It’s time for my favourite thing in the entire world, the Gambler 500!!!

I got my new blocky rears installed this morning. The Nokian Hakkapeliitta NRW has a hard enough compound that my plan to bring an extra set of full size rear wheels was a bit overkill. After packing up the car I don’t have the space, anyway. I’ve read that some people get amazing mileage out of these things. So I just mounted them in the rear then brought my spare (“pizza cutter” steel front wheel for a 450) with me in case of an emergency. These tires were a great find for $50! :D

As expected I gained over an inch in ground clearance in the rear (the old Vredesteins were worn down past the wear bars). I think ground clearance while empty is currently 7.5-8 inches in the rear (minus the tow hitch) with 6.5-ish inches up front.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get my calculations for rubbing correct and it rubs when there’s some articulation. But the car has plastic panels and plastic wheel wells so like the fronts did, the rears will just carve out the plastic until it doesn’t rub anymore. lol

Other prep for this year: I got a stencil 3D printed (HIGHLY recommend 3D Printing Chicago), I finally remembered to bring blankets and other warm sleeping stuff, a spare tire, a tire repair kit, all my smart-specific tools, loads of straps, and some extra oil. I’m hopefully ready to gamble in the mountains! I set out for Tennessee at 1:30 Central. My late departure means I won’t be able to make the convoy with the rest of my team, so I’m riding solo all the way there.

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Here’s to hoping TN hasn’t been as hopelessly wet as IL. :D