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Here’s What It’s Like to Drive an Aston Martin Through the Middle of Nowhere

There are three primary things you encounter when you drive an exotic car through the middle of nowhere. One is open-mouthed stares from people who live in the middle of nowhere. Another is strange things being driven down the highway. Finally, there are bugs. Lots and lots of bugs.

My whole life, I’ve wondered what it would be like to drive an exotic car through the smallest towns in the middle of the Great Plains, and over the last few days — driving from Toledo, Ohio, to Denver, Colorado, in my Aston Martin — I’ve finally found out. Here’s what I discovered. See the 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage models for sale near you

The Attention

A lot of city people with lots of exotic-car-viewing experience would look at my V8 Vantage and assert that it’s "only" an Aston Martin and not a Ferrari, that it’s "only" a 2007 and not brand-new, that it’s "only" a V8 and not a V12, and that it’s "only" silver and not some flashy color such as orange. And I wouldn’t argue with any of these assessments.

But when people live in the middle of nowhere, these aren’t the kinds of things they think. They think, "Oh my God, that Bentley is worth a million dollars."

I’m dead serious. I got off the interstate on Sunday to drive for 5 hours directly through tiny towns in rural Nebraska and eastern Colorado, and I received an enormous amount of attention in every single one of them. Kids point. Adults crank their heads in awe. A sheriff’s deputy in a marked Dodge Charger literally gave me an open-mouthed stare in Wray, Colorado — population 2,000. And so far I haven’t been able to get through one single fuel stop without a well-intentioned, polite Midwesterner walking up and asking, "What kind of car is that?!"

Not one person who lives in the middle of nowhere has yet guessed it’s an Aston Martin. You want to know why? Because not one person who lives in the middle of nowhere has ever seen an Aston Martin.

This is a huge contrast to Philadelphia, where I live. Although I complained 3 years ago that my Ferrari drew far too much attention whenever I would drive it, the Aston Martin generally flies under the radar on the East Coast. But this isn’t the case on the Great Plains, where my Aston Martin is often the only foreign car in the entire town, maybe the entire county.

In some small towns, I’ll see a guy driving a C5 Corvette. He must be the mayor.

The Infrastructure

Not surprisingly, the infrastructure in rural America isn’t exactly Aston Martin-friendly. There are potholes in rural areas of Nebraska that could double as orchestra pits.

As I write this, I’m only 1,800 miles into the trip, and I’ve already taken a rock chip to the windshield. I’ve also scraped the plastic panel below my Aston Martin’s front bumper by simply driving down city streets in small towns, where the drainage gutters are sometimes located in depressions — this is completely true — an entire foot below the road surface. Of course, most middle-of-nowhere residents don’t worry about this, because most middle-of-nowhere residents are driving pickup trucks the size of a thunderstorm.

And then there’s the fuel. A few days ago, I visited a gas station in Cambridge, Nebraska — population 1,000 — that had two types of fuel: regular and super. Both were 87-octane.

What I’ve learned about the fuel situation is that you cannot count on finding premium gas anywhere once you leave the interstate. Since my route took me on some serious back-road U.S. highways, I drove through entire towns that had no gas station and other towns where the sole gas station only offered regular fuel. Only in the big cities — such as McCook, Nebraska (population 7,698) — did the fuel stations claim to have premium.

The Bugs

There are currently bugs the size of wombats attached to the front of my car.

I did not know there were bugs this big.

If you live in the Great Plains, I have only this advice: Run for cover. And get bug spray.

Car Trouble?

Despite the rough roads, the long distances, the dubious fuel and the giant distances between Aston Martin dealers, my V8 Vantage hasn’t had a single problem so far. Admittedly, as I write this I’m only 1,800 miles into the trip — with 4,400 miles and 13 states left to go — but the car has been completely rock-solid. No check-engine lights, no strange noises, no unusually high engine temperatures.

I’ve been tracking my fuel economy, and I’ll give you an overall number (and an accompanying spreadsheet for you Doug-style data geeks) when my trip is complete.

Meet-Ups

As many of you know, I plan to meet up with readers on the second half of my trip when I drive home from California to Philadelphia. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any responses from readers in Bismarck, North Dakota, asking to meet up, so — by the popular demand of all three of my readers who live in North Dakota — I added a quick stop in Fargo. Unfortunately, it’s in the middle of a weekday, but I’d still love to see you if you can make it. For the rest of the cities, here are all the meet-up locations. I hope to see you there! Find a 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage for sale

Boise (Saturday, September 17, 7:30 p.m.): Julia Davis Park (next to the Rose Garden)
Billings (Monday, September 19, 7:30 p.m.): City Brew/Walmart (2425 King Avenue West)
Fargo (Wednesday, September 21, ~2:30 p.m.): FargoDome
Minneapolis (Wednesday, September 21, 7 p.m.): Mount Normandale Lake Park in Bloomington; parking lot off Chalet Road
Chicago (Thursday, September 22, 7 p.m.): Community Park West in Glenview; parking lot off Zenith Drive (large office parking lot if needed)
Cleveland (Friday, September 23, 7 p.m.): Severance Town Center in Cleveland Heights (by the old movie theater)

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here Are All the Cars With the Vanity License Plate VIPER Across the Country
The Audi RS2 Is the Coolest Wagon of Them All

 
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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41 COMMENTS

  1. I live in Bismarck and thought I was going to be working out of town next week and wouldn’t be here when you were passing though. If your staying in Bismarck let me know and we could possibly meet up. Since your planing on being in Fargo around 2:30 pm, I’m guessing your staying further west Tuesday night. If you want a picture next to a Bison, there is a good chance of finding them in Yellowstone. I was in Yellowstone three weeks ago on my own 4,000 mile road trip and two of them were walking in the road holding up about 20 cars and I drove within 5 feet or so of them. The worlds largest bison (they call it a buffalo) is in Jamestown which is on your way to Fargo from Bismarck and is right off interstate so it wouldn’t take long to stop and check it out and get your picture next to it. New Salem is about 30 miles West of Bismarck and has the worlds largest Holstein cow, you can see it from the interstate on the hill. I went from Billings through Yellowstone and stayed in Idaho Falls, I then drove through the Challis and Boise National Forests on my way to Boise and that was a beautiful drive, and those curvy roads are very fun to drive on. Hopefully they got the fires under control because they were fighting them when I was there. The most scenic thing in North Dakota are the Badlands around the Medora area and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, you’ll notice the terrain is pretty opposite around Fargo, which is very flat. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  2. When people ask the inevitable question you could say its the brand James Bond drives.I’m sure that will help their understanding, but it may not be something you want to say haha

  3. How have you been to Michigan but not Ohio? You pretty much have to go through Ohio to get from Philadelphia to the parts with people. Is it possible you have but don’t remember it because the corn looks the same on either side of the Ohio-Indiana border?

  4. Doug, I recently moved to North Dakota and would love to meet you. Your work entertains me at the office and at home and really enjoy your writing! Your article about Porsche 996 Turbos put them on my radar and I ended up buying one 2 weeks ago from Porsche of Tyson’s Corner and am awaiting delivery. I work about 2 hours North of Bismarck and would be willing to have dinner with you on the 21st. I’m sure my wife would also look forward to getting out of our town for an evening, too. Bismarck is about 5 hours west of Fargo on the 94 Corridor, so it’s not out of your way. Please give me a shout out. Is there a way to do private messaging? If you can’t make it out this way, then best of look and drive safely on the dusty trails 🙂 It would be great to meet you another time. Cheers,

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