The last leg of the ride, New York to Boston, was a well-worn path I had driven many times living in the Northeast. Compared to the nation-spanning conquest we had just completed, it felt like a ride up the block.
I took the wheel with my knees as I wolfed a breakfast sandwich from one hand and sipped lava-hot coffee from the other after a Dunkin’ Donuts stop I demanded. I delegated horn-honking and finger-giving to Birdie who was reading me the GPS’s instructions from the passenger seat.
Try as I might to convince him the drive wheels were in the wrong place he seemed happy with it. I asked him how awesome a light bar would look on Birdie’s ML and he shrugged as she rolled her eyes. Maybe they’ll be convinced when I get that Jurassic Park paintscheme on there…
The last stop before our final destination was Mike’s Pastry- an exceptional canoli purveyor and Boston institution. Bringing home a take from Mike’s for my family would win me some points right off the bat.
Just over an hour later we were pulling into my parent’s lawn. I had been dreaming of ripping a big, ignorant donut to announce my arrival but I aborted when I realized dad had just put down grass seed. I’d need to stay in his good graces a little longer if I expected him to let me use his tools.
A couple days of showing Jess around the North Shore and she was on a plane back to LA. I was left with a very tired SUV that was clamoring for a detailing and an oil change.
Thus concluded the longest and somehow most incident-free land expedition I’d accomplished yet. I don’t care if it was build in ‘Bama or Bremen, those boys at Benz know what they’re doing. Forget selling this rig, I’m adding it to the fleet!
The End • ML Across America
My friend Molly works at an animal ER in town, and met up with us around midnight to show us a few bars. I didn’t expect much on a Sunday night, but the local law enforcement certainly did. As we made our way back to the cars after last call we must have passed twenty Interceptors holding down Capitol Street containing what could only have been an invisible riot.
Talk about a sea change- it doesn’t get much more American than waking up in West Virginia and wrapping up in a Jersey City highrise overlooking New York’s skyline.
Birdie’s friend Brad brought us over the river (actually under it, on a subterranean commuter train) and to a kickass place in the East Village simply called “Frank Restaurant.”
The $4 ATM charge was well worth the experience of great food, stylish atmosphere and a surprisingly impressive wine list.
Actually, I shouldn’t have been surprised because rich hipsters love places like this.
Back at Brad’s apartment the nighttime view from the living room was downright inspiring. In the garage the car once again got to rub shoulders (er, fenders) with M3’s and AMG Merc’s… all of which were undoubtedly jealous of our humble ML’s epic expedition.
Even though we still had a couple hundred miles ahead of us, seeing the Atlantic meant we pretty well had this trip in the bag. And despite a few trying moments on those empty highways, we had had smooth sailing from one ocean to another.