View Full Version : OT: Help Me With My Roadtrip

09-06-2004, 10:47 PM
Okay, having gone through a recent bit of nastiness in my life, I realized that I needed something to help me take my mind off of all of it, and put those problems behind me. Lo and behold, I discovered something that would help me out a lot. A car that I'd been lusting over for some years now was for sale rather cheaply on eBay, so I bought it. Now, I have to go get it (it's in Denver). Originally I had planned on paying a friend of mine to drive me out there and then I'd follow him back here. However, he's not going to be able to take off work to do this, so it looks like I'm going to have to take the bus out there to get the thing, and then drive it back solo.

Ideally, nothing will go wrong, but given my luck, something will. So, I'm looking for suggestions from anyone who's made a similar trip, and recommendations for repair shops along the way.

At present, I'm planning on leaving Nashville on the 16th of this month, which will put me in Denver on the following day. I'm going to then try to leave Denver immediately (depends upon how well I sleep on the bus) and head back, stopping somewhere along the way to sleep (it's a 17 hour drive, and while I could probably do it without stopping, I don't want to push it in a 35 year old car I don't have much experience with), hoping to get back home by the 20th.

09-06-2004, 10:57 PM
First off, I am not going to say anything till you agree to tell us what the car is.
Now that you have agreed, I will continue.
My Mother and step father had to leave their motorhome in Dallas, due to his illness and her not being able to drive it.
I was elected to go after it. I was going to ride with another driver, but he got a call from home and had to leave early, so at the last moment I was out of a ride. Plane at the last moment was too expensive, so I took a bus. Hadn't been on one in 35 years, and hope to not make it on one in at least 35 more. Couldn't sleep, and I can sleep anywhere. Too many stops, other passengers that needed a bath (really bad!!)
Took way too long to make the short trip out there.
Look for an alternate mode of transportation if possible. If not, a book and a personal AM/Fm/Cdplayer to make the hours go by faster. Sit as close to the driver as possible to keep other rif-raft in line.
david from jax

09-06-2004, 11:02 PM
The car's a 1969 Chrysler Newport. I had a 1971 in high school and have always regretted getting rid of it.

Already got the CD player part covered. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-06-2004, 11:55 PM
Since I am so poor and never have the money to get away anyways, please send money... uh, no wait, that wasn't it... Oh yea - I meant to say I haven't got much experience traveling. But a friend of mine frequently needs to get back and forth from KC to St. Louis. He is pretty tight with his money, and after looking into it he decided to use Amtrack. It's pretty slow too, and the general public factor is sometimes a nuisance, but in his opinion it's a bit better than the bus. He says it's pretty roomy and not too difficult to sleep.

It might be worth checking into.

The only facts I know personally are:
The trip is about 5 hours by car and 10 by Amtrack.
The train is always at least 1 hour and up to four hours late (depending on rail construction and freight traffic).

09-07-2004, 12:04 AM
Just checked and it'd take longer to go by train than it would by bus, plus it's more expensive than even air fare. Bus is only $75.

Mike W
09-07-2004, 02:04 AM
A long time ago I bought a 69 MachI. I had looked at it earlier, 2 hours away. I drove down with a friend and payed for it. 15 minutes later while on the freeway, the fuel pump went bad. It would idle but not much more. Finally got off the freeway and found an auto parts store. Replaced the pump and get back on the freeway at 12 am. An hour later, I start to feel a vibration. Stop and look, don't see anything amiss. Later on it got worse. Pull off and see that one tire is starting to come apart.

I took a spare with me so no big deal. Finally got home at 3 am. Good luck. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-07-2004, 02:44 AM
They must have some real rocket surgeons coming up with the better ideas at Amtrack. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//rolleyes.gif Hell. At $75 your return trip will cost more than the bus out.

I just remembered another factoid about them. If you buy a ticket in advance, it is more expensive than just getting one at the gate. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//confused.gif Sounds like they're operated by the Federal Government.

I've heard stories of pleasant bus rides, so they're not always bad. Hopefully yours will be one of those, and your return will be nothing but roses.

Best of luck on the trip!

09-07-2004, 02:58 AM
Tuckerfan, firstly treat the whole trip as an adventure, relax and be prepared to spend more time on the road than expected. When you pick up the car give it the once over; get oil and air filter, some good oil and give it a quick service.Replace leads and plugs etc; the old girl may not be accustomed to long trips so treat her with patience and ENJOY. It will be another yarn to recount around the camp fire.

