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Mondial to Monterey 2015 travelogue

Discussion in 'Mondial' started by TheMac, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
    451
    Alberta
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    Jon Mac
    #1 TheMac, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I figured I would do a thread here to travel blog my road trip to Monterey from Calgary in my '88 3.2 Mondial Cabriolet. Day 1 was yesterday, August 8th. Left Calgary at about 9:30am, headed for Helena, MT.

    Unlike my previous trip to Monterey in the Mondial in 2012, which included a lot of visits to national parks and monuments along the way, this trip would be much more direct. From Calgary, I'm heading south on Alberta highway #2, to Lethbridge, to the #4 south to the U.S. border with Montana. There, I'll pick up I-15 south, and ride that down into Idaho before turning west.

    Another difference was that that trip was solo. Not this time. My dad, who is a way bigger Pebble Beach guy than I am, and my mom, who could not care less about Pebble Beach, are also driving down in their 2013 Dodge Journey. I offered to drive down in the Mondial as their support vehicle. :)

    Actually, my dad has a vintage 1970 Ferrari that I begged, pleaded, cajoled, threatened, and ultimately tortured him to try to get him to drive down for the FCA meet/ Pebble Beach events this year. When I waterboarded him and he still refused to drive down in his car with me in mine, I gave up and accepted that he'd drive down in the... whatever a Dodge Journey is.

    Anyway, little to report on the first day. My intended destination was Helena, but we arrived there just after 4pm and everybody thought it was a good idea to go another hour or so to end up in Butte. Total distance on the day was 460 miles. All freeway driving, pretty easy. The car performed flawlessly.
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  3. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
    451
    Alberta
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    Jon Mac
    #2 TheMac, Aug 9, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Day 2: Left Butte, MT at about 8:30am headed south on I-15. I wanted to do a bit of sight-seeing on the way down, do a leisurely drive. Calgary to Monterey is actually a do-able drive in two days, but to do that would require nothing but driving for about 10-11 hours each day. I know; because I've done it! While I don't find the Mondial a fatiguing car to drive, two long days of freeway driving still isn't my idea of a relaxing vacation, so this trip is taking four days to get there.

    I find I-15 to be a really scenic interstate. The plan on day 2 was to drive south from Montana into Idaho, then turn west on state road 22. I wanted to get off the interstate there to visit Craters of the Moon National Monument. We hit Craters of the Moon at about 1:30pm and spent two and a half hours driving the 7 mile loop, stopping to take short walks/hikes and take pictures. The place is just spectacular. There are vast, nearly endless lava fields of black, basalt rock. The landscape is crazy with twisted rock formations, lava tubes, cinder cones, and caves. "Pretty" might not be the right word, but "striking" certainly is.
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  4. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
    451
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    Jon Mac
    Damn, I never realize just how dirty my car has gotten until I look at my pictures of it!

    I wanted to include a note about how the car is performing. I know some other owners worry about how many miles they're putting on their cars, or wonder about how reliable the car is on long drives. I've put about 18K miles on my car in six years of ownership (and I'm actually disappointed that number is not higher. If you exclude the 4K miles in one trip in 2012, I'm really not driving this thing as much as I want to!).

    Two years ago, I had my water pump rebuilt. Less than 500 miles later, the water pump failed. Instead of sending it for another rebuild, I bought a new one. The old water pump was the solid vane type. The new water pump, which I put in this past winter, has perforated vanes. My car never really had water temp issues with the old pump (except the one time I had a coolant leak and lost most of the coolant in the system). Generally speaking, my water temp gauge has always read just below dead center of the operating range. On rare occasions of hard driving and/or particularly high ambient temperatures, the gauge would read a bit higher than the middle slash. It has never read higher than the operating range (except, again, once when due to a leak I ran very low on coolant).

