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Hooniverse Road Trip: Kinsley, Kansas – “Midway USA”


In 1939, there were two concurrent World’s Fairs being held in the United States: the New York World’s Fair, and the Golden Gate International Exposition a continent away in San Francisco. That April, the cover of an issue of The Saturday Evening Post depicted two cars, each emblazoned with “World’s Fair or Bust,” passing each other in opposite directions under a fictional signpost marking the mid-point between the two cities. As it turns out, that imaginary signpost would have been located on U.S. Highway 50 just outside Kinsley, Kansas. The county seat of Edwards County has been promoting itself as “Midway, USA” ever since, but without managing to attract much national attention.

Fast forward three-quarters of a century. My close friend Rusty — an old co-worker and riding buddy of mine who relocated to Colorado years ago — suggested we get together for a motorcycle ride; the only problem is that he lives 620 miles west of me. I suggested that my wife and I should meet him halfway. A quick check of Google Maps indicated that the halfway point between his house in Pueblo and mine in Kansas City was within three miles of…Kinsley, Kansas. Even living less than 4-1/2 hours away, I had never heard of Kinsley. But once I learned of its long reputation as THE half-way point, kismet demanded we meet there. Not long after, under a cloudy June sky, we did.

What we found there was a quirky, threadworn small town whose acme had long passed without ever quite realizing its potential. But thanks to my equally quirky and optimistic traveling companions and the town’s genuinely sincere citizens, plus the great excuse for plenty of miles on sparsely populated rural roads, it was definitely worth the trip.

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Hoon On The Road: Over Some Rivers and Through the Woods


When I first made my plans to drive up to Darrington, I wanted to take the scenic route. I read a few years ago about a road called the Mountain Loop Highway, and I’ve wanted to drive it since then. It’s called a loop because the full run will take you around the mountains and back, but most people are referring to the stretch of highway between Granite Falls and Darrington. I don’t spend much quality time with the Focus anymore, so for one weekend I parked the truck, grabbed my wife’s keys, and hopped in the first car I ever financed. What follows is a short review of our time together. … Continue Reading

Hooniverse Drives over 8 San Francisco Bay Area Bridges in One Day

Jim Yu September 22, 2014 Hooniverse Goes To..., Road Trip


As someone who likes to cross items off of lists, I have always wanted to drive over all eight San Francisco Bay Area bridges in one go. This “accomplishment” is relatively easy to do, but no one has ever gotten in their car to properly document the experience. This is where I come in. Make the jump to see how I spent one weekend morning. … Continue Reading

Goodwood 2014: Tales from Suite 825


War correspondents have a fairly hard life. Not only is there the constant depression of narrowly missing that Pulitzer they’ve been striving for, together with not knowing which battle scarred nation they’ll be reporting on from one week to the next; there’s also a fair likelihood of being shot at.

This is an unlikely outcome when reporting on a civilised event like the Goodwood Festival of Speed; but there is still the rough to be taken with the smooth. Cushy hotel with en-suite and 24hr porterage? Dingy motel with stained sheets and a body in the pool? Nope. Not for me. Your humble Hooniverse field reporter brings his own shelter with him.

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Rental Car Review: 2014 Ford Fusion SE


Last fall, I told you about my experience with the 2013 Chevy Cruze LTZ. We had rented it for a trip down the Oregon coast, and we enjoyed our time in the car; the EcoTec 4-cylinder handled my right-food requests well enough, and it rode like a sporty compact should. This past weekend, we made the same trip again, but in a 2014 Ford Fusion SE with the EcoBoost engine. How would the Ford measure up? Take the jump below to find out. … Continue Reading

Rest In Peace, Ash Turner – Memorial Cruise


Photographer and friend of Hooniverse, Ash Turner, passed away last Sunday evening. Last fall, he worked with us for the ALMS and WEC race at the Circuit of the Americas and he was a massively friendly, passionate car enthusiast with a good eye in photowork. A few of the local car culture organizations are hosting memorial events in the upcoming weeks, and Hoons are invited to join. Details after the jump.

