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Old 01-21-2010, 01:58 AM   #21
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Good stuff. I love that 87 octane only gas pump. Its gas, its gets you from point A to point B, Who cares about detonation?
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:34 AM   #22
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My friend was driving through I think Indiana and saw this. Good thing his NA is NA.
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:43 AM   #23
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Greetings from Salina, UT.

Today was quite an experience. I have learned, for instance, that the snow-covered Rocky Mountains are exceedingly pleasant to look at, and exceedingly horrible to drive through with a truck & trailer. This is what the dashboard looked like for much of the journey.



Saw a few of these, too. Runaway truck ramp? Looks more like runaway truck jump. The picture does not do justice to how steeply inclined this thing is.




It is, in fairness, quite pretty. And I'm certain that in summer, in another vehicle, it would be a thoroughly enjoyable trip. In places, I kept expecting to be passed by a coyote with rocket skates on.



Doubtless however, he'd probably run right into one of these.




In some places, one gets the impression that the state of Colorado just wasn't putting a lot of effort into things...



(Although I was a bit slow on the shutter, there's nothing omitted from that picture. It really does say Exit 116: No Name.)


In Palisade, CO, they've gone in quite a different direction with the whole naming things issue. 37 1/4 Road? E and a half? I'm trying to imagine how you'd write that on one of those forms where they have boxes into which each character is to fit. I somehow doubt that the OCR is equipped to deal with the concept of a backslash in a street name.






The local wildlife is interesting as well. This was on 35 1/2 road. (Be sure to notice both signs.)




And then your GPS tells you something really odd:





Now, for those of you who might be wondering why a presumably sane and reasonable person might choose to drive from Florida to San Diego by way of northern Colorado, here is the answer:



It fits!

Around the chest and posterior, it is snug but not uncomfortable. The dash needs to be cut quite a lot to fit my knees, and the pedalbox and forward section of the floorpan (below the feet) could stand to be lowered about an inch and a half to accommodate my big ole' Buster Browns, but apart from that, it's quite a pleasant place to be.

The expression "like a glove" comes to mind, however it seems somehow inadequate in much the same was as it would be to describe Ralphie's bunny pajamas merely as "pink." A better analogy in this case might be "like a condom."

It was quite nice spending the afternoon with Bill and Keith, who took a fair bit of time to show me around, answer my questions, and let me poke and prod about the cars. I was a tad surprised that their V8 conversion business really seems to be booming. I got to drool over one car that's about to go out, another freshly uncrated LS3 about to be swallowed, and saw several more cars lines up in the queue awaiting their turn. They also have another Westie going together, which was nice as in it's half-completed state I was able to poke around and see a lot of the insides.




After I left, I broke my strict dietary regimen with a chicken sandwich and a bowl of Chili Wendy's.

Then, things got ugly.

Not long after crossing into Utah, the weather took a turn for the much, much worse. By 6pm it was pitch black and moonless, snowing profusely, with considerable accumulation of snow and ice on the road. Adding to the dilemma, the headlights on my truck were apparently aimed with the cargo bay empty. With it loaded, and a trailer attached, the low beams do a good job of illuminating the snow several feet above the road, but not so much the road itself. The high beams are useful only as a navigational aid to low-flying aircraft.

I thought back to the sign I'd passed about 50 miles earlier which read "No services next 100 miles"

As I drove along I-70, blind, unsure of my ability pilot 12,000 lbs of articulated lorry in these conditions, and quite frankly more than a bit nervous, there was hardly another vehicle to be seen. I deduced that one explanation for this was that all of the sane, rational people who knew what that section of road is like, and had bothered to check the weather forecast, were at that time at home with their wife, their boyfriend, their dog, or their wife's boyfriend's dog, and presumably a warm, crackling fire. By corollary, I deduced that my presence on the road demonstrated that I was a stark, raving lunatic.

After a few miles, three tandem-tanker trucks proved me wrong as they careened past me at what I judged to be a suicidal rate of speed. While this did nothing to elevate my opinion of my own condition, it did recalibrate my understanding of the word "lunatic".

