That feeling when you’re two days deep in the mountains, and your coolant starts to boil because you’ve been hooning at redline for hours and hours at high elevations. The whole story and lots of pictures below. Also, offroad ferrari!
My giant 5 week roadtrip turned into a long series of mini trips after my buddy bailed last minute. But you know what, I’m not even mad! I’m on day three of a mountain adventure in Washington state. I brought 40 gallons of fuel and lots of food, stashed it away at the top of big mountain, and hooked up a beacon so worst case—I run out of gas or get lost—I’ll be able to walk to it. Exploring the area while getting some sweet sweet one on one time with the yata has been the driving highlight of 2017 so far.
I decided to forgo a tent, and instead put a high quality sleeping pad in the passenger side floor well. Simplify and add lightness, yo. It’s actually been very comfortable. Temps have dropped into the mid-30's at night but I went a bit overboard and grabbed the editors choice award sleeping bag from outdoorgearlab, so no complaints! If you’re even slightly outdoorsy, or just love reading about/purchasing the best gear out there for various pursuits I highly recommend checking out their website. Unquestionably the most unbiased group out there. And yes, they purchase everything they review.
To the meat and potatoes, the reason I was here, the thrill found behind the wheel. After what seemed like weeks of exploring where no Miata has gone before (trust me), I came across a particularly fantastic section of trail. There was a long cliffside s-curve, that after a few runs I was determined to slide through with more than just precision. I wanted beauty. Hell, I wanted glory. Tokyo Drift at the forefront of my brain, I spent hours wailing away on that section. First gear—gun it—whip the wheel the opposite direction—clutch kick—steer into the curve—modulate with the throttle—switch directions entering the second half of the curve—countersteer and smoothly straighten out. That right there; not track days, not autox, but that little piece of solo hooning without rules or limits. That’s the type of driving I live for.
That said... I really need a gear between 1 and 2 for this kind of thing. 1st is way too short, whereas with second I don’t have enough power unless I’m going much faster than I’m currently comfortable with while sideways. For this section, I stuck with first. The power is up high in the rpm band of these 1.8 liters, so my engine was getting plenty of work.
Which eventually led to a very recognizable sound. If you’ve ever heard your coolant bubbling in the overflow tank, you’ll know what I’m talking about. At over 300k miles with a questionable service history, the biggest surprise is that it took so long for anything to go wrong. While I’m not super mechanically inclined, I’m a pro when it comes to adventure planning. I knew something would go wrong. So... I came prepared with a backup Ferrari! But that quickly got stuck in the dirt. Thank God the Miata cooled off and didn’t seem to suffer from the abuse. Sometimes you get lucky!
The best part of this adventure? After driving hundreds of miles the last few days, I’ve only come across one other person. A dude hauling ass on a dirtbike. We’ve actually crossed paths 3 times now, in vastly different spots each time!
I’ll keep you guys updated with the next few little trips. I’m spending one more night out here, then heading home for a day or two. Thinking about searching for some hotsprings in Oregon...