Exploring the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. This blog is advertising-free, and is supported by my subscribers on Patreon. History adventuring posts are shared there daily. The basic tier is a dollar a month, and the PhD tier, which includes "then and now" photos, billboards, aerials, videos, and super high-definition photos, is five dollars a month, and is discounted for seniors, veterans, and students. If you're a subscriber, thank you! You make this happen!
Driving an MG Midget to Phoenix, Arizona in 1977
Time-travel with me back to 1977, and let's drive an MG Midget to from Minneapolis to Phoenix.
Although in this blog I usually time-travel back to old-time Phoenix in my imagination, I actually did this IRL (In Real Life). I was 19 when I moved myself from Minneapolis to Phoenix, and I did it in an 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. And 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, except in extreme weather. I drove across the United States in the summer, which 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 stuff. MG Midgets weren't cars that carried a lot of stuff. And it didn't go very fast.
There was a song that was popular later 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 (which was near the Cheetah Club), 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.
Image at the top of this post: My MG Midget in 1979. You're looking south towards the Papago Buttes, on Wonderview Road on Camelback Mountain.
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Posted by Brad Hall