Sunday, January 15, 2017

#9 - Thursday, 12 January 2017 | Marietta, Georgia

Finally a post from another state! Full disclosure, however – I am actually writing this on Sunday morning from Homestead, Florida. I am playing catch up on the blog as I was too exhausted after the long drive south to type.

Last Monday morning's phone call informing me that my truck had arrived was a complete surprise. My original plan of being in Florida before the end of 2016 and ringing in the New Year from Key West seemed like a distant memory. I had actually resigned myself to the fact that I'd likely just have to wait for the RV to be ready before my #roadtripusa2017 would commence. As soon as I was able I was off to Tom Peck Ford, and that afternoon I drove off in my new ride. I knew then that I would hit the road and seek warmth. In text messages I told my sister Lisa that I would head to Florida on Friday morning and her response was "why wait?". I did want to leave immediately, but I had purchased a Protector package for the truck that would have to be applied. On Wednesday I exchanged the new truck for a loaner car while they applied treatments to the interior, the undercarriage and the truck's finish. I packed my camera backpack and a suitcase and was off at 3 a.m. Thursday morning.

The truck practically drives itself. It is so smooth and powerful. As I drove I tried to familiarize myself with each bell and whistle. The cruise control not only allows you to choose speed, but it can be set to maintain a specific distance from the vehicle in front of you. There are controls to adjust the accelerator and brake pedals to your liking. It has Apple Car Play so nine primary apps are easy accessible on the 8" touch screen control screen. I had it reading incoming texts to me and dictated my replies, which were read back to me and appended to prior to sending. I listen to audiobooks while I drive and the Audible app is included. Although the truck has its own navigation system that is voice-activated, I chose to use Maps from my iPhone as it loads directions from my Expedia app and its features were great during the drive.

white gold 2017 Ford F-150 XLT Chrome 4x4
with 3.5L EcoBoost Twin-Turbo V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission

My as of yet unnamed truck sits at a Georgia rest stop with young magnolia trees as a background.

I left Chicagoland at 3 a.m. and the roads were icy. As I progressed south through Indiana rains were frequent, but the roads were good. I watched the thermometer climb and soon was down to just a t-shirt. After several hours of driving I became very tired and pulled into a rest area and grabbed my favorite pillow. I dozed in the reclined driver's seat and after an hour or so was again soaring down the highway, listening to the second Game of Thrones novel A Clash of Kings. I've read all five of the current GoT novels, but sold them as I liquidated unneeded possessions. I will always be a man of the printed book, but today I do most of my reading on my iPad Kindle app and for road trips enjoy audiobooks. The novels are about 1000 pages each and the audiobooks over thirty hours in length, so long road trips are the perfect time for George R.R. Martin's complex stories.

Vegetarian options are scarce while living on the highway, and I have returned to a diet excluding meat. Truth be told, I am still eating fish meat as sushi is my favorite food and I worry about not getting enough protein for a big man who hikes. I definitely won't return to being vegan as I get used to fake sausage and such and love quinoa or black bean burgers, but faux cheese is just bad. For lunch I found a Pizza Hut buffet and had a crappy salad, slices of veggie pizza and garlic breadsticks. 

It was a long, long day but I was happy in my luxurious new truck, heading south to warmer climes and spectacular wildlife. I had a nice room reserved at the Radisson Hotel in Marietta, just north of Atlanta. I only stopped for coffee and places to discharge processed coffee. My new truck has the maximum trailer towing package, which includes a 36 gallon fuel tank. I only have to stop to refuel once a day. It was about 8 pm before I made it to the hotel. It was 69ºF. I had a light dinner and two bottles of Samuel Adams in the hotel bar. I hoped to be on the road again early the next morning but – spoiler alert – I slept in.

All the best, M

Total miles driven: 725.3
Total time on the road: 12.5 hours
Departure location: Hoffman Estates, Illinois
Arrival location: Marietta, Georgia

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