MAA50TH The meaning behind the license plate

05 gt 5spd

On the road again

This is How what started as a weekend trip in 2009 turned into a 26 day,14,000+ km trip in 2014!
In 2009 working in Arizona I met a group of people who loved their Mustangs, loved them enough to travel across America to celebrate the 30[SUP]th[/SUP],35[SUP]th[/SUP] ,40[SUP]th[/SUP] and 45[SUP]th[/SUP] birthdays. I got to travel from Phoenix to Las Vegas ,then leave Las Vegas Motor Speedway with 209 other Mustangs. Now that was quite an experience. The only problem with this trip was I was in a rental car and could only travel with this group for one day. I wondered if I would ever do this trip in my own car.
Now the real story begins- In 2013 the planning began at MAA (Mustangs Across America) for the 50[SUP]th[/SUP] to travel from Corona ,California to Charlotte NC . Could I attempt the trip? A lot of miles to travel just to get to the starting point from Nova Scotia. It took a couple of months but finally I decided YES and registered for the trip, I was car #88 of what would turn into 519 registered for this drive. I worked out a plan looking at 6-8 days to get from NS to the start point, then to travel with the MAA group for 6 more days back to Charlotte. Crazy yes but I’m going. After a few chats Shipwright decided to join in as well and take his car. Saleen166 wanted to go but didn’t want to put all those miles on his Saleen and Rich2006GT who didn’t own a mustang at the time soon joined and our group was formed.

With 2014 being the year of the never ending snow storms we kept revising our departure time – Finally March 29 was the day – between snow storms, it was then or stay home as another storm was planned for Monday and we would be driving directly into the mess. Our March 29 departure was actually 2.5 days earlier than our original plan – allowing some sight-seeing along the way, more on that later.
In preparation we had out cars all checked out, fresh oil changes done, new tires, cleaned and polished and the undersides covered in Fluid Film- just in case of – you know that white stuff they put on the roads around here.
Well 8AM Saturday and we are pulling out of my driveway – we were underway. The clean cars didn’t last much past Truro as the rain snow mix started and continued past Moncton.
A quick Tims stop in Sailsbury, then off past Fredericton to the border.

At the Border - we wait

Gas Prices in Maine

As we waited at the border crossing in Holton we checked the forecast – Snow in Bangor that night ! Drive on we must. No rest tonight until we are far enough south that rain is the Sunday forecast. Nice part of having company in the car is we can switch up drivers – Jason and Denis quickly got into the gas and switch drivers routine, For Rich and I the switch was less often. 300 km became the semi normal gas/coffee out – refill as that was about ½ a tank. At the end of 3 refills,- a Dysarts lunch , snacks in the car , and 1155 Kms we arrived in Vernon CT for the night , heavy rain and heavy traffic for the last couple of hours made it a long day!

First and last Super 6 Motel for the trip but a well deserved sleep was had by all.

Lots of rain but the snow on the roads is behind us.

05 gt 5spd

On the road again
Morning of Day 2 was very wet, but no white stuff to deal with as we woke in Vernon. A bit of heavy traffic for the morning as we travelled through Hartford . We soon found that we had to adjust our plan as the breakfast coffee’s would not wait for our first 300k gas stop! By noon the rain had stopped as we traveled on RT 84 towards Scranton. I think we crossed / travel through 3 states in about 40 minutes, Connecticut, New York State, and Pennsylvania , then hit the RT81 and headed South West. As the day stopped we were treated to a nice sun set but more miles to travel as we decided Bristol, Virginia would be our stop for the night.

This would put us within striking distance of a piece of road Rich has already shown you. A stop at a great Holiday Inn Express was the end of day 2. Another 1200 km day. Sleep came easy again
We awoke to find this hotel had a suprise a full sit down breakfast for 4 was included in our room price- they didn’t make any money that morning! Frost on the windows of a couple of very dirty cars was found in the parking lot.

Quick under hood checks then on the road in SUNSHINE – destination Knoxville and the start of RT 129 ! But you know we cant take any more pictures with dirty cars so lunch and a car wash were found. Even though we only had Subway maybe Jason should have skipped lunch. We will let Jason tell that story.

Off to the Tail of the Dragon – Lots of fun – you can see the video links above. I’m not sure the brakes an my car will be the same after Rich’s run but I managed to stay out of the bushes on my run out without smoking the brakes- Just sayin ! 318 turns in 11 miles – you just have to drive that road ,the video does not do justice. Id like to come back when the trees had leaves, we had great visibility of what was coming up. Not so with leaves! we were there March 31st and they had seen 3" of snow here 2 days before we arrived. The roads were cold and we had street tires so everyone had to be careful. It is public road and you never know what you will meet on the corner.


After 2 round trips , and a few photo ops we were back toward Knoxville with the west side of Nashville in our sights. nice enough to leave the tops down until dark. Stopped for gas and spent an hour talking with a few locals who were building a mustang with their family.

