Wed 4 Nov 09

So, I bought a 1993 Toyota Corolla wagon. It’s pretty rad. 208,000 miles on the odometer, but still looks reasonably decent (paint job on the hood seems to have vaporized a bit). Interior reminds me a little bit of the Festiva I had in high school. Probably a step or two up. I’ve always liked crank windows (as opposed to power ones) and the rear seats fold almost completely flat, so if I lie on an angle I can sleep in the back. I was told 30+ mpg, though I have yet to verify that. I’d post pictures, but I don’t own a working camera at the moment.

I hadn’t really been planning on buying another car, but the price was right and the incentive not to bike to work in December made it a no-brainer. You appreciate a morning drive in a warm, music-filled car much more after a few freezing 6 am bike rides.

I’m presented with a bit of a dilemma now though. I had been planning on booking a flight back to GR next month (giving away any of my stuff that didn’t fit in my luggage). But having a sweet car now gives me the option of driving back. Mary was a bit baffled about this idea when I mentioned it to her.

“I thought the whole point of driving back in October was to not have to drive cross-country in the winter?”

Nope, the point was not to be dealing with two dogs and a car struggling with a load of stuff in potentially horrendous mountain weather. I had actually considered keeping the dogs and stuff and making the drive back to Michigan at the end of the year via a circuitous route down through California then across and up through AZ, NM, TX, etc, but eventually discarded this idea as too much hassle. There would be no time to enjoy the scenery or swing into a National Park; it would just be a 3500 mile rush to finish the drive.

Now with a nearly empty car though and the ability to stop whenever/wherever, there definitely is a level of enticement. I could surf on the California coast or check out Yosemite in the snow. Stop off at the Grand Canyon and do a rim-to-rim hike. Anyone want to roadtrip? Or just wait for a clear forecast and try the much shorter route across the Rockies without worrying about how to handle a couple of dogs if my car careens into a snowbank. With the cargo space, I also could keep a few of the items that I otherwise would’ve given away. And if the 208k Corolla dies in the middle of some wilderness, I suppose it’s not the biggest loss in the world if I have to walk to the nearest airport.

Anyway, if anyone has any suggested routes (short/safe or roundabout with interesting stops) for a mid-winter drive from WA to MI, I’m open to ideas. Right now I’m considering the out-of-the-way route below, but if anyone has driven I-94 or I-80 in a feather-weight car in winter and thinks it doable that’d be cool to hear too. In the end I suppose it’ll probably just depend on what the weather forecast looks like the day before I leave. Or I could always just sell the car in December and fly back.

5 thoughts on “Wed 4 Nov 09

  1. ZDad

    It all looks pretty good until you hit Arizona, and then after that anything is possible the rest of the way, including a break in the winter weather. Does this mean the Asia trip is off or are you just looking for a longer route?

  2. Josh Post author

    I’m tentatively planning on being back in Michigan by Christmas and then working from there the last couple days of my contract at the end of the year, but I still have to work out a few details. I’ll know better what my January options are pretty soon here.

  3. jordan

    when would you come through socal? I’ll be gone from the 16th on, but would be up for fun stuff before that. Snowy mountains or J-tree or ocean stuff. Come down the 395 along the eastern Sierra for some nice scenery and big mountains.

    nice car by the way. My 89 Camry got well over 30mpg… better than my current car.

  4. Josh Post author

    It probably wouldn’t be before the 16th, otherwise that would be fun. Maybe in the spring though if I’m still unemployed. When do the Sierras melt out enough for hiking?

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