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Old 06-21-2013, 10:05 PM
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I figure I'm due for an update...

I crossed the country again in late May with all my worldly possessions aboard (more on that later). As a graduation gift, my dad agreed to pay for my gas so that I could take a more interesting route than the pretty horrible one I took going out. I could take my time, so I would try to only drive during the day, so that I could see the entire country, and for air0dynamix, because it meant I could keep my pop-ups down. I was also able to drive slower, which although it goes against my nature resulted in a lot less stress; passes happened fewer and farther between, and they, along with my pessimistic fuel gauge, were the main sources of stress, rage, and fatigue on the way out. While at school my car had stopped starting, but I "fixed" that by removing the starter and shoving pieces of copper into it. I parked on hills as much as possible so I could bump start if the need arose, so that added a little bit of stress.

I took country roads across New York, which was a lot of fun save a few aggravating stretches behind tractors, then went through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and into Indiana, where I spent the first night. From that point in the trip until the final day, it rained. I wouldn't have minded because it kept things cool, but my wipers aren't the greatest.

Having gotten the boring states that I'd been to out of the way, except for half of Indiana, I proceeded west to Chicago, where I hit morning rush hour. Once in Chicago, I turned right and headed up the shores of Lake Michigan through Wisconsin. Wisconsin was pretty, but unasuming. I took a detour to go see the Wisconsin Dells, which were very pretty and I highly recommend. From there, I headed north-northwest into Minnesota and the Twin Cities. Two things stood out: the Scandinavians who live there certainly live up to their ancestry and keep everything very clean and it is a very tall state, I had no idea I would spend as much time driving through it as I did. Downstate, save the cities, was pretty boring but as you head up it begins to live up to its "Land of 10,000 Lakes" moniker. The rolling hills and minilakes are like if someone had designed Ohio without ****ing up. Through Minnesota, and into North Dakota, I enjoyed what seemed like a five-hour sunset, which was enhanced by the big-sky nature of that part of the country. After being pelted by tens-of thousands (no hyperbole!) of bugs during this permadusk, I decided to call it a night about 50 miles into North Dakota.

The next day was by far the best leg of the trip; I woke up to a beautiful prairie sunrise and headed west. While the sun was rising, I crossed the Missouri River just west of Bismarck, which was the unofficial halfway point. After the sunrise, as I headed farther into the plains, North Dakota began to bore me, so I decided to set some personal speed records (110ish mph average between stops) and a top speed somewhere north of 125mph (where the 5%-optimistic 130 mph speedo ended). I was rewarded for doing this with poor Ms to the G. Even though I wasn't paying for gas, I felt bad about that kind of wanton waste, so I slowed down in time to enjoy the red-clay hills and mesas that were starting to appear. It was at this point that things began looking decidedly-Western, about which I was very happy. From there I went into the prettiest part of the trip: Montana. Though initially very similar to and as interesting as central North Dakota, Montana soon began living up to its mountainous name. Crossing the Continental Divide was particularly pretty, though it was one of two times that my car actually broke a sweat. At a mile and a half (if not more) high with steep grades I couldn't maintain a speed of fewer than 85mph in fifth gear. Due to the twisty mountain nature of the roads, I couldn't feasibly travel much faster than sixty without try to escape the mountain through the guard rails. So, I was forced to stay in fourth, with the engine screaming its head off at the crisp thin air. On the way back down, it was again screaming its head off, because I threw it into third and let it rev to five-and-some grand with my foot off the pedal. The rest of the state continued in the same vein, but none of it could match the CD, which was definitely the climax of the trip. The scenery in Montana was among the most beautiful I had ever seen despite the rain. I will return to Montana at some point because that state needs to be explored further, especially around Livingston. Throughout Montana, questionable roadwork with even more-questionable traffic rerouting was common and this continued into Idaho. I drove through the strongest rain I've ever driven through with my car halfway in the mud because the two lanes of the highway were coned off (for no workers, surprise, surprise!), so that half of my car was on the 2'-wide paved hard shoulder, and the other part was on the dirt soft shoulder. This was incredibly nerve wracking, and jolting end to an otherwise pleasant day. I continued on into Idaho through another beautiful and long sunset, almost hit a cow that was on the highway, and decided to call it a night.

