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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for suggestions to heed before taking an '83 Spider across the Northern part of the country the weekend before New Years.

I'm flying out to Virginia Christmas Day, and taking delivery of the car there (It's my old man's car; previously my Grandma's car).

The exterior of the car is in great shape, with a new top, recent body work and paint, and in good mechanical shape. The interior needs some work to make the car cherry, though.

The intention is to drive it back to Seattle in 4/5 days. The most convenient route takes me through the Cincinnati area, Indianapolis, Chicago, Mankato, MN, and I90 through South Dakota, northeastern Wyoming, Montana, the Idaho panhandle, and Snoqualmie Pass in Washington before getting it home. The car will only be on freeways (though freeways across the plains aren't much different from the rural roads). This will be the first and only time this car will play in the snow.

What steps should I take to protect the car. Any route changes will add lodging, fuel, and time expenses, but are still being considered.

Also, what winterizing steps should I consider? What type of chains would you suggest carrying? Am I completely crazy and should I put off instant gratification and pick up the car in the Summer?

Thanks!
 

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<-- wouldn't suggest chains at all, but good winter tires, and mabe at the extreme end things, studs. (chains aren't always legal on public roads, and even if so, you've no concept of how much damage they'll do to the bodywork if one breaks loose. Besides, they beat the ***t out of whatever tires they are put on)

T'wouldn't hurt to put a thick coat of wax on it before taking off so that any road crap (salt-n-sand) that gets up on it won't be sticking directly on the paint.

Make sure the spare is present and inflated, the jack is present and working, mabe bring a small full gas can along, flares, and a few odd tools. (oh, and make sure the lug wrench actually fits the lug nuts)

Beyond that, there's prolly a million other things you could bring or put to use under whatever given situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I most certainly wouldn't use chains unless the pass requires them. I absolutly hate driving with chains! =)

Great tip on the Wax... I'll certainly do that, and give her a good bath the day I get her home.
 

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Have you thought about having it shipped. It may be cheaper than gas, lodging, meals, vacation time, wear and tear on the Spider, etc. My brother bought a van on e-bay about 4 years ago and had it shipped from Florida to Nebraska for around $500. The price is probably higher now with the increases in fuel prices, but your fuel cost alone would be around $300 if you drove it all 2,736 miles (I'm guessing on the miles).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I seriously considered having it shipped (It's about $900 from Hampton, VA), but my old man wants his kids to all be out for Christmas, and the fuel costs back are in lieu of paying for a flight back during the Holidays (around $300-$400).

As for lodging, my selected route gives me a free place to stay each night (it is, though the route that is roughest on the car), and as for food, I'm going to be eating regardless if I'm home watching Bowl games or on I90 in South Dakota.
 

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I recently had a non running GTV shipped from Ohio at a really good rate. Non-runners are usually more expensive than cars that actually work.

No effiliation but this guy treated me really great.

Mark Gould
T&T Auto Transport, Inc.
[email protected]
 

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If there's no one to tell you no (e.g. wife), it sounds like it has the potential to be an adventure...and bring something warm to wear.
 

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Drive the SUV drivers crazy....

Drive the whole way with the top down.;)
 

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Don't do it. If you do drive, then head south then west on I10 and up I5. Yes, its longer, but its the only sane alternative to having it shipped.
 

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This may be a fun adventure! I use my 86 Spider often to go skiing, when snow is not too deep - say 4 inches. No problem with traction, but heavy snow will stop you or tear off your spoiler. Bring Ether/starting fluid to squirt into your intake manifold if your cold start system is not perfect. Saves a lot of battery drain.

For a mountain pass - make sure that your heater / defroster FAN is working! If you can keep speed over 50 you'll be OK even without a fan. You won't believe how fast the inside of the windows can frost up as you climb the Donner Pass!

Most important - bring a cell-phone and IAP's phone number.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Don't do it. If you do drive, then head south then west on I10 and up I5. Yes, its longer, but its the only sane alternative to having it shipped.
Arden- No way I'm going to cut all the way down to I10; but I'm considering I40 across. It adds a day, several hundred miles, and kills all my free lodging stops, though. I've also don't know much about the weather on I40 in late December, but assume it would be better then I90.

If there's no one to tell you no (e.g. wife), it sounds like it has the potential to be an adventure...and bring something warm to wear.
Regardless of how I do this, I think it will certainly be a fun and exciting trip. I love cross country drives, just me and the road to contend with, and I imagine I'll have enough dry pavement to enjoy the Spider on as well.

