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Always JK'n 05-07-2010 07:11 PM

My 6,000 mile cross country traverse this summer...advice?
So I just graduated college and became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army this week! I'll be headed to Fort Lewis, WA to be a cadre member (training instructor) for a platoon of college juniors this summer, and then move on to Fort Rucker, AL for helicopter pilot training.

Needless to say, I'm pretty pumped about what lies ahead. However, I'll be putting somewhere in the range of 10,000 miles on my car this summer, and will be spending a lot of time in it!

I'd like some advice on what to get for the Heap before I embark on the journey. I'm considering a new air intake system, which would be a big improvement from the stock system.

Any other creature comforts or driving mods that you long haulers would recommend? Please go ahead and lay them on me...I want to make this as pain free as I can.

And of course, I'll keep everyone updated on the progress of the trip with pictures and such!

Kevin 05-07-2010 09:58 PM

:wavey:Congratulations and good luck to you on your new venture. I can't give you any advice on your cross country but many will chime in. I just want to wish you God Speed! I envy you your helicopter training.:punk:

iamagolfspaz 05-07-2010 10:09 PM

Take your time driving and enjoy this beautiful country.

N39-W120 05-07-2010 10:14 PM

Take as much time as you can, share some pictures of this beautiful country and get you a Sirius radio if you dont have one already.

Hilldweller 05-08-2010 04:51 AM

Skip the intake and don't waste your money; a snorkel is a good investment though.
Use the cash on tires and gas. I've taken two roadtrips in the Jeep; just finished a 4200 mile trip and did a 6000 mile trip when we first got it. No problems.

If you get sent to Camp Merrill in Dahlonega for Jump Training or Mountain Survival, ping me and I'll take you out for a beer (or we can go camping if you have time). Ranger school is in our neigborhood; they call it training and we call it recreating...

CMEvans79 05-08-2010 06:32 AM

Congrats on the promotion. As far as creature comforts... If your in a JK your already a step ahead on the comfort part ... I personally would like to get a thumb drive filled up with music and roll ... maybe a satellite radio? Seats are comfortable enough.

sheim911rs 05-08-2010 08:11 AM

I just got the superchips programmer for my '10 Wrangler.....big improvement. Have fun, sounds like a great drive

sjlawr 05-08-2010 08:20 AM

I am jealous. Sounds like a great time. You are certainly passing through some great parts of the country. When I did something similar a few years ago, the only two things I wish I had were 1) A Satellite Radio and 2) Stock Exhaust. After about 2 days FM radio and Flowmaster mufflers get really annoying.

Always JK'n 05-08-2010 08:53 AM

Thanks everyone!

What is the benefit of the superchip...I've never really looked into them that much, so where do you notice the biggest improvements.

What's the drawback to getting an exhaust...I thought it would save some gas and give me a bit more power. At the very least I have to replace the stock air's getting pretty gross.

PecosRiver 05-08-2010 09:56 AM

I make road trips all the time. 4 to 6 a year. Mostly for visiting family and they average around 3500 miles round-trip. My trips takes in 2 types of travel, balls to the wall/I need to get there yesterday and backroad travel where you can enjoy the trip and the country you travel through.

My advice for the balls to the wall trip.
  • Time your gas and bathroom breaks to coincide to save time. Do this by limiting fluid intake to only what's necessary.
  • Plan your route thoroughly. If you have a GPS unit, make yourself familiar with its detour feature.
  • Place all your needs within easy reach. CDs, drinks, snacks, should all be placed in a manner that allows you to SAFELY reach them while driving.
  • You should sleep when needed. I prefer to sleep during rush hours and drive when traffic is reasonable if I am in urban areas. Rural areas offer many more safe areas to sleep in your vehicle.

My advice for a backroad trip.
  • Chose a point where your backroad trip will start from. For me, I visist Chicago on most of my trips and I start my backroads adventures about 60 miles east of the Mississippi River. I usually take a different exit from the interstate each time. If I'm limited on exits I'll head north one trip and south the next.
  • I have this naturally great sense of direction. I can find my way home with no maps, no compass, and no idea of where I am. Not all are as gifted, so make sure you have what's needed to get you where you need to be. Maps, compass, GPS . . . whatever your needs, make sure you're equipped.
  • I always make my backroad portion of my trip on the return portion of my visit. If I become delayed or distracted I'm inconveniencing no one but myself. Make sure you remember your timetables.
  • Stay away from chains when traveling backroads. McDonalds and Holiday Inns are great, but backroad travel offers a chance to experience different things. Frequently I get offers of a bed at farms. An offer like that usually comes with a meal or two and great friendships can be developed. I highly recommend bar food while backroading. One bar in Nebraska had all the walls covered with animal heads, all killed by a world famous big game hunter of an earlier generation. My daughter was scared by the elephant head she saw when we entered the place.
  • Independent gas stations are places where you can garner a wealth of information. Most can direct you to local sites of interest and great local food.
  • Be friendly and open when traveling backroads. Local people are more apt to offer info if you’re open about yourself. Tell them about yourself and the reason for your trip. Show them pictures off your camera. Talk about your family. Military people should talk of your postings and where your headed. (Military brother uses this all the time) Become their new friend.
  • While I own a business and have business cards, I also have personal calling cards that I carry while traveling. They have my name, cell # and email address on them. $95 bought me a thousand. I give them out when I meet people and I stay in touch with people that contact me from my travels.
  • When in a small town, whether for a meal or gas stop, if you see all the vehicles in town are left with windows open and keys in the ignition, don’t lock your vehicle. I know this is a strange concept for many city dwellers, but if they see you don’t trust them, why should they trust you. Take your keys though, not all country folks leave the keys.

