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VA-CA-VA... Again!

StealthGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Newport News, VA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
Thanks for the comments!

I got up early the next morning. I don't know why I didn't think to look at the forecast and expected snowfall. I guess I love surprises! :rolleyes: I went out to the car to discover that a bit more snow had fallen, maybe two inches?



After taking the photo, I opened the trailer to grab my boots and snow removal tools. I didn't plan to take a second photo, as if it say "Look, I cleared my car all by myself!" :sneaky: But I knew I wanted a second shot when I saw that mountain... [edit] I'm not sure why this photo is not displaying in the thread... It's in the preview window. See the image at https://i1.wp.com/stealthgti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/20210324_FlagstaffSnow-03-169.jpg [/edit]



I can drive in the snow, but any amount of skill can be diced away by FWD on unmaintained roads, other drivers, and especially 1060 lbs behind the car. So, talked to the hotel front desk to get some intel. He assured me that the highways are very well maintained and that I'd be fine. So, I took my chances, first by seeing if I could even pull out of the parking spot. Sure enough, I still have a good "pull-out game." :unsure:

The roads were okay, with a few wheel-slips from time to time. The interstate was clear, but not enough to drive the speed limit. I hung out around 50 mph with the big trucks. Some drivers still flew by, but I wasn't going to be the yahoo that shutdown an Interstate by crashing a trailer that some would argue shouldn't be there. Flagstaff sits at around 7000 feet. Google Maps seemed to indicate that normal speeds (clear roads?) were just 30 miles away. I set out to get below the snow. I hadn't had breakfast, but I expected to just wait... until I discovered a problem: In my haste to get out of the frozen rain and into a hotel the previous evening, I hadn't refueled. Knowing how fast the bottom half of the tank disappears while pulling a trailer, I took the first exit I saw with my preferred fuel.

This fuel stop was in Williams, AZ. I had traveled 30 miles down the mountain, but the roads certainly were not clear. Williams appeared to be a sleepy town with only limited snow removal teams. There was a layer of ice under the snow; so, my traction control and ABS were certainly working and making plenty of noise here.



I went a little deeper into town to find breakfast. I was determined to keep the car moving to avoid getting stuck. Ordinarily, the GTI does well on snow. But the trailer presents more weight and friction for a FWD car to overcome. Thankfully, no one was on the roads... except my dumb ass! ;) But that wasn't entirely true since the grocery store was busy. I got breakfast and headed out of town... "No Cop, No Stop." Life was good on the interstate. It wasn't long before the roads and my surroundings looked as if it hadn't snowed at all.

I stopped in Seligman, this time during daylight. I was there before the town had opened for business. Still, I didn't see anything there to warrant a stop. I had already seen and photographed a cool mural in the town. Nothing else caught my eye. I might have felt different if I was traveling in an RV and had no timeline. I took this photo, just to say I was there...



I took off my boots while I was stopped. I then proceeded to Kingman. My only goal there was to reshoot the banner sign at the Locomotive Park. I looked for a coin-operated car wash so that I could make the car pretty for the next two photo locations. But I was out of luck... I think. Regardless, a dirty car says something about the miles of a trip... :p



This next shot was at a location that I had learned about last fall. I think someone may have shared it in my previous travel thread. I knew I had to visit since I was so close by...



My destination this evening was Pahrump, NV. It would set me up for the following day's cool visit. I attempted to get a decent car photo in Las Vegas. But the "Fabulous Las Vegas" sign was not as expected. Not wanting to prolong my stay in the crowded city with a trailer, I made a swift exit and continued west. I arrived in Pahrump plenty early enough to find a car wash, get a much needed haircut, and sit down for a meal. I had been itching for country-fried steak. I didn't go looking for a place that serves it, but I happened to have parked in front of a place that has it during my haircut...



Obviously, this is not a fine dining establishment. I'm pretty sure their "country-fried steak" came out of a box. I enjoyed it anyway. Eight years on ships has enabled me to develop a tolerance to mediocre foods. So, I was still satisfied by this meal. :ROFLMAO:

Next, I enter the place that compelled me to bring extra fuel...



More to come...
 

StealthGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Newport News, VA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
Hello -

Awesome content. How much run time do you get out of the Refrigerator/Battery?

If I was to just park the car, the battery would run the refrigerator for about three days. Since I drive every day, the lowest I've seen the battery read after an overnighter is 85%. It takes less than an hour to recharge from 85%. The battery was unplugged from the car during my stay with my brother, basically Friday evening until Monday morning. I had unplugged everything to show the family my electronics panel and then forgot to plug the battery back into the car. The refrigerator had power, though. Early Monday morning, I had stopped and noticed that the "charging" light on the battery was off. The battery was at 25%! OOPS! I did not record how long it took to get back to 100%. But it easily happened during the course of that day's 550-mile drive.
 

ourlee

Go Kart Newbie
Location
Lake Hopat NJ
Car(s)
17 TT 17 GTI S
SCOTT! This is so exciting. In July our best family friends are marrying off their son 2 in Bourne Tx. I’m driving down from NJ solo, moms and son 2 are flying, and son 1 is flying in from Los Angeles. Then 2 and 1 are flying back to echo park, and moms and I are going to drive west to my brothers house in La Jolla, then spend a few days with the sons up and down the coast. End of week I drIve solo back to jersey. I’m so pumped. Tomorrow billy is installing my IS38 with the UM suite and in a few weeks he‘ll add an intercooler (west Texas/New Mexico/Arizona in july🥵) in a few months I’m going to pm you, hopefully we can chat. Cheers, and GREAT pics.
Rick
 
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StealthGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Newport News, VA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
Thanks for the comments, everyone. Let me answer those before I post an update:

Reading your threads I can't help but think you have one hell of a great family, and they are lucky to have you. Best of luck.

