My February Drive to the Southwest - Pontiac Solstice Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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My February Drive to the Southwest

I needed to be in Southern NM for work, and the weather did not look accommodating for riding my motorcycle. I decided to try a long drive in the solstice. 1349 miles from home.

The plan was to spread the trip over 3 days so that I didn't have to stick to the interstate. Like all good plans, this one had to be modified because of weather. I was being chased by an epic ice storm that I almost did not outrun.

The first day I had to drive 900 miles and stopped in Abilene, TX

Crossing the Might Mississippi


Crossing into Arkansas


and into Texas


Dallas was interesting to drive through. I hate traffic and trying to maneuver around all the pickup trucks was interesting. I was always wondering if they were looking over me instead of seeing me.


This rig I spotted sure would make all of my wife's friends envious.
Not my wife though. She is perfectly happy with her 3 horse trailer and farm truck.

Yes, for the most part Texas interstates are boring.


but at least they are fast!


I worked my way down I-40, I-30, 1-20, and I-10 towards El Paso.


I-10 did have the occasional hill to look at. You could see them 50 miles away and watch them grow as you approached.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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Finally rolled into El Paso on day two. The ice storm reached all the way to Midland, TX. I was very fortunate to have stayed ahead of it.


Checking into the Quality Inn. After two days of cold overcast weather it was nice to feel the temps in the mid 60s. After checking in I found a self car wash. It needed it.


El Paso is more like being in Mexico than being in the US. Most people speak Spanish first, and then switch to English if you don't respond. They even have a museum dedicated to the Border Patrol at the base of the Franklin Mountains.


I drove over the Franklin Mountains everyday during my stay so I could at least enjoy some curvy roads.










I passed this Maserati one morning heading over the mountain. He didn't want to play though.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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I stayed in this Comfort Suite on the west side of the Franklin Mountains in the high desert. My room even had a Jacuzzi which was very useful after all those miles in the Solstice.


The breakfast room has a Texas exclusive waffle maker.


Some more shots heading over the Franklin Mountains in the morning.








I was working near the little town of Orogrande, NM. Talk about wide open spaces!






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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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Driving south on 54, you can see the Franklin Mountains from 50 miles away. It is so hard not to drive triple digits when you are out there because you feel like you are getting nowhere fast.


From El Paso, I decided to drive across I-10 to the gulf coast to visit with a company I work with. Again, there was risk of freezing rain reaching all the way down to Junction, TX and even Austin, so I had to keep up my pace.

Not hard to keep up a pace on I-10 across Texas. LOL!


When you get about an hour east of El Paso you do have to cross this mountain range on the interstate.


On the other side is a border patrol checkpoint. Yes you read that right. When you leave out of El Paso in any direction, on any road, you will have to pass through a border patrol check point with drug sniffing dogs, agents, the works. Makes one feel really good about being in El Paso.

If you do go to El Paso, you should check out the factory direct boot stores. I picked up some nice bargains on cowboy boots. Unfortunately there was no place to put them in the Solstice, so they road on the passenger seat.

Not much traffic when you are in the middle of nowhere.




Occasionally something of interest.


One time I let the fuel get mighty low before stopping for gas. Not a good feeling when you don't know how far the next service station is.

From Junction, TX, I decided to take back roads towards Austin with the idea that I could pass north of Houston to avoid the traffic there. Spotted this little yellow Solstice from Arkansas.


Trying to avoid Houston was a mistake. I hit town after town with cars 50 deep at some intersections. My left leg was worn out from pushing that clutch in.

I decided to stop in Lake Charles, LA for the night because I wanted to try out a seafood restaurant I had heard about.


If you ever get a chance to stop at Steamboat Bill's, you will not be disappointed.


There were so many new dishes I had never tasted to I had to order a little of everything. I decided to take it to go because I knew I would not be able to move after eating all this delectable Cajun seafood!

Last edited by twowheeladdict; 03-22-2015 at 08:07 AM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 07:13 AM Thread Starter
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Leaving out of Lake Charles heading east there is a lot of raised roadway and swampland. Definitely would not want to break down or wreck out here.





Felt good to cross the Mississippi, maybe the swamps are behind me. Although the traffic was getting heavier.



Mobile, Alabama skyline.


Cool Tunnel. Wish it would have been nice enough to have the top down.




While I was on the Florida Gulf Coast, Tennessee was getting hit with a snow storm. In fact, it got hit several times while I was gone. I did get to see remnants of it on my way home.






I was able to drive with the top down in the El Paso area a few times. I was glad I had sunglasses with foam that kept the dust out of my eyes. Definitely a lot of dust in that desert environment when the wind picks up.

The interstate driving was miserable in such a small car. No room to stretch or change sitting positions. I didn't notice it when driving all day in the mountains.

Last edited by twowheeladdict; 03-22-2015 at 06:22 PM.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 08:17 AM
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Nice! Wife and I started discussing summer road trips just yesterday.

2007 2.4L N/A. Stock + some pretty crap.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeladdict View Post
Spotted this little yellow Solstice from Arkansas.
MikeO from Jonesboro. He was heading north to Kerrville '15

eCar
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