Hooniverse Asks- What Would Be Your Transcontinental Ride of Choice?

The days are getting longer, and warmer, and as the trees begin leafing out, I’m beginning to feel a gnawing sense of wanderlust settling in. I’ve done about a half dozen cross-county car trips over the years, including a 3-day marathon that was kind of like something out of a Doors song. Despite that history, the idea of a transcontinental ride still appeals to me. And I have some different ways that I’d like to go about it.

The first is doing nothing but back roads in something slow, like a Deux Chevaux or ’34 Fordor. The concept of cruising along at near walking pace and stopping for lunch of baguette and cheese in a road-side field holds great appeal.

Another option is to do the trip on bikes. But not on a Goldwing or other house-sized two-wheeler. I’d rather scoop up an old R90/6 or maybe a looks-old Triumph for the trip.

How about you? Have you ever wanted to journey beyond the corner of your block? Did Alton Brown’s TV show about road food  give you the munchies for sheep’s brain burgers? Are you looking to avoid a nasty repo man or tax collector?

If so, have you considered doing a long road trip, perhaps across this great country, or, if you live in another, across that? I know that some of our friends (lookin’ at you LTDScott) have made some recent major motivations, and have even reported about them from the road.

But what about the rest of you? Would you take such a trip and what woul you drive, or what would you see to make it more interesting. A tour of America’s great road courses perhaps? Or, if you’re like me, and you want to drive a favorite car from sea to shining sea, what would it be?

Image sources: [CarBodyDesign.com, BMWMC.dk]

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70 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Would Be Your Transcontinental Ride of Choice?”

  1. K5ING Avatar

    Given a large budget, I would probably pick something large and comfortable. Maybe even a "weekender" version of a Sprinter or something similar.
    However, I've always wanted to take my VW Golf TDI on a complete circumnavigation of the US. Stay as close as possible to the coasts/borders along the way (as long as the road was paved). I used to do 400 miles per day in that car while working, and I can tell you that it was never uncomfortable. It got 50mpg and had a 700+ mile range. The perfect way to see the country on a budget.
    <img src="http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s141/K5ING/Golf_at_374K_miles/th_0805190002.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket" >

    1. CaptainZeroCool Avatar

      You are the guy with the 400K mile TDI? Awesome!

      1. K5ING Avatar

        Yeppers, that's me Thanks for the kudos. That car is like the energizer bunny. It just keeps going and going and going.

    2. smokyburnout Avatar

      "Maybe even a "weekender" version of a Sprinter or something similar.
      Mercedes Sprinter James Cook by Westfalia FTW.
      [youtube UKg0mXu0EjAhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKg0mXu0EjA youtube]

      1. smokyburnout Avatar

        Let's try again.
        [youtube UKg0mXu0EjAhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKg0mXu0EjA youtube]

        1. K5ING Avatar

          That Sprinter is to "RV" for what I had in mind. I'm thinking of something between a Limo and and an RV. Open floorplan, large comfortable recliner type chairs, entertainment center including a second, dedicated 14" LCD screen showing GPS location to the passengers. Large clear windows for sightseeing. Not really intended to be slept in overnight (no beds). Maybe a refrigerator, small counter and cabinets, microwave for snacks (no stove), onboard bathroom would be nice. Just something for cross country travel that you and the family could get up and walk around inside and maybe take a nap if you wanted to.

    3. ladle666 Avatar

      if you haven't already…… i would like to suggest making it a GTDi……. those suspension parts aren't too hard to come by (or too expensive) and they make a big difference in handling w/out losing ride quality!

      1. K5ING Avatar

        I don't know about making it a GTDi (I'm dirt poor), but I redid the suspension last year and put Koni Reds on it along with new bushings, links, LCR bushings, etc. . I used all Audi TT parts when possible (same chassis as the Golf). It handles really good.

