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Old 14th January 2011, 12:58   #1
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Default RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

After receiving an undergraduate degree from a college in Florida, I got accepted to a graduate program in San Diego, California.


I had lived in Florida for 3.5 yrs and had been sharing the car with my roommate. So I decided to buy my own car. As I was moving to California, I had two options i. buy the car once I get to California ii. buy the car in florida and drive it to Cali. Driving to cali would be 2700miles straight. It was a harsh trip if I was to go alone. But it was also an opportunity of life time (Driving from East coast to West coast in the US).Being a car enthusiast, I went with the second option. I decided on buying the car in florida and driving it all the way to California.



Now the question was; What car should I buy?
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:11   #2
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

The choices were pretty clear for me. It was either a Bmw 335i cpe or an Infinity G37 cpe. At first I also considered the Audi A5 and Merc C- Class. Audi was a FWD and that is something I hate about Audis. C was a four door and just didn’t appeal to me much. In terms of driving, nothing came close to the bimmer except for the g37 which has a naturally aspired engine as oppose to bmw’s twin turbo. Infiniti had a 3.7 l V6(the one you would find in 370Z) that produced 333hp at 7000 rpm with peak torque of 270lp-ft. On the other hand, bimmer develops 300 horsepower at 5,800 rpm with peak torque of 300 lb-ft from 1,200 to 5,000 rpm with a 7,000 rpm red line. The turbo did not have any significant lag. It kicked in at a low 1500 rpm. Not to 60 timings were very similar. Bmw takes 4.8 secs while the infiniti take 5.2 secs to touch 60mph mark on the speedometer. I also compared the braking and handling and bmw was again on top.

On paper the performance figures were quite similar. However, they felt very different when I was in the driver’s seat. Being a long time bmw fan, made my choice easier and I went for the twin turbo 335i. Moreover, bmw had a better straight line performance and I believe everyone is aware of bmw’s handling.



Usually bmws in US are electronically limited to 130mph unless you have a sports package which extends it further to 155mph (250kph).



Luckily the used 335i I bought had a premium and sports package with a navigation. Unfortunately it did not have a weather package as the previous owner lived in florida.

Sports package meant bucket seats, low ride height, sports suspension (stiff), low profile tyres, Paddle shifters and a sports steering wheel.
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:25   #3
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

I also bought a Radar Detector for the car as I knew that I won’t be able to stay under the speed limit restrictions.



Quote:
A radar detector is a device that catches the radio waves that comes out of speed measuring radars that cops use. It is legal to use in private vehicles in most of the American states. In simple words, It signals you about the upcoming cop car from a distance of ¼ to ½ miles. So you have plenty of time to slow down and adjust your speed. It saved me several speeding tickets and it basically paid for itself.
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Last edited by aah78 : 10th December 2011 at 05:04. Reason: Quote fixed.
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:27   #4
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

I pitched the idea of driving 2700 miles, cross country, to my roommate and he was onboard as soon as it came out of my mouth. It was a two door car and the plan was that I would fold the rear seats and put all of my stuff in there. But 2 of my other friends insisted on joining us for the trip. Now 2700 miles in a 2 dr car didn’t sound as much fun. I was less concerned about that situation as I was the one who would be driving the car and won’t be on the rear seat a lot. We decided, the more the merrier…
So it was Me(Mitul), my roommate and my best friend (Kushal) and Vijay and Ishan. (L to R)
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:28   #5
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

Our initial plan was to cover New Orleans, Houston, Austin, El Paso, Phoenix, San Diego, The grand canyons, Las Vegas(31st of dec), Los Angeles and back to San Diego.
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:33   #6
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

We started our trip on 21st of December and had a goal of reaching California by 26th of dec.



Day 1


We left Tampa, Florida at around 5 am and had aimed to reach New Orleans by that night(with a couple hrs stop in panama city, Florida). It was early morning and Ishan and Vijay fell asleep as soon as we hit the freeway.