    But now? With the new pump and the coolant flush, I can barely get the gauge to read as high as the low end of the operating range (what I think would be 170). I only put the new pump in this past winter (or spring...), but I've driven it as hard as I realistically feel like I can or should, and in fairly hot weather (make your Canada jokes now). One of the shake down runs for the car before this trip was a 300 mile trip to the Alberta badlands on a 90+ degree fahrenheit day. The coolant just does not get hot. I have yet to see the 195 mark on the water temp gauge.

    Today, I got stuck going uphill behind a line of traffic behind a fifth-wheel on an undivided highway. I dropped down not to fourth, but to third gear, and laid the throttle wide open. I actually left it in third the entire time, passing maybe 7 vehicles (note, this was not a terribly unsafe maneuver, given that the oncoming road was deserted and visibility was something like 7 miles). So by my count, the engine was running at 6K revs uninterrupted for at least 60 seconds. Still, the water temp did not budge. It still did not rise higher than the 170 degree mark on the gauge. Even the oil stayed cool. My oil temp gauge has not reached the 210 degree mark at any point since my water pump change and the oil change this year.

    I only mention these numbers because in previous years of operation, my temp indications from the water temp and oil temp gauges (respectively) have exceeded the numbers I'm now seeing. I know some guys might think that the gauges aren't reliable or valid, but they're the same gauges that indicated greater temperature variation than they're showing this year. Today, the ambient temp was 88F when I was driving the car hard. The drive around Craters of the Moon was slow, like stop and go traffic, where you sometimes expect the water temp to rise because of the lack of airflow over the rad. The water temp still just didn't budge. I haven't had my fans kick in once since I changed my water pump (except once during the procedure, where I intentionally heated the coolant up to make sure that the thermo-switch was working. So the fans kicked on once in my garage, and not since).

    So far, I've driven the car 800 miles on this trip. Cruising at 70 or 80 (3Kor 3500 revs in 5th). Everytime I drive this car it puts a smile on my face. Even after a six or seven hour day of driving, I keep coming back to how much fun this car is to drive. Not to jinx the rest of my trip, but so far, it's been running beautifully.
     
  5. PV Dirk

    PV Dirk F1 Veteran

    Jul 26, 2009
    5,401
    Ahwatukee, AZ
    Excellent stuff.

    My car has generally run cool as well. It only gets to 195 when sitting in traffic and the fans keep it there.

    Keep it coming.
     
  6. dfranzen

    dfranzen Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Aug 31, 2013
    1,530
    Jacksonville , FL
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    Don Franzen
    AWESOME!

    A real driving car!
     
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  8. ronfrohock

    ronfrohock F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Aug 16, 2004
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    Ron Frohock
    Keep the reports coming! Good for you!
    Ron
     
  9. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
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    Jon Mac
    Day 3: Today's drive was from Twin Falls, Idaho (really nice town!) to Reno, NV. That was a lot of desert, and a lot of elevation change. I actually did see some temps on the water and oil temp gauges, but still nothing to the right of the middle slashes. Today was 460 miles, for a total of 1260 so far this trip or so. Today was definitely hotter than the previous two days, and climbing some grades gave the engine a workout. Oil temp probably got as high as 200, coolant maybe 185 or something like that. While driving up the hills, the oil temp rises, but the coolant stays at 170. Then, if I stop in a town or at a rest stop, the oil temp drops to 180 and the coolant temp rises a bit.

    Short(ish?) drive to the Monterey Bay area tomorrow, like 350 miles or so. Should be some scenic driving, I'll go south from Reno through Carson City and past the south end of Lake Tahoe.

    I actually loved the scenery on I-80 today, mountains and scrub desert. No pictures today, though; I forgot to take the memory card out of the computer last night and put it back in the camera!
     
