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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I am about two weeks from departing on a 5000 mile road trip. I'm taking care of some minor maintenance items and getting the car cleaned up between now and my departure date. My primary goals during this trip are to visit family in Texas and then hit the TDIFest in Lexington over Labor Day Weekend on the way back. Side trips along the way include another run of the Cherohala Skyway and Tail of the Dragon (I want new photos and my daughter wants a new t-shirt), a stop near Nashville to visit my daughter's friend, a visit to White Sands National Monument, a tour of Carlsbad Caverns (including the "bat flight"), and a visit to Houston for my 25 year high school reunion (never been to one). My route will look something like this:



I have fairly ambitious goals regarding the amount of miles I'd like to cover each day so I can maximize my time with family (shooting for a seven day stay). Therefore, I'm not sure how much "touristy stuff" I plan to do. Can anyone think of any "must see" places I should consider along the route? Is Roswell, NM worth a small deviation? I don't see anything online that screams, "See this!" ;) What about a visit to the new VW plant in Chattanooga? Do they even open to the public? Other ideas within close proximity to my planned route? What about in Oklahoma? I've never driven there before. Most of my driving will be on Interstates. Are there "side" highways I should consider for the scenery which aren't terribly slow?

I'll post photos as I go. I don't think my tour will come off as epic as LG6R's work. But it'll be similar. Perhaps I'll surprise myself since I've been doing a "Project 365" which already features photos from the driver's seat. He and I think alike, enjoying the solitude of the open road and driving for the sake of driving. Where we deviate from one another is I won't be sleeping in the car, especially since my 11 year old daughter will be with me. :D I imagine she'd be a "trunk-hog." :p I'll be using hotel award points earned through work travel to fund some of my hotel nights. I will also stay aboard Army and USAF bases when practical.

Oh - Here's the MKIII content, the car I will drive on this trip:



More to come as I prep the car for travel and then as I post along the route. In the mean time, please feel free to suggest points of interest or route changes. You're also welcome to check out the last road trip I documented HERE. I had limited myself to posting one or two photos per day since most readers were on dial-up at the time. But I'll post a lot of photos this time, making this thread a blog of sorts. :)

Take Care,

Scott
 

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Haha Scott this isn't a competition, I'm glad others are getting out there and spending some quality time behind the wheel. I'm sure you'll be overjoyed to be doing it again, it'll bring back some great memories and create some new ones.

There's not much to see in Roswell, just the typical alien museums and alien souvenier shops. But it's still fun to go and to say you've been through there. It would be worth a small detour since you won't be spending all day there anyway.

Not sure if the VW plant is open to the public yet, it's still new and would probably be a while before they're comfortable enough to offer tours. If you're looking for a factory tour, BMW offers one in Spartanburg, North Carolina ($7) and Mercedes-Benz offers one in Tuscaloosa, Alabama ($5). To be honest, just choose one because the other factory tours will all be the same. It's fun and exciting the first time around and old news by the time you go to a second one.

Never took your particular route but if you're looking for roads off the beaten track, check out http://www.byways.org/ There's a lot of good information on there, the only trouble is sifting from the vast amount of information and finding a road that you'll really enjoy.

How many miles do you have on the TDi now? How's the air conditioning?
 

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Looks like a fun route.. I spend alot of time in my mk3 so im with ya.. even if its over the same 120 mile stretch :)

You aren't even going to california...Replan your trip. ;)
Meh.. really the only thing worth seeing is ventura and maybe sunset blvd at night.. beyond that its filled with a bunch of *******s :laugh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello,

good luck with your trip and take lots of pictures. im a fan of your car and all the unique stuff done to it :thumbup:
Thanks for the comments. I may even get extra photos since my daughter will be with me. I'll give her a camera and let her go hog-wild. :)

You aren't even going to california...Replan your trip. ;)
No time. My mother lives in Visalia. My wife's family lives in Alameda. So I'd like to head there someday without flying. But that'll be a while. I normally make my visits to dear ol' Mom when I'm already in CA for Coast Guard business. "Get in, see the fam, get out!" ;)

i might be down in VA in a few weeks...otherwise def in the fall.
Give me a shout. I'll come meet you.

