QotW: Where do you want to travel, and with which car?

Today is Travel Day in Japan. The commemoration was started by the Tabi Pen Club of Japan, founded in 1962 to promote travel (members include inns, restaurants, and travel writers). The date was chosen because on May 16, 1689 the poet Matsuo Basho embarked on the journey that became his masterwork Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North), considered today one of Japan’s greatest pieces of literature. It’s inspired many to follow in his footsteps. In honor of that odyssey 333 years ago, describe your ultimate road trip, and the car you’d do it with.

Where do you want to travel, and with which car?

The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the one tool you can’t live without?“.

Not gonna lie, the list of tools y’all have recommended has been pretty epic. It’s a a great list for anyone who might be building a toolbox, and has given us a few ideas of what to add to our own. Let’s start with the basics. As Art said, most everything starts with a jack. Zu suggested ratcheting wrenches and a head lamp, both necessities, while j_c nominated the all-important antenna magnet thingy. David Meyer recommended a multimeter, a must-have, f31roger proved cheap replaceable tools are sometimes best, like a Harbor Freight screwdriver, and Fred Langille came up with an excellent list of items, not for a garage but for a trunk-based emergency kit.

Then there were the multi-use items that may have functions not originally intended by the manufacturer. Clif advised vise grips, always handy, while Jonathan P. found countless uses for a magnet-tipped flathead screwdriver. Or you could just be like Jim Klein with his big-ass hammer and credit card. Though not a tool per se, we feel Christoph‘s pain with his rust remover.

By far, the most common answer was the elusive 10mm socket. Scotty G. was the first, to mention it, speedie likened it to a kids’ tale, Taylor C. described a variety of obligatory variations, Joe Musashi expanded it to the standard Japanese sizes (though we’d include 14mm in there too), while Alan hilariously showed how tragic it can be to lose a high-quality Japanese Ko-ken.

The winner this week is returning champion Land Ark, who detailed the pain of having high-end Japanese tools and a life before hose clamp pliers:

I bought three sizes of Nepros (by KTC) ratchets a little over a year ago and they look amazing. I say look because I am too afraid to actually use them! Right now they are displayed in my office as works of art. One day when I bust my knuckles open using my normal tools I will break them out.

I recently bought a pair of locking hose clamp pliers and after years of just using regular pliers I must say it is life changing. From frustratingly ruining brand new tension rings or firing the across the garage to installing them with ease I don’t know why I waited so long to pick up a pair.

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

JNC Decal smash

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18 Responses to QotW: Where do you want to travel, and with which car?

  1. Jeff Koch says:

    Where do I want to travel? To Japan. The car is immaterial. (Sorry.) I’m happy to ride the trains to get where I need to go if I can just set foot in Japan. It’s been off-limits to tourists since the start of COVID in 2020, and who knows if it will be open by the time I’m ready to go at the end of this year. Man I sure hope so!

  2. Jacob Durbin says:

    This QotW couldn’t come at a better time since I told this to two separate people on two different occasions over the weekend. Maybe its a sign I need to make it happen.

    One of my bucket-list items is to drive my AE86 across the country (from Kentucky to California), and then take the Pacific Coast Highway 1 from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Or start North and go South.

    • Ben Hsu says:

      Speaking as a Californian, north to south is better. Since you’ll be driving on the right side of the road, you’ll get better views of the ocean. And yes, it’s a fantastic drive. Maybe time it with a Toyotafest or JCCS and you’ll have memories to last a lifetime. Make it happen!

  3. Taylor C. says:

    A bucket list drive is out to Alaska, and to the farther reaches of it, like Prudhoe Bay. I’m in the Boston Metro, so this would be a pretty good drive. I know part of the drive will be boring (Great Plains), but whether I go through the States or the Canadian Provinces, it’s going to be unavoidable. Maybe by avoiding the interstates will I get a chance to check out the local sights and whatnot.

    The vehicle will be a 1997 Toyota Hiace Super Custom 4×4 with the manual transmission. I am not a big fan of the camper conversion with the high roof, as I don’t like the side profile of it. However, I would probably remove a row of seats for camping gear / bicycle / extra fuel tanks. The 4WD will be useful on the Dalton Highway, for sure.

    What lies at the destination isn’t as important as the drive itself. There’s obviously not much to check out at the end of the Dalton Highway, but I am pretty sure the journey across the continent will be spectacular.