  10. Bell Bloke

    Bell Bloke Formula 3

    Dec 6, 2012
    1,839
    UK
    Dramatic landscape and slightly scary remote to a crowded European
    .
    Car sounds like it's running well, temps good.
    Regards Bell
     
  11. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
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    Jon Mac
    #9 TheMac, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Day 4: Safely down for the day in San Francisco. I abandoned my parents en route to Monterey. Tomorrow morning, I'll pick my wife up at the San Francisco airport. We'll drive out to Sonoma and tour around for the day, then catch up with my parents in Monterey in the evening.

    I drove south from Reno and picked up US 50 west toward Sacramento. 50 takes you through the mountain pass above Lake Tahoe, which was a lovely winding drive. It would have been more fun with less traffic, but it was still a good drive even with quite a few cars in front. I'd never been to Lake Tahoe and I can see why it's such a popular destination. It's a bit of a tourist trap, but it's absolutely huge, so there's really something for every taste somewhere around the place.

    Going up the mountain was pretty much entirely in 4th and 3rd gear. Coming down the mountain pass on 50 was a 6K foot drop over the span of 40 or 50 miles.
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  13. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
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    Jon Mac
    #10 TheMac, Aug 11, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  14. ronfrohock

    ronfrohock F1 Rookie
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    Very cool idea.
     
  15. Leighton360

    Leighton360 Karting

    Mar 31, 2014
    212
    South Wales UK
    I did this route in 1981 when i was young free and single , It was absolutely stunning .
    Have been planning to go back for quite a while and seeing this post has stirred up my interest again .. very jealous !!!
    Hope the trip goes well and without any issues ...
     
  16. BillP00

    BillP00 Formula 3
    Owner

    Apr 23, 2007
    1,904
    Northern VA
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    Bill
    Jon,

    Really enjoy reading about your journey in the Mondial. Look forward to hearing more and seeing more pics!

    BTW, I like your brother-in-law's gift. Can you share any details about that? (Where to get it, how much, etc.)?

    Have a safe trip and I hope you have a great time in Monterey!

    Bill P.
     
  17. hank sound

    hank sound F1 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2004
    5,786
    Burbank, CA
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    Hank Garfield
    Hi Bill,

    That's the Shift Gate Lock" made by Hill Engineering and sold by Daniel @ RICAMBI.

    Look at the "Slick Shift" as well.

    Cheers,

    Hank
     
  18. piratepress

    piratepress Formula Junior

    May 18, 2009
    641
    Mississippi
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    Chip A.
    I love these road-trip stories, particularly about older Ferraris. I really enjoy the pictures and details of these cars being exercised. It's good to see positive articles that show that all Ferraris are not garage bunnies.
     
  19. Journiacois

    Journiacois Karting

    Dec 28, 2013
    232
    Dordogne, France
    Full Name:
    Gerald
    I'm enjoying being along on your ride vicariously. What a beautiful trip it must have been through the Rockies. I drove across the Alps and through italy last fall and echo that our mondis are wonderful long distance road cars and with power for the mountains. I never felt the slightest bit of fatigue even on one long 700 mile day. The hardest part was the constant shifting of gears as you hit switchbacks given our very exacting, some would say notchy, gearbox.

    I always wondered if the "slick shift gate" that Hank mentions would be a good thing. Not so much for trying to achieve fast 0 to 60 mph times, but when you have to do a lot of up and down shifts based upon road conditions. I guess I have worried that it would result in some increased wear in the gear box. Anyone out there with experience with that?

    I've also been noting your comments about the cooling system being quite effective. I recently had my radiator recored and added a 2nd fan to my 85 QV. Even in the 100 degree heat of this summer, it has barely budged over the 170 line. Last year, it would pass the midline and in traffic approach the danger zone. So having our cooling system in shape really ensures no problems. (I guess that's true for everything but this is a clear example).

