Late summer of last year I dug up from Sacramento California and moved back to the place of my own roots in Nova Scotia.
Suffice to say there’s quite a difference between the 6 lane highways, suburban sprawl and retail nirvana that is Northern California (NorCal if you’re cool brah) and the much more laid back, small town and sometimes even Trailer Parks Boys-ish vibe found here in the Annapolis Valley.
I also don’t have to mention the obvious differences in climate, my first few winter days were a harsh reminder that California had made me soft when it came to the cold.
Now that the summer heat is on at full blast though, all that exposure to California’s heat is paying off. The Accord wasn’t a big fan of the cold winter mornings either.
That being said though, most of the time the Accord still starts on the 2nd or third turn-over, something that always makes me grin and sometimes elicits the customary exclamation of “Good Girl” as I pat the dashboard lovingly. I hope I’ll be able to run so well when I get up close to 400,000 Miles.
In California I would get the occasional compliment for my Accord but I seem to get more looks here. Sadly early Hondas didn’t last in this hostile climate and are a rare sight, I dare say 1 and 2G’s are possibly never seen around here anymore, however I’ve heard of a nearby S500… Salt air blowing in off the bay of Fundy, and the use of salt on the roads during winter doesn’t help matters much.
In fact Honda initially had a bad reputation (Along with many other manufacturers) here in Eastern Canada due to this problem. Many new makes and models at the time made it only a few years before being consumed with rust problems. It seems there are still admirers out there though, as my little chrome gilded butter-slab still gets a fair share of thumbs ups, horn toots, and what-year-is-she’s from fellow motorists.
It still feels odd having driven this car for so many years amidst the hustle and bustle of the greater Sacramento area, to finally come home and drive it on the secluded and winding coastal road I grew up on. Every day as a youth I would travel up and down this same road (usually too quickly), remembering every dip and frost-heave. I’m pretty sure my addiction to g-forces started when I was a kid, My father had a bit of a g-force addiction as well, always taking those turns alarmingly fast in whatever Pontiac he happened to be driving at the time.
It’s funny how quickly the details of the road surface came back to me years later.
One of my first nights back I recreated one of those reckless nights of my youth, hurtling down that dark curvy road at full blast, the weber at full growl. Me rowing through the gears, trying to keep my poor old ek-1 on boil while weaving the best high speed line around the ruts and potholes. Somewhere in the dips and crests, the medley of blind turns and 90 degree bends, I caught it: That feeling…that wreckless, “Damn-the-torpedos, ramming speed!” feeling I hadn’t truly felt in years. California had provided me with a good helping of gorgeous scenic drives and plenty of hairy highway hijinks through the years but this was what I just couldn’t find while I was there… It really brought me back to my slightly more wreckless youth.
After one or 2 good solid thumps from bottoming out the shocks I realized there was still one thing I could never recapture. That “I don’t give a %#*@about my car” feeling I used to have as a kid, especially since the car I was driving is only 6 years younger than me.
So I’ve been merciful to my old baby and have only had about 2 full on romps through my old stomping ground but I still feel like I could race that road in my sleep. Despite indulging in my own little Takumi Fujiwara fantasies though I’ve managed to keep the Accord on the road and undamaged, which has included keeping it off of the wet and salty winter roads.
I’ll miss a lot of things about you California (I’m thinking of you In-N-Out burger!) but I’ll still take salty roads over smog laws any day.