QotW: What was your most eventful winter holiday trip?

Datsun 510 wagon snow

The temps are dropping, we are nearly halfway into December and it’s time to start making treks or planning them. Do you take a plane, train, or automobile? Well, depending on your luck with venturing out into the cold and slippery, you might just call it a year!

My own experience years ago had me driving my 1988 Mazda 323 GTX over Snoqualmie Pass as I moved from my home in Redmond to my University in Ellensburg, Washington. The 323 was loaded to the hatch with everything I needed for college life. The weather was a white wall of snow at 10:00 PM and the 4 lanes of traffic kinda sauntered into two as all cars danced with every manner of bad drivers, deserted cars on the sides of the road and 18-wheelers plowing through with taillights as the only guide. It was unnerving even with 4WD. The car made it, barely, but even at slow speeds I was exhausted as I pulled into my new city limits. How about you? Tell us:

What was your most eventful winter holiday trip?

As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize.  Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Which JNC can you live without hearing about again?

SM80715_Nissan Skyline C10 hakosuka

Last week’s QotW stirred up some controversy but we wanted to have a gauge at what we can adjust to make JNC even better without hammering you over the head like Ben does to us with Cressy wagon talk. But really, the best answer was Randy‘s:

Y’know, I’d say: “None of ’em.”

I wouldn’t go crazy about the unobtainium, and actually prefer the “normal” cars of the various periods. In disagreement with BlitzPig, I wouldn’t mind seeing – or having – an F10, or original Tercel, and those that have survived should get some attention.

Of course I prefer the preserved, original, but sometimes that’s not in the cards, and saving them requires modifying them, so I can appreciate those, too.

Realistically, as the numbers of ALL these vehicles declines, most of us only get to see them on sites like this, and that’s as close as we’re going to get to having “THAT” car/truck, or getting one “like the one I used to have, when I was stupid enough to let it go.”

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

Photo (510): The interwebs. If anyone knows the source, please let us know.

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5 Responses to QotW: What was your most eventful winter holiday trip?

  1. Taylor says:

    I don’t really have any significant winter trips planned for my Z31 outside of commuting to work and back in it. Although, I do plan on taking it from NorCal down to LA in February for a Doctor Who convention. And, while I’ve nearly racked up 6000 miles in commuting since July, this will be the first long haul trip for me in it.

  2. CLShifter says:

    That would have to be Christmas 2001. I drove my ’88 200SX SE V6 from my home in Raleigh, NC to my parents’ home near Buffalo, NY. Arrived on 12/23 to see green grass, no snow at all. I planned on leaving to head back south on 12/27. On the night of 12/26 it started to snow. By the afternoon of the 27th 3.5 feet had fallen, and my trip was officially postponed. On the 28th another 3.5 feet fell for a grand total of 7 feet in 2 days. I still have a picture of a wedge-shaped snowdrift with my S12 under it, all you could see were the side mirrors sticking out.

    I ended up leaving on the 29th. My VG30E-powered, RWD, all-season-tire-equipped S12 wagged its tail down I-90 all the way to Erie, PA. I didn’t start to get consistent traction until after I had made the turn south along I-79 towards Pittsburgh. So much ass-wagging. It was glorious.

  3. juppe says:

    Christmas 2009. I drove in my ’97 Civic Coupe (EJ6) from my home in the Netherlands to visit a friend in Belgrade, Serbia. I spent one night at a friends house in Bratislava, Slovakia, and drove on the next day. But as I was entering Hungary it started snowing, first light but it became more and more. So pace was slow, and I wouldn’t be in Belgrade before sunset. In the dark, it became increasingly difficult to drive on but luckily the big lorries where still driving on. So I found out it was possible to follow them. They where going at around 100kmh (60mph), which was kind of scary at first but it turned out I could follow them perfectly in their trails. So I did about 400kmh that way through lots of snow, but made it perfectly safe in the end.
    And the next day I woke up in a beautiful white Belgrade. That week we made a wonderful tour around the country and did some urban snowboarding in the middle of Belgrade. And we drove some rounds around the Slavija Square, as a courtesy to the Belgrade Phantom (for anyone who knows the movie)
    This was definitely my most eventful winter trip ever, and one of the best holidays I ever had!

  4. blue72 says:

    College life, Thanksgiving break 2007. I had just put a new head gasket on the L24E that came in my recently purchased 240Z (which hadn’t run in many years) and decided to drive from the Phoenix area back home to Southern Utah for the holiday. That’s roughly 450 miles each way. Before leaving I double checked all the fluid levels, bought a spare fan belt, a fire extinguisher, and a spare head gasket just in case. My only shakedown run came the night before I left. It wouldn’t yet pass smog inspection, so I only had a temporary registration tag that was good for 3 days. I really didn’t have any option but to spend one evening driving around the greater East Valley area for about 45 minutes and looking for leaks afterward.

