Friday, June 2, 2017

Should the experience be more important than the car? Should you wait until you have that special car before you embark on that special trip?

Via Corsa magazine is identified as the sports car adventure magazine. Peking to Paris! What an adventure. For some reason these old prewar Bentleys really appeal to me. There is a great Petrolicious video entitled. "Living life as a Bentley Boy," It's just beautifully shot, as are all their videos, and you get to see these magnificent cars in action.

The Enduro Rally Association puts on an amazing series of adventure runs. There are some pretty awesome activities that are going on. These are mostly popular with rich guys that can afford the time and money to participate, But I will give these guys their props. They take their awesome, expensive, cars and thrash them in rough conditions. They put on a Trans America rally that could be easily replicated by anyone living in the lower 48 states. Either way these elite rallies can give us the motivation to take our own memorable road trips.

Of course for American guys one of the bucket list drives is Route 66.

The Snow Cap waits for you.

About a year and  half ago my Wife and I made a trip to Phoenix Az. On the way back I wanted to show her the town of Sedona.  It was as beautiful as I remembered, but since I had last been there in around 1975 the amount of development was not unexpected. We continued through Flagstaff, then west to Williams and into Seligman. Stopped by the famous Snow Cap. Yes it's kind of tacky, but fun. Busloads of foreign tourists were disembarking as we arrived. Many European motorcyclists come to the U.S. every year to travel down Route 66. The road itself is nothing special. Back in the day it would have been teeming with vehicular traffic, now it's just a memory. Kind of interesting, but not challenging in any way, just a touring destination.

West of Seligman we hooked up to whats left of the original alignment. While it is somewhat interesting, I don't think it would be better in a vintage car. If you already had the car, it would be okay, but I wouldn't hold out until then! Modern A/C will be very welcome!

There is a very cool video on you tube about a group of older Porsche 911s driven by a group of younger guys making a cross country trip from San Francisco to eastern Canada. A couple of the cars have a bit of trouble but keep on going anyway. A fun video to watch.

Ther is great video on Jay Lenos garage about a pair of Land Rovers making a cross country run from the Mississippi river to the Oregon coast. What makes this especially cool is that it was run on unpaved roads the whole way!

There is another video of driving a new Jaguar all wheel drive XJ8 up to the Arctic circle. Now that's the right way to travel!

One of my all time favorite videos is on Petrolicious films on you tube. It's called "Against the Grain". It features an un restored 356 Porsche that the owner takes on back roads, fire roads and even gravel/ dirt roads. It seems pretty amazing but remember how many Dune Buggies and Baja Bugs,were built out of the humble VWs similar chassis. Even the WWII Kubelwagen shares this same basic layout.

We are quite lucky in the US to have a world of varied topography right within our own borders. You can take your choice of deserts, mountains, swamps, rain forests, and plains. There are thousands of miles of secondary and third tier, roadways. There is a nationwide system of Forest Service fire roads and trails.

I just saw a new (to me) magazine called Overlander, which covers the growing long range, back road, trail movement. It would good to put all those jacked four wheel drive trucks to good use instead of shining their blinding  head lights into your back window during the evening commute!

So should you wait for "someday"?

You can probably guess my opinion on the subject, I recently posted my experience on
the first California 1000 motorcycle rally.  There are still more posts to follow on my motorcycle trips up throughout the Pacific Northwest, the south western US, and finally my four week, solo trip around the country on my Harley Sportster.

Well I'm currently up on the Oregon Coast, a partial repeat of my last year's vacation. I would have loved to take my XJ6, but unfortunately I just hadn't had the time to get the front suspension rebuild done in time.

I am disappointed. Driving the Jag gave the trip a great "sense of occasion." I'm glad I got the opportunity  to take the Jag on the road and experience it. There will be other trips for my XJ6 and hopefully my XJS.

I considered the other available reliably running vehicles in my fleet. My '96 Mustang was up to the job. With it's front suspension just having been rebuilt, the steering was spot on.  It still runs smoothly and even with just over 200k on the clock it only uses a bit less than a quart of oil in 1,000 miles.
It might have been fun to cruise up here a bit, with the top down. The negatives are the tiny trunk, although I could load up the back seat. The cabin is comfortable enough, but the noticeable exhaust note and the rough choppy ride made me decide to pass.

The Explorer has even more miles, over 250,000! It had received pretty good maintenance and repair before I got it. It runs really well and the a/c works very well. I've driven it back and forth to Merced on a couple of occasions, once in a torrential storm and had no problems. It is kind of old and rattling, with a bouncy jittery ride. My Wife says she finds it kind of fatiguing over a longer trip. It is spacious and has great seats, but I don't want to add too many more miles on it.

So that left me with my F150. A week before the trip I went to start it up and nothing. I jumped it and got it started, I cleaned the posts and put it on the charger. The battery could only restart it one time. Then the realization hit me, that's the original battery, it's ten years old! Well that's a good run. I got a new battery and it's good to go. I just had to do the first smog check and I had replaced the spark plugs. With over 120,000 miles on them, they were as clean as a whistle.

Overall the truck is still in pretty good shape, and the cab in is extremely spacious and comfortable, for two. It is quiet and rides great, and even my Wife has trouble filling the bed with luggage. We took this truck on our trip out to South Dakota a few years back. We covered parts of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah and Nevada before we were done. Not bad. It's a great road machine.

After treating it like a pack burro last year I think it deserves the opportunity to point it's nose into the wind- and go. Just like me.

Just like the ads say: Just Do It!

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