Across America in the Ford Focus ST
It's one of TG magazine's greatest ever adventures: coast to coast across the US in the hot Ford. In five days...
Posted: 10 Oct 2013
The flat bit
The prairies started badly. Another bout of too-fastness, another law enforcement agent, and this one meant business: knackered old Crown Vic, bushy handlebar moustache, much weaponry. I greeted him with my finest Baffled Englishman Abroad voice.
“You not f’m round here?” he raised an enquiring eyebrow.
confirmed that, no, I wasn’t from mid-Colorado, just passing through, perhaps a
little too quickly.
“If I give you a court citation,” drawled the sheriff, glancing at my licence, “will you turn up?”
“Do I have to?”
“If you’re in London, England,” just in case I didn’t know which country I came from, presumably, “it’ll be kinda tough.”
“In that case, I shall not turn up.”
“Then you have a good day, sir!” He handed me his business card – seriously, American sheriffs have business cards – and strode back to his car. The police-based highlights of this trip would make the worst episode of COPS ever.
The prairie cops might have been easy-going, but the weather wasn’t. As we scooted over the border into Kansas, we hit the most terrifying storm I have ever seen. In seconds, the cotton-white clouds overhead were replaced by ominous blackness and vicious rain, hailstones the size of marbles laying siege to the Focus, attacking its bodywork in a barrage of panel-piercing clangs. Great forks of lightning smashed to earth, some no more than – what? – 200 metres from the car. The road became a river, and it felt like the end of days.
gotta find shelter!” yelled Webb – who I think occasionally believes he is
in a Michael Mann film – over the cacophony, the tarmac sinking ever deeper underwater. Past flapping wipers, I surveyed our surroundings: a great plain with no discernible trees or signs
of habitation in any direction. More chance of finding an Olympic-standard beach volleyball facility than shelter.