We Reached New Orleans earlier than we expected as we skipped panama city and this is what we saw. The city was destroyed because of hurricane years ago.
We decided not spending the night in New Orleans and headed for Houston. We reached Houston at 10 pm and crashed at a motel. We covered 1000 miles on our first day and we were a day ahead than what we had planned.
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:38   #7
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

Day 2


We headed for Austin in the morning as we were staying a night there. On our way we saw this crazy biker who would show off his skills on the freeway, unfortunately the camera was in the trunk.


We reached Austin in 3 hrs. It’s the state capital of Texas. We visited this government building. It kind of looked like white house (It wasn’t white though).We went to the university of texas, Austin (a great campus) We went clubbing during the night and planned to head for Dallas next morning.
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:45   #8
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

Day 3
[FONT=&quot]We reached Dallas by the noon. We stopped in Dallas for Lunch and then we headed for Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. By now, we were quite off track from our initial plan. By the time we reached the caves it was 11pm. We decided that we would see the caves in the morning and then leave for Tucson, Arizona once we were done.

[/FONT] Day 4
[FONT=&quot]The caves were beautiful. You have to be there to appreciate the beauty. We spend few hours over there and then left for Tucson. There was one problem though. The car was low on gas and when we went to the nearest gas station, the maximum octane rate gas they had was 89. And Bmws are required to use ethanol based fuels with a minimum octane rating of 91. The nearest gas station was 40miles in the opposite direction from where we had to go. So we had to go back 40 miles and thankfully the car did not run out of gas. We resumed our journey after filling the tank. Reached Tucson at 8pm. Went to a local pub, full of racist hippies. They smelled but the pub was fun, a new experience (a real America).[/FONT]
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:50   #9
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

Day 5


The next morning was the 25th(Christmas). We were a day early. We headed for San Diego. We saw Mexican border from the freeway. The road after Texas was just beautiful. It Is hard to explain but you just cannot control yourself from climbing on the acceleration, especially when you have 300 horses pushing you. I went 155 on the 75 limt road. I pushed to 155 three times during the trip and the car was very comfortable getting there. The Radar detector saved me atleast 5 speeding tickets.


[FONT=&quot]On our way to San Diego, as we entered California, we passed several border security checkpoints. At the last one they asked us if we were US citizens and I replied that we were students on visa. They asked if we had passport and unfortunately, my roomie was not carrying his passport with him. They made us pull the car over. We were told to get out of the car and leave our stuff inside the car. “Keep your hands where we could see them”. They asked all our details. When I had to pee, I was accompanied by a border patrol officer to the urinal which was in a cell (like the one you see in movies). Passing by cars saw us sitting there and I could sense judgment in their eyes. After all the verifications, we were allowed to go. We were sitting outside in cold (close to 0 degree) for almost 2 hrs. It had been a hectic day.[/FONT]
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Old 14th January 2011, 13:54   #10
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

We reached San Diego and crashed after having dominos delivered to the rooms. The next couple of day we were in San Diego. We went to the “world famous” SanDiego zoo (not that great). People were crazy about Elephants and wouldn’t move away from their cages(that’s probably because they don’t see them on roads like we do).
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Old 14th January 2011, 14:00   #11
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

We also went to a navy ship which is now a museum. The Ship was used by American Navy during world war ii.
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Old 14th January 2011, 14:05   #12
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On 29th we left San Diego for Grand Canyons. It was the weirdest day of all times. It was raining heavily when we left. It was really hot when we entered the plains of Arizona. And as we moved towards the rocky mountain region, it started getting cold. As we moved further up, we saw a little bit of snow. And as we reached the hotel in Williams, Arizona, which was 50 miles from grand canyons, there was about 6-8 inches of snow. At this time we did not know that Williams is the place that would be remembered forever by all of us.