Haha Scott this isn't a competition... There's not much to see in Roswell, just the typical alien museums and alien souvenier shops... Not sure if the VW plant is open to the public yet... Never took your particular route but if you're looking for roads off the beaten track, check out http://www.byways.org/... How many miles do you have on the TDi now? How's the air conditioning?
:D Your threads ARE good, though! I'll see how my timing is for Roswell. The kid's interested. But it sort of looks like a dump. :( I called the VW plant's media manager. He says the plant won't be open for tours until "late fall." So no detour there. Thanks for the lead on Byways.org. I'll check them out. I just noticed I'll be very close to Route 66 when I pass through OKC. I may check it out.

The car has 366,000 miles on it. The AC works great! Then again, it worked great right up until the last time it quit. :p The same was true for my CV joints. All I can do it let 'er rip and deal with it if something goes wrong. Oh, I didn't mention that I'll be abusing the car all this weekend during a two-day autocross event. I hope I don't break anything. But I'll deal if I do... :facepalm:

:D

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello,

VERY CLOSE to departure. I have an unexpected duty to perform at work the day I plan to depart. It sucks that I'll be hitting the road six hours later than planned. But I think I can still make my entire first leg, shooting for Knoxville in a day (hopefully on the road by noon). The good news is leaving from work makes it better to leave the area on a more southern route. As a result, it looks like very little of my path will overlap, giving me all-unique roads/views:



Thanks to LG6R, I've also found a spot in OK where I will cruise Rt66 and stop at a cool spot. More on that later.

Scott
 

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Have fun and be safe. Looking forward to some good pictures. :thumbup:
 

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You aren't even going to california...Replan your trip. ;)
Why would anybody wanna stop there?! Been there a few times....horrible.
anyways good luck op! You bringing any random replacement parts? Starter in case u have issues, maybe oil and a filter for the return?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
:heart:

Why would anybody wanna stop there?! Been there a few times....horrible... Anyways good luck op! You bringing any random replacement parts? Starter in case u have issues, maybe oil and a filter for the return?
C'mon, now. Be nice to CA! It's not all bad if you can avoid staying long enough to follow their politics and can avoid traffic jams. It's just not worth over 6000 miles of driving to me unless I can be on the road long enough to see much more than CA. I have only 18 days, seven of which will be spent with family in TX. Otherwise, I'd likely include a trip to CA. I think driving 101 would be cool. :thumbup:

Regarding parts, I normally carry a water pump, air/fuel/oil filters, a quart of oil, spares for all light bulbs, fuses, a Bentley Manual, and VCDS. I have a mild concern with my alternator. But I think it'll be fine. I have people that can get me one overnight if needed. I have other parts at home which can be overnighted if needed, too, such as a turbo, injection pump, and other stuff. I may toss in some drive belts and a VC gasket just in case since I have some laying around and they don't take up much room. :cool:

I don't expect to change the oil. My TDI runs 10,000 mile oil drains. I just changed the oil a few weeks ago. :) I carry the air/fuel filters in case I plug one up unexpectedly (ex: dust storm or bad tank of fuel). The oil filter is just in case something weird happens. :sly: Most stores don't stock my oil/fuel filters; and then they want to rob me blind when they "order" it from a nearby distributor. :banghead: I'm fairly well prepared. But anything can happen and one always leaves at home the ONE part/tool that could've come in handy. I can't bring it all... Unless I pull a trailer. :p

Scott
 

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Just doing a 3500k trip in 5 days myself from toronto to prince edward island and back in my 98 tdi is make sure everything is all working properly and you will be fine.

My car has 369XXX and i had no problems

also don't anything for last minute and be prepared with a small assortment of tools and patching supplies.

i put 4400k in 13 days but 3500of those was in 5 days.

one last thing

Have fun :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay - Progress... :)

Day 1 – The plan changed fairly quickly as noted above in the maps. I had hoped to leave early in the morning, making a drive to Knoxville a cinch. However, there was a rather large and important task to accomplish at work. So Diana and I packed up the car and headed in to the office.

Diana and me...


The Great Dismal Swamp continues to burn...


The task at hand was the retirement of my Branch Chief. He had served in the Coast Guard for over 36 years. There was no missing this ceremony. So I changed my plans and hoped to hit the road by noon. That didn’t work out so well. Thirty-six years of service means a lot of sharing. It was a big ceremony. He deserved the send-off! But it was after 2:00 before I was finally able to hit the road.

Here’s a photo from the reception...


It didn’t take long for me to figure out I wasn’t going to make it to Knoxville. So I set my sights for Asheville, NC. I stopped for a few photos along the way. This was a bit of a schedule-killer. But I’m happy with the way they turned out:

Diana crashed soon...


