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Two-Wheel Tuesday: 5 Days, 8 States* & 1,970 miles

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*Technically, seven states and one Canadian province.

Mrs. Tanshanomi and I just returned from riding the first Smackdab Solstice Ride. Since I’ve previously shared the premise of this dawn-to-dusk ride between Lebanon, KS and Rugby, ND with Hooniverse readers, I’ll simply refer you to the article I’ve linked. But participating in the 675-mile, one-day ride meant making a spectacular five-day, 1970-mile round trip from our home outside Kansas City. The adventure has given us some great memories and a great story to share.

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An Unexpected Adventure With This olelongrooffan

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It was late on Saturday afternoon this past weekend as this olelongrooffan was sitting amongst a bunch of cool old cars chatting it up with my coworker about the dismal amount of traffic we have seen over the past month since we started schleping classics cars, our congenial sales manager approached us. “The owner has decided to make some changes and I have been told to release you two guys from our employment.” Yeah, one month in and my career as a classic car salesman has come to a screeching halt. WTF? It sure has been an interesting year for this olelongrooffan. So after spending the evening on Saturday pondering my next move with a bit of the Skye, I could only come to one conclusion as to my immediate next move.

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Hoonivercinema: What it’s like to participate in a Targa Trophy Rally in a Audi R8

You’ve got your mid-level supercar, you want to feel the camaraderie of traveling with others on the open road. You’ve imagined doing road rallies because of all the cool and crazy things you have heard and want to feel like Burt Reynolds in The Cannonball Run. Reality sometimes sets in you just can’t afford to do the major cross country rallies and the inevitable outcome that follows with many legal issues and ticket problems. When my friend Chad approached me to participate in the Targa Trophy LA to Vegas Sports Car Festival in his 2008 Audi R8 4.2 6-Speed manual, I drew deeply on the goodness of my heart and agreed to aid in such an arduous undertaking. Joking aside, blasting through the desert in a mid-engined German missile was a blast, but in the end is it all fun and games?

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A Journey In Slovakia, From The Eyes Of A Passenger

Chris Haining June 18, 2015 Road Trip

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Too rarely do we take the time to assess things from the point of view of the passenger. Ultimate power is possessed by he who holds the wheel. What he says, goes…which could incidentally make him the worst chauffeur, like, ever.

For once, though, I was glad to be a passenger, one of thirty five on this particular luxuriously appointed touring coach. I was in a country I had never previously visited, and was only too pleased to have the chance to gaze wistfully at the distant countryside without expending a thought about whether the driver was having fun.

This post is about the joy of being a passenger in an unfamiliar land.

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Road Trip In The Lexus RC350 F Sport

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The Lexus RC350 has an aggressive exterior and aims to attack the coupes from its German rivals. The F Sport package gives it better handling and a more menacing look. As a Lexus and not a Caterham, it’s required to strike the right balance between comfort and handling.  I originally planned to take the RC350 F Sport to an autocross event but the car had to be rescheduled and ended up arriving the weekend before a road trip. The logical choice for the six hour round trip  to a wedding would’ve been to take my Cadillac STS or their Toyota Camry but I convinced them that we should ride in the RC350.

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Submission Thursday: Balkanized, Part 2

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[Ed. note: Continuation from Balkanized, Part 1. If you haven’t read the first part by Matt Harvey, I recommend you do that immediately. Photos by Darjan Platinovšek –Antti]

Ivan and his new chums climb away out of sight and the burble of their engines dwindles to nothing. For a few seconds there is silence, not a breath of breeze to sully it as we drink in the landscape. Only a few seconds. We still have a good distance to go before we get to our digs just south of Rijeka with an hour and a half until sunset, just enough time to milk this road dry.

Pulling back onto the tarmac we resume the descent alphabetically, Audi first, BMW second, clear air in third. A few more bends and short straights and Darjan spots another lay-by, this time right on the apex of a sharp left-hander but with the promise of rewarding vistas. I slow as hard as I dare, mindful of the sticky master cylinder a few metres behind before easing the A4 over a lip onto an oval of gravel the size of a tennis court.

Aleš tucks in next to us as we reach for phones and cameras to scan the horizon and the islands in between and capture a few slices of the view. Shunning selfies, Darjan grabs his tripod from the trunk and declares it’s time for a group shot as I realize my right foot is resting on a boulder about 18” high. Rock Woollarding it is then! He sets the timer and jogs over to take position before the shutter clicks…

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Route 66 – Spencer, MO

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Not too long ago, I was making yet another run into Springfield, but had some time to kill on the trip back. I decided to veer off Highway 96 near Paris Springs Junction on N Highway, which is part of old Route 66. I have done this side trip just once before, and I had been meaning to swing by for a while. Just a mile or so from there, I turned right, crossed an old one-lane bridge, and found the old town of Spencer, Missouri.

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Submission Thursday: Balkanized

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[The following travelogue is a snapshot from a recent roadtrip in Croatia, and the penmanship and photography is by the inimitable Matt Harvey. Additional photos by Ales Zorko. -Antti]

We leave the highway at Karlovac about twenty minutes outside of Zagreb, taking the road south towards the Plitvička National Park. We’re a ragtag little convoy comprising a Croatian on a Kawasaki ER-6N, a wild, nomadic Finn and a Slovenian in a restored ’89 BMW 325i Touring with yours truly and another Slovenian in a 2004 Audi A4 1.9 TDi that has uprated brakes, suspension, sticky tyres and an engine remap. Like I said – ragtag.

It is the Sunday of the May Day holiday weekend, and so of course the roads are packed. While most of the traffic is heading home and therefore in the opposite direction, it still means overtakes are few and far between. The presence of the nimble bike up front able to radio back to the cars makes little difference; a stubborn native in a red van is slowing us to truly pedestrian speeds except on the straights where he boots it. The bastard.

Mid-afternoon and we pull over in Rastoke, a pretty spot with waterfalls and a bar perched on the edge of the river gorge. We stretch legs and take on fluids. “Don’t worry,” our Croatian host assures us, “It’s going to get better, in a little while.”

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Wagon Wednesday: The Lada Wagon that conquered USA

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A Lada station wagon is pretty awesome by itself. Especially the round-headlight 2102 ones, as they have the most simple and classic appearance of them all.

But one of the most significant ones, at least with Finnish plates, is this exact ochre one I photographed at the Classic Motorshow last weekend. The 2102 wagon, originally bought for two packets of coffee and driven by a brave team called The Hoponderos made it through the United States in one piece, and back to Finland. No mean feat.

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Roadside Attractions – Paris Springs Junction

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Not five minutes from Spencer, MO is the community of Paris Springs, located on a stretch of old Route 66. The weather was perfect for a quick drive – warm, sunny, clear – so I grabbed the dog and my truck keys and pointed old truck toward Paris Springs. I put a new K&N filter on it last week, so I wanted to see if it made any difference in performance, so it was a good excuse to hit the road. … Continue Reading

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