Thanks! I can be a bit of a loner. So, I often think my family is greater than me. I left over 30 years ago and return just once every other year or so. But things are good when we're together. But my wife, daughter, and I are together quite regularly.

SCOTT! This is so exciting.... I’m going to pm you hopefully we can chat. Cheers, and GREAT pics.

I'm always open to PM or even a visit if your travels bring you to our nation's "Historic Triangle" of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, VA. I look forward to hearing from you.

max respect....hoping for pics/list/weight of items you are saving.

I packed an inexpensive bathroom scale and will weigh EVERYTHING before it goes into the trailer. My wife knows that I have a hard "ceiling" of only 500 lbs that I'm willing to bring home.

I just dove into your blog and YouTube channel as well. Well done

Thank you very much! I publish a new video each Thursday. The blog has become secondary and is updated less often. I'll draft a thread update here now...
 

StealthGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Newport News, VA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
I last left you at the entrance to Death Valley. Websites and blog write-ups warn that there is no cellular coverage in Death Valley. They're not kidding! I easily drove over 150 miles without a signal. Bring paper maps and/or download offline maps for navigating. I had done that and was ready to visit a few main attractions.

For a very long time, I've thought about a road trip that included the highest paved road in the U.S. I thought that was Pike's Peak until I later discovered that it's Mt Evans nearby. Regardless, both my November trip and this current trip took place at times when those roads are closed due to snow and ice. With them being out of the question, I then turned my sights on driving the LOWEST paved road in the U.S. That is Badwater, CA.

I left Pahrump before sunrise so that I could get to Badwater before the sun rose above the moutain and to beat the crowds. Badwater Basin is just 100 feet from where these photos were taken. It is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. So, I think these photos are at the lowest point at which a vehicle can be driven.



Look closely at the mountain and you'll see a sign which shows sea level...



Click here to see the photo at full size. Look again at the mountain and the opening in the rocks is where I stood to take this photo...



From this view, you can see the sign which notes the lowest point in the Northern Hemisphere, about 10 o'clock from the truck camper. And here I am at the lowest point...



From Badwater Basin, I set out to see Artists Drive, which leads to Artists Pallet. Artists Drive has vehicle length restrictions of 25 feet due to sharp turns and deep dips in the road. My combination is about 23'3". My only concern about this drive was finding a place to park once I found the Pallet. I had scouted the site via satellite and saw ONE place that I really hoped was open. Sure enough, the spot was clear and I was able to spin around to back in. Being selfish, ;) I would have preferred if the SUV wasn't there so that I could have the photographic illusion of my car being the only one present. But I think the image turned out good...



Different areas in these hills contain various elements in the soil which change the colors. The colors are bold from a distance, but hard to notice when actually standing up there. This photo was taken from one of the pink sections of the mountain...



From there, I began my climb out of the valley and over the mountain toward Barstow, CA. Here is one of the mountain passes. I was behind a couple of slow-moving vehicles and stopped to let them put some distance between us...



The "distance" didn't last long. After taking this photo, a series of them, I simply released the parking brake and let the car roll. I was quickly to 60 mph and caught them in no time. The second vehicle was a minivan towing a pop-up camper. Its brakes were HOT and smelly. The road straightened; I was able to execute a pass and leave them behind. :cool: Later, I found myself wondering about fuel. I passed one fuel station, but questioned the quality of its fuel. I had the extra five gallons of 93 AKI in the trailer. So, I wasn't terribly worried. I arrived at a fuel station without having to use my extra fuel, but it was close. :sneaky: I arrived at my destination in Central CA and found a place to stunt-park...



We didn't visit Sequoia National Park in November because the roads had snow and ice. The "road condition" hotline says the roads are currently clear. I'm not picking up my wife from the airport in Fresno until 2pm. So, I'm going to hit that mountain while I can. I'll make a second trip with her if the roads are still clear.

I'll share that trip next...
 
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StealthGTI

Go Kart Champion
Location
Newport News, VA
Car(s)
2017 GTI Sport
Thanks for the notes, everyone!

I've actually been to Badwater Basin years ago. I did a century on my bike there.

I hope the ride was during a nice time of year. I can only imagine the dry air sucking the moisture out of you. Then again, I can also imagine that it's better than sweating profusely as I do on some of the humid rides around here.

This is such an great thread! There’s a sign at the start of I40 in my town, Wilmington, NC, that shows the distance to Barstow, CA. 2600 mi or so I think. Ive heard the Wilmington, NC mi sign in Barstow disappears frequently.

I've seen that sign! And I don't guess I'm shocked that the one at the other end disappears from time to time.

This is literally my favorite thread. You are so good at writing about it I almost feel as though I'm there. Thank you for sharing your journey.

Thanks! I feel I'm slipping a bit, though. Sometimes, I reread my entries the next day and find errors. I wonder how I missed them. Then, weeks later when I'm transposing the text into a blog entry, I find more errors! "What the hell, Old Man?!" :ROFLMAO:

I'll pile on. Great thread!

Thank you!
 

MonkeyMD

Autocross Champion
This is an awesome thread. Love the pics and writeup.
 
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