    The engine and transmission performed spectacularly the whole way home. Other parts of the car, not so much. I had left in the afternoon (after work) and it started getting dark somewhere around Page. By the time I reached Kanab I knew something had failed. I didn’t appear to have any side marker lights or running lights. I pulled off to the side of the road and tried swapping a few fuses, but to no avail. Just as I was leaving Utah’s Hollywood I passed a Sheriff who was going the other way. I tried my best to ever so slightly ride the brake pedal to make it appear that I at least had functioning taillights, but he spotted me and flipped a U-turn to pull me over. I explained my situation to him, that I was on my way home, somewhere along the way the lights had gone out, and that I’d already exhausted my stock of 20 amp glass fuses. He gave me a warning, told me to keep going only as long as I used my hazard lights the whole way, and reminded me that in the state of Utah, rear bumpers were mandatory, not optional (mine was back in AZ stacked in a corner of the garage together with new brackets). So on I went. I decided to take Highway 14 which passes through part of Dixie National Forest and rises to elevations of nearly 10,000 ft instead of the slightly longer route that stayed much closer to sea level. I had left the adjustment screws on the SU carbs roughly in the same place I’d found them, and luckily enough, even at 9,500 feet it idled quite happily.

    As I wended my way through miles of tight turns, a light snow began to fall. I should point out that I had no heater on this journey because the cables weren’t connected and that I had neglected to pack any warm clothes (I was going to school in Arizona for crying out loud, all my winter stuff was back in Utah). The only thing keeping the windshield defrosted was my body heat and the tendrils of engine warmth escaping from under the hood that wouldn’t close tight. Also, the windshield wiper motor was burned out when I bought the car. To make the drive more interesting and involving for me, the headlights decided to fail at this time. There I was, with 30 miles left in my journey, driving in the freezing cold, through falling snow, wearing a suit jacket to stay warm and with socks on my hands because I hadn’t brought gloves, driving by the intermittent orange light of my flashing hazards. I must have looked quite a sight to the two cars that drove past me going the other direction that night. Oh, and did I mention yet that the fuel gauge didn’t work? Yeah, I had packed a full 2.5 gallon can with me in the car and had to drive with the window partially down to get some fresh air and clear the stinging fumes out of my eyes. When I was nearly at the summit of this particular road and less than 15 minutes from home, I looked out my driver’s side window to see some headlights in a meadow. My brain was a little confused by this because I know that there are multiple signs posted in that area warning people not to drive in the meadows. Then I saw that there were tires above those headlights. Now that wasn’t normal at all.

    I pulled off to the side of the road and left my car there idling. I ran back to the scene of the wreck to find a young couple about my age picking up belongings out of the snow where they’d been scattered when their Jeep Cherokee had rolled. They were fine, thankfully, but unfortunately, I wasn’t of much assistance. I had no way to try and pull their Jeep back onto its wheels again and had only one other seat in my electrically begremlined car. The Cherokee’s driver told me he thought they hit a patch of black ice and then he lost control. I found the chances a little more than bizarre that an XJ with aggressive offroad tires would wind up rolling that night and not my little two-seat sports car shod in Falken summer shoes.

    Fortunately for all of us, a while later a man pulled up in a newer Impala and had space to fit the two of them. They packed a few things in his car and he agreed to drive them back to town and into cell phone reception range. He also let me follow behind him (he had working headlights after all). And so we all made it down the mountain safely that night. Needless to say, I made the return trip to Arizona during the day.

    I also ran out of gas on the Reservation on the way home after miscalculating some distances. Got to hitchhike my way to a gas station in Tuba City with a local guy who was nice enough to wait for me to fill my 2.5 gallon can and then drive me the 5 miles back to my car. Good times.

  5. エーイダン says:

    I will not say most eventful, but I will certainly say most beautiful. When I was about 11 or 12 years old, it was winter of either 2010 or 2011. I was with my family driving through Canada’s Riding Mountain National park.. The frost covered all the trees, turning the entire landscape into what looked like sculptures of frosted glass, the entire forest looked like an ice carving spectacle. Mum drove the car we had past a curve in the road along the mountainside and I looked to my right and saw below for just a few moments a vast expanse of trees all shrouded beautifully in the frost. I remember describing it to a teacher as ‘like I was in a colour picture inside the car, but outside life was in black and white’ I have never seen absence of colour to be so breathtaking. The only trace of colour aside from the frost-coated roadway signs was the bonnet of my Mum’s then PT-Cruiser Chrysler. That is the most beautiful moment in my childhood and I will not let those images leave my mind ever.

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