  2. Feds_II Avatar

    I've done Vancouver -> SanFran -> Vegas -> Denver -> Toronto in a Protege5, which was a just-about-perfect combination of comfort, space, grip, and fuel mileage. I wouldn't have wanted to be in anything worse-handling on the coast or in the mountains, and I wouldn't have wanted to be in anything slower across Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, and Iowa.
    The next one is this (though, I'll be doing ferry trips up the coast to get to Juneau, then Whitehorse):
    And the ride of choice will be this:

  3. Al Navarro Avatar
    Al Navarro

    I've said this about my new to me e60…I'd be comfortable and confident driving it 100 miles an hour for 100 hours. But I am also considering going the hairshirt masochist route and driving my soon to be new to me 1961 Lotus Seven Series 2 home from Denver sometime in August. Who cares if it'll be mostly via Interstates to save time/mileage…it will be an adventure no matter what.

    1. dculberson Avatar

      "new to me 1961 Lotus Seven Series 2"
      Ahhhhhhhh yes, and balance is restored to the universe. 😉
      A road trip from Denver to NJ in any se7en would be amazing. In a '61 Series 2? Jaw dropping. Hope you have a very compact but complete tool kit! (And yes, I'm very jealous. Need a mechanic to ride along?)

  4. MarionCobretti Avatar

    I might be willing to take a 2CV on a cross-county drive. Cross-country? I think I'd want something a little easier to obtain parts for if it broke down in the middle of Montana. I don't think NAPA has a very good supply of Citroen bits. I do like the idea of taking things slow, but I'd also want something that allowed for open air motoring, and something very American. The ability to venture way off the beaten track would be nice, too. That leads me to the Jeep Wrangler.

  5. Black Steelies Avatar

    For the highways and byways nothin' beats a cadillac.
    It'd be a touch choice between an open-air convertible or the fleetwood limo for sheer comfort and class. Either car being mid-sixties models.
    This is all assuming that someone else will fit the gas bill. Otherwise i'd just as soon take the journey on a BMW R60 a la Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
    <img src="http://www.wemoto.com/wem/pic/h16.jpg"&gt;

    1. dculberson Avatar

      "new to me 1961 Lotus Seven Series 2"

  6. Target29 Avatar

    Across the continent, a Lincoln Continental of course. Just watch out for grassy knolls.

  7. muthalovin Avatar

    I have done Roswell NM to Monterrey CA in a 2004 GMC Sierra extended cab with 2 bikes in back. I have done Las Cruces NM via Roswell NM to Myrtle Beach SC to pick up a motorcycle in the same Sierra. It is a nice cruiser for sure, but once the satellite radio went kafuzzz outside Dallas, shit got looooonnnngg. I would do it again, though. Only bring more compact disks to listen to. The magic of FM aint so magic in the south.
    Ride of Choice: 2002 e39 M5. Comfort, speed and enough room for a few friends.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      width=500 next time, please.

      1. Tanshanomi Avatar

        Yea, sorry about that. I actually spent the whole 15 minute window trying to edit my original post, and my edit submission kept timing out.

  8. joshuman Avatar

    Our current XC90 with a Thule box is plenty big enough and comfortable enough to haul our family of five and associated gear as far as we care to wander. I put seat comfort first on the list of requirements when undertaking a long journey. Performance is a close second. It is really enjoyable for me to safely tuck in with a group of five cars exceeding 100 MPH through New Mexico or Utah. Driving a moving truck is torture.
    I have always wanted to have a Seven or other old convertible that I drive for a year straight top down and no matter the weather. While not exactly a cross-country journey, it would be a interesting experience. There would have to be some ground rules though. On trips with the kids, I would have to take a different car for safety reasons. I live near Seattle so perhaps I might volunteer to be the preschool carpool dad for the winter.

  9. engineerd Avatar

    I've thought about this a lot. I'd love to do a Detroit to LA trip with Mrs. engineerd, even though she is less thrilled about road trips than getting a root canal. If we did this trip the choices are endless:
    A Sprite. Seriously. 90 hp and not much room. However, it would force us to stop and smell the roses…and re-jet the carb for Colorado.
    My Mustang. Still, not a lot of room, but it rides decently and I'd love to put her into some twisties. I don't get that opportunity in Michigan.
    However, if someone came up to me and said, "engineerd, I'll give you any vehicle you want to make a road trip. Cost is no issue. Fuel will be paid for. You just drive and enjoy this country." I would have to respond with the Unicat.
    <img src="http://www.unicatamericas.com/images/photos/ex70/EX70HD-MANTGA6x6.2-560.jpg&quot; style="width: 500px; height: 375px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />

    1. damnelantra™[!] Avatar

      im with you on this one.

