Driving Gertrude on Rt 95 – Chilly New England Winters

Driving Gurtrude
Driving Gertrude

I am a most lucky human being to live just a few blocks from historic downtown Newburyport. And not only that, but I get to work at home. My light “green” contribution, is that I walk, and rarely use my car, which, until recently, sat contentedly in my driveway, except for the 2+ mile drive up to Market Basket and the occasional jaunt here and there.

Then comes this particular winter, and the day after the 10 below zero evening —  not even a cough and a sputter (other people’s cars started!!), and a 4 (which actually turned into a 1) hour wait for AAA super-duper battery re-charge person to arrive.

In 2007 I decided to get the car I always wanted. Some folks want a Jaguar or a BMW, not moi.  My hankering was always for a PT Cruiser, I didn’t care that they had gone way out of fashion, or that the sales person called my car of choice a “PT Loser” (that car business went out of business soon thereafter), or that Chrysler looked like it was going to go down the tubes. I wanted my PT Cruiser, and by golly I got one.

After much thought and consideration, I named my PT Cruiser “Gertrude,” “Gertie” for short (“Blanche” was the runner up name-wise, but for whatever reason “Gertrude” stuck.)

So after the hoping that AAA shows up in 4 hours to recharge my car battery day, I go to Google to figure out why my battery died, and other cars in the neighborhood, of a similar age to Gertrude, started right up.  It seemed as if part of the problem was that Gertrude didn’t get a lot of drive time, me being “green,” and doing all that walking.  So in an experiment, I thought I would take Gertrude out for a drive a lot more often (and when I thought about it, I remembered one of my old mechanics telling me that on cold mornings to drive my car down to the “Lower Green” (you gotta live in Newburyport to know where that is) and back.

So Gertrude and I have set out almost every day for a ramble, to the Lower Green and back, to Governor Dummer and back, but what Gertrude seems to really, really like, is taking a stroll on Rt 95.

So when the Weather Channel has said that an overnight low is going to be below 10 degrees (which they have a lot this winter), I bundle up, put on my toasty purple scarf and my day-glow orange hunting hat (which my neighbor so graciously gave me so that I would not be run over in the street on cold winter, Newburyport difficult to plow the road, walking days), and Gertrude and I take off.

So if on a frosty mornings on my coffee break, if you want to know where Mary and Gertrude are, they are zipping up and down Rt 95 getting Gertrude warmed up to be able to start up again after the nippy night ahead.

P.S. For all those commuting home tonight, be careful, The Weather Channel is calling for yet more snow, 5-8 inches, which they say is choosing to fall at high volume during this evening’s commute.