The Labor Day long weekend is nearly upon us and, while your author doesn’t plan to roam more than a couple hours’ distance from home, many of you might already be packing up the [s]car[/s] crossover for one last warm getaway.
Nothing is quite as bittersweet as packing up the fam and hitting the road to your favorite destination, knowing all too well that the best of summer is behind you and that soon things will grow cold and dark. The lowering skies will grow heavy with frozen precipitation, the north wind will kick up, and that refreshing summer beer just won’t cut it anymore. Yup, time for the harder stuff.
But I digress! We all remember family road trips that went awry, so let’s drive into the weekend on a road paved with nostalgia.
Every gearhead reading (and writing for) this website enjoys the thought of a good road trip. One rule which should permeate all voyages decrees that passengers can complain about the type of music or its volume — but not both. This stems from my own belief that a person can complain about the brand or temperature of a beer given to you by a friend — not both.
Rarely do all hands agree, however. What’s your go-to music genre when hitting the open road?
For no reason in particular, your author found himself researching the various attributes and eccentricities of Greenland these past couple of days. Again, no reason. And while Greenland itself is pretty sparse and remote, you can’t actually drive very far from what passes for civilization in that [s]big island[/s] sort-of country. Something to do with fjords and glaciers and such.
If you’re looking to really get away from it all behind the wheel of a vehicle, there’s better choices closer to home. And, obviously, further. But maybe you already know that…
Today marks the start of that nebulous week in which the Fourth of July lands on a Thursday. A good many people will pretend to do some semblance of work today. Goof off on the second, then pack it in early on the third. Friday? Just make sure not to buy a car with a build date of 7/5/2019 is all I’m saying.
We’re giving you a fictional budget of $30,000 with which to buy a new rig to take on this weekend’s road trip. Be sure to consider fuel mileage, fun, and family before signing on the imaginary dotted line, mmmkay?
This past May long weekend was the unofficial start of summer for a good many gearheads. With cold temperatures and misery falling from the sky (mostly) behind us, it’s time for car shows, warm breezes, and — of course — road trips.
Kids and families have no shortage of attention diverting options these days, what with various tablets and devices approaching commodity-grade prices. But come on — surely someone out there still plays traditional road trip games, right? Right? Hello?
Where’d everyone go?
With contributions by Sebastien Bell and Sam McEachern
Mechanics have made their last-minute checks, drivers circulate sur la piste managing tire and brake temperatures, engineers confirm strategies; cars stage on the starting grid, the dissonant cacophony of twenty 1.6-liter V6 hybrid Formula 1 engines spooling reverberates through the grandstands as five red lights illuminate sequentially…
Hosted on Montreal’s Île Notre-Dame since 1978, the Grand Prix Du Canada has always been a special place for the Formula 1 paddock. For decades, drivers have loved the city’s vibrating atmosphere and unbridled passion for the sport, but what they really love is the circuit’s proximity to a devilish downtown core drowning in alcohol and impeccably dressed women.
Why do you think we like it?
Mercifully, at least to those of us living in the Snow Belt or in the Great White North, the official start of summer is only 57 days away. You know what that means: swimming pools, grilling meat, and — for gearheads — road trips.
I’m of firm belief the journey is half the fun, especially if you’re taking the Queen Family Truckster somewhere new. The countries on either side of the 49th parallel are filled with random and bizarre roadside bric-a-brac, some of it fit for discussion on this website, some of it — as we shall see — is straight from Hugh Hefner’s imagination.
Attentive readers will have, by now, recognized that my automotive choices tend to run towards the, shall we say, flamboyant side. Our family daily is an inky-black Dodge Charger with a vanity plate which is guaranteed to enrage bumper-ogling Methodists. New, oversized rims are scheduled to be fitted the minute all this snow goes away. Meanwhile, the Ram 1500 with which the Charger shares driveway space is painted Look-At-Me Red, accented [s]garishly[/s] nicely with chrome 20-inch rims. I drove a Lincoln Mark VII with an uncorked exhaust for many years. My neighbours love me.
So what am I doing in a Prius when my tastes tilt to the extrovert end of the spectrum? Well, it’s always fun to see how the other half lives, and in this case, I wanted to see how the thing would fare on a 1,000-mile journey in the dead of winter.
If you thought I got lost somewhere in southern Alaska, you thought wrong.
