We recently moved from Texas back to near where I grew up in New England. As part of the move, Mrs. SSO and I decided to drive the Maserati Granturismo Cabrio and the McLaren 650S Spider respectively the 1,800 miles northeast. This would be the first time Mrs. SSO and I had done a road trip driving in tandem. As long-distance driving is not one of Mrs. SSO’s favorite things to do, the agreed criteria for the trip was we would keep the driving each day to around 500 miles and our nights’ lodgings had to be karenable.
Day 5: Washington DC to New England
The plan for our final day’s 350-mile drive was quite a bit different from prior days. For the first time we would be splitting up. Mrs. SSO had arranged to meet a friend for lunch in northern New Jersey. To get there on time she needed to leave about an hour and a half ahead of when I was planning on setting out. We would also be driving slightly different routes as Mrs. SSO would be going through Morristown, New Jersey and then across the Tappan Zee Bridge to get to Connecticut. I would be going the more direct route up I95 to the New Jersey Turnpike and then across the George Washington Bridge, skirting across the north side of Manhattan before taking the Cross County Parkway up towards Connecticut.
While Mrs. SSO’s departure was in the middle of a heavy rainstorm, the sky had mostly cleared by the time I headed out. Breaking out of Washington DC is always an adventure of navigating multiple highway intersections, construction zones, and a fair amount of truly insane other drivers. By waiting until rush hour had long passed, I at least cut down significantly on the last of those challenges. One of the great things about the McLaren 650S Spider is the instant acceleration which comes in very handy when needing to slot quickly into spaces while navigating multiple junctions. This ability made my escape from the capital area much easier.
Once free of the DC area, it was a short 10 minutes to the Maryland border. I immediately pulled into the first rest area and remounted the radar detector on the windshield. Other than a few passing rain showers, the drive through both Maryland and Delaware was uneventful. Once over the Delaware Bridge and onto the New Jersey Turnpike, things got a bit more interesting. Traffic, almost immediately, thickened and with it came quite a few people who felt the need to get both a closer look at the 650S Spider and take pictures. Normally I’m either pretty oblivious to the picture taking or don’t mind when I do notice, but some of the driving on the NJT to get pictures was pretty obnoxious.
The rest of the long slog up through New Jersey was unmemorable. I was able to successfully navigate the maze of highways near New York City and get across the Hudson River via the George Washington Bridge on the lower (Martha) deck. The exit off of the GW Bridge onto the Henry Hudson Parkway had a few bomb size craters in it and I did get honked at by the car behind me for slowing to near walking speed as I gently steered the McLaren around the obstacles. Three quick interchanges later, I was on the Hutchinson River Parkway and headed to Connecticut. From there it would be a short drive to our final destination where I would rendezvous with Mrs. SSO.
Mrs. SSO arrived at our destination about 15 minutes after I had. I was still outside checking fluid levels and tire pressures when she drove up. One look at the Maserati Granturismo and I knew something was not quite right as I could see a line extending across part of the windshield on the passenger’s side. As soon as Mrs. SSO emerged from the car, I asked her what happened. After we finished the “I hate driving through New Jersey” declaration, it turns out there were two separate attacks on the poor Maserati Granturismo Sport Cabriolet. The first was a large rock which flew off the back of a truck on I78 and left the large scar on the windshield, the second was a nasty pothole on I287 which curbed one of the wheels quite badly. Mrs. SSO was quite upset and rightfully so. This would also be the second very expensive windshield we replaced in two months due to rocks flying off the backs of trucks. On the positive side, all the “Jersey” damage was easy to fix and it did not leave any lasting marks on the Maserati.
Over a period of five days, we drove 1,879 miles in a wide variety of conditions and both cars performed flawlessly. Both the Maserati & McLaren consumed zero oil or coolant, and the only drama was the one key fob battery. Not a single warning light came on in either car and both actually seemed to be running better the longer we were on the road. I’ve always found the McLaren 650S Spider to be quite comfortable on my daily commute and that didn’t change during the long drive. Mrs. SSO’s appreciation for her Maserati continued to grow throughout the trip and I was really impressed on how the Maserati kept pace with the McLaren on the few occasions we had the opportunity to open things up a bit.
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