    Lastly, I do have the shift gate lock (mine was from Superformance) you have been given and use it regularly when I'm out and about and stop for a while where I walk away or overnight. It is quick and easy to use and stores neatly in the very small flip up compartment on the console that I guess was originally to hold cassettes. It does give a measure of protection for a casual attempt at theft though I'm not sure that a good prybar might not be able to take off the shift gate with it included, depending on how determined the thief might be. But especially with a cab, I would think it would be a very handy thing to have as an initial deterrent. Mine's a coupe so windows and doors and hard top makes it a bit more challenging to get at the car.

    And tomorrow, you drive down along the coast highway to Monteray in a Mondi convertible with your honey in the passenger seat. Now that is living life at its best.

    Bon voyage and thanks for sharing it with us.
    Gerald
     
  20. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
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    Jon Mac
    #17 TheMac, Aug 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Day 5: We are in Monterey, at a rented house in Del Rey Oaks. Very nice place, quite near to Laguna Seca raceway.

    I picked my wife up at SFO at 9:30 and we drove through San Francisco, across the Golden Gate bridge, and up to Sonoma. We toured around a bit before settling on a place for lunch (the Girl and the Fig). We had a nice lunch with some local cheeses and fruits, and the server even picked a ripe fig off one of the fig trees on the patio and we ate that too. We walked around the plaza in Sonoma and visited the shoppes. We did a bit of wine tasting and only ended up buying three bottles (I'm sure we'd have gone a lot more overboard if there were no borders and/or duties to pay. We can bring back two bottles of wine each to Canada from the U.S. duty-free). We also stopped at the tasting room of an olive press and sampled the local olive oils (the photo in this post is from the Olive Press). Ring up three bottles of that, too. Sampling wine and olive oil, touring around the wine country valley and hills in the Mondial. It seems as though this car was absolutely made for this kind of driving.

    Traffic was not great on the 101, but we made it to Monterey in one piece and in time for dinner. Now that we're here, it's kind of non-stop car events. I will try not to get carried away (the wife is not as big into the car stuff as I am, and I don't want her to get completely bored!), but we are signed up to attend many events for the week. I try not to take a lot of photographs when I'm at the Monterey week. When I was younger, I used to try to photograph everything to the point of becoming a bit obsessive about it. I eventually realized that while I had taken some good pictures, I hadn't actually really enjoyed and appreciated seeing the cars. Now I try to be a bit more mellow and savour the experience. I'll take a few photos, and try to keep the obsessive impulses in check.
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  21. RichardAguinsky

    RichardAguinsky Formula Junior

    Nov 12, 2007
    477
    Palo Alto, Californi
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    Richard Aguinsky
    Great trip story!!!!

    Craters of the Moon is awesome! We stopped there on the way to Yellowstone with our motorhome.

    How is your left hip doing after all those miles? The longest drive I did on the Mondi was 3 hours one way, 3 hours back. I couldn't figure out how to keep blood circulating through my left leg on the way back. Old bones, I guess.

    To keep my mind off the pain, I started wondering if there are any Mondi's used as taxis, being driven 10 hours per day in a busy city. How would the taxi driver manage the cramps.
     
  22. Journiacois

    Journiacois Karting

    Dec 28, 2013
    232
    Dordogne, France
    Full Name:
    Gerald
    I take my billfold out of my left rear pocket. Problem solved. Now, if you carry yours on the right hand side...?
     
  23. BillP00

    BillP00 Formula 3
    Owner

    Apr 23, 2007
    1,904
    Northern VA
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    Bill
    Thanks for the info Hank! I'm going to place an order for one.

    ...Sorry for the thread hijack! Let's go back to Monterey! :)

    Bill P.
     
  24. rob

    rob F1 Rookie

    May 22, 2002
    3,686
    Vt
    Great thread Jon. I've got Montery on my bucket list. Looking forward to your pictures.
     
  25. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
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    Alberta
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    Jon Mac
    Hi Richard,

    My hips both feel as good as they normally do after my driving days on this trip. I do move my left leg around a bit while I'm on the freeway, sometimes with my foot flat on the floor in front of me, sometimes I cross my left leg behind my right. I've been stopping regularly and stretching a bit on the drive, too. I haven't been just bombing along for three or four hours straight, which I think might make my hips and maybe my knees stiff.
     
