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California 2009
Posted by: Adam Fuson @ 2012.02.04.2239

December 2009 Katie and I were planning a trip to San Francisco. It was a rather rushed affair. The planning was nearing the end of the year after a refuel outage at the power station and I was driving to Cincinnati weekly to visit Katie and my family. The vehicle was undecided. The route was undecided. The crew was undecided. I was nervous about the trip.

As often happens, decisions were made by default. The AstroVan had lost its rear brakes, and so the BMW was the only real choice for a vehicle unless we entertained renting, which was considered. The crew finally boiled down to a traditional 3 man crew, however, Katie and I would drive with the Bull to San Francisco, the Bull would fly back to Cincinnati and John Adams would return to Cincinnati in the BMW and then return to San Francisco by plane after the holidays. I was nervous about the trip.

Katie was almost entirely responsible for the route and destinations of the trip with only global advice given by me as to distances and what things might be good to see and what things I had already seen. The Bull did some planning of his own and I was surprised as to how much communication actually occurred before the trip. The BMW received a new thermostat and front brakes before the adventure and 2009 December 13the the Bull, Katie and I departed Cincinnati. We had setup a webcam in the BMW (mounted where the passenger side sunviser would normally have been) and connected it through a router to Katie's Macbook running Ubuntu. A cron job was then set to save an image every daylight minute of the trip. I was nervous about the trip.

We drove non-stop across the plains. We only stopped for a few rainy moments at the arch in St Louis, MO. In Colorado we turned south, drove through Colorado Springs, CO and towards the Great Sand Dunes near Alamogordo, CO. We arrived just before a storm and departed into the snow sunset. Mistake 1. The tires were pretty much dead on the BMW by this point. We did have snow chains with us and drove for about 70-100 miles in chains from Alamogordo, CO to Sante Fe, NM. It was slow, but felt reasonably safe. We arrived late and slept in a hotel in Albuquerque, NM. The following day we ate at the Pioneer Restaurant, visited the hieroglyphs and the petrified forest. We slept at another hotel in Flagstaff, AZ, which was the best hotel of the trip. I was nervous about the trip.

The following day we toured the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. It was again slow going in places with the poor tires. We arrived at the Hoover Dam after nightfall and slept in a casino hotel 2 miles from the dam. The next morning we walked over the dam and drove through Las Vegas, NV on our way to the Mojave Desert. However, the rear, right tire blew. We changed it in a few moments, called several people and located some new tires at a Walmart in Bakersfield, CA. At this point we realized the rear suspension had some issues. The tires were changed and we proceeded toward San Francisco. That night we slept in San Luis Obispo. The next day we drove up Highway 1 to San Francisco, where the Bull departed with his older brother, Jim. Katie and I visited and stayed with John Adams and Aimee Taylor before she flew away. I was nervous about the trip.

John, Katie and I departed San Francisco early and drove through the night. Daylight broke before we reached LA and we continued towards Arizona. We stopped to see Joshua Tree and detoured to drive along the roads surrounding Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (west of Phoenix, AZ) before meeting Kevin Harsley at a Chili's for dinner in Tucson. I had driven most of the daylight hours and John took over for a few night time hours of driving. About 30 minutes after leaving Chili's John thought the right, rear tire blew again. Unfortunately, the car spun around and slid into the median. I had been asleep for it all in the passenger seat. Katie was in the rear seat. I woke when the car stopped and asked why we were stopped. John said, "We were just spinning. I think a tire blew." I got out with a headlamp in my hand and inspected. We had lost the right, rear wheel. I instructed Katie to call AAA and John to find the wheel. Katie was successful, John was not. A state trooper arrived and we sat in his car waiting for the tow truck driver. I was relieved. We new what the problem of the trip would be and I suspected it would be solved without too much hassle and most importantly we were all somehow safe.

We called Kevin and spent a few nights with him, while the BMW was repaired. We even managed to spend some time at a few nearby parks. After the BMW was repaired we packed again and departed for Cincinnati. It was a non-stop drive shared between John and I all the way back to Cincinnati. We arrived late at night, as expected and distributed the people as necessary. Katie drove to Cleveland the next day and John and I spent some time addressing some of the BMW issues.

Within a month the suspension issues had been resolved with the BMW, thanks to Allan and Import Auto Exchange. However, after this trip I decided I would never travel with so many people in such a small vehicle, and that I would soon buy my own van.

 


Charlie @ 2012.02.04 2242
  Amazing.

Ned 0verend @ 2012.02.04 2253
  I'm glad to see something posted. I don't really feel like reading it, but it's good anyway.

John @ 2012.02.07 0015
  i didn't really look for the rear wheel that night, I just crossed to the shoulder, looked up the road and was really glad we're we stopped. We found the wheel the next day. Did we ride Diablo on this trip or was that when you and Katie came back in Febuary?

will @ 2012.02.08 2331
  it's crazy we're all still checking decavirate for posts

John @ 2012.02.09 0300
  Also, note-worthy we were in the process of moving, Adam and Katie assisted that as well.

charlie @ 2012.02.09 2217
  Will- Reser and I only saw this so quickly because we were there when Adam posted it. He has about ten articles ready to post. John- I'm surprised you still remember the details.

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