I said a short prayer, asking for guidance.

Not long thereafter, another truck entered the highway shortly ahead of me. From where it came I know not, however I noted that, unlike mine, its headlights shone like a freight train's, and unlike the aforementioned suicidal lunatics, this driver was perfectly content to putter along at 25 MPH. Judging this to be indicative of a reasonable mind, I settled in behind this truck, following in his tire tracks, secure in the knowledge that if he could make it, I could make it.

Not long thereafter, we passed two tandem-tanker trucks which has slid off of the road and were stuck in a gully, along with a third who'd managed to stop safely on the shoulder. It's going to take a tracked vehicle to get those poor bastards out.

After a few hours at 25 MPH, we finally hit Salina, and saw the first hotel signs I'd seen in quite a long time. Needless to say, I've stopped.

Tomorrow should be interesting. Depending upon which report I believe, there lies ahead either much, much more snow, or none at all (but rain).

On the plus side, I did have the forethought to drain my water injection system and refill it with 0 washer fluid just before leaving FL.


Miles traveled: 425.4
Fuel consumed: 48.422 gal.
Avg. Economy: 8.79 MPG.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SKMetalworks View Post
Good stuff. I love that 87 octane only gas pump.
Actually, the 87 is the good stuff. In CO and UT they have 85. Fortunately, the truck does not seem to mind. I've long held that in SoCal, we got shipped all the gas that wasn't quite good enough to sell in Tijuana. Apparently, in CO and UT they get all the gas that wasn't quite good enough to ship to Punjab, India.
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:49 AM   #24
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So when are you taking delivery on the Westfield?

Your horror stories of driving in the snow amuse me. Thanks.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:04 AM   #25
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So did you laod it into the truck or is it comming later after you settle down in cali?
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:08 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by jayc72 View Post

Your horror stories of driving in the snow amuse me. Thanks.
I know tell me about it! But remember he is from florida suddenly thrown into a mountain pass snow storm. Those test even those truck drivers that drive them every day.

On a funny note I was jealous of your weather just 5 days ago. Today I was running around in a tee shirt and look where you are!
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Old 01-22-2010, 07:50 AM   #27
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I feel like I'm reading the humorous version of Zen and the Art except the characters are no longer on two wheels of mechanical needy glory, but instead in a monstrous, lumbering life transplanter fueled by caffeine and beef jerky.

Good reading. I wish you the best in California.

Also, the more I read about the guys at FM...the more I decide they've got a solid customer here whenever I actually start bankin'.
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Old 01-22-2010, 02:00 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
I once saw a truck stopped in the one near Dead Man's Curve, on eastbound I-70 heading down into Denver. In addition to being steeply inclined, what you couldn't see because of the snow cover is that those ramps are also gravel traps, about two feet deep. They get used a few dozen times every year and do a good job of catching what goes into them.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:55 AM   #29
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Ah, California at last!

Today went quite well. I awoke to considerable accumulation of snow, but upon hitting the road, found it to be well plowed, salted, and completely clear. A light snow turned to a light rain as I crossed from Utah into Arizona and then Nevada.

As I was in no hurry at all, I did a bit of an experiment today. For the first two days, I drove the truck pretty hard, typically running 65-70 MPH. Then for the past couple, it's been severe mountainous terrain, lots of first gear pulling. Today, although there were a few inclines, it was mostly relatively level going. So I decided to take it down a notch, and ran at 50-55 MPH, attempting to see if I could crack the 10 MPG barrier. Far from it, this driving style produced the worst fuel economy I have yet recorded. I have absolutely no explanation for this. Apart from the one station in Kansas, I've been running E10 the whole way, and while I did have a tank of 85 octane in at the start of the day, I've heard no pinging whatsoever, and saw no difference on my second leg, after putting in 25 gallons (on a 35 gallon tank) of 87 octane.

Weird.



