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Vermont to Vegas: 17 jobs and counting

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  August 21, 2013 09:01 AM

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Michael Bates fills up his car in Baltimore, before setting out with the author for an epic American adventure.

Michael Bates has worked 16 jobs since he was 16. He's made pizzas, Subway sandwiches, operated rollercoasters, stood on security watch at Gillette Stadium, sold fan merchandise for the Providence Bruins, managed a dental practice in Connecticut, managed a restaurant in Walt Disney World and worked nights at a Florida gasoline station. He's 28 years old.

His 17th job -- an usher at a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas -- starts next week. And because I don't have a real job that makes me punch time clocks, I've joined him on the 2,400-mile drive to Sin City.

Minor problem: By commuting like hell across Connecticut, he's put more than two years worth of mileage onto his leased 2012 Chevrolet Cruze in just 13 months. By the time we reach Vegas, he says he'd rather light the car on fire in the desert than return it to the dealer back home.

We're starting in Bennington, Vt., at a lake house my friends rent each summer. But after we help down some 200 beer cans, it's time to get serious. We set off last weekend for the 138-mile drive to my hometown, Cheshire, Conn., and then another 282 miles across the deadpan New Jersey Turnpike to Baltimore, my new city. Also: I'm newly married, and because my wife had to start school at Johns Hopkins the day after our wedding, this road trip is effectively my honeymoon. He's one of my very best friends. So that's not a complaint.

Follow along this week as we ride across middle America.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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