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Help with planning a cross country voyage needed.



Hi, virtual club!

I have 18 days of vacation left on my hands, which will expire on 1 January
1997.
Our travel passports failed to arrive in time, which rules out Paris and
London for this year.

Since I have been everywhere on the East Coast (from Maine to Florida) and
get to see California on a regular basis (mom in LA and friends in Mountain
View), I have finally decided to check out the Pacific NW. Especially because
I will be buying a house this summer and before I spend the dough, I want to
make sure that I would still like to live in Philly after I get to see
Seattle (he-he-he).

By doing that I will also fulfill my old dream of crossing the country by car
from coast to coast.

My first stop will be in Chicago, where I'll see some friends and, besides
that, Scott (PDQSHIP) has promised to show his Q stable.

The route from Chicago to Seattle and back is unclear. Since we have listers
scattered pretty much all over the country, I would like to kindly ask the
inhabitants of adjacent states to advise me on the following:

1. What are the best points of interest along the way? A Mount Roshmore(sp?)
park with the heads of US presidents, carved in a rock, is an absolute *must
see* for us.

2. What are the best places to stay and eat for a couple, who cannot even
pronounce "junk food" without getting sick.

3. How adventures am I by planning such a trip on an '89 vintage Audi?
Granted, it's a bullet-proof 200 in a top notch health, which never breaks
down on me, but still???

4. Who and where are reliable Audi shops along the way, should I discover
that I was full of sh*t in 3 in 3000 mi away from home.

5. How much snow am I likely to encounter along the way? The reason I ask is
I have to choose the rubber for such a trip. I have:
a) Z-rated Dunlop SP8000 with 5.2mm sentre groove depth in the front and
4.8mm in the rear. Ain't worth sh*t in snow.
b) H-rated snow Nokia NRW with 7.4mm sentre groove depth in the front and
6.4mm in the rear. Clearly not the best choice for a prolonged asphalt
cruising.

Given the fact that this 10000mi trip will destroy either set of tyres, I
have to make a decision. I'd personally prefere to finish the Dunlops, come
back on the 2nd of January, put Nokias on and enjoy the rest of the winter on
excellent snow tyres. I was thinking about getting the new SP8000s this
coming Spring anyway (aaah, new Dunlops for the new Q-club track events -
can't wait!).

The other option would be to finish Nokias and to start the Winter on a well
worn set of snow tyres and later to start the warm season on a well worn set
of tarmac tyres. Kinda dumb.

Do you think I can get away with driving on those sleek Dunlops through
Dakotas, Utah and Montana in December?

6. Do you think some/any/all of the parks are closed for a Winter season? Can
I contact them somehow?

7. What is *a must see* in Seattle? Where a modest couple can stay, where to
eat? If at least 1/2 of what people tell me about that city turns out to be
true, I might seriously consider moving there.

8. I am thinking about borrowing my buddy's laptop for the trip. Can I
maintain a link to you, guys, from, say, the hotels along the way?

9. And finally: would anyone along the way be interested in getting together
for a cup of espresso or a martini?

Any advise is greately appreciated,
Sincerely,

Igor Kessel
i6941@aol.com