  4. Fred Langille says:

    Actually … i already did it! About 4 years ago, this month, I surprised my wife with a trip to visit her relatives in Montreal, who had emigrated there from the Philippines. The trip had a big surprise in that we were flying up and driving back in, what Doug DeMauro termed ” … the Ugliest Car Ever Made”, a 1989 Nissan S-Cargo van. I had (secretly) been paying on it from the owner who, as it had turned out lived about 15 minutes from her family there! We flew up and at the end of our two-week visit, had the owner drive the van up and, in my wife’s family driveway, we took delivery. After posting a $500 import fee, we began our trek home to West Virginia.

    Into the hurricane.
    With a leaky sunroof on HER side (of course).
    We both had a virus (not THE virus but, the flu … caught it there).
    We were sideswiped by an 18-wheeler’s trailer … no real damage, save for a small ding on the pax door near the bottom … and a LARGE stain on the driver’s seat, if you get my drift!

    Outside of the trip, the van ran well for an unknown 30-year-old JDM that had never been stateside in its previous life. It went from Japan to New Zealand (where it was painted Red Bull Blue and, had a huge can affixed on the top. The sunroof screen had been removed to affix it there, which made closure completely difficult and, was the reason for the sunroof leaks which have been alleviated a bit (anyone got one of these screens? We DO need one).

    The trip was good, outside of the above discrepancies and, camera phones were out as we happily motored along at 55. It took 3 days but, was a decent trip. It was only AFTER we got home that both the alternator and water pump gave out and, new ones procured from Japan.

    Since then, we’ve done alot of work on it, mechanically and cosmetically, earning Top 35, Most Unusual and Best Import trophies plus, the van was a focal point during the Huntington WV rest stop for The Great Race last May where we, the Huntington Regional AACA club (I’m the Secretary) had assisted the race cars in parking and reentering the race.
    We’ve had a few smaller trips but. nothing beats the Montreal, Canada-Huntington, WV exodus!

  5. Land Ark says:

    My answer is to second Jeff. C’mon Japan, get it together and let me in!

    I’ve been planning to buy a Miata RF and as I search for the exact trim and color I want (Soul Red with white seats or with the Brembo/BBS/Recaro package) and I’ve since realized I’ll have to travel to find it. That search has turned into going from finding the best deal to finding one in the best location.
    I started to think about it when there was one in Boise, ID. The more I thought the less inconvenient it started to become and the more exciting the prospect became. I planned out my road trip to enjoy this fine country while also taking advantage of roads the car would most suited for. I planned to drive from Boise (after getting a clear wrap installed on the front end) to Salt Lake, then to Yellow Stone. After that, on to Mount Rushmore and then to visit my long lost friend in Minneapolis. After I’d head toward Milwaukee and on to Green Bay because I’ll never have the occasion to go to either place otherwise. Then over the upper part of Michigan down to Detroit and into Canada since I’ve never been. Finally I’d hit Niagara Falls and head south to my house in Virginia.
    Well, that car sold so I looked at one in Florida. That trip turned into a Gulf Coast excursion on the way to New Orleans then up through Memphis, Nashville, and Louisville before hitting the mountain roads in West Virginia and then home.
    That one has now sold too. I’m pausing until after my actual vacation to the Caymans in a few days but when I get back, it’s on!

  6. エーイダン says:

    A trip across Europe in a Toyota Hilux camper. That way I can discover part of my ancestral heritage. Though thanks to Mr. Putin, certain regions I may have (or had) family in are now crater-ridden hellscapes and not an option. Drive across the North of England, the Moors, then to the seaside…then down to Dorsetshire and Cornwall, then on to London before heading to Northern France and then into Holland. Once Europe and discovering my roots, off to Bengal, where my grandma (who just turned 89 this May 16) her father was born during the British rule over India and as a final pit stop, Dalhousie where my grandma’s uncle whom was killed in WW1 was born. Then pack up and head to find relatives from my Dad’s side of the bloodline in Quebec and New York. Yes, that means with the Hilux camper of my dreams.

  7. Ian N says:

    Where do I want to travel? Well Naturally Japan – and with which car? Well naturally, my 1969 Subaru Young SS (once the restoration is complete), back to the land of its birth, partly to meet like-minded folk, but also importantly to personally thank all those polite and helpful Japanese Subaru 360 aficionados who put themselves out to help me, when I thought there was no hope of obtaining “unobtainium”! If there was a second choice, it would be USA in the same vehicle – also to personally thank all those really hospitable Yanks (-: err sorry, fellow members of the Subaru 360 Driver’s Club of America who also provided parts – and their knowledge and camaraderie to help get my liddle beast back on the road (project is ongoing) after having owned it for 42 years.

