Summer is fast approaching. It’s our time of travel.

I asked Bradley what places he would like to visit during the next decade. His list was short — but exotic. The Serengeti in Africa, Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia, The Pyramids in Egypt and the City of Petra in Jordan.

I wasn’t surprised. We’ve already been to the Galapagos, the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza, Mexico, Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica — and we’ve ridden the White Pass Railway out of Skagway in Alaska.

Six months ago, we would have been making plans to head across the ocean.

But the Coronavirus has turned the world of travel upside down.

In today’s world, can you imagine getting on an airplane for a 20-hour flight from Portland to Cairo, with stops in Reykjavík and Paris? I can’t either. Even with a five-gallon dispenser of hand-sanitizer.

So we have had to revisit our travel plans. Wherever we go, it will be in the United States, and our travel will be by car. There are still issues concerning where we might stay and eat, but at least we won’t be trapped in an airplane.

From Oregon there are some attractive choices. A multitude of national parks in the western U.S. would make attractive destinations. I’ve never been to Mount Rushmore. I’d like to share Yellowstone, the Tetons, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Arches, Zion and Bryce with him.

We would prefer to go in an interesting — sometimes the opposite of reliable — car. At the moment, the most attractive vehicle in the SCM stable would be our 1971 Jaguar S3 V12 coupe. It cruises effortlessly at 80 mph and has excellent air conditioning.

The fettling of the Jag continues under the expert guidance of Ed Grayson at Consolidated Auto Works. After getting a new fan relay, the E-type no longer overheats. Ed just replaced the shattered polyurethane front suspension bushings, and the car now goes down the highway straight and true with no clunks.

We talked about renting a small motorhome. That would resolve questions about where we would eat and sleep. But cleaning up our mobile kitchen, dumping waste water and staying in RV parks didn’t mesh well with my notion of vacation. It also removes any possibility of joy in driving.

There’s a lot to see in this country. We hope to start our Tour d’National Parks this summer. Watch here for a picture of the Jag at Hoover Dam en route to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. If you have suggestions about the perfect road trip that starts and ends in Portland, I’d love to hear them.

6 comments

  1. Love to have you and Bradley visit the beautiful Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. Lots of well-kept twisty roads to keep you and the Jag happy. Free guide service available (by me in one of my classic Porsches). Hope to see you soon!

  2. not certain this fits all of your criteria yet…a very worthwhile long
    road trip is for you two to head up to Jasper then head down thru glacier hwy, staying in Fairmounts along the way…Do be a tourist and take ride up onto glacier, bring plastic glass to drink from. Down Glacier National Park to Yellowstone to Jackson back thru bitterroots to pdx
    I did see you here in astoria in the jag, it is a 2+2 right?
    Have a great safe healthy summer

  3. Hi Kieth, Don Johnson here. I have been following your blog for quite a while now and really enjoy it. We have some of the same taste in cars. I own a 67 Giulia Super (my second) and a 59 Giulietta Spider for almost 50 years (my first car). I also enjoy a little 4×4 action with my 1990 Syncro Doka.

    Your road trip idea sounds fantastic so I have a few suggestions. I think your close enough to Glacier National Park to include in the list. Also, when I turned 62 I bought for $5 a National Park Pass (I think they are $85 now) it will offer some great benefits for your trip.

    DJ

  4. When you head south enroute to Arizona, be sure and stop at Crater Lake…The climb will be a good test of the Jags cooling system before you get too far from home.

    And while I hear your concerns about cooking and emptying the toilet tank, don’t be too quick to dismiss a RV. There are several small B and C class diesels based on Mercedes vans.
    True a van, even a Mercedes, isn’t one’s dream ride, but remember that it’s the company and places that make a trip memorable. I had a great time in my Ford Excursion towing my car in an enclosed trailer to a club meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Okay, the trip on Interstates wasn’t as exciting as circling the track, it had its own charms.
    And by sleeping and eating in a RV, you’ll limit your exposure, so you’ll trade some driving fun for peace of mind. Sometimes, compromises have to be made.

    Oh, the Pyramids? Been there done that. Very impressive but certainly not worth the trip “in these uncertain times”. (Can we finally come up with a different phrase?).
    My flight, courtesy of the U.S. Air Force, was 36 hours and featured stops in Newfoundland, Iceland, Ireland, Sicily, and finally Egypt.
    My trip had many auto adventures, not the least of which was a Egyptian Secret Service-led trip across Cairo where, for security reasons, we were not allowed to the stop for any reason including stoplights and pedestrians. The result was like an old “Keystone Cops” silent film comedy; narrowly missing all manner of vehicles and people. Ah, the “good old days”. On second ‘llthought, I’m happy to be home…maybe I’ll take the SL across the pass to Montana.

  5. Hi Keith,
    Check out the Mercedes diesel conversion on Bring a Trailer. The ideal vehicle to cruise America!

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