Doc Nickel
09-07-2004, 03:23 AM
Back in 1998, I was dispatched to recover a '76 Corvette and drive it home to the owner ("home" being Alaska, the 'Vette being in El Paso.)

The car had been sitting for several years (more than three) and at last report had several problems.

I hauled with me some 55 pounds of tools, some repair parts, and not much else. I flew down, was picked up by the owners of the place where the car was parked (friends of the owner) and was there four days (in 104° weather) before I got it moving under its own power.

I rebuilt the carb (I also tried to find a shop that could rebush the throttle shafts, but in two pages of car shops in the yellow pages, only one shop even knew what I was talking about) replaced all the fuel lines (which entailed dropping the gas tank) and the pump, replaced the plugs, cap, rotor and wires, changed the oil and filter, bled the brakes, and inspected as much as I possibly could.

I also replaced the battery, took it to a shop and had the chassis lubed (and had the guy on the rack give it a solid eyeball to see if he could catch anything I missed) checked all the lights and whatnot, replaced three tires (dry rot) and gave it a good test drive.

Over the course of the trip (somewhere between 4,700 and 5,000 miles) I suffered only one real problem, that being that I hadn't properly secured the new plug wires. One burned through entirely, while two were nearly so, on the headers. I limped through Calgary on five cylinders and when I stopped to get gas on the other side, I popped the hood, saw the problem, and plunked on some of the old wires (which I'd saved.) A couple of zip ties kept it from happening again.

At the border, while they were doing a background check on me (or at least running my license through the computer) a tire went flat. The spare was mis-sized, so I stopped in the next town up and got a replacement.

Other than that, it was rather uneventful, apart from the fact it was in the ninties or higher until I was well to the North of Edmonton, and the thing's AC, of course, didn't work.

However, on arriving home, we discovered that all four U-joints in the rear axle halfshafts were completely smoked- as in threatening to fly out of the car they were so worn. That sort of failure is not an easy roadside repair, even if one has new 'joints, so I count myself lucky.

My suggestions: Plan for the worst. Carry as many tools as you can lift. After you pick up the car, grab some essentials- oil, water, coolant, ATF, brake fluid, the works. Give the car a solid servicing before you head out, even if you have to do some of it in a Wal-Mart parking lot and take it to an oil-change place for the rest.

Pay close attention as you travel- keep an eye on the oil level, watch out for overheating, for that matter keep an eye on ALL the fluid levels (power steering, brake, ATF, everything.)

Spend the coin on having the chassis greased at a lube center. Not only will it help the parts make the trip, but it's a second set of eyes on the hardware.

I could write a book on the topic, but suffice to say that you can't be overprepared and you can't have too many tools with you. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif


09-07-2004, 07:56 AM
Corvette halfshafts can be removed at 3 am on the shoulder of the road. Bought the wife a '79 L-88 4 speed in 82. She would walk past it and get in a Chevette every morning for six months because she couldn't drive a stickshift. On an abandoned section of 4 lane one morning, I tried to teach her to drive my '66. She kept stalling it, I kept saying give it some gas... She got upset and gave it some gas. My neck snapped about the time the tack hit 5 grand and the the clutch was dropped. Two black streaks all the way across the intersection till it hit the white crosswalk lines on the other side. Then blam...bang bang bang bang when the halfshaft twisted like a can of biscuits. Had to remove it to get the car home. It limped home on one axle, since it has positraction.
(back to the subject...)
Bus rides can be fun, depending on the other riders. I drive a bus for the church occasionally and some of those bus rides are a lot of fun.
David from jax

09-07-2004, 08:24 AM
Just a thought, have you checked on the price of a one way car rental? I have no idea as to the cost, but I think I would exhaust every possibility before traveling by bus. Been there, done that and hated every minute.

Car rental would allow more tools and fix up supplies to be carried along plus you won't have to stop every 25 to 30 miles for bus stops.


09-07-2004, 08:43 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tuckerfan:
Just checked and it'd take longer to go by train than it would by bus, plus it's more expensive than even air fare. Bus is only $75.</font>

Yabutt they don't let people carry livestock on the train http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif I have rode GreyHound,trust me I know.Plus on the train you can get up,walk around and use something close to a real restroom http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-07-2004, 11:51 AM

Headed to Denver, nice. If you need anything while here in Denver let me know. I live in Englewood, southern part of Denver Metro area. Would be glad to assist and make this end of your trip as easy as possible.
My number in Denver is 720-219-9642.