Drive the whole way with the top down.;)
Uhm... no ;) I don't own enough Gortex.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, I'm torn between three routes:

Via I90 Trip Budget w/ gas & lodging: $430.02; 3045 miles

Via I70/80 Trip Budget w/ gas & lodging: $532.14; 3062 miles

Via I40 Trip Budget w/ gas & lodging: $668.62; 3755 miles

I'm pretty familiar with the conditions of the I90 route during the winter, but don't have any experience with I40, and have only driven the I70/80 route during the summer. What sort of conditions should I expect on those other routes?
 

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With the current winter storms we've been having recently, I would reconsider it.
I-90 through Cleveland was horrible Monday morning. Icy with traffic only moving 15-20 mph and many wrecks on the sidelines.
 

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I agree with those advising against the trip and having the car shipped.

I live in Atlanta and we are experiencing relatively mild weather. But the midwest and northern regions look like they are in the ice age.

Could be extreme wear and tear on the car.
 

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Well, I'm torn between three routes:

Via I90 Trip Budget w/ gas & lodging: $430.02; 3045 miles

Via I70/80 Trip Budget w/ gas & lodging: $532.14; 3062 miles

Via I40 Trip Budget w/ gas & lodging: $668.62; 3755 miles

I'm pretty familiar with the conditions of the I90 route during the winter, but don't have any experience with I40, and have only driven the I70/80 route during the summer. What sort of conditions should I expect on those other routes?
I drive regularly between northeast NJ and southwestern OH, either via I-70 or I-80. Both are fine, if you are driving during the day, and not during a storm. At night, you are all but guaranteed patches of black ice, and an unavoidable spin out. If it is or has been snowing the day before, on both interstates, you will find cars off the road, cars flipped over, and accidents involving 18-wheelers. Until 2004, I drove the Spiders through the winter, but I won't do it any more. In fact, I will always wait two days after a storm to drive on either I-70 or I-80. (It's a lot cheaper to pay $200 for two nights on the road than for damage that occurs in a few seconds due to a spin out.)

I am also familiar with I-40. I used to drive that way, going west about 1200 mi. While there are no guarantees that you won't hit a storm, there is a huge difference in the probability of hitting bad weather. Usually when it's bad on I-70, I-40 is fine. I-40 also has very long stretches of straight road. This makes it easier to drive, but it is also very boring.

I have always driven a lot, and I always reach for the keys of my '84 Spider first, whenever I planning on a trip. I love to drive, no matter what time of year, but I would strongly advise you to do what I would do if I were in your shoes. I would pay for professional transport, even if it is $1500, or I would wait to drive in the Spring.

Best regards,
 

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I know the distance is much longer, but when I bought my '70 Spider in Munich, Gernany, in January '05, I dove it home to Denmark, 800+ miles. It was below freesing most of the way, car had stood for about 2½ years, light were not very good, but it was a nice trip all the same. Heater coped very well, all my extra underwear was not nessesary.
Bring some sensibel tools, cell-phono and get you home parts, and enjoy.
Erik
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. As much as I'd like to ship the car, it's my transportation back home from visiting my old man for the holidays. He wants all his boys home for Christmas, and I suspect is giving me the Alfa to entice me to visit (I never leave town around the holidays, usually making my trips in the summer when the weather is nicer and the time off more plentiful.)

The big question I have right now is how the sections of I70/I80/I15 are from about Saint Louis to Boise this time of year, and how I40 is from about Memphis to Southern California. I'm pretty familiar with what to expect on the selected routes east of the Mississippi, the routes in the Northwest, and the entire I90 route. I'm especially interested in the passes I might have to take, especially in Wyoming and/or New Mexico.
 

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Interstate 40 can be very bad in January due to the altitude. I've driven from Amarillo, TX to Los Angeles and it was bad all the way to Kingman, AZ.

Check the weather radar and forecast before leaving, you may be able to take the northern route-

National Weather Service Doppler Radar Images

As an Italian friend told me when I bought my Alfa, it snows in Northern Italy and they drive Alfa's year round...

With good weather it can be a fun trip.
 

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Get an AAA Gold membership before going. I think though you have to sign up 7-10 days in advance prior to being able to use it so people don't abuse it and buy it just when they know they will need a tow.
 

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Interstate 80 through Nebraska is cleared very quickly after snow or ice. However, you can't predict when bad weather will hit. I had to cancel trips the last two weekends to pick up a 1976 Fiat 128 in Kansas. There were only a couple of inches forcasted on Friday afternoon's weather updates, but Friday night about 200 miles of my trip received freezing rain followed by 8-10 inches of snow.
 
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