USA Road Trip 2017 – Part Two

In the interests of true road tripping, we have again introduced a little jeopardy to a serious day’s motoring. We have tickets for NASCAR’s third-tier Camping World Truck Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Not only does this mean six hours of driving, but we have no time zone straddling to aid our progress.

We treat the multi-storey hotel car park as an opportunity to warm up the Challenger and it’s impossible not to giggle as the big ole brute rocks on its springs from the torque – virtually from idle. The noise is outrageous for a production sedan.

It’s unusual to tap a destination into a sat nav and find oneself with no directions for a full 200 miles but the I-40 East will convey us for almost 300 miles – right into the Smoky Mountains. Bearing in mind our location, vehicle and the extent of driving ahead of us, it feels right to deploy some real driving music: Credence Clear Water Revival. Now we’re in business.

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USA Road Trip 2017 – Part One

It wasn’t the easiest sell in the world but I think the promise of some NASCAR swung it: against all the odds, I’d secured an Indy 500 honeymoon. While the Maldives or Bora Bora might be more traditional, there’s nothing like the prospect of 40 snarling stock cars to convince your bride-to-be of the merits of a US road trip to celebrate permanent legal union.

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Italian Road Trip – Part Four

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We hit Florence at rush hour. Doing so as a passenger in my new and rather precious motor doesn’t do much to relax me. Mercifully, after many navigational errors (mine), honked horns (the Florentines’) and a couple of aggressive launches from the traffic lights (Mrs Motorcardiaries’), we finally find ourselves at Hotel Royal. This Fawlty Towers-esque establishment suffers from awkward access, ambivalent staff and a sense of rapidly fading grandeur. Still, there’s a sizeable car park and we’re five minutes’ walk from the bustle of central Firenze.

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Italian Road Trip 2016 – Part Three

Friday dawns clear once more and we’re back on the road. We have a leisurely four-hour drive south to Florence and we’ve planned a number of diversions to add some spice to an otherwise fairly uninspiring journey. It’s somewhat troubling to leave Lake Como behind; not due to its otherworldly beauty – though that is undeniable – but because the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is taking place mere kilometres from our base. Mercifully, scruffs like us are not permitted entry until Saturday but the presence of special cars in the vicinity, yet just out of reach, is traumatic.

Given the mania around the MotoGP at Mugello, we elect to avoid the legendary Futa and Raticosa passes this time and instead head to the epicentre of the Italian supercar industry: Modena. Those legendary roads can wait until next time.

Our first stop is Sant Agata and the Lamborghini museum. The local roads offer their fair share of interesting machinery and we spot an undisguised Maserati Levante out testing. We never seem to be far from an old Porsche or a 90s Ferrari. The countryside is agricultural and lacking much character or visual stimulation: it’s not unpleasant but it’s slightly barren and rather flat.

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