09-07-2004, 12:20 PM
It sounds like you should plan on towing it back. Can you rent or borrow something to haul it on?

09-07-2004, 12:46 PM
A long trip in a 35 year old car bought on EBAY sounds like an really brave undertaking.

09-07-2004, 04:57 PM
weird, it's a three day trip by train, with an overnight layover in Chicago. Doesn't give me enough time to get back if something goes hideously wrong with the car.

kengel, thanks for your number and the offer of help. Hopefully, I won't need it, but you never can tell.

Mark, the car weighs over 4000 lbs. Nobody I know of has anything with that kind of towing capacity, and anything that could would probably get about 2 MPG hauling the car, so I'd eat up my repair budget with gas and rental fees if I went that route.

09-07-2004, 05:26 PM
You'll be fine wish I could go with you. I have a 1939 Dodge and a 1953 Ford pick up truck. If you don't drive dumb you should be fine. Check oil on a regular basis until you are sure it isn't flowing out.
Go to the library and get some books on tape. On the way out on the bus it will pass the time fast. I love them. I usually get murder mysteries and would never have sat down to read the book. I take walks and it flies by when the tape is on. When I have a road trip I do the same with one ear phone in and a small carry along tape player. You won't regret it. Hope you have a great trip. The car is a good oneand should give you no trouble. Best of luck Fred

09-07-2004, 08:15 PM
If your coming on I70 through Topeka KS right off the interstate at the Fairlawn Ave exit is Doug's service. Not cheap but honest and good. Hope you don't need him.


09-07-2004, 10:40 PM
I have been on many of the same trips as you. one thing that I always do is remove front drums and grease the wheel bearings as well as all the rest that others have said. best of luck.

09-07-2004, 11:13 PM
On the bus, I suggest that you take your own pillow, they don't have an attendant to give you one. Plus a can of spray disinfectant. Take plenty of things to read, a lot of music to listen to.

I used to travel on the 'Hound, but it took me three longer, if not longer than if I rented a car and drove.

The bus is cheaper and if you have time, it is a great experience.

Good Luck with the car, if it's in fair shape, it will make it. Just take a roll of duct tape, some steel wire, a pair of panty hose, basic tools, and a cell phone. If you don't take this sort of stuff, you will need them. Catch 22 logic applies here. If you need to know what the panty hose are for, it's not for any ladies you pickup, they make a decent replacement belt to get to the auto parts store.


09-07-2004, 11:23 PM
Does that really work? Great tip.
I wish I'd heard of that this past winter. I found out two things: 24-hour Wal Marts don't carry belts (which I already figured), and rope does not work well as a temporary belt...
and something I already knew but got to learn again: it sucks when your ride breaks down when its -10 degrees.

09-08-2004, 09:14 AM
Obviously a cell phone, and a list of phone numbers. Take time to find a list of repair shops in route on your way back, before you leave. It is too hard to find them from a cell phone, and too easy to find them on the 'net.
David from jax

09-08-2004, 01:04 PM
Don't forget to check the radiator and heater hoses. There is a type of duct tape that has water resistant adhesive, it's saved me before with a blown radiator hose. Strapping tape (fiberglass reinforced) works great over the top of the duct tape. Black pepper will seal pinhole leaks in the radiator. Good luck on the trip!


09-08-2004, 03:02 PM
I did Denver to nashville a few years back, like say 19 years back, so my thoughts on routes and such would be a bit off.

AAA Triple A has a great service. First off, everyone should have a travel service. You may pay for them a few years with NOTHING, but then you get years where you get the fee back and more. I had three old cars five years back, this was a cheap deal. Bought new cars, no services for four years, then two tows this year, a freeze out at my wife's work, and a lock out. Just in case you and your "new vehicle" get stranded on the I- you have tow insurance. You also have rental discounts or even free rentals if needed for the day. Along with repair discounts.

I also use the hotel, car rental and food rate deductions heavily, so I get nearly all the cash back anyway.

I believe they have Amtrack and Bus discounts as well, but check this.

Next part of AAA Service, TRIP TICKS. You say you are going Nashville to Denver and back, they generate a current route map with stops, MANY DETAILED MAPS (not those little hard to read internet maps) with alternate directions and routes, and also put on repair shops that meet AAA specs if you ask, emergency services numbers along the way, and even show road construction current going on.

