[Continued from Part 1]
Prior to leaving I checked the basics like fluids, drive belts and tires – especially the tires since I don’t carry a spare. Everything was fine so off I went toward South Carolina to visit a college friend, the car slightly heavier with what I gather was about 250 to 300 pounds of stuff.
The risk of breakdown on a trip is largely the same as that of going to the local grocery store. The difference is the risk of increased cost and time due to being far from home. But I wasn’t in a hurry and, if I had to put a figure on it, the realistic worst case scenario was probably no more than $2,000.
Once I arrived, for some reason I got the urge to follow through on an unfulfilled childhood goal of drinking a TAB soda. So the next morning my buddy and I trekked to four grocery stores in this podunk town on a Sunday, encountering a multitude of blue laws previously unknown to me, and tracked down a case of TAB – and a box of Twinkies for good measure.
Since his wife is from Europe, she’d never had these either. We had some good laughs marveling at how bad some of the
processed toxins passed off as food sweets of our youth were, while savoring how good they can taste. TAB, for the record, tastes a lot like Pepsi which is ironic considering its made by Coca-Cola.
Back to the car. It did cross my mind as I drove by the gates of Darlington Raceway that ingress and egress was more challenging with the car loaded, but nowhere near the contortions required for that of a NASCAR stocker or the Duke Boys’ General Lee. I certainly did, however, have to be more mindful than usual, lest something fall out of a door pocket and I drove off without it.
The trip ergonomics weren’t great because when I loaded the area behind the driver’s seat I had the seatback in its most upright position. And then when I was done I couldn’t lean it back without risking an avalanche of miscellany. So I drove the whole trip more upright than I would have preferred. Other than that, it was the usual need for a wee bit more lumbar support.
That and the wind noise, which I attribute mostly to the frameless window design, the window seals, which I’ve already replaced, and the side mirrors. Engine revs of 3,000 rpm at 65 mph are typical for this type of early ’90s car and a transmission with only five speeds. Similar examples include the Toyota Celica and Acura Integra. Toward the millennium their replacements offered six speeds, a move that would have been a welcome addition to this particular car.
Despite the elevated cruising rpm, I averaged nearly 34 miles per gallon (mpg) during the 800 mile sojourn, and a tick shy of 36 mpg on the final tank. Not bad at all.
Upon arrival I unloaded the car by section, beginning with the trunk. Then it was the frunk, behind the driver’s seat, and then the passenger side. Unloading took a good hour and a half. Two days later the boxes of books arrived. I’m happy to report that not one thing was damaged in the entire move. It was a great adventure indeed.