Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rockin' It Stock!

Finally removed the Roadstersport exhaust that was on the car:

It's for sale if you're in the Cincinnati area and have $100 to spare.

The Roadstersport has decent sound, but I'm at the point in my life (and my hearing) where a stock exhaust is plenty loud enough!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Meet The Tick, or, How to Cross 4 States In A 4-Day Round Trip! - The Home Stretch!

Josh and Missy were kind enough to take me in, even though I'd made it to Knoxville a lot later than I'd planned. Josh and I woke up and got started cleaning the car up, first by cleaning the oxidation off of the valve cover (never use degreaser on aluminum! grrrr...), then by scheduling The Tick for a simple alignment at one of the local places, who were good enough to squeeze me into the schedule without an appointment.

After a good lunch at Litton's (great burgers :thumbsup: ), we went back and picked up the car, which now rode even better than before. I'm curious just how bad the alignment had been previously! Feeling a lot better, I left for the final ride home, where I arrived a little sooner than expected (for once):

...and that's how my journey ended :-)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Meet The Tick, or, How to Cross 4 States In A 4-Day Round Trip! - Day 3

While I was in town, I asked if we could give The Tick a more detailed inspection. While he was on the lift, we started to dismount the wheels to balance them out (the car had been threatening to shimmy the car apart at anything over 65mph). I'm sad to say that I discovered why: one of the tires was totally bald (with a slight gash in the center), one had a tack in it, and the other two had nearly bald inner treads:

(the 4th tire was still on its wheel on the car as we had to soak the lugnuts for several hours--I don't even want to guess how much they'd been over-torqued!)

My new tires were coming a little sooner than I'd planned on :( . I was able to order a set of Riken Raptors (I think Riken's owned by Michelin) from the local shop, but it took them almost the whole day to deliver them from their warehouse. While we were waiting, we removed the pinstripe (didn't get an "after" pic...too stressed).

Once the tires were mounted, I bid The R-Speed crew goodbye and headed for Knoxville--though I was now leaving Atlanta at the same time I'd expected to arrive in Knoxville!

Major shout outs to Taylor and R-Speed for making a bad day a lot better!

With the new tires on, the ride was smooth as a baby's butt, though it really needed an alignment so that my new tires wouldn't get eaten as badly as their predecessors had been. That would have to wait until the next day...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Meet The Tick, or, How to Cross 4 States In A 4-Day Round Trip! - Day 2

I was met at the bus terminal by Louis, who had checked out the car for me. After waiting in the dealer's office for over an hour while they futzed with the paperwork (and a new sales system that they apparently hadn't started using until the day I showed up...). I walked out to find my new car waiting for me. I didn't get a picture, but they had cleaned him up a bit for me. Once I got a shower (first since Wednesday morning), I was on my way by about Noon.

I arrived in Atlanta relatively unharmed, and was greeted at R-Speed by Taylor and Marty:

They were mounting new tires and working on Marty's car (which is awaiting a vinyl wrap):

I snapped some of the few pics I have of the new car while I waited:

While Taylor's car may look stockish, it has a few mods including Fuji Racing's (OER) IRTB setup and a set of Nakamae seats along with a Boss Frog Double Hoop Rollbar. If his car looks a little dusty, it's because of the pollen from the White Pine that leaves every car in town looking like they had been sitting outside someone's garage for a couple years. I'd never seen anything like it!

For dinner, Taylor and I met up with his friend Yuyuske, along with Peter and Ginger Brusa, and Todd Kawanna (American contributor to Road&Ster, among other things) for sushi at Ege Sushi.

Now, I've never had sushi before, and I've never really attempted to use chopsticks. It turns out that I'm not too bad at it! Sushi is actually pretty good as long as you go in with a *totally* open mind--it really will taste like nothing else you've ever had. I'm now a fan :-)

Meet The Tick, or, How to Cross 4 States In A 4-Day Round Trip! - The 12-hour Bus Trip

Now with Junior dropped off, JD dropped me off at the bus station for the upcoming 12hr ride to Ocala, FL.

It didn't start off badly...until we reached Atlanta...

For starters, Atlanta's bus station is a stone's throw away from the city jail. There's a bail bonds joint and a "house of gentlemen's entertainment" across from it on the other side--in other words, not exactly the best side of town!

We arrived late, and waited about another 30min or so for them to decide to finally take our bags off of the bus (which is silly because *everyone* on the bus had to get off...). I walked into the terminal about 10min before my connecting bus to Ocala was scheduled to leave.

Now, I've seen bus stations in Cincinnati, Columbus, Canton, Akron, and many cities in between. None of them prepared me for the absolute war zone that is the Atlanta bus station at nearly Midnight! There were people everywhere, and no one seemed to have any idea where we were supposed to go, but were all too happy to bark orders to get us out of their hair. Once I figured out where I was supposed to be, I waited for them to let us back out to catch a bus (even more silly because several people had tons of bags that they had had to lug up several ramps and were now going to have to take them back down to a bus). Once my bus was called, I was startled to see that they had overbooked the bus, leaving a full busload of people--including me--standing in front of the door wondering why they'd just shut it in our faces without saying anything. After another 30min of waiting to hear what they were going to do with us, they finally opened the door and herded us onto another bus.

Our driver was seriously on a short fuse (I'm guessing he hadn't planned on having to drive a bus to Florida). In fact, he actually pulled the bus over off of I-75 and came back to yell at everyone at about 1am because he thought that someone was playing with the little footrests that retract from the seat in front of each passenger! In addition, he got very irate with a passenger who, not having a very good understanding of English, didn't get off the bus at the right stop and had to get off and wait for the next bus to drive him back--unfortunately, that stop was in Tifton, Georgia, and the next one wasn't until we crossed into Florida!

I arrived very tired and grimey in Ocala 4 minutes early at 6:26am--apparently, our driver's rude behavior was good for something...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Meet The Tick, or, How to Cross 4 States In A 4-Day Round Trip! - Day 1

Loaded up the car, first with spare parts that were going to JD, then with my clothes, toiletries, and supplies. Unfortunately, I had a little conundrum...how do I fit all of this...

...into Junior?

Well, here's how:

My bags had to take the equivalent of the "back seat" in the Miata:

Now with the bags packed and the engine running, I took some last pictures of Junior before getting on the road:

On the way to Knoxville, I stopped off to deposit the buyer's check for Junior. When I came out, I noticed that Junior had gotten dwarfed by, of all things, a Ford Five Hundred:

It was right then that the bank teller ran out to tell me that I had nearly left my Driver's License behind...oops!

After an uneventful 4hr trip, I arrived at La Casa de JD to drop off the car:

Before heading off to catch the bus to Ocala, I got a couple pics for the road:

I'll post the rest of the trip diary over the next couple days...writing these posts takes quite some time!