AAZCD
AAZCD New Reader
5/30/18 4:19 p.m.

This should be a simple road trip. Probably nothing to write about and might not even be worth a read. I have a new camera and plan to take lots of pictures along the way, so I figure I'll make a thread as an excuse to post them.

Why am I going? My daughter and her family live in Phoenix. That's three grand kids that are still at an age where they think spending time with Grampa is fun. I want to capitalize on that before they get older and busy. There's also a '98 Audi there that I may drive back, or sell, or just get a look at and leave as is.

How am I getting there? I thought of flying out and driving the Audi back. I thought of driving a Porsche Boxster out and back. I thought of flying out, buying a cheap project car to drive back... Then my wife decided to come along, so we are driving her Honda Element for the round trip. We love the Element; Comfortable ride, decent economy, and lots of space.

To get the Element ready, I decided to replace the brake pads and rotors before the trip. Easy job. ...until the rotor screws stripped out on both front rotors. I finally hammered, drilled, and vice-gripped them out. The rest of the job went well, but it was hot and I was worn out when it was done. I may have forgot to torque the left front caliper bracket bolts.

A quick test drive after the brake job showed it all to be good. The next day, my wife texted me at work and said, “The brakes are making a bad noise. You need to check it out.” I figured she was just being picky and everything was fine. Everything was not fine. One of the bolts that holds the caliper to the hub was missing and the other was half way out. A few more hard stops and the left front brake would have fallen off.

At this point, my wife got a little nervous about taking the Element. “I'm not doubting your skills as a mechanic Jon, but maybe we should take one of the Cayennes instead?”

“No, no. The Element will be fine. Just a little oversight. I'll have it fixed later tonight.” The Cayennes get about 18 mpg on the highway and the Element gets over 25 mpg. At about 2,500 miles for the round trip, I'll take the 25+.

First I tried to just replace the missing bolt. I cut a longer 12x1.25 bolt to fit. It didn't go in smoothly. I ordered a new pair with Amazon Prime. When I put them in, they wouldn't get to torque and kept turning – the bracket was stripped. Running out of days, I ordered a new bracket and bolts from Rock and they arrived today. Now installed and torqued, the car is ready. I even got some fresh front tires for the trip.

I said the car is ready, but we still have a little work to do. The back of the car has become a sort-of treasure chest over the last ten years. Nobody even knows what lies at the bottom. I don't want to stress over sorting it all, so I'm just going to get a big box and dump it all in there. Let the wife sort it out when we get back from the trip.

We are planning for a relaxed week long trip. From our home in Oklahoma to Phoenix is about 17 driving hours. We plan to wander a bit along the way and get off of I-40 somewhere west of Texas. For listening during the drive we have the epic tale of survival on a journey gone wrong: Endurance - Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.

AAZCD
AAZCD New Reader
5/31/18 6:24 p.m.

I thought that we had agreed to embark at 10:00 am. I later realized that my wife didn't actually agree. Rather, she just didn't state her dissent verbally. By 9:30 I had my stuff ready to go and went to drop the dogs off at the kennel. 10:00 I have my stuff loaded and ready, Vi is still getting things ready and picking outfits for the trip. I leave to drop a house key off with daughter #2 at her office - that was originally planned to do on our way out of town. 10:30 I fire up the lawnmower to get one last pass over the areas that grow fastest. Its running a little rough. I consider doing a quick rebuild on the carb while I wait...
Rushing a wife before a trip is never a good idea. It will not cause her to be ready any quicker and is sure to bring unintended consequences later. I keep myself busy with menial tasks and try not to look at a clock. We have no deadlines, but I still have an ingrained military need for a plan and sequence of operations. Still, I have learned that if I feign being the last one ready, the trip will go better.
At noon, we rolled out the driveway. At last we are kinetic. There's never much of interest for the first couple hours of a road trip. It is still 'home' and nothing new. Crossing Oklahoma, we see the trees and overcast clouds melt away. Westward.

