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Road Trip!

Road Trip!
By Larry Sribnick 

Scottsdale to Bellport, 2,700 miles, 11 states, 42 hours, 64 miles per hour, and 48 miles per gallon!

My daughter and son-in-law had a 2005 Toyota Prius that had 110,000 miles on it. The car was in perfect condition, but they decided that it was time for a new car. Rather than trading the car in, I decided that the Prius would be the perfect replacement for my 2001 Chevy Suburban that only got 15 miles per gallon. The kids said I could have the Prius if I wanted it so I had to decide if I wanted to have the Prius loaded onto a car carrier and transported back to Bellport, or if I wanted to drive it back from Scottsdale, Arizona myself.

Like most of you, my driving experience has been limited to a day or two of driving with a single overnight. This 2,700 mile trip would mean four or five days of driving with three or four overnights and I would have to do it all by myself.

Irv GordonLuckily, my good friend, Irv Gordon, was the perfect person to ask about the trip. Irv lives right here in East Patchogue and is the original 3 million mile man! Well, actually, the 2 million, 925 thousand mile man. Irv has 75 thousand miles to go to break 3 million miles. He’s in the Guinness Book Of World Records as being the highest mileage, non-commercial driver in a single, original car, his 1966 Volvo P1800.

Irv patiently answered all my questions, made a bunch of great suggestions, and decided I was good to go! So, I flew out to Phoenix on Friday, had two days of meetings with my daughter Erin, who works with me designing and operating, and bright and early on Monday morning I was on my way back to good old Bellport, New York all by myself.

17The first part of the trip was to head north out of Phoenix to Flagstaff, Arizona, 146 miles, on Interstate 17 where I would pick up Interstate 40 east bound. It also meant climbing from about 1,400 ft. in Scottsdale to almost 8,000 ft. near Flagstaff. The terrain started off very flat in Scottsdale, but was mountainous by the time I got to Flagstaff.

66Once I reached Flagstaff, I’d be on Interstate 40 for several days. Interstate 40 is the high speed replacement road for the original Route 66 and I would see remnants of Route 66 all across my route. The trip that day would take me from Scottsdale, Arizona, to Phoenix, Arizona, to Flagstaff Arizona to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Tucumcari, New Mexico.

sborrocactusIf you follow along with the photos, you’ll see how the terrain changed as I drove along. Scottsdale was flat, red, desert with lots of sbarro cactus. As I climbed, the cactus changed and the trees were more like the pine barrens here on Long Island. Climbing higher, there were taller pines and the outside air temperature dropped to 37 degrees.


flagstaffIt took 10.5 hours to travel the 642.1 miles from Scottsdale, Arizona to Tucumcari, New Mexico, my layover for the first night. The weather was great and I was amazed that from Flagstaff to Tucumcari I averaged 54.5 miles per gallon with either no wind or a very slight tailwind. My speed was pretty much 75 miles per hour all the way. I had decided that I didn’t want to tempt fate so I would set my cruise control at whatever the speed limit was. It turned out that I averaged 64 miles per hour for the entire trip, which included 2 hours of stop and go traffic going through New York City.

40azThe scenery was great, red outcroppings of all kinds and shapes along the way. Every few minutes there was something new and interesting at which to look.



The second day took me from Tucumcari, New Mexico, to Amarillo, Texas, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and on to Clarksville, Arkansas, 602.5 miles in 10 hours; Lots of rain and a strong headwind towards the end of the day. Arkansas is more like here, rolling hills and lots of foliage with fall colors, but Texas was flat... I mean F.....L.....A.....T!!! Oklahoma was a little better and started to turn a little green with more to look at, but Texas is FLAT!

Day three took me from Clarksville, Arkansas to Knoxville, Tennessee, 634.6 miles in 10.75 hour passing through Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee. Lots of rain, wind, and crazy drivers. I know we all complain about the drivers around here on Long Island, but Memphis to Knoxville is taking your life in your hands. I longed for New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma.

I may have been alone on this drive, but I had plenty of technology to keep me company. I had a portable GPS, a hands free cell phone system, XM radio, and the Pandora internet music system. If you haven’t heard of Pandora, visit for all the details. It’s an absolutely wonderful free, or very inexpensive, internet music service that I can’t live without. I was surprised that Pandora, which I was accessing the internet through my cell phone, only had trouble connecting for a few minutes going through the middle of nowhere in Texas. Other than that, it worked flawlessly for the entire trip.

I also had AM/FM radio, a CD player, and a cassette tape player, but I didn’t use any of them on the trip. It just shows how much things have changed. Five years ago, they are probably all I would have used to keep me company on the trip.

81I had planned to leave Knoxville and travel north on Interstate 81 to Harrisburg Pennsylvania the fourth day. I would then head home to Bellport on the fifth day, but it all depended on what time I would reach Harrisburg. It also meant that I would travel through Virginia and Maryland to get to Pennsylvania. I got an early start, 5:30am, so I pulled into Harrisburg at 2 pm. It was really too early to stop for the day so I decided to push on, heading east on Interstate 78, and finish the trip on the fourth day of driving. That meant 776.3 miles and 15 hours of driving. Needless to say, I was pooped. The 18 wheeler on the Belt Parkway hitting an overpass didn’t help any either. However, I averaged 56.6 miles per gallon for the last 139 miles of the trip going through New Jersey, Staten Island, and Brooklyn.

Overall, the trip was 2655.6 miles long, took 41 hours and 51 minutes of driving, averaged 64 miles per hour, and I got an average of 48 miles per gallon from the Prius. The entire trip only cost me $184 for gas!

Would I do it again? Absolutely, but probably only the western part. This was my first time in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. I hope to be able to take a leisurely drive just poking around in the area at some point in the future. From Memphis home is pretty much like driving on Long Island except, as I mentioned, for the crazier drivers.

Let’s see, I only have about 2 million, 972 thousand miles to go to catch up to Irv. Piece of cake!


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8/20/2013, Robin Horsley wrote...

Larry-FABULOUS photos...a great AMERICAN story! You would have made a great addition to Lewis & Clark....