New Beginnings and Ends: A Wagon Road Trip

Updated: Jan 21

It's sad to know the end is near for the Mercedes Benz wagon. Our demand for bigger and bigger cars have pushed it out, in its place a sea of large SUVs and crossovers. The wagon's decline can also be tied to its association to the Griswold's or faux wood side paneling. Both are bad representations of its potential. But when I think of the wagon, I think of Town and Country magazine. I think of a machine that gives you the opportunity to maximize the best of both worlds, literally, town and country. It's an effortless transition going from drinks at Jeffrey's and the symphony on Friday, then loading up the dog and hunting gear Saturday morning to make a b line for your favorite quail honey hole in south Texas. It's a versatile machine that fits the man for all seasons.

I remember finding mine on a used car website in June of 2020. COVID was still in its prime and most of the world was still on lockdown. Used cars hadn't skyrocketed yet and the wagon I found checked all of my boxes. I called the dealership in Raleigh, North Carolina, and started the paperwork for the car to be shipped to Austin via a 18 wheeler. But Sydney, my wife, being the optimist of opportunity she is, saw this as a great chance for an improv road trip. So I quickly called the dealership and told them that we would fly into Raleigh the next week to drive the car back to Austin.

Once the paperwork was signed and the keys were in my hand we headed to Pinehurst Golf Resort for lunch. We ate in the village at the local brewery then picked up a few gifts for friends and family at the pro shop before walking the grounds. Without hitting one golf ball we left Pinehurst. We drove through the Carolinas and stopped for dinner at a small BBQ joint near Carnesville, Georgia called Smitty's. It's what you dream of finding when you think of southern BBQ: a small family owned place with generous portions. I devoured a rack of ribs with a side of fried okra and potato salad, in true #moveablefeast fashion, then stopped in Atlanta for the night. The next morning I had a revelation through a chicken biscuit. On our way out of Atlanta we stopped at Bojangles for breakfast. After having not one, but two chicken biscuits that morning, I'm a lifetime spokesman.

After seven more hours of windshield time we made it to our next stop, Vicksburg, Mississippi. I had zero expectations for Vicksburg. Sydney broke the trip up in three separate but equal legs and Vicksburg just happened to fall into place for us. I'm glad it did. We had dinner at Walnut Hills, a restaurant within a small house that's been around since 1880. We split fried green tomatoes, and I had a plate of hot shrimp and coleslaw with a few pieces of garlic toast. There could have been desert, maybe a piece of pie, but the memory is blurry now. That night we went downtown and spent the night hanging out on the rooftop bars, enjoying the view of the mighty Mississippi. On our final leg of the trip we pushed through Louisiana, stopping in Shreveport for gumbo. Then, once on the right side of Texas, Sydney spotted an older couple selling peaches on the side of the road. We picked up two baskets for a future cobbler.

The road trip gave Sydney and I a lot of memories, and tested us as only couples know who've spent hours in the car facing the trials and tribulations a road trip can bring on. We were ecstatic to bring the wagon home, but I've learned it's not all roses with a Mercedes. They can be needy and fickle at times. A cracked windshield here, a few flat tires there, have more than tested my patience and commitment to the brand. But I really can't think of a better vehicle that can take me from my crowded downtown parking garage to the lake in the hill country with five people and three dogs. It's just a shame that as my journey with my wagon is still beginning, overall it's looking like the wagon is facing its end.

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