We are now hitting Seattle, WA for the remaining part of this U.S. North to South series. I have the privilege of driving a 2015 Ram 2500 Tradesman Crew Cab 4×4 Turbo Diesel.
I baptised last year’s Ram 1500 as Albert. This year, I will follow the letters of the alphabet as they do for hurricanes. Say hello to Bob. Bob, say hello to TTAC.
My first impressions are below along with an explanation on Ford Seattle license plates 2,000 miles up north in Barrow, Alaska…
TTAC Commentator Ralph Schpoilschport writes:
Got a quick one for you and only asking because you begged! But. I am preparing to make a 3000 mile one-way trip from beautiful Vermontto, well, not so beautiful southern CA. My rig is a 1997 Toyota 4Runner (V6, 5 speed manual). Known problems: leaking rear diff (rust cracks) and a muffler on its last leg. Spark plugs, starter, timing belt and water pump are recent repairs/maintenance. As I type, an attempt is being made to seal the rear diff. If that is successful I am having the mechanic give the chassis a once-over.
If the inspection is clear or things are easily fixed I am planning on making the trip with this car. I figure the car is worth approx $2500 – 3000 as it sits. Am I nuts?
My wife and I are planning on taking a large 20 day vacation this summer where we plan on driving aver 5000 miles with our three older children. My wife drives a 2008 Ford Taurus X, which we love, but does not have enough space for a family of five for such a long journey. We were originally going to rent a minivan from the local enterprise, but a two week rental will set us back $1,300 with tax.
In the next couple of days Autumn will officially begin. For most of us, however, Summer ended back on Labor Day, that final day of freedom before kids all over the country had to get up early, stuff their new school supplies into their backpacks and board those big yellow nuisances to all of us who have a daily commute. Anyone with kids, kids, kids is tied to home so, for all but a privileged few, the season of great cross country road trips is at an end.
Be forewarned: This post contains some Porsche content.
Those with a strong appreciation for the automobile often romanticize the idealized Road Trip, the Grand Tour. With rose-tinted glasses we esteem those transcontinental slogs made in cars suitable for the occasion, the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, and so on that are exemplars of the (often) 12-cylinder, Gran Turismo genre. Indeed, it’s difficult to read a review of such a car and escape reference to the hypothetical playboys who only interrupt sumptous repose to flog their aristocratic motors on epic drives of endurance.
In 2013, however, a road trip encompassing thousands of miles is quite a luxury, given the pressing hustle and bustle of the modern world. It’s much quicker and easier to fly, after all. In fact, it seems like the only people electing indulgent road trips these days are well-coined automotive journalists, like my friend Doug DeMuro.
Different cars serve different purposes. Of course, you already know this. You know, for example, that people buy compact cars for fuel economy. People buy minivans to haul other people. And people buy Acuras because they’re confused.
So why do people buy station wagons? For practicality, of course. People buy wagons so they can pack up all their belongings, load them inside the cargo area, and hand the keys to a car transporter who makes constant runs between Greenwich, Connecticut, and Palm Beach.
2005 Ford Freestar
Sometime in the predawn hours of a day in early August 1974, my father loaded his wife and five children into his recently purchased Chevrolet ¾ ton pickup truck, the adults isolated safely in the cab while we kids were locked like monkeys in a cage under a canopy in the back, and left Snohomish, WA for Horton, KS. It was a trip we made several times during my childhood and I have vivid memories of waking up in the predawn hours when the air was still cold and first rays of the sun were just beginning to paint the sky in the East. In the decades since, my road trips have always begun that same way and so now, having just completed their first big road trip from Buffalo, NY to Washington D.C. my children will share those memories as well.
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- ToolGuy "Having the dual sliders has been amazing as it let's me and my wife have our own "sides" of the van to prep for rides/races."Who goes on the traffic side??
- ToolGuy "I caught a little bit Saturday, but Sunday it seemed impossible to find on my cable. I think it was streaming on Peacock, which I have, all weekend, so I could've watched it that way. I'm not complaining, to be clear, since I could've popped Peacock on and yet I chose to watch something else."Being you sounds like a real chore. 😉
- ToolGuy If it is the longer-wheelbase version, good. (If not, it isn't.)
- ToolGuy "circumvent(ing) dealerships" should be illegal.Does "circumventing" mean spending my money there?
- ToolGuy If my head gets flatter I might consider this.