in Black. I hit the sack.
I been too long I'm glad to be back.
Yes, I'm dead loose from the noose that's kept
me hanging around. I'm just, uh, livin' on the
side 'cause it's gettin' me high, forget the hearse
cause I never die. I got nine lives, cat's eyes,
each and evry one of them is wondrin why, cause
I'm back! Yes, I'm back!
Mama, I'm Back! Yes, I'm back!
Well, I'm back, back. Well, I'm back in black,
yes I'm back in black!"
- ACDC, "Back in Black"
THE LONG TRIP HOME
TASK: FLY FROM
JACKSON, MS TO CINCINNATI, OH., THEN ON TO GREENSBORO, NC via DELTA AIRLINES
TIME: 28 HOURS, 763 MILES DRIVEN IN A PRISTINE 1986 PONTIAC TRANS AM
Stepping off the airplane in Greensboro, Joe Albanese picked me up at the airport and took me to his office located a few miles away. This was the first chance that I had to actually view the car. I was not disappointed. The car was everything that was promised and more.
The '86 TA
parked outside the Greensboro, NC Snappy Auctions.com office. The owner of
me up at the airport and drove me back to the office a short distance away. Thanks, Joe.
Black is beautiful. And expensive, too, but at $7495.00, this car was not only everything it was originally advertised to be, it was also much more (as I would come to discover later that night when I started cracking the RPO codes). All options but power remote mirror and power remote deck lid release. That's the original paint and interior, at least from the rocker panels up it is.
I drove around Greensboro, NC trying to find food (I eventually settled on Subway), all weather floor mats and some sweet tea for the road. Since the TA didn't come with any mats of any kind and because it had a rare, pristine interior and because I knew I was heading into rain for the next 24 hours, it became somewhat imperative that I get some all weather mats that would help keep the interior clean. After driving around for the better part of 3 hours, I managed to find all of the things I needed including some sweet tea for the road in the shape of a 44oz SONIC cup. Why so long? It took me three hours to find all of this and acquire it since apparently, no one in Greensboro knows much of where anything else is, short of what is on their immediate block. I once joked that "all roads lead to Walmart." That logic is apparently invalid in North Carolina as I did not see one single Walmart until I got into Alabama. I didn't find a Target until I got to Georgia and it took a good long time to find that store, it was many miles off of the interstate. To add insult to injury, the store didn't have what I was looking for which was some kind of cup holder. I eventually found the cup holder (the clip on kind) at a Walgreens down the road. This allowed me to drive with more comfort since I wasn't using my legs to hold a bottle or cup between my knees.
Eventually, after asking directions a few times and getting several different answers, I sort of merged the answers together, formed a plan of my own and I found Interstate 85 and merged with traffic. That's when I discovered that traffic was apparently moving at 90mph. I set the cruise on 90mph, gave myself plenty of "bear bait" and sat back to enjoy a 750 mile trip back home.
This picture was snapped while on I-85, two hours out of Greensboro and 81 miles down the road. The cruise control is set at 90mph. People are passing me in the left lane of the highway.
Interstate 85 leaving Greensboro about 3 PM. Doing 90mph in cruise. Big trucks were passing me. BIG trucks. Did I mention that the cruise was pegged at 90MPH? Something must be wrong with the speedometer. It didn't feel like I was doing 90mph...
Bathroom break at some rest area along I-85 about 5:30 PM as the 44oz of sweet tea from SONIC starts to beg to be let out. It was getting dark so I flipped up the headlights. Yes, they work. Oh, I am pleased. No more spinning top disease. No more unlocking the hood, flipping the headlights on, raising them manually, locking them in place, then shutting the hood. To lower them, reverse the procedure. Now with this 'Bird, it's just push the button, the headlights come up (with authority). Push the button again, they retract. Sweet. I could get spoiled by having everything actually work on my car.
Self portrait at 90mph in cruise. I pulled off at a (dis)Comfort Inn in Jefferson, Georgia to spend the night. After nearly 22 hours of flying and driving with no rest at all, I was ready to start cracking the RPO codes and to sack out for about 6 hours of shut eye. The bed I slept in was harder than Fred Flintstone's but any port in a storm and storm it did that night ...
Sunday, March 19, 2006. About 9:15 AM. Atlanta at last. People still drove like idiots. The sky is getting darker the further South-West I head. Somewhere near the middle of downtown Atlanta, just before I-85 lets you get on I-20, God decided to drain his bathtub.
The rain let up some but for the rest of the trip, this is what it looked like. Notice the SES Service Engine Soon light on the dash (right most gauge pod, upper orange lit indicator). The wax on the car was a good job, it looked like a stampede of a herd of black ladybugs running over the hood of the car and falling off the edge near the windshield. The front window had also apparently been treated with Rain-X as it was more effective to leave the wipers off than to try to use them. 80mph in cruise. People were still passing me like I was standing still and it was raining hard.
Wait. No it isn't.
Another self portrait, day two, about 10:30 AM. Notice good growth of 5 o'clock shadow. Bad hair day.
An accident on I-20 stalls traffic in downtown Birmingham, AL and brings everyone to a complete stop.
Picture taken over my right shoulder during a rain storm just outside of Birmingham, AL.
SES light again. It came on and stayed lit after about twenty or thirty miles. I'll run the code scanner on it when I get home. 1:08 PM in the afternoon. CST time zone. I may not be home yet, but I'm definitely in the correct time zone. That white thing with black splotches is my sneaker on the accelerator.
Mississippi state line, about 20 minutes East of Meridian, MS and then just 90
more miles to home.
to Mississippi. It's like coming home."
Yeah, it is, especially for me.
This one was
just too easy; the TA at the TA.
The TA Travel Center / Truck Stop on I-59 North side of Meridian, MS.
90 miles later, I was home. The car was an instant hit with all members of my family, especially my little girl.
No one could believe that the Trans Am was in this good of a condition, for a 20 year old car.