    2. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      How can you go wrong with a truck that says "MAN" on the front?

    3. ptschett Avatar

      In the early Sprites the HP is about half that much. When my dad was in the National Guard he bought a 15-year-old (at the time) Bugeye Sprite in CA at basic training, then drove it home to SD; he says he never got to use 4th gear the whole way across Wyoming.

  10. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    I have gone cross-country a few times… One summer a buddy and I took his 4-cyl Wrangler from Boston to SoCal then back. It was a TERRIBLE vehicle to make the trip in…
    Later, when I moved out to California, I made the trek in my '99 Ford Ranger, also a 4-cyl but surprisingly adequate for the task.
    If I had my choice today though… I would probably go with an Audi S8 if I had more than two people or the SLS Benz for two or less (assuming we packed light…and I had any money).

    1. tenbeers Avatar

      Neil Peart, is that you?

    2. Thrashy Avatar

      A BMW enduro seems an excellent choice… regardless of the continent you're crossing. (Caution: Do not click link unless you don't plan to be productive for at least four hours!)

  11. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    I'm with you on there being a few different versions worth doing.
    I'd do it in my Jeep, stopping to run some trails along the way.
    I'd do it in the '67 Country Sedan, with no need for hotels.
    My dad's old A6 2.7T would've been a perfect car for doing it quickly and competently…provided nothing broke.

    1. damnelantra™[!] Avatar

      that last bit is a tall order.
      driving the mkIII jetta from pittsburgh to los angeles resulted in torn strut towers within weeks of staying at my destination.
      god bless vag…

      1. Tim Odell Avatar
        Tim Odell

        1) Torn-through strut towers are typically the result of some serious Dukes of Hazzard shenanigans.
        2) God bless vag, indeed 😉

        1. damnelantra™[!] Avatar

          re1: no sir.

  12. Peter_Dushenski Avatar

    Since contemporary supercars mostly tend to be mid-engined and track-focused, none of them would really do for a trip like this. But there is one that goes about its business a little differently: the Merc SLS. No, it’s not attainable for any of us, but reality is for pessimists. The SLS would allow me to drive from Canada to Mexico in style, with speed, and in comfort.
    A slightly more obtuse option would be a W12 Phaeton, but I’d probably want to be in the back seat of that one.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Counterpoint: Bentley Continental GTC Speed Supersports.
      <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/04/supersportsny_02_opt.jpg&quot; >
      I could spend a week in this interior:
      <img src="http://www.cubiccapacity.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/bentley-continental-supersports_11.jpg&quot; width=500>

      1. Peter_Dushenski Avatar

        You’re a man after my own heart. The Supersports had slipped my mind, even though it was the subject of my second Tangential Treatise.

  13. MadKaw Avatar

    If it weren't for the inevitable frequent attacks of lovely British reliability, I'd love to do such a trek on an old Norton Commando. Since that's not too realistic, I do love the idea of an R1200GS with a couple of those big-ass rectangular aluminum saddlebags they often carry.
    Alternatively, give me a '65 Vista Cruiser dragging a circa 1968 or so front engine dragster for a nationwide tour of quarter-miles, and that'd keep me plenty happy. Hell, throw that Norton on the trailer with the digger, and I'd probably just decide never to go home.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      If you can find it, watch the movie One Week – it's a pretty decent movie anyhow (if saturated with Canadian-ness), but the premise is about a guy riding a Commando across the country. I'm surprised that it's not listed as a factual error on the IMDb page that it only breaks down once.

  14. Clashtastic Avatar

    X308 or X305 XJR, style, grace, speed, and comfortable, 95% of this country is straight roads, stellar cruiser and enough fun when the twisty road presents itself.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      I know the 308's more interesting, but I'd lean towards an X350, if purely for road trip potential. It's a little more efficient, and has room for your head.