  26. hank sound

    hank sound F1 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2004
    5,786
    Burbank, CA
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    Hank Garfield
    Any trip, vacation, journey - - call it what you will ............ starts with the instant you blurt out: "let's do this!". Well, we know that getting to the destination isn't the only important thing. "Doing this" means - - the excitement of preparation, the thrill of starting out, and dealing with those early moments in our trip, when we're aware of every noise our car makes.

    And we have prepped properly, so all is well. As the miles accrue, enjoy all the stops along the way, the many awesome visual moments between the stops. Actually, the whole mile after mile experience, is what makes a trip like yours, so special. Stopping to stretch, is also an opportunity to observe your surroundings, breath in some non-city air .......... and feel thankful for the fact that you're only just a bit stiff, as opposed to laying in a hospital bed. So, yeah - - do enjoy every moment !!!

    Cheers (be safe), and more pictures, please, :):)

    Hank
     
  27. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

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    Jon Mac
    #24 TheMac, Aug 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Day 6: Today did not start off well. I have bad news for the Mondial community. I'm fine and my car is fine, not to panic anyone there. This morning we headed down to 17 mile drive to pick up our Pebble Beach tickets at RetroAuto (books and memorabilia). On the way there, we hit some traffic. Monterey week is notorious for bad traffic. This place is not designed for huge volumes of cars and people, and the traffic jams into and out of Pebble Beach are especially bad. But this is only Thursday, and already there was a long line of traffic on the highway toward Pebble. As we crept along, I suddenly saw what the problem was. An accident. But not any old accident. The fire trucks had traffic down to one lane, alternating directions. A red Mondial Cabriolet was at the side of the road. It had suffered a right front end collision of some sort. No injuries, I think (thankfully, I know that's the important thing), but my heart just sank for the poor owner as we drove by. I tried to both see what I could see, and still not to rubber-neck too badly? I don't know if he hit a tree or another vehicle. I could not have felt worse for him. I don't know if he's an F-chatter or not. I think he had Washington state plates, and I'm quite sure it was a red '83 cabrio.

    I've seen the thread (as I know we all have) with pictures of accident-damaged Mondials, but this was my first time seeing one in the metal. I still feel just terrible for the owner and I wish there was something I could do to help him out in some way. From my limited vantage point and zero experience estimating auto accidents, it looked bad enough that it will likely need a new front clip. I hope I'm wrong about that. Actually, I hope I hallucinated the whole thing.

    I tried to buck up as best I could and head on to RetroAuto. There was a good amount of literature, art, and just funky exotic auto stuff. I've included a couple of photos for you Mondial folk to covet for your man caves. I think the F1 exhaust speakers were cool, but I could pass on them if I had to. However, I did tell my wife that we will need to find some room for the Ferrari fridge.

    After RetroAuto, we just drove 17 mile drive, had some lunch, and looked out at Monterey Bay at some scenic spots. We saw seals, sea otters, sea lions, and even whales. I dropped the wife back at the rental house and went down to the RM auction preview. There was some spectacular stuff there. I meant to get to Russo & Steele's preview, too, but just ran out of time by spending the afternoon at RM. I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I loved the the Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint, and the Ghia Supersonic Jag XK-120 (both pictured). The Fiat 8V was stunning, too (I'd never seen a Vignale-bodied one before). There were a lot of multi-million dollar cars, and yeah, they're nice, but I just like what I like. Okay, yes, I would like the Lambo 350GT, and or the Maserati 3500GT Cabriolet, too. I console myself by telling myself that if I had stuff like that, it would probably be too valuable to really be able to drive much.
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  28. TheMac

    TheMac Formula Junior

    Sep 5, 2009
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    Jon Mac
    #25 TheMac, Aug 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017

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