Crossing Ok

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
6/1/18 7:59 a.m.

We made a quick stop in Amarillo to see how the Cadillac Ranch is doing. (https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2220)

Our next stop was Russell's Travel Center,in New Mexico. They have a great car collection and a nice sit-down restaurant. We had dinner and set the sun. http://www.russellsttc.com/

When I have done this trip 'on my own time-line', I usually stop for the night in ABQ, or Grants. We made it to Santa Rosa, NM and stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Express. It's a nice room and good place for a stop. Years ago my wife and I were driving through the area and stopped late at night in the village of San Jon for a motel. It was a mistake. The 'desk clerk' came out in his underwear and escorted us to a dingy room with a worn out bed. As I recall, this is how the desk clerk looked:

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
6/1/18 8:14 a.m.

Remember to take a moment, about half-way through, and re-affirm your love of and devotion to your wife. Road trips can be stressful, a little relationship reset can go a long way.  

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/1/18 8:54 a.m.
AAZCD said:

I thought that we had agreed to embark at 10:00 am. I later realized that my wife didn't actually agree. Rather, she just didn't state her dissent verbally. By 9:30 I had my stuff ready to go and went to drop the dogs off at the kennel. 10:00 I have my stuff loaded and ready, Vi is still getting things ready and picking outfits for the trip. I leave to drop a house key off with daughter #2 at her office - that was originally planned to do on our way out of town. 10:30 I fire up the lawnmower to get one last pass over the areas that grow fastest. Its running a little rough. I consider doing a quick rebuild on the carb while I wait...
Rushing a wife before a trip is never a good idea. It will not cause her to be ready any quicker and is sure to bring unintended consequences later. I keep myself busy with menial tasks and try not to look at a clock. We have no deadlines, but I still have an ingrained military need for a plan and sequence of operations. Still, I have learned that if I feign being the last one ready, the trip will go better.
At noon, we rolled out the driveway. At last we are kinetic. There's never much of interest for the first couple hours of a road trip. It is still 'home' and nothing new. Crossing Oklahoma, we see the trees and overcast clouds melt away. Westward.

Crossing Ok

Completely agree with your assessment.  If i closed my eyes I could be you, when it comes to moving things along.  Have a safe journey, keep us posted.   I did this Rt. 66 trip in 2004, with the whole family, and a dog.  Did it in a conversion van though.   NYC to Calif.  South, West, North and back East.  Did it in 8 or so weeks.  Had a blast.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/1/18 8:55 a.m.

In reply to pinchvalve :

Amen to that brother.  How did the interview go?

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/1/18 8:57 a.m.

Just don't talk too much about this thread or what so and so on GRM said, less the Mrs decides to check this thread out. 

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
6/1/18 9:30 a.m.

Thanks for the comments and reminder. For us, the stress mostly fades away once we are out of the driveway and the journey begins. It took a few rough starts in the past for me to learn patience and consideration and for Mrs AAZCD to accept and understand my way of doing things. We have bent towards each other to what has become a comfortable lean  for support.

Over breakfast and coffee we figured out the day. Less touring than originally planned and more of a push to reach Phoenix at a reasonable time. Our diversion for the day will be a drive through the Petrified Forest. I did that last year with daughter #2 driving a Boxster, but have never been there with my wife. I really want to share it with her.

The Petrified Forest National Park is near Holbrook, NM. https://www.nps.gov/pefo/index.htm There is a great road through the park with lots of scenic turn-offs and short hiking trails. The admission price may be a little steep if you are just making a quick visit, but as a (slightly) disabled veteran, my admission is free.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/1/18 9:55 a.m.

I'm curious about your thoughts about Phoenix. I've been to Tucson, but not Phoenix. Several former coworkers are out there working at Palo Verde and I may need to find a new job at the end of the year. I need to hear some positives about the Phoenix area, since my current opinions about the place are: too big, too crowded, too hot, too deserty, not sustainable, lack of water, etc.

 

Please tell me the good. Desert scenery can be beautiful. Other than that, I can't come up with much that would make me want to move there.