  15. ptschett Avatar

    I've been thinking that when I finally replace the T-bird I'm going to take a week or two off and go wander about. From Fargo I'll head west on I-94 into Montana, and there's a possibility I end up at the Pacific Ocean and in southern CA before I turn back.
    This probably won't be the car that makes that trip, but I do like these for a long trip car, given that the trip is in winter and in the northern tiers of the states. 300 HP, 300 lb-ft, and wrong wheel drive? What could possibly go wrong!
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/vehicle-pictures/2004/cadillac/seville/98122231990612-480.jpg"/&gt;

  16. Alff Avatar

    Something like this, but unladen. You never know what gems you're going to find along the way…
    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3051/2894727796_d122aa8cab.jpg"&gt;

    1. Møbius Avatar

      That picture hurt my eyes. Not in the ugliness way, just the way-too-colourful way.

      1. Alff Avatar

        Just between us, I think that photo's been enhanced.

    2. Rockford_Brodie Avatar

      From the makers of How Green Was My Valley…How Blue Was My Cabover!

    1. BrianTheHoon Avatar

      Yes, that! It says, "Continental" right there on the badge. What else would one drive across a continent?

  17. Maymar Avatar

    I'll be going on my longest road trip yet next week (~2500kms), and will be driving a late-model Honda Civic – it's efficient, reasonably comfortable, and fairly fun to drive, so I'm pleased with it.
    But if I really had my choice, Wagon Queen Family Truckster.

  18. rovingardener Avatar

    Maserati Quattroporte GTS. Yeah, that'll do.

  19. Tomsk Avatar

    <img src="http://www.vfrclc.org/images/LahaskaFall%20%2831%29.JPG&quot; width="640" height="480" />
    Let's go! Let's live!
    Let's love every mile!
    The only way to travel…

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      I agree wholeheartedly, except that's a '39 LaSalle, not a Cadillac. Also, it's not very well centered in the photo.

  20. Møbius Avatar

    I daydream about driving an Aston Martin, preferably two doors and no roof, across France to the Riviera.
    Oh well, EasyJet and Eurostar will have to do for now.

  21. KillerZomBee Avatar

    My longest road trip – 3 months spent on the road criss-crossing the states in THIS car in '96 after the HRM Power Tour..
    San Diego, San Jose, Truckee, Santa Monica, Vegas, Grand Junction, Denver, Goodland, St Louis, Springfield, Lansing, Detroit, Norwalk, Chattanooga, Atlanta, New Orleans (heh-heh), Pensacola, Sebring, Daytona Beach, New Orleans (again, heh-heh), Huston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, SLC, Bonneville Salt Flats, Tahoe, San Fransisco and finally Hollister CA …
    I can't imagine doing the trip in anything else… As old as it seems nowadays, it was always super comfortable and floated down the road. Bonus, the seats make great beds when your young broke-ass and wife run out of hotel money.
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4017/4505708677_c26a0da904_o.jpg&quot; width="500" />
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4006/4505708715_9be1f7cb44_o.jpg&quot; width="500" />

    1. MadKaw Avatar

      Sweet. I did the Grand Junction to Denver leg of that Power Tour in the '64 El Camino I had at the time. Wish I could have done more of the tour, but that really wasn't an option as I was still in high school at the time. My dad was happy enough to let me ditch two days of school (as long as he got to come along!), but that was all he was going to allow! As I recall, the timing of route forced me to choose between the Power Tour or the senior prom…it was an easy choice!
      So many great memories from that…one of the most vivid being rolling through the Eisenhower tunnel next to a '53 Stude that had run 220+ at Bonneville (owned by the guy who ran Vintage Air). That was a sound I'll never forget! I also have vivid memories of Dave Rentsman's fuel-altered style Bantam roadster – still one of my favorite hod rods ever.

      1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

        Awesome memories! I believe that Studebaker ended up breaking most of it's valve springs as they weren't really designed for continuous duty like travel across the nation. But it sure sounded sweet! They threw in new valve springs and continued driving, IIRC.
        Dave Rentsman was a MADMAN! One morning we were all staged and had just pulled out of the hotel when Dave came screaming by doing a massive burnout all the way down the street. While that was impressive, when we finally caught up with him he was on the side of the road being scolded by a State trooper. Funniest moment of the trip! One of my favorite cars as well. He made some BIG claims with that car, and was able to back them up!
        What color was your El Camino? I may have photos of it.

