(Editor’s note: This post was originally published on History Adventuring. It was republished with permission.)
Although I usually time travel back to old-time Phoenix in my imagination, I actually did this in real life. I was 19 when I moved myself from Minneapolis to Phoenix, and I did it in a 1965 MG Midget.
If you’ve never seen an MG Midget, I’ll see if I can describe it to you: Just imagine two motorcycles next to each other — two very small motorcycles! Every once in a while, I still see an MG B out on the Phoenix streets, but I never see Midgets anymore.
The Midget was the smaller version of an MG B, which may boggle your mind if you’ve ever seen an MG B, which is itself a very tiny car!
An MG is a roadster, not a convertible. The difference between those two things is that, with a convertible, you put the top down in nice weather, whereas with a roadster you always drive topless.
I drove across the United States in the summer. It was glorious.
I brought along everything that I would need to start a new life in Arizona. As I recall, I had a small bag of golf clubs, a tennis racquet, a drawing board, and possibly some other things.
Midgets weren’t cars that carried a lot of stuff and it didn’t go very fast.
There is a song called “I Can’t Drive 55” and it really was the theme song for the Midget. The speedometer didn’t work, but somewhere out in the middle of nowhere there was a sign that registered my speed as 54. It was probably Nebraska.
I drove down through Omaha and remember being amazed at how much there was of Nebraska.
I made one stop at a truck stop, where I got myself cleaned up (I think it cost fifty cents to use the showers). I slept in the car, as well as I could — I must have been more flexible at 19!
I had never even heard of sunscreen, so by the time I got to Phoenix, I was pretty toasted.
I got a newspaper, looked for an apartment, had time to look at two places before the sun went down, decided on the the first one I had looked at, parked the MG in its very own parking space, and looked forward to a new life in Phoenix. The air conditioner didn’t work in that apartment, ever, but the place was cheap.
I was very happy in Arizona, and still am. I was born in the summer of my nineteenth year, coming home to a place I’d never been before.
-Brad Hall in Phoenix, Arizona
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