My AAA costs $103.00 per year for three cars, cutting back to two. I think it was less last year.

When prepping your vehicle, all the things mentioned above for hoses, belts, tires, spare, spare fuel filter (if the vehicle has been sitting for a while), dry gas (same reason), new oil, change the oil again in the first 1000 miles (may have some water, or acids or just plain gunk). Change plugs, do the whole general tune up. I bought a car from four states away once, did all this, all went just fine. Had i not, would have been stranded probably twice.

Good luck on your trip, post pics of the new beast when you get back.

[This message has been edited by spope14 (edited 09-08-2004).]

09-08-2004, 05:05 PM
The panty hose thing does work, I have done it in the past.

AAA is a great suggestion, I forgot that I even have it. Plus some stores give AAA discounts.


09-09-2004, 11:00 PM
You should rent a towbar and a truck. Just pull that old girl home. There are too many points of failure and the expenses of getting home your way are completely unknown. You could watch your oil pressure go to zero. In whose town will you be? When this last happened to me I was on the other side of the Macon County line and I didn't like being at their mersy at ALL (mostly because they had none.) Also that background music was reminicent of the movie "The Deliverance." Squeeeeelllll.

I'm sure my brother gave up his and (maybe)his girlfriends virginity in a Newport. That was a pretty big upscale sedan. I'm sure he would buy one just for the memories.

If you had a team it would be different. On your own you need the advantages of having a dependable truck and a tow bar for the car. No sweat.

You have to expect a car that old will need a new radiator. The wheel bearings need repack or replacement. Belts, spark plug wires, filters, everything needs work.

Good luck. If you do the high risk route, be sure to clue us in. I hope you don't end up with all the material to write a book like I did.

10-18-2004, 07:08 PM
Well, thanks to an unavoidable delay caused by a combination of work and finances, I wasn't able to leave for my trip when I originally thought. However, I've bought my ticket and I head out on Wednesday of this week. I've spent the day prepping and packing, and I think I've gotten everything, but I just want to run the list past everyone to make sure that I'm as prepared as I can be.

Cell phone and car charger

Road Atlas and detail maps for Denver

Small socket set

Duct tape

Electrical tape

JB Cold Weld

Emergency Blankets


Adjustable wrench

Philips screwdriver

Standard screwdriver

Imitation Leatherman tool

Reading material for the bus trip

CD player so I'll have something to listen to

About 5 pounds of trailmix, Pop-Tarts, beef jerky, and a couple of cans of Ensure

Two flashlights, plus extra batteries

A Tube of RTV silicone gasket maker

Hose repair kit

Factory Service Manual for the car

Can anybody think of anything I'm missing?

10-18-2004, 07:36 PM
Toilet paper! Really..."Don't leave home without it."And maybe when you get there,a bucket(water for the radiator etc.)And a gallon of oil.Love the trailmix...haven't had any Ensure since I had all my teeth (26) ripped out and got dentures!Lived on that stuff for months!

If I got it right first time,everytime....I'd have a real job!

Dave Opincarne
10-18-2004, 07:51 PM
Check the spare, jack and lug wrench (for size)
Make sure the tires aren't retreads and if they are keep it slow (I found out the hard way, thanks Dad)
Some wire and connectors.
Pick up extra fluids of all types.
Check for exhaust leaks (potentialy leathal)
Roll of quarters
Spare fuses
Contact information of helpful board members on or near your route
Last will and testiment and $20 burial money http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

More if I think of it...


[This message has been edited by Dave Opincarne (edited 10-18-2004).]

10-18-2004, 08:22 PM
They say when Cortez landed in the new world he had his men burn their ships,when you get off the bus....... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

10-18-2004, 10:31 PM
Well, I'm planning picking up the extra fluids when I get to Denver, I think I've got some spare wire of the right gauge around here, have to check, might also have some fuses and connectors laying about. No need for the toilet paper, as I'll be bringing a notebook and at least one book that's probably not worth the paper it's printed on. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif Quarters will be helpful since I've got to drive on a toll road on my way out of town, and kengel's the only one who's volunteered contact information.

The exhaust leak possibility doesn't really concern me, since the car runs almost silent with an intact exhaust, so if there's any leakage, I'll know it, and be sure to keep a window or two cracked.

Don't have a multi-testor, but in general, I know what kind of electrical problems to expect out of the car, if there's any, so fixing that shouldn't be too much trouble.

