.

I hope you and Sheryl have many more years of road trips, love, and happiness.

????️‍????“We deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame, and without compromise.” —Elliot Page????️‍????

Last edited 24 days ago by Danger Ranger
Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
25 days ago

This is so amazing and well written. I love road trips a lot and glad y’all had a wonderful time. You are a wonderful writer and we’re definitely glad you’re here!

Next Friday
Next Friday
25 days ago

Great article. Great pictures. You’re great.

Nancy
Nancy
25 days ago

Awesome well-written article! Now I have the motivation to plan the road trip of my dreams, thanks to you. Thank you so much for sharing this inspiring article!

Lotsofchops
Lotsofchops
25 days ago

Beautiful story, and I don’t have anything to add except to concur that Meteor Crater is worth a visit. The little museum is nice, and yeah it’s a hole in the ground but it’s BIG. No picture does it justice.

Myk El
Myk El
25 days ago

Great article. I love the open road here out west. The last few summers, I’d been staying back at my folks’ home in Colorado so drove from Tucson to the foothills west of Denver usually in May and back home in September. Me, my furry traveling companion and my music. Good times.

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
25 days ago

Congratulations — on finding a path to living an authentic live, on being able to find joy in a world that is often hostile and hateful, on what sounds like an epic honeymoon adventure, and on a wonderful article that brings us along for the ride.

Meeting you at DT’s going-away party and getting to thank you for your representation and visibility has been a high point of my stay in Autopia, and I’m hoping our paths cross again soon. If you ever see an old white guy in a black Acura waving at you while driving around Chicago, it’s probably me.

Attack Squirrel
Attack Squirrel
25 days ago

Interesting fact about the Uranus travel stop – it’s a new thing. I was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood 2011-2014 and it was a strip club while I was there. I never went but it had a reputation of, let’s say, not the best local talent. Now it’s a family tourist trap which I find hilarious.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
25 days ago

Since someone started cutting onions somewhere in the detour section, I’m gonna come back for the rest of the road trip after I tell you that yeah, sometimes in real life I think about you, about this website, about the commentors I’ve met and the ones I’ve yet to meet, and I am grateful for the breadth and depth of what we all bring.

You, Mercedes, most of all, I feel really capture the open road aspect of things. What I mean is that while Lewin is swearing at German cars with his sophisticated Australian accent, and Thomas is trying to convince us to buy yesteryear’s ubersedans, and David is off-roading and using fancy numbers with punctuation in them, and Torch is scratching at the basement door with the wiring harnesses of a dozen amber taillights to go out for walkies, and Adrian is swearing at everything and genuinely wishes the sun would extinguish, and the commentariat engages and wraps around every article like a cool, comforting snake, you, Mercedes, embody the road, the out and away, the ride home from the coffee shop 8 minutes from the house that somehow passed through 4 counties in an hour and a half of needless, vital freedom. I think about your tiny crazy motorcycles, the unscratchable Buell, the parade of Volkswagens that no madman or madwoman would ever touch – yet she persists! – and I am grateful.

JDS
JDS
25 days ago

You’re a badass, Mercedes. You display an amazing amount of courage and grace. If you and/or Sheryl ever need anything in Denver, from a restaurant recommendation to a ride or a place to wrench, look this ally up. First beer is on me.

Geo Metro Mike
Geo Metro Mike
25 days ago

Heavy stuff. Cars & the road kept you going to find a cool job, a crowd that wants to listen, an awesome companion, and fun hobbies (you fly!). In a sea of ho-hum, you break the monotony of daily life. Thanks for the great reads Mercedes.

Alex
Alex
25 days ago

Mercedes, thank you for your story and for the tales of your life. I hope you and Sheryl have much, much love, health and happiness to come.

Mike F.
Mike F.
25 days ago

Great article on a fun trip and on how cars can mean so much more than just transportation (which is what draws a lot of us to this site). I hope you might consider taking the first part of this article and putting it out on other sites (if you haven’t already done that) to offer some encouragement to others going through the struggles that you experienced and ultimately triumphed over, Mercedes. That’s inspiring stuff.

It’s just too bad that you weren’t able to get all the way down 66 to Kingman. The El Trovatore is a must-stop motel, both for the movie star themed rooms and the owner’s stories regarding the glories of Kingman. To paraphrase Monty Python, “it smells a bit but has a heart of gold”.

Last edited 25 days ago by Mike F.
74
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x