At any rate, this is definitely my kind of scenery.






Aaah, good ole' Zzyzx, CA.





All this thinking about fuel made me notice something which I'd previously missed. Here's the front fender of my truck:



FlexFuel is Ford's way of saying that the vehicle will run on straight gas, E85, or any mixture of the two. Now, here's the fuel filler on the side of the vehicle:



No E85? Now granted, I personally wouldn't choose to fill up with E85 based purely on the range penalty. But I haven't been able to figure out why Penske is telling me not to. Actually, I just thought of one possible reason. When I return the truck, I'm supposed to fill the tank to full. I suppose I could fill it up on E85, which is rather cheaper than gasoline on a per-gallon basis. I know of one station in Oceanside which sells it- not sure if the truck will physically fit...



Quote:
Originally Posted by jayc72 View Post
Your horror stories of driving in the snow amuse me. Thanks.
I tell you what. The next time you walk out of your house and find a large alligator sunning itself on your driveway, be sure to let me know so that I can have a good laugh at your expense. That is the sort of situation which, as a Floridian, I know precisely how to deal with.



Quote:
Originally Posted by magnamx-5 View Post
So did you laod it into the truck or is it comming later after you settle down in cali?
Somehow I doubt that FM would appreciate me taking their demo car.

No, this was just a test-fitting. I've been wavering between a Westie and something Atomesque as my next car, and having now sat in the Westie (and figured out exactly what mods I'll need to do to make it fit me really properly) I'm about 95% in the Westie camp. When I get settled in, I need to make an appointment with a referee to see what my options will be in the event that I fail to score an SB100 certificate during the '11 season. Assuming that goes well, I'll most likely place my order and set about getting the new garage ready.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gospeed81 View Post
I feel like I'm reading the humorous version of Zen and the Art except the characters are no longer on two wheels of mechanical needy glory, but instead in a monstrous, lumbering life transplanter fueled by caffeine and beef jerky.
"A monstrous, lumbering life transplanter fueled by caffeine and beef jerky. I love it! I suddenly feel like Hunter Thompson in reverse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gospeed81 View Post
Also, the more I read about the guys at FM...the more I decide they've got a solid customer here whenever I actually start bankin'.
I was really impressed by the visit. Their shop is about as close as you can get to being in the middle of absolutely nowhere and still have phone service, but it's a cool place. Everyone I met was quite nice, and even though the main shop floor wasn't very busy that day, it had a really hoopy feel about it.

The most impressive thing, actually, was the sheer bigness of it all. They had about dozen cars inside the shop when I was there, and yet there was no sense at all of being crowded. Additionally, there was also an airstream camper, two car trailers, and an airplane parked inside, and the really freaky thing is that I didn't even notice they were there until it was pointed out to me. If you moved a few things around, you could easily hold an autocross inside the shop.

Come to think of it, I probably could have test-driven the Westie inside...


Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottFW View Post
In addition to being steeply inclined, what you couldn't see because of the snow cover is that those ramps are also gravel traps, about two feet deep.
Yeah, I've seen them in their uncovered state on I-8 / I-10, which I've driven a number of times. I can only imagine what it'd take to get a rig out of one. I just don't recall the ones down south being that steeply inclined, though they did have a rather serious-looking mountain of gravel piled up at the very end, just in case you're still moving when you get to it.



At any rate, stopped in Barstow, CA for the night. The goal is in sight- just a few hours to go tomorrow.

Miles traveled: 460.2
Fuel consumed: 53.267 gal.
Avg. Economy: 8.64 MPG.
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:25 AM   #30
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Damn Joe! Wish I knew you were coming through KC, would've loved to have lunch or buy ya a beer!!

