Final Route Post

I hope that all of you continue to take both joy and solace in the simple act of driving. There is nothing quite like firing up your own car and traveling on your own terms. We will miss it when it is gone. Let’s hope that day never comes.” ~ Jack Baruth – Avoidable Contact

DAY SIXTEEN – It is Done!!

Last Turn to Home!

It was an amazing 36 days on the road out of 40 days since April 11th. As I noted yesterday, I have the mixed feeling of excitement to having achieved the goal and sadness that there would be no more travel. So, it is now over and I can reflect a bit on the adventure and achievement.

Let’s start with some basic statistics about the trip in response to questions I have been asked and think might be asked:

  • Total miles traveled – This is subject to revision as I recalculate each segment over the next month or so, but using my odometer and adjusting for its error I believe I traveled 11,544 miles in 36 days for an average of just over 320 miles per day or a bit less than I estimated.
  • Total Fuel used –  Again my records are less than perfect although I tried to enter every fill-up as soon as I finished, some were from recall so it actually may be one or two tenths more or less. I used 385.8 gallons for a miles per gallon average of almost 30 at 29.923MPG for the whole trip. Not bad!
  • Best Day – That’s easy, the last one coming home through Colorado. There were a lot of memorable places though and I’ll cover some of them in another post.
  • Worst Day – This one is easy too; driving from Death Valley to Goleta CA through the desert and the edge of Los Angeles in the horrible traffic with no clutch. A distant second was the trip south from Madawaska Maine in the cold and rain on that awful Highway 11.
  • Number of States touched – 34: Twenty three on the East loop; Eleven on the West.
  • Number of Tickets or Police Encounters – One. The setup in Alma just for the photo.
  • Problems on the Road – Only four, of which two were serious and two were minor. 1. Needing fuel in Mississippi and getting enough to make it to the next town with a gas station, 2. The Rear Suspension replacement at RD Enterprises (read blog posts 10-12 to get this whole story) 3. Clutch slave cylinder at JAE in Goleta (read west blog posts 4 and 5 to get this whole story), and finally, 4. Brake Lights at Spencer Motorsport in Rohnert Park, CA, (read west blog post six to get this whole story).
  • Weather Observations – I was really fortunate to miss any major severe weather during the trip. I left home both times just after major storm systems had passed through and found generally mild and dry weather across the whole country. The two exceptions were the rain day in Jacksonville when I was off the road at the Bungay’s and the cold rainy weather in Maine and New York neither of which was bad. Now that I am home safe in the garage, there are severe rainstorms across the south central states and major snow in Montana where I just was. I was incredibly lucky, indeed!
  • Percentage of Time with Top Down – 50% is a guess. Most of the eastern loop after Kansas I had the top up because of wind or rainy weather, or the cold in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York and the entire western loop except for the early morning on the last day was top down.
  • My condition after the drive – Wiped out! I clearly overestimated my endurance, but I’m grinning!

Impressions from the trip end day:

• This is a very big and diverse country in geography and density but a much more unified country in values than is portrayed in the press. I think both of these things surprised me.

• I am really glad I did this trip. The planning of it was a beacon of hope last year when hope was hard to find and the doing of it was even better. I found that what holds us back is usually overstated and what makes us go is usually undervalued. Mark Twain said it best: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

• Several times I wondered if the Elan would make it all the way…I should not have doubted. This is one tough little featherweight car, much like Mighty Mouse it punches well above its weight. Cute my eye!

• It seems to be rare and getting rarer to do things without all the modern conveniences. Do we really need all the aids we have to do pretty mundane things like drive? How do we keep skills sharp that we don’t use anymore? Now it seems a clerk cannot even make change without the machine doing the math. I worry that we are getting too soft and when an external challenge comes we will be found wanting. I hope I’m wrong.

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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5 thoughts on “Final Route Post

  1. It has been great fun to follow your epic journey over the past weeks and marveled at your great luck with the trip. In keeping with what you originally said about considering a donation I have donated an additional $115.44 to represent a penny for each hard earned mile now that the trip. is complete. I challenge all that have not donated to this point to consider doing the same. After all it is all about the kids.

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  2. “I worry that we are getting too soft and when an external challenge comes we will be found wanting. I hope I’m wrong.”

    Sound like your parents???

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    1. Foster…Maybe I do, but that does not mean it isn’t true. Look at the number of classic car guys who won’t drive their old car because they don’t have Air Conditioning for example. We used to accept them as daily drivers, and yes I am among those I critique so I recognize the irony.

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  3. Ross,

    Chris and I greatly enjoyed your daily posts and read them each evening before bed. A heroic adventure for a senior in a tiny car thought to be unreliable. You both proved your mettle guided by your guardian angel, who is capable of at least 67-68 mph, to RD and J&E for repairs. I wanted to join you and the GGLC crossing the GG bridge in my Plus 2 but current carb swap (Strombergs to Mikunis) wouldn’t permit. We’re glad you’re back home safely and bet Anne is too. See you in SLC in September.

    Lee

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