Man vs Machine V "Running Down a Dream" / by Brian Beck

It's been almost two years since I've had some meaningful seat time in the old Pontiac, and the road has been calling to me.  I started a new job last summer that has me on an airplane to and from San Francisco twice a week and while it's been a fantastic, I confess that I miss the opportunity to have those quiet wee hours in the garage.  It's there that I work out whatever's on my mind, with Johnny Cash playing softly in the background, while the rest of the world (i.e. my kids) are asleep.  The road trips are where all those nights of effort come together in a perfect payoff of zen-like satisfaction of a job well done.  

Other than a minor transmission rebuild after the end of Man vs Machine IV, there isn't much untested handiwork on the line this time.  The old Pontiac limped home last time with a bad transmission leak from the front seal that had me pouring in a quart of fluid every few hundred miles.  Thankfully it didn't seem to leak much on the road, but whenever I came to a stop and idled, it would leave an embarrassingly large puddle.  I pulled the transmission and fixed it shortly after I got home, but then I got to work on a job search and shortly afterward became a hard core frequent flyer.  For most of the past two years, the old Pontiac sat in the garage under a cover.

I got the itch this spring and identified the last week of August as a possible slot to squeeze in a road trip.  I asked the kids to each pick one place they had been to on one of our prior excursions and I said I'd try to work it in if I could.  Samantha picked Mesa Verde National Park and Parker picked a random RV park and campground in Utah that had a water slide (!).  If that was all you knew about my kids, you'd pretty much have them pegged.  They both just wear it--it's awesome.

So on Friday we're heading east on the first leg of Man vs Machine V.  Stops include Grand Canyon NP, Mesa Verde NP, Arches NP, Jackson Hole, Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone NP and... drumroll... taking all comers for coolest place in the known universe... Cherry Hill Campground and Waterpark in Kaysville, UT.  Wheels up Friday at 6am!

 Thanksgiving 2016.  This was the last time we've gone further than around the block in the old girl.  The kids have gotten so much bigger since then.  iPhone 6s.

Thanksgiving 2016.  This was the last time we've gone further than around the block in the old girl.  The kids have gotten so much bigger since then.  iPhone 6s.