Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 2: Manhattan to Lexington, Virginia

Ah, quiet Sunday mornings in NYC. Daniel, the photographer shooting the magazine article, met us at the Dylan early. We pulled the cars out, and went around the city shooting in various spots. He radioed us from his car (drive by assistant Reese), while he shot from footbridges, building roofs, street corners and even while sitting in the back of his hatchback. Started raining while we cruised up Third Ave and around the Plaza. Even did laps of the Columbus Circle roundabout.

Had to fill up ($3.55!!!) in Manhattan, before heading off to NJ through the Holland Tunnel. The sounds of the cars in the tunnel were PROFOUND. In a surprisingly pastoral part of NJ (looking more like Virginia horse country, Daniel shot us while standing up and facing backwards in the 16M.
Then torrential downpours hit, as bad a rainstorm as I've ever seen. Cars were pulled over on the side of I-78. The 612 Scaglietti was supremely stable and confident even in these conditions; the 16M slightly less so. The McLaren was scary. And the downforce it generates was literally vacuuming the water off the road, making it impossible for anyone behind it to see.
So we decided to call in the cavalry. Reader Rich H wrote, "What definitely has me concerned about this adventure is that they're doing it with no support vehicle. My guess is that outside direct visual contact with an ocean, there are no tires in sizes suitable for any of those cars available 'off the rack.'"
True. So we decided to bring support - indeed, as we later joked, if you're crazy enough to drive four supercars across the country, all with differing needs for replacement tire (and wonky Italian electrics), you need support. So Dan arranged for his Ferrari Challenge race team transporter to accompany us. Yes, over the top. But it's hauling spare tires, and can take two cars if need be.
And in this rain, the need was real. The truck had spent the night in NJ waiting for us, so we arranged to meet it, and loaded the McLaren. We sent the truck directly down to Roanoke to meet us, so we could take the McLaren for the special roads tomorrow, while we continued our plan for the day.
After stopping for lunch in a traditional Jersey diner, we finally crossed into PA after 2 pm - about 4 hours behind schedule, due to the photo shoot requirements. Could we make it up?
We entered cruise-mode. Carefully picking our way through the 2-lane traffic down I-78 and I-81, we made up a lot of the deficit, arriving in Front Royal in the late afternoon. We set off for Skyline Drive, acccepting the fact that the drive would be slow, but we wanted to see the scenery.
Sadly, a small bird did a kamikaze into the front grill of the 612. Foreshadowing? We hope not.

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