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If I lent you a boat that you had never sailed before, would you be eager to leave the next day on an ocean crossing? Or would you instead give it a thorough sea-trial, sailing it for a while closer to safe ports, just in case something was amiss? What if I told you that I had a mechanic check the boat out, would that make any difference? It wouldn’t to us.

Surprisingly, several people felt that we should have been taking the backroads across the country as opposed to traveling on the interstate highways. Additional time that that would have taken aside, I just didn’t think it was prudent to drive off into the wilderness or desert in a vehicle that was new and unproven to us. I wouldn’t do it on a boat, why would I do it in a car? I’ve seen enough movies where people get stranded in the desert and they seldom turn out well!

As it happened, the Corvette was not all that happy with the high elevation, 100+ degree heat and steep mountain roads. We were forced to stop on several occasions to let the engine cool before continuing on. Fortunately, even though we were not on the main highway, having deviated through a portion of the San Bernadino National Forrest around Big Bear Lake, there was still a fair amount of traffic on the road. Although we didn’t require any assistance, it was comforting to have cars passing us in case we did run into a problem that required more than a simple 15 minute rest break to remedy.

While stopped in this spot, we had one driver turn around after passing us and come back to ask if we needed help. That was pretty nice of him, wasn’t it?

While driving from CO to CA, we recorded a bunch of footage similar to that which is included in the clip below. It may take me a while to get it all edited and uploaded though. In the mean time…

24 Comments

  1. Y e s, maybe, but there is quite a difference between being able to stop a car by the road side then think out what to do. Perhaps call for help or just repair it and drive on.

    Compared with “stopping” out at sea, near to land or not. Then just blowing away, onto rocks or far out into the ocean while you think about it, try to repair it, or maybe seek help when there may not be anyone for a long way away, even on a coastal trip.

    Prudence at sea is very different! But you know that 🙂 🙂

    Mike

    • But is the desert not just an ocean of sand? I suspect one could perish just as quickly out there if help couldn’t be found.

      • Yup. And it does happen.

        We’ll enjoy the back roads if we know that we’re within range of a gas station, our maps are more-or-less correct, and we have water, car fluids and emergency supplies on hand in case they’re needed.

        Otherwise, we’ll stick to the known routes. Running out of fuel late in the evening on a logging road 200 km from the nearest cellphone tower falls clearly in the “That Ain’t Cool” category.

  2. Several times I thought about making the suggestion to get off the interstate and see the backroads, but something kept stopping me.

    Now I know what it was. Several years ago I traversed the mountains and deserts of Southern Cal & Nevada alone in a rented car & had some uneasy feelings. Luckily, nothing amiss happened.

    Kudos to prudence.

  3. Let’s be honest here… that driver stopped to see if Rebecca needed help.

    Were you hiding in the weeds?

  4. Hi Mike,

    Sorry you had car problems, but glad you are enjoying the drive anyhow!

    As someone who suggested you take the back roads I stand by my original suggestion as someone who has done it many times. Not sure what was up with the ‘Vette and why it overheated so bad (other than its a GM product, something which you could not pay me to drive) but I have done much of the U.S. on backroads, including some long desolate dirt roads in the West, by myself, on a motorcycle. I always take tools and extra water, especially if I am going in hot climates and I let someone know my route and call that same person in the evening when I stop for the night so they know I am safe. The plan is that if I don’t call, they start figuring out where I am.

    Even on most back highways, including US 50, the loneliest road, a car comes along at least once an hour. I just drove a new-to-me car from San Diego to Virginia, doing over 4500 miles in 10 days, mostly along 2-lane highways. Just like crossing an ocean, if you want to get off the beaten path there is always a small amount of risk involved. You mitigate that risk by letting others know where you are and carrying proper supplies, but you can never eliminate it. If I had never taken the risk I would’ve missed some pretty incredible places I’ve been to.

    • My point in today’s post is that there are always things to consider. As is evident from the 1000s of posts on this blog, we are not adverse to risk. I just prefer to manage it.

      • Absolutely you are not adverse to risk, or you never would’ve set off on the boat journey! While I thought your points were good ones to ponder, at the same time I just wanted to point out some other points to ponder from someone who has travelled a lot of the backroads in the U.S. on his own. Either way, as long as you have fun thats is all that counts. Enjoy your time with your family! I’m headed to San Diego tomorrow to see mine as well.

  5. ehhh, I kinda get the comparison but really, not the same! The back roads I think most suggested were far from being the back road you describe. I’d compare it to coming through the islands as you first did , stopping in St Thomas, then Simpson Bay, St Martin, then Falmouth Harbor, then south and never even take a peak at any of the other islands or anchorages. But I get it, if your in a hurry and a pretty little grandchild is a few days away…….I still think you should give yourself more time to go back. Can you imagine if you never went around Antigua or Barbuda 🙂

  6. Hello everyone in ZTC land! This is my first post in the comment section. I am compelled to do so today on a couple of accounts.

