What has 10 row-your-own gears, 10 cylinders, 10 doors, and seats 12?

In completely unrelated news, I flew to San Francisco and drove a new-to-me brick 900 miles home through multiple winter weather advisories. On summer tires. Oh and Sovande, you were right. V70 seats are in a league of their own.

Flew one of Delta’s Embraers, which was nice. Small plane, only about 60% booked. Got bumped up to first, in A4. Solo window seats plus some vodka sodas that were more like glasses of vodka with a splash of soda water made for an good flight. For a short-haul domestic first-class, it wasn’t bad.

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Guys.... I think I might be becoming an AV geek. All I can think about is trying out different planes. I tried to get a friend to go to the Museum of Flight with me. And when I saw window washers cleaning the massive windows outside the waiting area.... My only reaction was to feel slightly upset that they were blocking the view.

Window washers in action. Some nice squeegee work!
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I thought I knew what urban sprawl looked like. I was wrong

Anyways, on to the fun stuff!

The whole reason I flew down was because an incredibly generous Oppo member offered me his turbo, manual V70 T5. I took him up on it, and a few weeks later.... I was standing in San Jose with keys to my new wagon in hand!

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I should mention, I purposely refrained from looking up drive-time back home until I had purchased the wagon. I didn’t want that long trip weighing down on my mind.... My longest drive at that point had been 4 hours. And it was rough.

From San Jose to Seattle?

13.5 hours. And I didn’t leave until 11:30am....

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I really enjoyed the scenery from San Jose to Sacramento. Gorgeous rolling hills, and some fantastic highways. Californians, I freakin love you guys. With 70 mph speed limits, the flow of traffic was consistently 80-85 mph. With 13 hours ahead of me, that’s exactly what I was hoping for.

Unfortunately after Sacramento, there was a whole lot of nothing pretty much until Shasta lake. Agriculture as far as the eye could see. And while the Californian drivers continued to be a shining example of how to handle highways (they ONLY used the left lane for passing!!!) there were some problems.

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And by problems, I mean Oregonians.

GAHHHH. Every time—without fail—there was a slowdown, it was caused by someone with Oregon plates. Camped out in the left lane at 5mph under?

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Oregon plates.

Swerving into other lanes?

Oregon plates.

Braking while going up-hill?

Yep. Mr. Oregon plates.

I grew to hate the sight of Oregon’s Evergreen-bestowed license plate. Now I understand why Decay and AMGTech ride bikes everywhere....

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All-in-all though, the drive up to Shasta lake was exquisite. And the lake! It’s now on my bucket list for places to explore. I didn’t stop, but even from the car the views were incredible.

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So this is where things got hairy. The pass had a severe winter weather advisory in effect, and boy did it materialize. I had purchased chains Justin case (summer tires ftw) but it wasn’t quite cold enough for snow. Oh no. Today was rain’s time to claim the throne.

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Quick bit of background info. I’ve lived near Seattle my entire life. If there’s one thing Seattle is synonymous with, it’s rain. From an endless drizzle that stretches seasons, to storms that cripple city, I’ve grown accustomed to it all. Psssh, who cares about rain. That’s hardly worthy of being called “a storm”.

Oh what a fool I was.

That drive through the pass was a white-knuckle, try-to-stay-alive, terror-fest that seemed to go on for hours. I’ve never seen rain that hard. And it mixed with the heaviest fog. Visibility was so bad that I was relying on Google maps so I could see the curves of the pass ahead and adjust my speed accordingly. At one point I had to turn on my high beams just to see the reflections of the road markers further out than 5 feet. Those high beams reflected off the fog and kept me from being able to see anything but the ground, but that was the best choice I had.

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When I made it out the other side, I was a sweaty mess. Checking the weather advisory, I saw that there had also been 60+ mph winds. Between the rain, fog, and semi-trucks though, I hadn’t even noticed.

I kept driving until I hit a small town in Oregon, tank on E. I’d made it halfway home, and was mentally exhausted. My eyes didn’t want to stay open, and my reaction times were quite a bit below where they started.

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I rallied with a bathroom break, 20 minute nap, a quick bite at the golden arches and a coffee to perk me up. Back on the road.

For those that haven’t made the drive through Oregon, it seems like every other mile is there’s either an adult movie store, a strip club, or an aggressively religious billboard telling you to repent. Huh.

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55mph speed limits are awful, and 50mph speed limits are even worse. I already missed California.

Grant’s pass was pretty rough, mostly because of how dark it was coupled with my increasingly tired brain and eyes. Made it through though. Drove through Portland and ended up stopping in a small town just south of Washington’s capital for the next break. Again, mentally exhausted. Physically however, just fine. I don’t know what demonic contract Volvo interior designers entered into, and I don’t care. Those seats are phenomenal.

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Got home around 2:00am, and somehow didn’t see a single cop on the entire drive. The V70 didn’t miss a beat. It was supremely comfortable, and quite fast. The turbo is very linear, with a nice flat curve. Nothing like the massive lag followed by the bag-of-bricks-to-the-face style of the 850. The tires thankfully handled rain with aplomb, and the noise-levels were quite a bit lower than my 850.

While I sincerely hope to never drive that far in a single day again, I can say that I probably had one of the best possible cars to do it in.

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Okay, picture time! I’ll do an actual review at some point, but feel free to ask any questions! I’m the 3rd owner, and have a massive stack of receipts dating pack to the initial purchase. I definitely need to replace the timing belt soon, but other than that there aren’t any major issues I’ve noticed. Lots of small things, but that’s par for the course with one of these. Damn thing just effortlessly made it 900 miles through two passes, at high speeds, after hardly being driven for a over a year. I think that says a good amount. Interior is in great shape, and minus the clear coat issues on the hood and roof, the exterior is quite nice as well.

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Tristan, if you ever want to nerd out on wagon stuff I’m only short drive away! Beers on me!

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