Out in my 62TR3A
After basic training , other schools in the Great Lakes area and Key West Florida, during my time in the Navy between 1968 and 1972, I was stationed on a DE Sonar/Radar picket ship that was part of a carrier group out of Long Beach California. Three West Pac tours in the South China Sea, and with an honorable discharge and great experiences, my time was up. The plan was to ship things home to Maryland and Drive my 1962 TR3A back From Long Beach to Maryland.
I had purchased the car off a used car lot in Long beach a year earlier. Mechanically it was in pretty good shape, body was pretty good, it had been repainted a stock blue color and they had taken the car to Mexico and had an awful Paisley dark blue vinyl upholstery job done with new carpeting. While, there was another more desirable on the lot, test driving the 100-4 indicated it was really in troubling mechanical condition, the body was carrying several injuries, paint condition was poor, the interior was ragged out, but, the motor was strong. It was a couple hundred more than the $800 needed for the TR3 and the TR3 was in better condition. So, prudence at the time bought the TR3.
Anyway, The trip back was planned, oil was changed, mechanicals were greased and 2 retreads were mounted. I had planned the trip to travel Rt 66/40 to Memphis then 81 to VA 7 to 15 so that when I went through Needles at night I would minimize the heat. This was to be a straight stint with stops only for gas and food. The top was off as the car was filled with stuff I was carrying back so there wasn't much room. Went through Needles at 10:30PM and it was still 105 degrees. Had one of the retreads blow out on the Memphis bypass. By the time I reached Winchester VA and had turned down Rt 7 to Leesburg, it was 52 hours driving into the trip with only a couple of short rest stops....
Needless to say I was tired but the end was in sight. So I pressed on. That being said, I remember driving down Rt 7 seeing the reflectors in the road and the tree shadows highlighted by the headlights thinking those were leopards with gleaming eyes that occasionally jumped on the hood. I stopped and rested a bit and then soldiered on. Reached home after another hour and a half, 54 hrs and 23 min total. A good trip, great weather, great sights of our beautiful country and the car made it (except for the blown retread).
I would gladly do it again taking more time to stop and see all the sights. I have since done a frame off restoration and still have it as a driver. It remains in very good condition and we do our best to take in several local British Car Shows every year. I would certainly recommend the experience of a long trip in a classic to any enthusiast. But, take the time to enjoy it.