As a kid I used to HATE Sunday drives. My parents would always load us in the car after church in our Sunday best and then proceed to take the LONG way home. It was the worst. All we ever wanted to do was get out of those stuffy clothes and enjoy our last day of freedom before going back to school on Monday. Driving around, stopping off at the neighbours' place, and visiting were NOT my idea of "good times".
I never really thought that one day I would appreciate the value of a Sunday drive since now it is one of my absolute favorite things to do. It also helps when this is your ride:
1974 Black Corvette "Sting Ray" - it's beautiful. So's the guy who drives it! :) I'd like to say I'm not the least bit materialistic, but I'd be flat out lying. I like things. I really like PRETTY things. And this car is pretty. I didn't fall in love with the scientist because of his car, but when he showed it to me on our third date (after seeing Batman, funnily enough) I knew there was definitely going to be a fourth date - preferably in the car!
Two years later and this car holds a lot of great memories for me - trips to the Dunes, a drive downstate to Springfield, cruisin' along Lake Shore Drive with the top down and seeing the lights of the city. There is NOTHING like driving in a convertible. And the attention we got when we were out driving didn't hurt either. Kids on every street corner would shriek with joy at seeing "The Batmobile", guys would elbow each other and shout "Hey, nice ride man!", and the girls would point us out to their boyfriends, and I always imagined, would wish they were me - cuddled up next to my beau in the front seat. Ah, summer lovin'.
But with the pending move to Germany, the scientist knew that the days with his beloved car were numbered. We went back and forth about whether he should keep it and store it, or ship it back to California to have it live with his parents for a bit. Ultimately, he decided to sell it and posted the add a few weeks ago.
Since my rehearsal hours are picking up and he leaves in another week, he suggested that this weekend we take Saturday and just go driving. I had made other plans for the day, but was happy for the suggestion and agreed that it would be nice to just get out of the city for a bit - so off we went, heading for the Indiana Dunes, hoping to get lost somewhere fun.
It was a great day. If a road looked interesting - we took it. We ended up much further away than we normally go, so decided to keep driving towards the Michigan Dunes. I saw a sign for a store called the "I Love Toy Trains" Store. I thought it looked interesting so we made the turn. Unfortunately, that store was closed, but beside it was this little gem:
Oink's Ice Cream Shop - over 55 flavours and about 10,000 pigs! I got a cup of Mackinaw Island Fudge Frozen Yogurt and the scientist got a waffle cone with the most delicious raspberry ice cream I have ever tasted. We sat inside the air conditioning for a bit and counted the pigs:
Here's a couple of pictures of me and my windblown hair! Riding with the top down is fun, but at high speeds your hair can take a bit of a beating!:
Back in the car again after our little pit stop and headed for the beach. We took some lakefront roads and ogled the HUGE, beautiful houses. Oh to be a millionaire. Massive estates with private beachfront properties. Drool. As the sun started to set, we took off our shoes and dug our toes in the sand for a walk along the beach:
The sun was sinking fast, so we walked out on the pier to sit and enjoy it with the moon rising behind us:
Once the sun was below the horizon, we packed up and headed off the beach for dinner. Found a great local restaurant called "The Stray Dog Bar & Grill" where I got a delicious Greek Chicken Salad - so fresh and so good after our day in the sun.
Our drive home was quiet - we talked for a bit, but it's actually hard to have a good conversation over the hum of the motor and the whipping of the wind in your ears. I think we were both a little lost in thought - him of the upcoming move to a new country I'm sure, me of the last days of summer and the pending end to this really wonderful period in my life. It has been bittersweet in the best of ways and while I am ready to move on, I will miss so many things.
Two years ago, the seat belt in the car was too small to fit around my oversized hips - girls who rode in cars like that in the 1970s weren't a size 26. We never got a seat belt extender for the car since they were hard to find, so I usually just slid down in the bucket seat and hoped we wouldn't get pulled over (I know - so dangerous!). But I vowed that by the time I had to say goodbye to that car, that the seat belt would fit. And this weekend it finally did. I wore the belt the whole time - still a little snug, but on and snapped, nonetheless. I was so proud.
The car sold this morning. Neither one of us could even bear to watch it drive away. We hugged and cried a little in the kitchen while we listened to the sound of the motor drone out down the street. It was his very first car - and at 9 years of ownership, it's the longest relationship he's ever had :) So today is a sad day. And I know if I'm having this much trouble saying goodbye to the car, next Thursday when he leaves is going to be very rough indeed.
Thanks 'Vette. It's been a swell ride.
Damn, I'm going to miss that car...and that man.