Next time I'm in Cali, eh?
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:55 AM   #31
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lol at the "truckers", those folks are truly nuts and if they're pulled over you might as well too. shame you're back on the homo coast
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Old 01-23-2010, 05:33 AM   #32
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I'll be making the same trip whenever I decide to go ta film school out in San Diego.
wtf. How the *** do you pronounce zzyzx?
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:58 AM   #33
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Ah, good ol' Barstow...I've spent many nights there working out at Fort Irwin. Let me know if you come across a pregnant crack head trying to get money from you.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:02 PM   #34
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Good read as always, Joe. I was trying to figure out why you hadn't just hopped on 10W too, but it's clear now.

This Floridian found himself in a bit of a snow predicament too, but in the Miata. 225 RS2s make lousy snow tires, and I think I may have the only pic of what 6ULs look like with snow packed in them.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
Good read as always, Joe. I was trying to figure out why you hadn't just hopped on 10W too, but it's clear now.

This Floridian found himself in a bit of a snow predicament too, but in the Miata. 225 RS2s make lousy snow tires, and I think I may have the only pic of what 6ULs look like with snow packed in them.

I know it's not packed, but there are 6ULs under there.



...

When I drove out here from California, I took the miata. It was Halloween so there wasn't much snow, but even still I used the KDW2s "just in case". I hit a little white stuff in Breckenridge, CO (stopped at the beer place for one beer of course) since it's right off 70 and there was snow on the ground.

Pretty uneventful drive.

San Jose to Flyin Miata in one stretch was pretty tough. Left at 4:30pm one day and was eating a late lunch with the FM guys the next day.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:33 PM   #36
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I stand corrected.
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Old 01-23-2010, 11:38 PM   #37
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Touchdown.




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Originally Posted by elesjuan View Post
Damn Joe! Wish I knew you were coming through KC, would've loved to have lunch or buy ya a beer!!

Next time I'm in Cali, eh?
Well, my decision to swing up to FM was honestly a last-minute thing. I didn't even have time to load the detail maps for that region into my GPS unit, so I was driving on the basemaps most of the time. I basically decided once I was nearing Texas.



Quote:
Originally Posted by turotufas View Post
wtf. How the *** do you pronounce zzyzx?
It's pronounced the way it's spelled.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mach929 View Post
lol at the "truckers", those folks are truly nuts and if they're pulled over you might as well too.
Actually, I've found the majority of truck drivers over the years to be extremely courteous, even to some guy driving a rental truck. (me.) But as with anything else, there are always a few nutjobs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kotomile View Post
This Floridian found himself in a bit of a snow predicament too, but in the Miata. 225 RS2s make lousy snow tires, and I think I may have the only pic of what 6ULs look like with snow packed in them.
Heh.

I actually lived in Cincinnati for about five years, so I've driven in the white stuff before. It's just that I'm a little our of practice, and when you combine serious snow, a large heavy vehicle, poor headlights, ominous signs warning me that I need to be carrying tire chains, and the sort of terrain that I usually enjoy driving my Miata on, it's a tad much.

Still and all, happy as hell to be back in San Diego. Haven't computed the mileage for today, as I haven't filled up the tank yet.
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:12 AM   #38
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Glad you made it safe...just in time to relax and watch some good football too.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:14 PM   #39
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How was NV... pretty damn boring huh. lolz
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:23 PM   #40
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Glad you made it safe...just in time to relax and watch some good football too.
Heh. No relaxing- it's been straight back to work, plus all the machinations of helping my future roommate / landlord get all his **** packed up and moved into the new house which isn't officially his yet. All of my stuff fit into one truck. His might all fit into the HMS Somerset.

This was all supposed to be done weeks ago, but the process is dragging, during which time I'm sleeping on the floor of his living room at the old place. I'm too old for this ****...

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How was NV... pretty damn boring huh. lolz
NV was a very welcome relief after UT. And honestly, I really enjoyed the scenery. I've driven in and around Vegas before, but hadn't previously been on I-15 that far north.


Not a naturally tenable state for a Miata. Yeah, I know, you've all seen worse. This is a first for me (and my car).





This isn't what California looked like when I left...




Ok, this is better.


Last edited by Joe Perez; 01-26-2010 at 12:41 PM.
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