I despise February.
March is no better.
There is only one thing to do. Pack up the mighty Tundra (can’t decide about the kayak) and head south to defrost and watch the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla.
It is the only thing that can get me through the endless Maine winter. It has been my panacea since the team moved there in 1992. Mapquest claims the trip is only 1,700 miles, But I always manage to drive 5,000 in the annual round trip. I make many, many stops, including high tea in Washington, D.C., cheeseburgers in the Low Country, and possible stops in Gettysburg and Kitty Hawk, depending on the weather.
Last year the trip down took 28 days.
Naturally, music will be vital to spending that many days behind the wheel. There are few pleasures (fewer every year) that can compare to roaring down the highway, windows open, with the music cranked to the max. My beloved iPod has a mere 2,566 songs, which is probably enough to drive 5,000 miles without a repeat.
But I shall carefully review each song to make sure I have suitable “road songs” to assist in sliding down the East Coast.
For my gas money, Chuck Berry had the best car song with “Maybellene.” When Chuck drove the “New Jersey Turnpike in the wee, wee hours, I was rollin’ slowly cause of drizzling’ showers.” According to Rolling Stone magazine, the song was “the beginning” of rock ’n’ roll guitar. And don’t forget Chuckster’s “You Can’t Catch Me” with the lyric “If you get too close, you know I’m gone like a cool breeze.”
He was never really my cup of tea, for some reason, but Bruce Springsteen must be crowned the Bard of the Highway with “Born to Run,” “Stolen Car,” “Pink Cadillac,” “Wreck on the Highway” and a dozen others.
The Beach Boys always left me cadaver-cold once I heard the “live” version of “Help Me, Rhonda.” But these are special times. For this trip and this trip only, I will allow the surfer types on my iPod for “Fun, Fun, Fun,” because it is so much fun to sing so high and so loud, plus her father really did take Shirley England’s T-Bird away when she never made it to the hamburger stand now. (True story.) I also will issue a dispensation for “Little Deuce Coupe” which, for your information, is a 1932 Ford Model B Coupe.
If no one is looking, I will add “409” and “I Get Around,” but for God’s sake, don’t tell anyone. I have my reputation.
I will download “Mustang Sally” to exorcise the lingering after effects of the Beach Boys. “Born to be Wild” by Steppenwolf will complete the exorcism.
I have a drawer full of speeding tickets, so you know “I Can’t Drive 55,” by Sammy Hagar will be included. The song was a protest against the federally mandated 55-mph speed limit that Hagar hated so much.
There is plenty of room on the iPod for “Hot Rod Lincoln” by Commander Cody and the classic “Rocket 88” by Bill Haley, of all people. “Drive my Car” by the Beatles, which is one of the funniest songs ever, will always make the cut.
“Nothing But Time” by Jackson Browne actually begins with “Rollin’ down 295 out of Portland, Maine.”
But the all-time favorite could be the gravel-voiced Tom Waits and “Ol’ 55” with the familiar lyric “Now the sun’s coming up, I’m riding with Lady Luck, freeway cars and trucks.”
I will make sure they are all on the iPod.
And women like to say that men never grow up.
I wonder why.
Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at firstname.lastname@example.org.