Tuesday, October 18, 2016

W210: DailyDiesel Takes Over The West? Part 1

Forgive me in advance here, my pictures are so scattered around that I just gave up trying to organize a timeline. Surely not as well put together as the whole R129 AMG trip, that's for sure. then again, the whole trip was 5 days longer than the SL trip.

Anyhow, the entire premise of the trip was to make it out west to check out one of the drifting track days with Naoki Nakamura coming over from Japan to drive. I've literally watched videos of him driving out in Japan and couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet him and watch him drive.

The trip started leaving Chicago around 6pm on Tuesday (or Wednesday, I don't remember) with the end goal being holing up in Denver, CO the next day.

1st major stop of the journey out of Chicago was the Iowa 80 "Worlds Largest" truck stop. Holy heck they weren't kidding. I DID find some truck stuff I'd want to re purpose for future projects though.

At some point in the morning, I guess we made it to Colorado. I have no idea what time it was, but it was a solid 10 hours of driving at this point I'm sure. I did stop a couple times for a couple quick 15 min naps.

At this point I wasn't taking any more pictures because I was absolutely dead and wanted to get over to the hotel and sleep. With that, we're now onto the next morning. We woke up with rain in Denver and the weather saying it was snowing in the mountains....where we had to drive through along 70....Great.  

It was great. Roads were well mannered and the scenery beautiful. The car absolutely hated it's life though - altitude and a heavily loaded NA OM606 are NOT a recommended combo. The car was somewhat misfiring when coming onto load from no load, and a steady stream of gray/black smoke coming out the rear as I had literally no choice but low gear and full throttle. What a dream ride that was. The R129 AMG on the other hand, at 1/4 throttle would be blowing past everything on the road. 

After we reached the summit of whatever we were climing (about 11k ft) was a long and steady downhill that snaked along the Colorado River (atleast I think so).

The instantaneous change in scenery was ridiculous as well. We experienced every single season in a matter of 2 hours.

I found a sign for something called Hanging Lake and figured what the heck - it's early in the day, might as well do a little hike to check it out. BOY WAS I WRONG on "little" hike. I swear we climbed nearly 2k ft in elevation along a fairly treacherous trail. A bit of rock climbing near the end, but the end of the hike was certainly worth it.

This wasn't the end either. 

This was.

worth it.

By the time we were done with the hike, I made it a point to get some miles under the belt and I think we stayed in Salina, UT.

So far so good, a couple days in and the car isn't showing any signs of quiting..... thankfully.

Utah's fairly dry and boring.

But then Zion happened

We took the shuttle all the way up to the Narrows and hiked BAREFOOT in the freezing Virgin River. My feet were still sore from the whole Hanging Lake hike, so while it was painful on the feet to slip and slide on rocks, it was GREAT massage therapy.

Came across this dingus too

Rain? Nah, just water coming off the side of the mountain. Equally as cold as the river. I kind of regret not setting up a little water bottle and catching the water as it was falling.

Skip ahead a couple days, as there was a few things that happened between Zion and what is the Grand Canyon excursion below. I'll have separate posts on what those were.

I noticed the car getting somewhat louder on what were insanely smooth roads. Its skipped around on odd bumps and I knew something was going on with the suspension/tires. Sure as heck, tires were wearing down at an accelerated pace. I can only assume from the weight in the back of the car.

I'm say these tires were on their way to being totally bald if I attempted to make it back to Chicago on them. Found a guy in Santa Ana, CA that was selling tires - I got a pretty great set of Continental Contiprocontacts for $70 and a guy installed/balanced them for me for $35. Not a bad deal to get me back on the road safely. At what is now 275k miles, I'm planning on doing somewhat of a rebuild on the rear suspension.

Hung out around Newport Beach and walked a state forest area along the beach. Walked about 2 dang miles one way. 

Now began the slow process of working back east 

Made it to the Grand Canyon. At this point I think between bouncing around the car did 2300 miles or so.

Stayed at a really nice campground around the canyon. 

Canyon was pretty cool.

At this point I forgot where I was. My whole goal was to basically take side roads the entire time and stay off any major highway.

to be continued.........


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