Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Ultimate Road Trip - Part 2

So, given the challenge proposed in "The Ultimate Road Trip - Part 1" is successfully completed, and you are transported back to the present day on the west coast, Joe in PNG (a really nice missionary bloke stuck in Papua New Guinea) has another proposition:
Having completed the arduous task of crossing America in the mid-17th century, you now get to go back across present day America in style, all expenses paid with all the time you want to take.

-What car (or motorcycle) would you take?

-Who would you take as a traveling companion?
Having done this trip more times than I can count (usually Arizona to Boston, but I've done SF to Boston, SF to NYC, SF to Orlando, and Boston to LA a couple times as well), I can tell you, it can be a hell drive, or a fun one.

I once did the 2748 road miles from Prescott, AZ to Boston in 54 hours, for an average speed of 51mph. I've also taken 12 days to do it.

I'll take the second option if given the choice.

The best way of crossing the country to my mind would be a piper malibu, but he did specify a road vehicle.

The best road vehicle for a long trip where you can't stop at motels or hotels, is a semi-compact or mid-size SUV (like a chevy trailblazer). They get decent mileage, have big gas tanks, enough space for you to stick everything you need to go non-stop with, and most importantly they have enough space to sack out in the back. Oh and if you kit one out, you can have some fun off roading, and maybe stick a couple of quads or dirtbikes on a trailer.

Thats fine if you feel like camping out, but Joes question involved all expenses paid. To me, that means decent hotels nights, and some time to see the sights, and have some fun.

The best long distance highway cruiser where you can actually stop when you feel like it, is a BMW M5 (though the E55AMG is a close second). The M5 is almost universally recognized as the greatest sports sedan in the world, and is quite literally designed to cruise all day at 155mph. It's a frikken balst to drive, and it has plenty of room for you, your companion, and all the stuff you could want on the trip (including long guns, and plenty of ammo).

That being, said, if I were limited to a road vehicle, and had all the time I wanted to make the trip, I'd take a brand new aluminum CSX 4000, which is modern production Shelby Cobra, with state of the art brakes, suspension and amenities. One of the fun bits about the CSX is that you can choose any powerplant you want, and I'd go with a supercharged Dove aluminum 427, pumping out about 700hp, which in a 2400lb car gives you a 0-60 of under 4 seconds, and a 10 second 1/4 mile.

For this trip I'd fit the thing out with a multiband ham rig (KB1DXJ here), a CB, a valentine one, a Sirius sattelite radio and MP3 jukebox, a semirigid soft top with glass rear window, slide up windows instead of the usual roll down side curtains, a le mans trunk lid (which gives a lot more cargo room), and a tail trunk (doubling the cargo room). I'd also build a thermoelectric cooler into the center console (for a couple of genuine cold ones).

Next to me would be my best friend of 21 years, Jim. He's never been west of the misissipi, or anywhere south of D.C. except florida, and I think he needs his horizons broadened.

In the trunk would be a case of good whiskey, a couple of broken down AR's. a couple of folding stock shotguns, and half a case of ammo for each; leaving us with just enough room in the trunk and tailpack for the soft top, and our clothes.

So, on to the details of the Ultimate Cross Country Road trip....

Okay we'll start at San Diego, and then start to make the PCH run, stopping in 'Bu for a couple hours (hit the pier), then up to Santa Barbara for the night.

From Santa Barbara take the PCH straight up into Monterey. it's one of the best drives in this country. Overnight in monterey, and then up to great america for the day, and then drive up to SF late night.

First weekend, we party in San Francisco, then make the run over to Yosemtie, which needs at least three days.

The last day in Yosemite, we drive up to tahoe. Stop for one night in tahoe, and then the next day and night in Reno; then it's on to vegas, a night there, and then we flip over to the canyon for a day and a night.

From the canyon, we hit Zion and overnight there, then make the run up I-15 through Utah, into Wyoming and Yellowstone. Take 3 days in yellowstone, then take the small roads through wyoming, and down to steamboat, and overnight there (some incredibly gorgeous driving there)

After the overnight in steamboat, take the back roads down into vail, the up through the Eisenhower and down into Denver, then Co. Springs for the next overnight.

Head down tje 25 to QQ, and pick up the 40, then over to Amarillo for dinner at "The Big Texan". Let's see if Jimmy can eat the 72 ouncer (I've done it twice).

Next day we head over to OKC, then down to Badlands tactical for the week long SWAT/Sniper course (I've done gunsite, and Thunder Ranch moved to Oregon).

Head down to Dallas, visit friends and do some shoointg (oh did I forget to mention, we'll be doing some shooting all along the way), then head down to Austin for a night of Blues and BBQ, and head over to Corpus Christi in the morning, and take the night to party a bit, but not too late so we can get up early to start the gulf coast run up to NoLA

I think it goes without saying, this will occaison a few days stop to party, then we resume the gulf coast run, all the way down to key west which should take two good days.

Key west needs at least three days, maybe five just to chill out.

From the keys we cruise up to Daytona for an overnight, and up to Savannah for the next night, then cruise on up to Myrtle Beach for another overnight, then on to DC, taking the long way around, crossing the chesapeake twice, including through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel, and then through Annapolis.

I hate DC, but it has some great stuff to see at the Smithsonian, especially the national air and space museum.

From D.C. it's a straight shot up to Atlantic city, and that needs a good solid two days to enjoy.

We run up from AC to Boston (about 8 hours), and party in the old home town for a weekend.

Finally we run up to Mt. Washington on a tuesday through thursday (to avoid the tourists). Actually we'll stay at one of the places on Lake Winnepesaukee overnight, then get up early, and get to the Mt. Washington auto road so we can be first in line, ahead of all the idiots in minivans.

If you havent driven it, it's one of the most fun drives in the world... unless you get stuck behind an idiot in a van.

I've done every segment of this trip at one time or another (though not at once) and let me tell you, it's worth every second. I figure the whole thing would take between a six weeks and two months depending on just exactly how mch fun we stopped to have along the way. If I had the cash, and the time, I guarantee you I would be doin it.