While I have posted quite a bit to PowderForward regarding my recent ski trip, I have been leaving out the huge driving portion of this road trip. Considering it was 3 weeks of driving this car around just a tad over 4000 miles in total, I would say that this was quite the epic road trip.
My crudely drawn map showing the general route and the major stops along the way. My major stops included Las Vegas NV, Zion UT, Arches UT, Salt Lake City UT, Jackson WY, and Big Sky MT. Each place was supremely awesome in its own way. And aside from the last day, there were no really long driving sessions so I was well rested and driving comfortably for the whole trip generally.
Cool things I saw along the way outside of the stops included a couple of moose eating a tree in Wyoming, a couple of bighorn sheep just chilling by the road in Montana, and massive amounts of snow frigging everywhere. The cold surprisingly didn’t bother me a whole lot but the car definitely got angry at the many subzero starts. Warming up the car for a couple of minutes each morning while I scraped off the ice definitely brought it back to normal but oh man were the sounds it made frightening at first. The one day that I added oil while it was about -5F outside, I realized that the oil being about the consistency of molasses certainly contributed to that anger. Nothing broke or performed out of the ordinary so I suppose it was normal for the slightly slower cranking and roughish running at initial idle. Now that I am back to a warm place where “cold” is sub 50, it is behaving perfectly normal. So it was quite the experience being in legitimately cold and naturey places!
The car got wayyyyy too dirty but it should be cleanable eventually. The rain now at home is certainly helping wash the salt off but I really want to get a more throurough clean in soon. I have no idea how to get the salt stains out of the plastic undertrays so that might just be something to live with. But as long as I clean off any metal, all should be well in the world. I ran it through the coin op wash with just the high power hose a few times mid trip but it was just constantly dirty outside of those couple of hours of clean..
Anyways, the car was quite comfortable and practical for the whole trip. It easily fit plenty of gear and luggage for two people and made it through all of the wild storms thrown at it. Three fresh powder days in Utah, three fresh powder days in Montana, and a ridiculously steep/snow covered driveway in Wyoming were all handled with ease. I kind of wish I had saved some dash cam video of that driveway, it was by far the most challenging thing I faced and the only road surface to result in some slippage under acceleration unintentionally. Many of the roads in WY/MT really tested my car more than I imagined. It certainly passed with flying colors but I had expected more plowed roads. Having grown up in the Northeast, winter road maintenance is a completely different thing in places like this. Even just the threat of a snow storm in NJ would result in 5-wide snow plows driving down the highway 24/7 until the storm passed. I think I rarely saw a snow plow in all of Montana even though it was absolutely dumping the whole time and the roads were completely white most of the time. It was nice to not be pelted with salt while driving along but it made me thankful to have something as capable as this car when things got hairy on the road.
It was nice having my own car on this trip but in the future, I probably can’t spend this many days on the road at once. So I will probably have to fly more often for skiing when its not at Mammoth. But I am certainly not opposed to single week long trips to Utah again at least. I am much happier to use this car for skiing than my Miata, especially if I manage to find a clean replacement Miata eventually. The Subaru has fully won me over for road tripping though!
For the skiing part of this trip hop on over to powderfoward below to get my detailed reports of the trip. It was by far the best skiing I have ever done and was certainly a once in a lifetime experience to do this much in a row: