More truck stop tales: Hitting the half-way mark on an MG odyssey

It's 5:30 a.m. at a truck stop in Bradford, Conn. There are maybe five cars outside and 40 trucks snoozing in the parking area. The diner has '50s music playing, so if it's ok with you, let's rock 'n' roll through the last two weeks travels.

"I Want To Hold Your Hand": Starting in Indiana, and continuing through four states, I have been one very surprised little car driver. My first experience with toll-road driving started just after leaving Michigan, when the previous, mostly country road returned to our freeway of origin, Interstate 90. Tolls on the Hunt's Point/Evergreen Floating Bridge, as well as its sister bridge on Hood Canal, are familiar Northwest pay-to-drive experiences, but pay-by-the mile is new turf for me. Indiana was cheap at $1.50 a ride, Pennsylvania was a "free" way (albeit very short lived), but New York's similarly brief experience took a $7.60 toll on our pocketbook.

"Jailhouse Rock": We had an enjoyable stop for three days in Russell, Ohio - east of Cleveland - where we stayed with hostess Sally Carroll and her five beautiful MG automobiles: TC, TF, YB, MGA and MGBGT. Carroll resides in the country, and among the critters living near her residence was what must have been an 80-pound beaver munching away the neighbors front yard.

"Duke of Earl": Lake Erie State Park to Buffalo, N.Y.: Our first time this trip driving in rain, but we're staying hoodless! Rain stops at the Canadian border. Niagara Falls is grander a natural experience than imagined. I was able to double park the TD/TD-BT just long enough to snap one, slightly overexposed picture in front of the thundering plume of mist, and no one - no trucks, no tourist loaded in cars, no taxi drivers - interferes, until a tour bus decides I need to stop standing in the median and move the MG.

"The Twist": Syracuse, N.Y.: Home to my Palouse cousin, Don Meining, and we entertain each other with two days of reminiscing and regaling... Don is a very well-published Syracuse University Maxwell Research professor of geography who studied at the University of Washington... He nabbed a masters and a doctorate in the '50s, and during our visit was full of great family stories and history. His nephew Bill Hegelin and Bill's wife, Catey, now call Magnolia their "hometown."

"Great Ball of Fire": Hit a personal historic milestone just outside Utica, N.Y., as the odometer on the MG hit 100,000 miles at 8:27 a.m. on Aug. 22.

"Louie Louie": Enjoying a Woodstock, Vt., visit with Sally Sutton before she joins us to visit Nova Scotia, Canada. Only 40 miles from Sal's house, one of the TD-BT spring-shackles on the MG tears out of the frame, and the tire starts rubbing on the fender.... No choice but to drive on at 10 mph until help can be found. Forty-eight minutes to Ryegate, Vt., and the aid of Robco Metal Fabricating; two hours later, we're back on the road.

"Johnny Be Good": Bar Harbor, Maine: 'Johnnie,' the tour bus driver, be NOT so good to us - she clips our parked chariot with her bus, though damage sustained is not to the trip-stopping degree.

"Runaway": 6:30 a.m., Aug. 29, in line at the CAT ferry dock when ticket lady glances skyward and says: "Good Luck?".... First raindrop hit my head, and before were out of the booth area, it's unquestionable RAINING!

With Sally and Maggie under an umbrella in the passenger seat, I drive into the waiting line and ask: "How long until ferry loading starts?"

"About five minutes," replies a traffic worker, so I feel it's safe to leave for tree branch protection... we zip Maggie under the cover and take semi-shelter in the picnic area. They let us drive onto the ferry first, but not before we withstand like 20 minutes more of getting wet under the trees.

"Dream": Maybe the rain will stop by the time we get to Nova Scotia?

"Satisfaction": Rain only getting worse as we move eastward for three hours; time to put the hood up. Along the way from the ferry dock to our Canadian host's home we hit the half-way mark... 5,000 miles from Magnolia!

"Under the Board Walk": Nova Scotia, day No. 2 - no rain; in fact, the air here has a lovely, lush, velvety feeling about it. We drive to Hall's Harbor to observe the tide... a 40-foot change, and when its coming back in, you can see the tideline rise at inches-per-minute speed! Next stop is 900 feet higher, at the look-off on Blomidon Mountain toward Annapolis Valley-Minas Basin-Bay of Fundy-Atlantic Ocean... need I say more about the view?

"Twist and Shout": Day No. 3 starts with a good-bye lunch with our hosts at a LOL diner, where we eat some knock-out homemade pie and afterward drive through pouring buckets of rain to Halifax.

Day No. 4 is sunny - just perfect for a drive to Peggy's Cove on an MG-lovin' road full of winding curves. Our easternmost point of travel has a shoreline comprised of rocks the size of a house!

Day No. 5 visits the charms of Shelburne, Nova Scotia, and the Islands Park campgrounds, followed the next day by a CAT-ride back to the United States. Leaving the joys of Nova Scotia on the ferry out of Yarmouth brought forth a very magical MG treat. Barely settled into the recliner seat topside, I was approached by Charles Smith, henceforth know as Sir Charles of Chestertown, Md.

First, Sir Charles amazed me by actually having seen the 10,000 Mile TD and our 'Travels with Maggie' on the Web site of the Milwaukee chapter MG club!

Then came the sine qua non of MG fellowship: In 2002, Sir Charles and his partner, Lady Danielle, traveled 10,700 miles around the United States and Canada in 84 days driving "Cecilia," their 1954 MG TF... and, like me, towing a homemade trailer! But they had no Maggie (for those who don't know, my loving Shih Tzu companion named after Magnolia) along for the ride, so my record is safe.

"Peggy Sue": Camden Maine State Park, Friday, Sept. 3 - 800-foot mountain view of the coastal islands that approaches the grandeur of the Orcas Island/Mount Constitution view in Washington state.

"La Bamba": Kennebunkport, Maine - Allison's restaurant has the best lobster roll imaginable. Oh, yeah: former President G. H. W. Bush lives here, too... a very impressive ocean retreat.

"Wild One": Last Maine impression - guy backs his truck into the MG fender... good-BYE, Maine!

"California Girl": Southbound, under Boston, into Rhode Island, and now Connecticut and the nicest of campgrounds to date, Hammonasset Beach State Park... with 598 sites, I thought I'd feel lost, but four families on their 15th-annual Labor Day weekend camp-out invited me for dinner and campfire dessert. A grand way to prepare for the drive west to Watkins Glen, N.Y., and the big MG meet and vintage races starting today.

"Only the Lonely": See ya after that!

Write Rick Malsed at For further information on Rick's travels, visit[[In-content Ad]]