Road Trip 2000

1300 miles in a 16 year old car

On June 30th I will be flying to Vermont with my girlfriend Kellie. We leave from Nashville in the afternoon and will arrive home at around midnight after a several hour drive from the airport. On the first, we will take half a day to show Kellie around the Burlington area, and then spend the afternoon and evening at home. After packing up the rabbit, we shall head to bed to rest up for the long trip ahead.

Waking at 8:00am Sunday morning, we will drop the top, hop on in, and head out. Sporting a fresh oil change, new alternator belt, two rebuilt drive axles, and an overall mechanical soundness, we shall travel problem free. After driving for around 9 hours, we'll stop in at a hotel and consider it a day. Starting at around the same time the next morning, we will drive the second leg of the journey and arrive in Nashville sometime in the evening.

VT, morning of departure

Running the close Ratio GTi transmission, I'll probably cruise at 3500rpm, which should be around 65mph. Figuring a 1600 mile trip at 25mg ends up with 60 gallons of gas. At the current rate ($1.50) I'll end up spending $100 on gas alone. Makes me feel sorry for anyone traveling in a SUV. Beside the fact that they're not convertible, most SUV engines are around 3 liters more than my 1.8, imagine the fuel cost!

While we were home that saturday we went to the junkyard to check out what was there, my dad was looking at getting a rabbit for it's engine for my sister's blowup Rabbit L. We decided not to get the engine, but had fun poking around there as usual, tried to find a foglight switch with no luck. I did take three pictures though, one is really excellent (the caddy) and the other two are two different areas of the VW section, it is a lot larger than it seems in the photos... if you look closely the redGolf GTi in the front of the first photo can be seen in the very rear of the second. To give you an idea of the space covered, one row isn't even shown in the photos which is to the left more... lotsa dubbs.

--- Trip in a nutshell ---

The 1280 mile trip from Burlington VT down to Nashville, TN went without a hitch! With the GTi ratios, we were cruising at speeds of 3,600rpm (68mph?) at around 32mpg and 4300rpm (80mph?) getting slightly less miles, at 28mpg. We stopped for approximately six times for gas, filling up with 6 gallons almost each stop, the time of driving was approximately 21 hours. We spotted 5 other convertible water-pumpers, and even got one wave-back from a red cabriolet.

The trip was 99% sunny, and the top down 98% of the way. There was a light shower for about 4 minutes near Knoxville, TN but at 70mph, it blew over and the only problems was the mist from tractor trailer tires. The time the top was up was when we shuttled between the hotel and a Wal-Mart, to pickup a hat and some spf 45 since we were burning through the stuff rated at 6. The halfway point we stayed overnight at was Martinsburg, west Virginia. It was about 11 hours there, and 10 hours to Nashville.

TN, after-trip detailing

It was a very successful trip which ended with a 4 hour cleaning/waxing session. Found out how well it runs at long distance, high rpm trips for hours on end, oil pressure at 4-4.5bar at 3500-4000rpm, and staying at constant 110 celius, except in the cool of the night where it would drop down to 100-110, and this is running castrol gtx 20w50 because the pressure had been a bit lower than I would like and I knew I was going to heat it up real good for a long period of time.

2 weeks until bodywork, and the project should be almost complete. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that the water-pump has some play in it, I noticed the pulley had marked the timing cover a bit while adjusting the alternator belt before leaving VT, but after almost 1300 miles, it still doesn't leak and works well. Will have to replace it sometime, however.

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