2 May 2014

THE ROAD - The Audi TT, 500 miles, Status Quo And Me

5.55am and Legs by ZZ Top rings out, my alarm tone. Jesus it's early, sod that. 6am. Legs again. Oh shit I've got to be in Truro by 10.30am. That's 250 miles away. Better get up.  ROADTRIP!

Audi TT 3.2 V6 road trip

Where's the dog? Oh yes, dropped her off with a friend last night.  Today's going to be a long one.  Unfair to take dog with me, or leave her at home.

Shower, get dressed, cup of tea.  In car by 6.30am.  Fire up the engine. God that 3.2 V6 sounds good, even at stupid o'clock.  Blip the throttle. Phwoooar!

No nicotine yet, too early isn't it?  Pack of bottled water and four pack of Red Bull on the back seat - the TT is quite practical. 2+2 seats are useless for humans but great for detritus.

Set off.  20 miles of epic B-roads with virtually zero traffic.  Kingsclere to Whitchurch is particularly brilliant, especially with no dog in the car and newish brakes.  Hooner's heaven. Practice heel and toe - fail at it but love the noise.  Blip, blip.

Hit the A34.  Nicotine need starting to fog brain. Light the day's first fag.

Short while later turn on to the A303.  Same road until Exeter - many miles.  Enter the zone, the road-trip mode.  Enjoy the experience.  Immersed in the THE ROAD.  Mile after mile.  Fast lane, many overtakes.

Car is a joy.  The driving position is perfect.  Notice the details in the TT's interior, the symmetry, the Bauhaus creed.  But I need to charge the TomTom and this means opening the ashtray to get to the 12v.  The TT hides things away behind panels. Opening the ashtray makes it look a mess.  A+ for effort but B- for implementation, Audi.

Get one of those cars who seems to latch on to you and won't let go.  Some horrible Peugeot estate.  He follows me whatever I do. Sits on my arse, I move over, he moves over and stays behind. Then he sits in my blind spot, I slow down. He slows down. I speed up, he speeds up.  I have more power, I go faster than he can and eventually shake him.  Some people just seem to latch on to you.  Arseholes.

The TT only has FM and CD multiplayer.  FM is shit - Radio 1 is for children, Radio 2 is for people who like old pop music. I don't. All other FM stations are political or easy listening. Yuck.  CD multiplayer misbehaving.  The only CD that works is Creedence.  Born On The Bayou and the rest played four times.  Getting a little bored of swamp/stoner rock.

Breakfast, 8am, the only McDonalds on the A303, near Truro.

More miles.  Turn to iPhone and headphones.  Is this legal?  I don't know.  I put Piledriver by Quo on.

Enter the horribleness of Exeter.  Traffic lights, roundabouts, traffic lights on roundabouts, dawdlers.

A30.  Dual carriageway heaven for 100 miles.  Devon, Cornwall.  Fast, dual carriageway, police free. Heaven in the heavenly TT V6.  Move from Piledriver to Hello, still by Quo.

Work (reason for the trip).  Meetings, walking across fields, get wet feet (leaky boots), get wet generally (rain).  Ride around with four other blokes in colleague's Peugeot 206 SW.  Horrible car (hope he doesn't read this).  Sump guard gets half ripped off - spend 15 minutes ripping the other half off, and get muddy knees.

Finish up at Truro at 4.30pm - work finished.  250 miles to home.  4 hours.  This is going to be a late one.  More Quo, this time the aptly titled Quo.

The A30 passes in a blur.  Smoke, smoke, smoke.  It's a brilliant road. Dual carriageway, epic views, light traffic, no cops.

It does have some oddness, though, that other roads don't.  I see several 10mph tractors, one cyclist, a light blue VW Kombi (no visit to Cornwall is complete without at least one sighting of a Kombi) and NO HONDA JAZZES.

Exeter.  More traffic light and roundabout horribleness.  Someone in some windowless control centre is turning every single traffic light to red as I approach it.

A303.  Reflect on the TT.  It's a superb grand tourer.  The 3.2 is a little thirsty at 25mpg average but the sound and power make up for it.  The ride is ultra-smooth, the handling and steering are a lot better than so-called experts say it is, the seat is comfy, the windows are small and you have to open both at 70mph or else the buffeting shakes your head from side to side, and the ashtray/12v still annoys.

Stop at a Burger King for dinner.  Stop at that lane right next to Stonehenge to water a hedge.  Drunk lots of water and Red Bull.  Thought I'd need a kip on the way home but I'm wired and exuberant.

The day's constant drizzle turns into a torrent. Slow down to stop inevitable aquaplaning.  Lorries throwing up vast rooster tails. New windscreen wipers a boon.

More Quo.  Piledriver again.

9pm.  Pick up dog from friends.  Say thanks.

9.30pm.  Home.  Empty junk from car.  Grab bag, other stuff and dog and walk to front door of house.  Look back at car.  This is A SIGN.

I have thoroughly bonded with the TT.  It is a keeper.

It was a 500 mile day.  It was a good day.  Crack a beer.  Write this.

I'm doing 300 miles tomorrow (today).  Bring it on.

NB - I'm getting digital radio and Bluetooth fitted to the TT next week (Hurrah!)

By Matt Hubbard