Having done the trip in fifty-something hours the previous time 'round, I was not ready for the trials that came on the fourth and final day. It all started well enough; I'd stopped in a rest stop with a nice view of the hills and a lake/swamp with a little bench like in a Zen garden. The weather was perfect in the early morning, 55F/13C, and I sat there and then hiked up into the hills, just absorbing the scenery and listening to the loons. This was a welcome respite from the 23 hours I spent in the car for each day of this journey. From their I head south; the weather and scenery holding up until Salt Lake City, where the temperature shot up to and stayed in the 100s/40C for the remainder of the day. Though Utah is one of the prettiest states, I couldn't really enjoy it because of the heat and my own soreness; staying on the road was work enough without rubbernecking at the scenery. The dry heat meant that I had to continually stop and unload the gallons-upon-gallons of water and juice that I endlessly poured down my throat to stay hydrated. This all got wearisome quite quickly, so I took a detour off to Zion National Park for some sightseeing and not being in a jetblack car in the middle of the desert. It was quite beautiful there, but I didn't take too long to appreciate it because I knew I had to get going if I wanted to make it home that night.

Despite my sweaty unbathed self, the car didn't break into a sweat until the more mountainous parts of southern Utah and Arizona. The Celica Supra was designed in the double-nickel days, so at "high" speeds like 85 or 90 mph, the car started getting hot, especially when climbing mountains with the A/C on. Still wanting to get home in a timely manner, I decided that I could do without the A/C, which wasn't fun. Through Arizona and through the vacuum of Nevada and Las Vegas I tried to focus through the sweat before getting smart and fashioning a sweatband from a t-shirt. Into California (huzzah!) and the San Bernardinos immediately loom large; steep climbs and divebomb descents continued t tax both the Supra Dupra and myself. In a rest stop a few thousand feet up, I met a British guy on his Triumph Tiger (on UK plates) doing an eastbound cross-country run. He seemed to like the fact that I was more interested in the bike and his route than in the fact that he was English. From there I headed downward into civilization, being greeted by a pretty sunset through a polluted sky as I entered the Los Angeles basin. About an hour and a weird race with a 4Runner later, I exited the freeway and drove home.

This was another fantastic trip that the Cupra completed with very few stumbles. Unfortunately, it didn't escape unscathed: between the insects and the stones, she now has a number of paint chips (good remedies, anyone?), the fog, parking, and low-beam lights all failed, and my windshield wiper reservoir stopped holding fluid.

Since having been home, I've troubleshot, reconnected grounds, and replaced bulbs until all of the aforementioned lights worked, including the vanity lights, which never worked. I have also cycled and bled out the brake fluid which was pretty disgusting.

At the cost of the use of the headlight washers (which I don't think work, anyways) the washer system is now watertight, though at some point I would like to fix the headlight washers and rear-window washers (which I didn't know I had, so I didn't know were broken). Additionally, I would like to fix the courtesy light,because only some of them come on when the switch is set to "Door". I still cannot get the headlights to retract automatically, despite a few attempts to fix that circuitry. I would also like to get a radio that works from someone on CelicaSupra.com, because the original radio looks great and all aftermarket ones look like shit.

Continued below, I've hit the per-post limit

Pictures:
1: Parking lot in Ohio, rain, Celica Supra
2: Rush hour in Chi-town (don't worry, I'm stopped)
3: Wisconsin
Sadly, few good pictures of Minnesota and Wisconsin. My telephonic device/camera was low on juice
4: Unending sunset, North Dakota
5: Bugs, North Dakota (there were even more when I stopped the previous night, but it rained, washing some away.)
6: Western North Dakota starting to look western
Attached Images
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