2009 Ford Flex Limited: Road Trip, On refrigeration and hitting the wall
October 10, 2008
This is the interior of the refrigerator inside the 2009 Ford Flex. Pictured is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There was also a fluffernutter, but it didn't last long enough to be in the photo. It's a neat idea but the execution here is a little lame. First, they put the rear armrest hinge on the front. Probably to dissuade the driver from attempting to reach in while driving. Sorry, Ford, not gonna work. Humans are where we are today by adapting and bending the will of our opponents, animate or not. It's possible to get inside if one's willing to drive with their foot (cruise control is a necessity here) and contort a little. It's easier still to make your passenger do it. Its second shortcoming is the size. That's not trick photography, folks it really is that small. The third thing wrong with the fridge is the freeze setting. 12-hours and there's only some frost on the side of the water. It keeps things--and even gets things--very cold, but if you're going to give me a button that says freeze, the damn thing better freeze. Solid. Maybe I should have gone 24-hours straight.
The fourth thing that warrants complaints about the availability of a fridge is the lack of a microwave. Don't laugh. It's got a TV and a DVD player and a refrigerator already. Why not? 10 years ago I would have punched the current me for suggesting a car have any of those things. Now I'm jealous of future-Mike for having an in-car microwave.
Take, for instance a road trip across the country. You drive through a town that actually has food that looks safe and edible, but you're just not hungry...or maybe it was so good you want another order to go. Why not? It won't spoil thanks to the modern marvel of refrigeration. But then the problem arises that cold BBQ sucks. Sure, I could've wrapped it in foil and chucked it under the hood for a few hours but that's not the point.
Speaking of Road Trips across the country, today's installment covers the first few days of the return trip. Boston, NYC, Columbus, St. Louis and Tulsa!
The return trip was intended from the beginning to simply be a return. I was going to go the southern route for a change of perspective, but it was going to be a straight shot. Unless, of course, I ran into some crazy road-side nonsense that I simply couldn't resist. Day one was great. I love NYC and got to spend a few hours there before the clock told me I had to leave. Driving west through PA was marked by cops. Lots of them. Everywhere. On the 76 the only thing I saw more frequently than highway patrol was deer carcasses. Seriously, give out some hunting licenses or something, there were dozens. Day one ended in Columbus with no drama.
Day two was Columbus Ohio to Tulsa, OK. Just over 800 miles and save for a short visit to St. Louis, not much to report. Tulsa did have the cheapest recorded gas of the trip, $2.75 / gal. So that was neat.
Day three I hit the wall. Somewhere around Groom Texas I just couldn't do it anymore. I was done. The pressure and dehydration of the last week finally caught up with me and I had to stop. It was a huge disappointment for me, but preventing a horrible crash seemed prudent at the time.
Driving one way was easy. Having to return was proving a bit more problematic.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 8,150 miles