Initial Planning

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

In planning the route for my very small and pretty old car, (a 1965 Lotus Elan, which has no real weather protection other than a vinyl top that takes 10 minutes or so to erect, and spits water from numerous places when erected) it occurred to me that I ought to consider climate and weather in my initial planning. In other words, there is a range of temperature and weather that is workable and relatively pleasant and then there is a broad band of weather as well as temperatures both above and below that range which create conditions that are not just uncomfortable but may, in fact, be dangerous. I have driven the Elan in winter and it is no fun! While it will handle the cold OK, snowy roads are treacherous and keeping the windshield clear is a sometime proposition. On the other extreme, very hot temperatures such as those found in Death Valley in summer will test an otherwise nominally functional cooling system; not to mention the driver who is mighty fragile!

So it was that after determining an expected duration of about 45 days, I worked out a window of time that would be warm enough but not too hot. I settled on a start date of mid-April and a finish around the end of May. And, since the mountains just west of me are still quite snowy through mid-May at least, I decided to reverse my original plan and start toward the southeast first. My thinking is that while there may be April showers, the likelihood of snow throughout the great plains and south into Florida should be absent and the temps pleasant. Then, once I have reached Card Sound road in Key Largo, FL, I will begin working my way north as the season warms. Upon reaching Madawaska, ME it should be into the pleasant temp range there as well. By the time I have reached my home in Colorado Springs, after returning westward through the center of the country it will be around May 10th and, depending on the short term forecast, a safe run over the Rockies should be feasible.

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I plan a night or two in Colorado Springs to rest, repair and do laundry. Then I will head South west with a short risky run over the Rockies and down into Arizona and California. The temps in the middle of May should still be bearable there, and then after another short risky run through Death Valley and across the Sierras, it should be smooth and comfortable sailing up the west coast to Washington. As the season warms and days get longer the trek across the high country of Idaho and Montana should be OK and then the last run from South Dakota to home along the Continental Divide should be temperate as well. Note the frequent use of the word “should.” Mother Nature could throw a wrench into all these assumptions at any time or any place. I do have a heater that sort of works and I do have lights and wipers that work in an old English fashion, but I hope for a mostly dry trip with temperatures in the 55-85 degree Fahrenheit range (Or 13-30 degrees Celsius). Now to plan a route that works. The Devil is in the Details!!!!

About Me

Hi, I’m Ross and I’m a tripoholic. I love driving especially in my old cars and then writing about the adventure that always follows. I’m old enough to know better but that doesn’t stop me. If you like stories of the road, every word true no matter how far fetched it may seem, then grab a beer or a cup of coffee and join me!

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February 2021

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