  22. Black Steelies Avatar

    OK I change my answer. Or at least add this to the option list:
    <img src="http://www.autoenginelube.com/images/525_1973winnebago1.jpg"&gt;
    Gas mileage be damned. I think one of these would be damn cool if i could get it running well and clean up the interior a little.

  23. Juliet C. Avatar
    Juliet C.

    If I was traveling with my SO and two other couples…
    <img src="http://funeralcars.com/InvntryFS/CarL699/L699A.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://funeralcars.com/InvntryFS/CarL699/L699EEE.jpg"&gt;

  24. vwminispeedster Avatar

    My family (Mom, Dad, 2 sisters and myself) headed to Boston and back from Oakland in 1989 in a 1972 Citroen DS21 wagon. that worked out well and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

  25.  Avatar
  26. scroggzilla Avatar

    If it's good enough for Mr. Yates and Mr. Gurney, I'm sure it would suffice for my purposes.
    <img src="http://www.allamericanracers.com/images/cannonball_gurney-brock_ferrari.jpg"&gt;

    1. Alff Avatar

      Huh, kind of surprised to see Kirk F. White's name appear on that Daytona. All I know about him come from long-winded ads in Hemming's , typically indicatig that whatever vehicle he is selling is the best example of that model ever made.

  27. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    Cruising the back roads is the way to go and I'd take just about any convertible from the '50s-'60s. I've been lusting for an early Mustang ragtop for a long time, but anything with a droptop works. Especially if it's a Caddy or suicide-door Continental.
    Of course, if I'm in a hurry, I'd settle for just about any muscle or sports car, from any era. A Corvette, even the dreaded '80 California model, would be awesome. And I'd have just as much fun blasting across the country in a new Mustang 5.0 as I would in Bullitt's '68 390 fastback. Porsches, Ferraris, etc…I wouldn't turn them down either.
    And I'm also digging Graverobber's suggestion of a retro Triumph. I'd love to take a new Bonneville cross country. Way more reliable than the originals and, unlike a Harley, I wouldn't feel like a poseur.

  28. BGW Avatar

    My attorney has advised me to rent a very fast car with no top, drive at top speed, and check into a Vegas hotel under a phony name with intent to commit capital fraud with a head full of acid. And who am I to ignore legal advice?

    1. RedBaron89 Avatar

      Yes and while you are on such a trip you will more than likely require the following advice aswell: Few people understand the psychology of dealing with a highway traffic cop. A normal speeder will panic and immediately pull over to the side. This is wrong. It arouses contempt in the cop heart. Make the bastard chase you. He will follow. But he won't know what to make of your blinker signal that says you are about to turn right. This is to let him know you're pulling off for a proper place to talk. It will take him a moment to realize that he's about to make a 180 degree turn at speed, but you will be ready for it. Brace for the g's, and fast heel-toe work.

  29. Mechanically Inept Avatar

    I think my 924S would make a pretty sweet cross-country ride. It's powerful enough to keep you entertained, handles well, fits a lot of stuff, and theoretically gets decent MPG (or so I'm told). Also, the seats are damn comfortable, and it has a sunroof.
    Really, though, I'd be happy to drive almost anything across the USA.

  30. Chuckybas Avatar

    WHOA! I actually did the trip in the 2CV like you suggest. Now the country that I drove across was the Netherlands (Holland) but it was epic. Those roads are crazy and there was no straight line cruising for hours. All twists and tiny farm-towns. No radio, no cellphone, and no Dutch language. Adventure at it’s finest. I accidentally put it on the freeway too and I’m serious when I say it tops out at around 57 mph. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  31. Ermott Avatar

    My wife and I regularly rack up 15,000 miles a month (three weeks) cris-crossing the US and Canada in our 2006 Volvo.
    Of course it's a big Volvo. An 18wheeler type Volvo.
    Three weeks work, one week off at home, 15,000 miles on average.
    It's a living.

  32. Jasmin Gogerty Avatar

    incredible stuff thanx Such a usefule blog…wow !?!!!!!

  33. robot cuisine Avatar

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