Road trip #2 – Seattle and Vancouver flashback!

It’s not as if I don’t drive the cars much, but to add to the road trip content, I wanted to write up a couple of road trips I’ve done with my old cars in the past. This is certainly the longest trip I’ve done (aside from the cross-country drive in my VW Golf), at 2800 miles total door-to-door. We drove up through northern California, through Oregon, and up into Seattle to visit Kim’s family, with a side trip up to Vancouver over the weekend.

1979 sprint veloce pre-departure

1979 Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce in the hood in Emeryville, CA, near where I used to work. This is probably as far opposite as you can get from those Fantasy Junction pics with the car posed in front of a brick wall. At this point I had yet to buy an emergency pack of fuses for the glove box, which we luckily didn’t need. While already low at the back by design, for the trip the car was loaded down with our luggage, food, tools and spare parts, and two side tables in the back seat.

1979 sprint veloce at dinner

Dinner stop along the way. Rusty but Trusty picnics in style! Can’t remember what we had, but I’m pretty sure it included smoked chicken from Dittmer’s down in Mountain View, CA. After leaving the rest stop at sun down with a full stomach, I was wiggling the radar detector plug into the cigarette lighter socket when poof! A blue spark flew out, there was some fun smoke, and the car lost power. Turns out the lighter socket was not able to handle the current load for some reason, and the assembly had also fallen apart. Removed it from the circuit and the car started. Phew.

1979 sprint veloce by snowbanks

Snowbanks we encountered on the trip up… amazingly, even in these conditions the car continued to run pretty well. The only climate-related failure we had was the throttle/shankle sure-start cable snapped under the dash, which fortunately only meant cranking it on the starter a bit more.

1979 sprint veloce in covered bridge

Here’s the car driving through a covered bridge in Oregon. Unfortunately, the pics I had from Vancouver, where it probably marked its territory in front of the lobby of the very nice hotel we stayed in, did not turn out. In spite of the full load, the car handled well, rode comfortably, and just barely avoided poisoning us with some sort of exhaust leak it developed, which gave us both headaches when sitting in traffic. Proper preparation certainly saved us a lot of agony – I’d played catch-up on a lot of the deferred maintenance over the preceding months, and rebuilt the rear suspension as detailed elsewhere. Note – the only seriously expensive repair done on this car was replacing the SPICA pump, and even that was about $750.

Again, when you’re planning a road trip, don’t forget to include your old car!


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