This time a Hampton Inn – They had the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] best coffee on the trip but won the consistency award hands down!

Only about 700 km today but when you run about 80-100 km in second gear between 4000- 6000 rpm the day is a whole lot of fun! 3055 KM so far and we are just getting started.

Now on Interstate 40 Westward bound - still almost 2 days ahead of schedule and mostly on plan A . Funny thing has happened so far - the Black car has been leading the way - seems like that driver may have a plan - normally that car is found at the back of the pack!
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05 gt 5spd

On the road again
It’s now Day 4 –we are westward bound on Interstate 40 as we leave Nashville. Weather is now warm enough for us to have the tops down most of the day. We have now established a fairly normal routine, up at 6 , cleaned ,packed and breakfast by 7:30 and on the road for about and hour then the first gas stop. About 300k later we found gas again and it usually ended up being Subway, Denny’s or Cracker Barrel that would be at the rest stop. Today’s lunch was different as we stopped in Memphis, Tennessee to meet Rodney Rastall who would be filming the MAA50TH drive. No lunch stop in Memphis is complete without southern Pork BBQ- Corky’s was Rodney’s choice, good food! Rodney took a Picture of the four of us with the cars and TEAM NOVA SCOTIA was born, The name that followed us most of the trip. Today would be one of our last on the flat lands for a while as we were only at about 400 ft above sea level. We pushed through to Fort Smith Arkansas making this a 800 km day with an early night stop.
Guard Dog on Duty! Choco Jr

The first 2 long days had taken their toll on some of the drivers so time for some needed catch up. After supper became the time to map out the next day’s journey and plan for interesting stops. A check of the forecast gave us some troubling news. Day 5 would take us past Oklahoma City and Elk City as we headed toward somewhere in Texas for the night. Unfortunately that’s TORNADO ALLEY and guess what was forecast for the afternoon. Yup TORNADO’s and Hail! We decided a quick start was needed for the morning to put lots of miles behind us – us heading west as the storm moved from the south west from Texas to the north east. We traveled through Oklahoma City without incident . We drove a section of the original Rt 66 stopping in Elk City to Visit a Route 66 museum and have lunch.

Jason so wanted this fuel pump but no room in the trunk!

Tops up time as we left Elk city as the rain was on the horizon. Within an hour we were tucking in behind semi trucks as the pea sized hail began to fall. We stayed behind the semi’s and they deflected the hail and we came out without any damage. We later found out that indeed tornado’s had gone through St Louis and Oklahoma City during the afternoon. Once the weather cleared tops were down again!
We found our first of many MAA travelers today. A white Shelby from Michigan appeared in the mirror, John and his wife. We stopped at a place called Johnston Ranch to tell some stories. We checked - these were not any relatives of Rich’s so we didn’t go visit!

I'm sure you could watch the dog run away for a week out here ! It sure looks flat but we have been doing a steady uphill climb since we left Fort Smith, We are now at 3600 ft and more climbing to go. Steady crosswinds today. A poor biker was leaned over almost 20 deg just to travel straight down the highway!

We were glad to arrive in Amarillo Texas for the night and after checking in the hotel we looked across the parking lot to find John and his Shelby at the same Hotel. Clean but small hotel rooms here so 2 rooms were the plan for tonight. Amarillo Texas is famous for its Cadillac Ranch among other things so a trip to Walmart was a requirement for spray paint. Camera batteries and memory cards were acquired as well as some ”People of Walmart” moments. Texas has some interesting off ramps with GPS defying “U turns” that drove Rich’s GPS into fits. Oh by the way, My navigator is tiny bit dyslexic but predictable . I’ve come to realize that every third direction he suggests I needed to turn the opposite ! This makes for some interesting moments in traffic. If only I had realized that years ago when we were backcountry hiking!
In the last 2 days we have covered another 1500 km +/- a few. Cars are loving the 93 octane gas and warmer temps. Only problem is watching out for tumbleweeds coming down or across the highway and Oh the Arizona Alligators !

It's not hard to cover a lot of miles with speed limits like this but Texas is huge! The maximum speed limit on rural freeways and interstates in Texas is 85 miles per hour. "Rural freeways" are the sections of major highways that passing through rural and sparsely populated areas, and can safely allow faster driving. Rural highways will generally have the highest legal speed limits in Texas. 75 Mph most populated area's
In Texas, trucks have a maximum speed limit of 85 mph on rural freeways.

a preview of tomorrow AM's activities in the next post


I've being waiting impatiently for Gerry to update the trip report so I can add in some more photo's for that day and not get ahead of his story. One point about my navagation, we always get to our destination or back out of the woods don't we?

Team Nova Scotia at Cadaliac Ranch

Choco jr keeping an eye on the driver and road