Some sort of plant... I didn't care... I wanted the backdrop... :D


Not a lot of photo opportunities when much of the first day is under a canopy like this...


An abandoned fuel station which once pumped $0.39 gasoline...



Dinner at Sonic...


Nighty-night...


Nearly a full work day followed by seven hours on the road wore me out in short order. So I found a hotel and called it a night. More to follow...

Scott
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Day 2

We slept in just a tad, but still managed to be on the road by 7:30. Right away we found a problem with the voltage inverter. It appears it's not getting power since my position encoder is dead, too. No time to troubleshoot. So I stopped by Walmart and got another one. I'll chase down the cause when I'm at my folks' place in Texas. We stopped at a "TA" travel center for fuel after a couple of hours. That place was like a black hole... I couldn't escape! I had to fuel with the big rigs. That's not normally a problem. But it took a really long time to get payment and the pumps turned on. And then the attendant only cleared me for $15! I wasn't starting over again. Fifteen bucks will take me over 100 miles. "I'm outta here," or so I thought. It turned out the headphones I bought there were broken. I course, I didn't see that until I was on the highway. I had to drive three miles up a mountain, three miles back, exchange, get back on the road... The whole affair sucked an hour out of my morning. :banghead: I should've held out for a station with payment at the pump. On a humor note, I have no idea how I survived driving before the days of paying at the pump. Then again, back then you could pump first and pay after... having to wait in line just once. Okay, I'm babbling...

It took about four hours to get to the base of the Tail of the Dragon (TOTD) in Robbinsville, NC. Yesterday’s setback, this morning's blunder, and a plan to take Diana to meet her friend near Nashville, TN meant there wasn’t enough time to drive both the TOTD and the Cherohala Skyway as planned. So I cut the Skyway and headed for the TOTD. Knowing the car would be photographed along the TOTD, I opted to stop and get it cleaned:



This was a rare treat for Diana. I normally don’t use these kinds of washes. So she had never seen one in action. With the car as shiny as it was going to get, we continued along the way. Oddly enough, I learned there’s a regular car wash in Robbinsville. So don’t worry about showing up at the TOTD with a dirty car. There’s an easy opportunity to clean up before getting in front of the camera. :) Here are some photos from that drive:

Several miles of coasting down a mountain dropped fuel consumption to zero and EGTs were minimal...


I was going to share a photo of every MKIII I encountered during this trip. But I haven't seen any! I'm snapping aircooled cars... but still hoping to find a MKIII...


A scenic bridge...


We were hit by a brief shower as we entered Robbinsville. I stopped to dry off and took this photo...


Here's a view of a dam. Crossing this bridge is the mark of when the road is about to get interesting...


It immediately turns and climbs to the top of the dam...


And eventually snakes its way to an overlook of the river behind the dam...


Click this panoramic for a larger view...


Here's a life-flight helo awaiting the latest Darwin Award recipient... details below...


Pulled pork sandwiches... Yummy!


Ahhh... the things which can amuse kids if left unattended. She has no idea this will apply to her one day. HAHA!


There were at least two crashes that afternoon, both within 15 minutes of my arrival. One may have been a fatality. The ambulance went in with lights and sirens, but came out silent. Still, that didn’t keep at least one person from riding like an absolute jackass just minutes past the first crash. He rushed up behind me, was on my bumper for all of 10 seconds, and then passed me through a completely blind “S” turn. He rode in the center of the oncoming lane and was met by a pickup truck… all right in front of me. We all stopped without incident. The biker sped off to avoid further humiliation. I was recording on my Droid at the time. But the incident was not captured because the turns were too steep to see everything. I should post his license plate somewhere to see if anyone can chastize him. ;) Oddly enough, I was diligent about using the pull-offs to let faster traffic pass. This guy would’ve had a clean pass just a few seconds later. I guess his life isn’t worth the wait. Darwin will get him one day. ;) We ate lunch at the top of the TOTD and then continued on to Fort Campbell, KY. Diana had plenty of fun with her friend:

Just before exiting for Fort Campbell...



They could hardly stand still long enough for the photo...


Here are the photos taken by the crew at Killboy.com:








We spent the night in Clarksville, TN. Keep in mind that I’m a very “scheduled” driver. So, in my head, we’re still behind track and have a lot of ground to make up. My next “appointment” is to make it to White Sands National Monument before sunset in two days. That means we HAVE to make it to Oklahoma City tomorrow. This will be two long days of driving…

Take Care,

Scott
 
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