Dave Opincarne
10-18-2004, 10:45 PM
Sounds good. I mean it about checking the lug wrench. I've gotten stuck with the wrong size before when some PO put in a generic wrench that didn't fit. What route are you taking?

10-18-2004, 10:58 PM
I'm doing the I-70, I-57, I-24, I-65 route. I should have a socket the same size as the lugs, so if the tire iron doesn't work, I can slap a socket on it. Of course, if the tires were last changed with an pneumatic wrench, I'm pretty much boned, unless I can find a cheater pipe laying along side the road.

10-18-2004, 11:02 PM
Good luck! Can't wait to read the de-brief.

My basic list, I'm dead serious, is duct tape, heavy-duty 12" wire ties, steel fence (baling) wire and a couple of large vise grips.

Scope out and bring tools to do basic repairs... when you get there consider buying spares for the stuff that rots (hoses, belts), filters, water pump etc. even if you don't use them til you get home.

20 years ago I bought a junker old F100 pickup with 250K mi already on the clock, expecting only to drive it around town. Then a sudden life-change and I wound up driving it from Seattle to Boston ... to Seattle ... to Boston. With all my tools in the back.

Most exciting road-side repair was crossing Utah the steering column froze ... on I-80. Also a blowout (retread), blew the water pump (I was already packing a spare, and water), otherwise a fun but uneventful 10,000 miles.


Dave Opincarne
10-18-2004, 11:05 PM
Check the weather and keep an eye on what's coming in over the mountains. I grew up in Colorado, and being caught in a front range blizzard can happen anytime from September to June. People are found dead in there cars. Don't mean to scare you, just pay atention to the forcast, those little red fences aren't to keep the cows in.


10-18-2004, 11:27 PM
Well, I grew up in Ohio, so I've got some idea of what snow's like, hopefully living in the South for almost twenty years hasn't dulled my reflexes.

Good suggestion on the visegrips, have to dig mine out before I leave.

10-19-2004, 12:20 AM
You might want to be prepared to add some additive to boost the octain and a lead replacement for the unleaded fuel. I envy your adventure and wish you a speedy and safe trip!

[This message has been edited by lugnut (edited 10-19-2004).]

10-19-2004, 03:00 PM
No multi-tester? Then how about one of those simple Ice Picks with the bulb in the handle and a wire sticking out the end?
I know they have a name, (test light) but thought the description might be better. Spare fuses for when you go probeing around with that thing!!(Already mentioned once)
Wire to run the taillights/brakelights in case of problems. A couple of hose clamps to bypass the heater core, cause it is going to leak.

By the way, you do remember what the fuses look like, glass tubes with metal caps...
Some of the young whipper snappers on this board may not realize they didn't always come in plastice with color coding...
Be safe, good luck, David from jax

Have gun, will travel.

Dave Opincarne
10-19-2004, 04:38 PM
Funny, my fuses have a picture of Lincoln on one side and some building on the other. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif


John Stevenson
10-19-2004, 05:02 PM
How does the AAA work over there?
Best way to do it over here is to ring the AA or RAC about two weeks previous and register the car with them.
Then travel out to collect the car.
Pull the plugs and fill the bores up with old oil, refit plugs.

Call AA or RAC and tell them it made some weird noises and siezed up.
They are forced to transport the car and you home or a garage of your choice.

Get it back home pull plugs, turn over by hand to get rid of oil and wash it out, fit plugs and it may smoke or a bit but it's a cheap way of getting a vehicle home.

John S.

10-19-2004, 07:19 PM
If you're going to ride the dog, a nice thing to have along is a pair of slippers or moccasins. One of those little battery powered clip-on reading lights is a plus as well. If the car has been sitting for a few years, I'd almost put money on the fuel pump puking. Sounds like a fun trip to me. Relax and enjoy the sights.

10-23-2004, 01:41 AM
2426 miles
162 gallons of gas
90 photographs
80 cigarettes
12.13 quarts of oil
5 lbs of trail mix
3.5 days
2 buses
1 bag of beef jerky
0 showers, later, and I and the beast are home safe and sound.

I'll start a new thread tomorrow with links to pics and the story of my adventure. Right now, I'm going to take a shower and go to bed.

P.S. There ain't nothin' in KS. (Well, at least on I-70, anyways.)

10-24-2004, 02:50 AM
I'm looking forward to the story of your trip!