Jon's note: I'm trying something a little different this time. I took over 500 pictures, and shot close to 5 hours of video tape. From those, I've chosen approximately 180 pictures, and in the interests of bandwidth, you'll see them as thumbnails on the pages. Please feel free to view them at your leisure. A bit later, I may add some short video clips. Stay Tuned!!
This year, Rachel started thinking of an unique route, one that would avoid major highways, follow along fun roads, and it would definitely be worth the trip. Some of the Rules for this trip: Everyone is responsible for having maps in cases of emergency. Everyone is to drive at a pace they are comfortable with. Everyone is responsible for making themselves comfortable and for their own enjoyment. In other words, no whiners!
As with any long trip, one must prepare. Things to fix, service to be performed, stuff to buy, routes to plan, and so on. I was able to take the last week of August off, so I was able to take a roundabout path with Rachel and company. Check out her Homecoming Story by visiting this link. It's a multimedia experience that's not to be missed!
When I went to the dealership to have an oil change, I mentioned that those little plastic thingies under the car in front of the rear wheels were damaged. One had a big hole in it from some sort of road debris, and the other was rather scraped from something else - a speed bump, perhaps. I don't know. Anyway, BMW calls these things Air Ducts, and Daniels' BMW was kind enough to mail a set to me because they didn't have 'em in stock. Replacing them is a simple affair - gain access to the underside of your car, and unscrew two nuts for each. Strangely, one is metal, and the other one is plastic, and much larger. Both are different sizes. Nonetheless, replacement took 20 minutes, tops.
Next, ever since I ordered my car, I had liked the wheels that come standard on the Z3 coupe, and made an attempt to get them at the time of purchase. That fell through. Last year, I purchased Mille Miglia Spider wheels, and I loved them, but had rotten luck because they were prone to bending. Recently, my mind wandered back to the Coupe wheels again, and I decided I'd go back to the 16" size, like the original wheels on the car. So, here it is a year and a half later, and I finally ended up ordering a set from the dealership at the start of the Cape May cruise earlier this year, DeSimone BMW.
The wheels came quickly, and I had wanted new tires as well. I was looking for an alternative to the Michelin Pilot HXs. With the Mille Miglias, I was running with Bridgestone Potenza S-02 Pole Position tires, and they're a bit pricey. I ended up choosing an alternate tire - the Bridgestone Potenza Re730s. I brought the tires down to the dealer, and had them mounted and balanced. After I got the wheels home, I mounted them, but noticed a little vibration which got worse the next time I drove my Z3 the Saturday before departure. Given my success with bent wheels, I feared the worst. After some discussion with Rachel, I chose to play it safe, and put the original wheels back on the car. I didn't want to drive 2500 miles on potentially bent rims, and I'd deal with the wheels after I returned.
Anyway, departure day arrives, and it's raining rather badly. Rachel and I were to meet at a gas station, and we'd travel to the meet point together. After deciding to avoid rain and bad traffic on the Interstate, we want an alternate route. Rain off and on for a bunch of the way, but towards the latter part of the afternoon, the skies cleared up and stayed that way. The various route planners we had used gave us a more direct path to our first night's stopping point, but we ended up finding a glorious alternate route through some good countryside. The last picture is of a rather large prison that pretty much appeared out of nowhere along the highway we traveled on. Eventually, we ended up at our destination for the night, where Dave Todd, Ron Stygar, his friend Rosemarie, and Al Corey were waiting for us so we could all sit down to a good dinner. Fortunately, we got in to one of the last restaurants open, and had some good Mexican-style food.
Afterwards, we settled down for a good night's sleep.
Photos may only be reused with permission
More Homecoming Fun
Page 1 - Prep for the trip
Page 2 - The roads not taken
Page 3 - Linking up in Tennessee
Page 4 - Re-Enter the Dragon
Page 5 - Nonstop to Greenville
Page 6 - Friday Flies By
Page 7 - Panoramic Profundity
Page 8 - Tech Tent and Saturday Night Surprises
Page 9 - Sundays are for Sleeping Late
Page 10 - Divergence and Convergence
Page 11 - The Long Way Home
Return to my Z3 Photos page