 

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
6/3/18 11:53 p.m.

In reply to T.J. :

I really don't know Phoenix well. My daughter has been there 12+ years and I have seen that it is too large and varied to try to call it any one thing in particular. She started there as a student at ASU, Married her high school boyfriend while he was stationed there at Luke AFB. They have lived in Glendale, Tolleson, Old Town, and now live in the north. Each place was very different. Lots to do and see for anyone, once you find your niche. The area has really grown on them and now it is their home even though they grew up in Tennessee. If you are willing to adapt, any place can make a good home.

Me? I could live there. I just need to stay out of the mid-day sun during the summer.

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
6/4/18 12:09 a.m.

Back to last Friday.... We had a nice drive, going through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, then went through the Tonto National Forest (Holbrook - Payson - Mesa), arriving in Phoenix from the East before dark.

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
6/4/18 12:40 a.m.

We started on our way back home this evening after a nice family dinner at JK Sushi. Also of note was a great breakfast at Mamma Toledos Pie Hole. Both places had excellent food and worked out well with the 1 year old, 3 year old, and 9 year old in our party.

We all decided that it would be best for me to take the Audi back home to Oklahoma and figure out what to do with it from there. I bought the car back from them, put two new tires on and added a quart of oil. Other than that, it seemed pretty tight and ready for the trip. Then, I topped it off with gas ...and drove off without the gas cap back on. One more stop at Autozone for a new gas cap and we were on the road heading home; me in the Audi and my wife in her Element. Both cars did great heading north out of Phoenix into the mountains. We left I-17 at Camp Verde and cut across the Coconino National Forest on Hwy 87 to Winslow. I would have loved to do some scenic stops along the way, but we wanted to get out of the forest and through the mountains before it got dark.

Now settling in for the night in Winslow. Planning for a long drive tomorrow, but probably not all the way home. We are still debating the plan. It's about a 14 hour drive home and I don't want to do that sort of grueling all interstate drive in one piece. On the other hand, the closer we get to home, the harder it will be to stop.

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
6/4/18 11:07 p.m.

Before the trip, I had read on numerous web pages and watched YouTube videos about people buying some nice old SLR camera lenses dirt cheap at thrift stores to adapt to modern mirrorless cameras. My quest for today was to find a thrift store in Albuquerque that had some awesome old lenses for a few dollars. I failed in my quest. We tried 3 stores and none of them had any decent old photography stuff. I did get a nice LL Bean shirt and a 16" globe of the world, made in Denmark.

One of the Goodwill stores was crazy. There were no shelves or displays, just unsorted pallet-bins of everything but photography items. It was total madness in there with people digging in the bins and throwing stuff everywhere.

Other than the quest, it was a long day of I-40 with lots of bathroom stops.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/5/18 7:46 a.m.

I-40 is definitely a string.  The "road test" back with the Audi, may entice someone on the sale.  Have to give kudos to Momma, on the drive back.  Safe trip home.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
6/5/18 8:43 a.m.

My son and I hit Cadillac Ranch and many were bringing cans of spray paint in with them causing me to wonder why we didn’t get any paint prior.  

No problem as there were 1/2 full cans all over the ground to use.  My son enjoyed painting the old cars.   

AAZCD
AAZCD Reader
6/6/18 12:09 a.m.

Back home. Both cars did great. I expected that from the Element, but I really hadn't checked over the Audi enough to be sure how it would go. The Audi had a slight vibration (harmonic resonance?) in the steering from about 82 to 84 mph, but other than that it was a smooth ride. My only slight worry was a bit of a hot oil smell when I parked it. I may have over filled the oil before the start of the trip and the level was mid dip-stick at the end. The oil and coolant temp gauges both stayed below the mid point, even driving into 5,000 ft mountains in 100 degree weather. My wife did great on the drive and was a good companion through it all.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog HalfDork
6/7/18 8:20 p.m.

New "spin" on "global" GPS.

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