  8. Lee L says:

    I live on the East Coast, VA specifically. I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve traveled up and down the East Coast many times.

    Even so I’ve always wanted to travel Route 1 from the North end to the South end. It’s 2,370 miles from the Canadian Border in Fort Kent Maine to Key West, FL.

    I’ve traveled vast parts of Route 1, but have never done the whole trip.

    I’d really like to do the trip twice-

    Trip 1 – With my Wife and Kids. If I had to pick a car I’d want something comfy and spacious, maybe a big cushy van like a hiace.

    Trip 2 – Solo trip. The car that got me into Japanese cars is the S130. My grandfather had one when I was a kid and I would love to make this trip in memory of him. He loved cruising around and so does my dad, and so do I. He’s from Maine so it would be great to stop into his hometown on the way an go past his childhood home and the school he went to, then enjoy the rest of the trip all the way down to the keys (where I’ve never been)

  9. Scotty G says:

    Coast to coast on back roads with my Motocompo! What could go wrong?

  10. Randy Hone says:

    I’d love to travel to Long Beach, CA, to attend Toyotafest in my 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo. I’ve owned this gem for over twenty five years now, travelled all over the Pacific Northwest, including LA, LV and most points in between, including a couple of trips to participate in past Toyotafests. I love my Two.

    • f31roger says:

      You should! I used to live in Seattle and drove down to shows in LA and SD in the 2000s.

      Now, I drive up there annually! Done in my Previa and Sienna. Toyota Fest is something I need to do too, I just need to repaint my Previa!

  11. Mike P. says:

    While my days of driving big old American cars is over, my bucket list includes driving the original Route 66 in my long-ago sold 1959 Plymouth. But I’d be just as happy doing the drive in my current driver, a Nissan Frontier…

  12. Lakdasa says:

    I would like to do a round the pearl (Sri Lanka) in my old Samurai (1998 model with coil springs). Could be two person trip as you need companionship on long drives. The Samurai would be just the vehicle for leisure driving without breaking speed limits.
    The roads would be a mixture of carpeted roads to back roads with the occasional off road drives (Devil’s Staircase and beech drives in Kalpitiya, Jaffna) through the jungles. It would be epic as I will not set foot on the highways preferring to stick to normal roads to absorb the beauty of the nature. Its a small country but am sure I will end up with more than 1000kms and take about two weeks maybe to take all that in.

  13. f31roger says:

    Just like many, I’ve been eager for Japan to open again. Fortunate to have my 12th trip right before the shutdown (Feb 2020). Been planning my return trip since!!!!

    But an idea was born out of what my Japanese friends mentioned last time I was there. I always go to participate as a person, but to have a car there would be interesting.

    I’ve always named my trips “Wandering Leopard” and they’ve mainly been rooted in just going to meet with the F31 community throughout Japan (along with Kaido racers, van owners and VIP stylists). To me, it’s always like a pilgrimage. I was thinking that I would ship my car over (as I’ve seen Animal style Drift team do a few years back) and probably tow my car to the meeting/event.

    To do this with the Project Leopard (former Project Car magazine M30) and with a lot of old skool JDM parts/companies.. I’d have to take picture of my car at those shops as well.

    Besides those big things, The small stuff is what I want to focus on. Cruising with my friends (if i could temporarily drive it), drive it around Tokyo or Hakone for scenery pictures (gotta get a Mt Fuji background picture and Fuji Speedway shot). Taking pictures of my car with my friends.

    The trip would definitely emulate my typical travel pattern in Japan. Tokyo to Tochigi, Saitama, Yokohama, Hamamatsu, Nagoya/Gifu, Osaka, Kyoto, *Shiga and Lake Biwa (Where they held many of the Kansai f31 meets in the 90s/2000s), Okayama, then to Shikoku Island (Takamatsu), Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, Kagoshima and finally Nagasaki. I’d probably either have to break that mission up into a couple of 2 week trips to Japan, definitely months apart.

    I also think this would add more history/significance to the Project Leopard itself (atleast in my eyes).

  14. Jonathan P. says:

    As a pilgrimage of sorts, I have Route 66 on my bucket list. Generic, I know. It would be a while before I got to go, due to mechanical and financial reasons. I would like to see some of the scenes, but I have to do have to some more research on which ones I feel I would really have to see. I know I won’t have time for every one of them, but a few sight-stops are pretty much required.
    To top off the trip, I plan to see Jay Leno’s garage in Burbank if it’s still there by the time I roll around.
    The car? I still have to restore it, but it’s a 1988 Chrysler Conquest TSi, a.k.a. 1988 Mitsubishi Starion.

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