Have a great trip!

gryph 05-08-2010 10:31 AM

I might swing a little further east to see the coast of NC, take the ferry to Ocracoke Island, then ferry to Hatteras Island then see the Outer Banks up til the Wright Memorial Bridge.

BestopTeam@Bestop 05-08-2010 11:06 AM

Freeways are great for getting places as quickly as possible. But I don't think I have any great memories from road trips that have happened on interstates. All my great road trip memories come from back highways.

That return leg where you turn south through Wyoming - you could go diagonally through Oregon, hit Salt Lake, and go through Moab before crossing into Colorado. That's a slower, but very beautiful trip. If you've never been here before, it would be a shame to just go around the Rocky Mountains like you're planning.

Have fun!

Always JK'n 05-12-2010 11:15 AM

I think I'll be sure to try at least some back roads, but I've gotta get there in 5 days so I'll have to take some time on the freeway.

Does anyone know anything about Wade Automotive Top Wind Deflector? I'm thinking about buying one, because even after a header replacement, I'm a little annoyed with the highway noise. Also, can you take the top off with the deflector installed?

Always JK'n 05-23-2010 07:55 PM

I'm gonna resurrect this thread and ask another question:

I know a lot of people on this thread have done a lot of driving west of the Mississippi, but I've never been on that side of the country...any places I need to go and visit?

Also, I'd like to take the backroads as much as possible...anyone know of good drives in that direction?

KBR97 05-23-2010 08:04 PM


Originally Posted by Always JK'n (Post 618891)
and then move on to Fort Rucker, AL for helicopter pilot training.

Hey goodluck on the training. My uncle went through Pilot/instructor training privately. He just recently landed a job in Abu Dhabi. He's flying oil rig crews out to there oil well in the ocean. Six weeks on, Six off.

drivebytruckerz 05-23-2010 08:23 PM

Welcome to the Army.. I just got out 2 months ago. Tires Tires Tires. It's like a new pair of boots. Preventative maintenance is the key.. (<--as you'll learn in your training to come) so tune it up, change the oil, new shocks if it has been a while, change ALL of your fluids (front/rear ends, transfer case, tranny..) and make sure your AC is ready to go if you have AC. Be safe out there..

Always JK'n 05-23-2010 10:15 PM

Tires are the original...I've only got 20k on them and I think they should last me. I'm sure you know about POV inspections, and I'm going to be getting one from the commander before I leave.

I hadn't thought about the fluids tho...thanks! I also think I need to get the differential fluids changed as well now that you mention it.

How often should the shocks be changed?


drivebytruckerz 05-23-2010 10:20 PM

I changed mine just after 100k, but they can last longer than that. But if your ride only has 20k on it, then you're good. Just keep those tires rotated. Inspect all your hoses, belts and everything too.

Good luck with your career. Looks like you went to Clemson from what I can tell? If so, Go Jackets ;)

Always JK'n 05-23-2010 10:33 PM

Thanks for the advice! And GO TIGERS! Very good rivalry going on between our two schools though!

Still looking for people who have advice on places to stop out west...I'm thinking about camping out there some nights as well if anyone has advice about that.

drivebytruckerz 05-23-2010 10:37 PM

I want to get out there too.. I daydream about night time topless rides out west and camping out under the stars.. I've only been out there once and it was courtesy of the U.S. Govt. prior to a deployment.. spent an all expense paid trip one month at Ft. Irwin, CA. It was beautiful, but a shower would have been nice.

OSUJEEPER 05-24-2010 07:14 AM

If you Decide to take the southren Rroot through Kansas, there is a little cool stop to make I did once. I'm into rock climbing and have been many places in the East, no where out west of kansas yet but soon to come. Anyway there is a little town called Rock City Kansas. It is right off of I70, I found it while I was out there turkey hunting. It has this area on the outside of this one "stopsign" town, where this field has a bunch of jet black boulders ranging from the size of my head to the size of a house. There is probable 50-70 of them in this field and nothing else like anywhere I have yet seen. It would be cool to see if you are into that thing, might be a little boring if your not. They are just a bunch of big rocks in a field in kansas, but they look like that have no earthly business being there. Good luck

O and put your tires a few Lbs above where you would normally run them at pressure wise. You will see better gas milage.
Congrats, good luck, and Thank You for Your Service to This Country!!!

OSUJEEPER 05-24-2010 07:17 AM

O ya and I climed the hell out of them for a couple of hrs.

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