[FONT=&quot]As we checked into the hotel, we kind of knew that grand canyons was not really possible to see the next day. We were hungry and there were no place that would deliver. So me and my roomie decided to go to a pizza hut and pick up some food. On our way back we stopped at a gas station to buy some more food for the next day (incase we were stuck in snow, the next day aswell). As I was pulling the car into the gas station , the rear wheel was half a feet in the dump. We were stuck in the snow with -5 degrees and strong wind. We tried everything but nothing seemed to work. The sports package I mentioned earlier is a curse in snow. The tires were performance kind(slick). So there was no grip what so ever in the snow. After an hour of trying, cop offered us help and pulled out the bimmer with his ford explorer. God Bless Him. Then we went straight to the hotel, had dinner and crashed. When I got up at 7am, the snow was about 18 inches. The roads weren’t that bad, as the cranes had been clearing up the snow every few hours. But the parking lot of the hotel was all covered with snow.[/FONT]

Things didn’t look good at all. We were prepared to stay in for one more night. After few hours though, we could not take it anymore. We wanted to get out of that hell as soon as possible. Our main aim was to get the car to the street. The street was around 100ft from the parking lot. But with the slick tires, 100ft was like a mile. It took us 4 hrs to get the car to the street. Hurray!! Thanks to the Land cruiser owner, who had snow tires, helped flatten the surface for us. The car was really messy because of all the snow and salt they spray on roads to melt the snow.

On our way to Las vegas, we also stopped to check out the Hoover dam. It was a beautiful dam to look at. We reached las vegas on 30th and it was right on from there. We planned on staying 2 nights over there(31st and 1st), but ended up staying 4 nts (30th,31st,1st,2nd ). Las vegas was the highlight of our trip. We partied at the bank (club) in Bellagio where we got to see Jay Sean perform. We stayed at Caesars Palace and went to almost all the casinos on the strip. I would not tell you other details about Vegas. As the cliché goes.. what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

The last day
Our last stop was Los Angeles. We had no energy or excitement left for Los Angeles. But still, we went to the Beverly hills, Sunset blvd and saw celeb’s houses(or mansions) . We went to the beaches in LA. Los Angeles has one of the worst traffics ever(kinda like mumbai). Hollywood blvd was also a great strip to walk on. We reached San Diego by night, ordered pizza and watched the final day of India vs SA test.





The next morning, we checked out of the hotel and I dropped off my friend at the Airport for their flight back.

It was a trip of life time. you do not get chance to drive almost 5000 miles with your friends with all the freedom. I am glad i went on to the trip and it will be remembered forever.
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Old 14th January 2011, 14:26   #13
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

Cool road trip mate and I guess you've picked a nice car for yourself. The sunset pics are great! That snake looks kinda perky and the polar bear appears to be completely poofed out.
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Old 14th January 2011, 15:19   #14
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Default Re: RoadTrip: 4900 miles (7885 kms) Florida to CaliFornia

Not one to browse through the travelogues, but I couldn't help stopping by. Firstly, congrats on your program (UCSD? What major?), pre-worshipped BMW and the drive! I've always wanted to do an East -> West Coast drive, yet never found a willing companion for the 3,000 mile journey. Amazing pics, they bring back memories of a country I have a tremendous soft spot for. Am visiting the States in May and can't wait for the planned road trips.

One question : How did you manage with the plates? The previous owner would have taken his back, and you would only get yours in CA.
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Old 14th January 2011, 15:31   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Not one to browse through the travelogues, but I couldn't help stopping by. Firstly, congrats on your program (UCSD? What major?), pre-worshipped BMW and the drive! I've always wanted to do an East -> West Coast drive, yet never found a willing companion for the 3,000 mile journey. Amazing pics, they bring back memories of a country I have a tremendous soft spot for. Am visiting the States in May and can't wait for the planned road trips.

One question : How did you manage with the plates? The previous owner would have taken his back, and you would only get yours in CA.
Thanks
Its an Architecture program in NSAD.
The car is just awsome. I am just looking for reasons to hit the freeway. I wish you luck on ur trip to US. I think every one, who has the opportunity, should go on this cross ciountry trip.

I bought the car in November and i had to register it in florida. So basically i got new plate(florida) and now that i am in Cali, I will have to buy a new plate(california). I have heard of the process where i can pay a transfer fee so that i dont have to pay for the new plate.
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