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A Hoon’s Journey to the First Mustang


April 17th, 1964 is known officially as the birthday of the Ford Mustang and is a date that saw the launch of what is perhaps the most iconic vehicle ever made. 50 years ago today, Ford launched more than just a new car aimed at younger souls or those who just wished they were; they launched an entirely new class of car, a new automotive philosophy, and they helped launch one of the most exciting eras in automotive history that we still reminisce about today, even if not all of us were around for it.

So on today, the Mustang’s 50th birthday, allow me to reminisce a bit myself about when I got to see the beginnings of a legend, including the original 1962 Ford Mustang I concept, the first Mustang which Ford accidentally sold, and where they were all built. Along the way I also finally got to experience the legend from behind the wheel and fell in love with a car much in the same way as America did starting on this day 50 years ago.

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Ranking the Border Crossings Along the Pan-American Highway


Background: Since 2007, I have been taking bus trips along the Pan-American Highway. I have done 12,000 miles of it so far, which is approximately 88% of the road that stretches from the Arctic Ocean to the tip of South America. I have two segments left. This summer, I will travel by van along the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Next year, I will finish with a bus trip from Lima, Peru, through Ecuador, to the frontier town of Turbo, Colombia (along the edge of the Darien Gap).

While I prepare for my Alaska trip, I thought I would share with you my experiences at the border crossings. Oftentimes, the border crossing is the most exciting, and dangerous, part of the journey. It certainly gives you insight about each country’s culture, governance, and character. 

I will rank the border crossings I used, from least to most “challenging”.

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Millbrook Punishment Park – An Engineer’s Playground


Racetracks are great. Every circuit has its own distinct character and set of challenges, which test the mettle of the driver in a specific way. There’s no getting away from the fact, though, that a racetrack is just that. Designed for racing, with clean racing lines, plenty of run-off and a layout which aims to be vaguely spectator-friendly. I pain with broad strokes, here.

What a racetrack can’t necessarily do is test a car. What you really need for that is a Proving Ground. There are examples of these wonderful establishments all over the world; but one is particularly close to my heart. That place is Millbrook, in Bedfordshire, England; and I wish I could play there a lot more frequently than I can.

You’ll all recognize Millbrook, or bits of it, anyway, from regular appearances on Top Gear, or any other motoring program who’s production budget could be stretched far enough to hire it. Or from the Aston Martin roll sequence in Casino Royale, filmed on these premises.

Basically, if there’s something you want to test on your car, there’s a way of testing it at Millbrook. If you’ve got a 42 tonne truck and trailer and you want to test it on gradients up to 26%? Step this way. If you’re looking to perfect the ride quality on your new luxo-barge, might I point Sir in the direction of the 0.9mile Belgian Block Pave loop with angled depressions? There’s also a 137 metre steering pad, a whole range of noise-generating surfaces for interior sound tests, and if you feel the need, the need for speed, get yourself down to the two-mile banked circle with its 100mph “Hands off” speed. It really has everything.

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A Photojournal Trip Across the Country

Bradley Brownell October 18, 2013 Featured, Road Trip


The cross country road trip is one of those American phenomena that simply cannot be delivered similarly anywhere else. Sure, there are wide expanses of countryside in Canada, Russia, Australia, China, etc., but none are quite like the good ‘ol US with its widely varying countryside vistas, the excellent cityscapes, the comfortably large well-paved lanes. Our interstate system is becoming rapidly outdated, but still makes for relatively easy drives from end to end. 

A recent shift in the paradigm of my employment has facilitated a relocation to Reno, Nevada from Cleveland, OH. I’ve been in Nevada for almost three months now, and my girlfriend (though she is featured heavily in this story will be henceforth referred to as “the girl”) has continued to live in Ohio in that time until the lease was up. At the beginning of October, that became the case, and the full move was finally upon us. I flew in to CLE airport, enduring the excruciating pressure change from nearly a mile high to just above sea level along the way, to help pack up the remainder of our belongings and prepare for our cross-country trek. We stayed in Ohio for two years, making some great friends along the way, but it was time for us to move on to (hopefully) bigger and better.

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