Baltimore to Minneapolis: 1 Volkswagen Later

Well, I officially have another Volkswagen added to the collection! On January 26th, Tony and I flew to Baltimore to pick up a 2004 Volkswagen R32. We planned on driving it home, but didn’t plan on the issues we ran into on the way back…

One of the things I was most nervous about from the beginning was license plates. For those who don’t know, Maryland is incredibly strict about vehicles. You can’t have specific modifications done to your car, you must have front and rear license plates even if your home state doesn’t require them, and most importantly for us: you can’t drive an unregistered vehicle on the road. Since I was buying the car out of state and from an individual, I wouldn’t be able to get it registered or get temporary tags for the drive back. Every other state we would pass through has laws that as long as you’re heading home, you can drive it for 3 days without the car being registered, but not Maryland, because they hate fun things like R32s.

Sooo…OF COURSE I got pulled over exactly one hour after buying the car. While I understand the cop was simply doing his job and enforcing the law, he was very condescending about me driving a vehicle home that I had just purchased…and girl you better believe I had those receipts. Thankfully he let us go with a warning and a, “just so you know, you might get pulled over by another trooper and they might not be as nice as me” lecture.

Since I knew Maryland was the only real thing standing in the way of our drive home, I told Tony we needed to get out of the state as quickly as possible before we stopped again. We had just enough gas left to pass the border, assuming there would be a gas station shortly afterwards.

Spoiler alert: There wasn’t. Tony tried directing us to a gas station that was miles off our route, in the middle of absolute nowhere, and it ended up being CLOSED. Like, permanently. We looked up the next closest station: 13 miles away. I had 5 miles of range left on the tank, and R32s don’t like to travel any longer than they say. I drove like an absolute professional hypermiler. I shifted as soon as possible, didn’t brake, and turned off climate control, heated seats, heated mirrors, anything that was taking even a drop of gas away from where it desperately needed to be: the engine. We were in the middle of (very sketchy) nowhere, driving on roads that had absolutely no shoulder to pull over onto if we ended up running out of gas.

I honestly have no idea how, but we made that 13 mile trip and pulled into the gas station, victorious, with me promising the R I would never, ever let it get that low on gas again. (BLU32, if you’re reading this: I’m still so sorry.)

We ended up putting 16.458 gallons in the R that night. I Googled how many gallons of gas an R32 can hold and the highest number I found was 16.4. We put in more gas than the car should actually be able to hold. šŸ˜…

We drove a few hundred more miles and decided to find a hotel to stay at for the night. We stopped in Cleveland at the cheapest adequate hotel we could find. The next day, we woke up bright and early, ate a very healthy hotel breakfast of waffles and sugary cereal, and hit the road again! We drove 12 hours on Sunday, and thankfully it was an event-free drive. We passed a few cops that couldn’t have cared less that we didn’t have plates, and made it home right before a snow storm started!

Now, the R32 is legally registered in Minnesota (with new plates BLU32 on their way!), tucked away in a garage, waiting for warmer weather (read: above zero, I’m not waiting until spring to drive it!) so he can be out and about again!

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