    1. I have lived in Colorado full time since 1991. I have literally driven tens of thousands of miles, on probably every “paved” road there is in this state in this fun happy Yellow Corvette!

    2. I wanted Mike and Rebecca to have the absolute best road trip experience possible, and still get to their destination in California in a reasonable amount of time. (3 days)

    3. So I helped them plan the first portion of the trip on the Peak to Peak Highway. This is an incredible stretch of road. To access the starting point, they first took Highway 34 from Loveland to Estes Park, AKA the Big Thompson Canyon Road. This is a really fun drive with amazing rushing water and mountain views.

    4. I thought they needed to “experience” Vail. Not my favorite place to be sure, but an International destination. To have Vail on the direct path to California and not stop to have lunch, would be a mistake. And now they can say that they have “been there”. Even though a big part of their drive was on Interstate 70, it is still beautiful. And they got to experience Eisenhower tunnel, quite a manmade wonder, Lake Dillion etc. etc.

    5. They are planning a different return “route” (Hi Willie!) that will include coming over TrailRidge road. The highest (elevation) continuous paved road in the US which crosses the Continental Divide and offers some of the most breathtaking vistas anywhere. Oh, how about snowball fight in the middle of July. Ya, you can do that at the top of that road. Stay tuned!

    6. When everyone suggests taking the road less traveled, please know that Mike is not going to go off pavement with a Corvette!

    7. To resound to the disparaging comment from Brett A. Chevrolets are as American as Baseball and Apple Pie! I think that was a TV commercial? But, perhaps he doesn’t like either of them either? 🙂

    Corvettes ROCK. They are American sportscars for Big American Boys like myself. (6’2″ and 260#) Like I could even think about sitting behind the wheel of a Mustang!

    I fit comfortably in this car, and have 100,000 miles on the odometer to prove that I have had alot of fun in the 12 years that I have owned the car. I can honestly say, more than 70% of those miles have been with the top down. The car has proven to be very reliable, with only batteries, brake pads, a fuel pump, and an AC belt, (99,000) and a few light bulbs (turning lights) replaced in the time I have had it.

    Whenever you experience 100 plus degree days, at 7,000 feet altitudes, and climbing you will put the car to the test. I have had a couple of experiences similar to what Mike had. What can I say? Perhaps the fluid antifreeze coolant mixture is off a bit, or low. Another thing is if you are on windy mountain roads and driving at lower speeds, there isn’t enough air moving through the radiator grill to keep up with the extreme heat. But it ins’t like they are trying to drive the entire length of the Baja of Mexico either!

    The car goes fast! I have driven it 155 mph on a long deserted road. It was not uncomfortable. Driven the speed limit the car averages 26 mpg.

    Ok, this is starting to sound like an infomercial.

    In closing, it was my good fortune to cross paths with Mike and Rebecca back in March 2011 in Georgetown, Great Exuma. There has been so much planning and preparation done since we came up with the plan for them to be full time Captain and Crew on my Leopard 4600.

    I am super excited for us to take delivery of this vessel scheduled for the end of July.

    I know Mike and Rebecca really appreciate all the support you the readers have given them through the years via this blog.

    Cheers!

    Michael

    • You did good Michael, we’re just ZTC groupies wanting them to enjoy some places that we got to experience in our past travels. We can’t help it! They share so much with us, we can’t help but want to share back in some way!

    • Nope, not much on Baseball or Apple pie (although when I lived in CO I enjoyed going to the occasional Rockies game) but I do love my country and even served it for a while! As for GM, well, after a few bad experiences, including a Chevy 1500 that had an axle break, after only normal, on road use, and only 25K miles, not my favorite brand! Besides, a little friendly brand rivalry never hurts 😉 I do like the looks of the new ‘Vette though and think its pretty cool of you to let them use your car! BTW, I used to live in Littleton if you are anywhere near there. Glad you had them do the peak to peak, its an awesome drive! Cheers!

    • I get about 10 emails a day from Michael that are equally long. 😉

  7. Mike and Rebecca,

    I have really enjoyed reading the blog over the last few weeks. Looks like you guys are having a blast.

    Michael,,

    Your right! Corvettes rock!

  8. M & R,

    So glad to know that some Californians stopped to check on you! We’re not exactly known for our “southern Californian hospitality”! I hope you enjoy your time here, on whatever paths you journey! Who knows, maybe we’ll bump into each other!

    ~Jamesdon

    • It was very nice of him. I didn’t even realize that he had turned around to come back because I missed him going by the first time. Rebecca caught it though.

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