Lotus Elan

X Country with Elan

PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:07 pm

As some of you may know, I am a taker of long drives in both my Elan and Seven, Since the Seven is now in the hands of my able son as her steward, I am thinking of another long drive in my Elan as sort of the swan song of my Lotus life…sort of going out with a bang as it were.

Since I have driven from Colorado to the east coast and back, to the source and terminus of the Mississippi and back home and all along the Gulf coast to Sebring FL and home already, it seems fitting to consider something bigger. After circumnavigating England, Wales and Scotland (including the North Coast 500) and touching both Lands End and John O’Groats with my gracious LOUTS hosts, it has occurred to me that a similar tour of the United States may be in order. I have begun planning with the hope that I can get a meaningful route nailed down that will allow me to have a spring 2021 departure. While I believe that fall weather would be more congenial than that in the spring, I simply don’t have enough time to put all the arrangements in place nor for my further hope that some of you on this forum will join me for a segment of the drive or a meal or a beer along the way. If you express an interest and are somewhere near the planned route (which can certainly be adjusted if it makes sense) I will make sure you have advance notice of my arrival time and date as planned and updates as plans change.

So…here is the plan:
Starting from my home in Colorado, I will touch eight points on the map including the four furthest points in the Contiguous USA which are reachable by public road:
• Cape Flattery WA, the most Northwest point in the contiguous United States
• Madawaska, ME, the most Northeast point in the contiguous United States
• Card Sound, FL, the most Southeast point in the contiguous United States
• International Friendship Park, CA the most Southwest point in the contiguous United States
• The highest elevation town in the USA, Alma, CO at 10,578 feet above sea level
• The lowest town in the USA, Furnace Creek, CA at 190 feet below sea level
• The geographic center of the 50 States near Belle Fourche, SD
• The geographic center of the 48 contiguous States near Lebanon, KS

This will be done in a 1965 Lotus Elan S2 driven by a 76 year old driver avoiding all Interstate highways as much as possible. The combined age of the car and driver is 131 years. The distance traveled will be over 11,000 miles and will cross the geographic center two times in traversing the country…a real “Cross Country Drive.”

The purpose of the trip, in addition to the joy of exploring the country, will be to raise funds for the Roundup River Ranch, a medically-supported camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. At camp, the children can just feel incredible, no matter what illness they’re battling. The focus is on fun, not their conditions. Most importantly, they are given an experience that energizes their spirits, allowing them to simply enjoy the fun, games, and joys of childhood – all free to campers and their families.

My hope is to get contributions from as many as possible on a cents per mile basis: $.01/mile would be $110.00, and so on. Perhaps one can only contribute ¼ cent per mile, or would like to do $ .10 per mile, or even more. Any contribution would be welcome…it’s for the kids after all.

Here is a link to the proposed route: https://goo.gl/maps/rWcQ5PbL9i1iWZgp8 I welcome your thoughts.
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PostPost by: JohnCh » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:06 am

I don't think I've ever seen online directions before that have a total trip time over 200 hours. Sounds epic! When you are in WA state, the section of your route that connects State Routes 2 & 9 brings you within 12 miles of my house, so definitely keep me posted. At a minimum, I can be a resource for that area should you need anything.

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PostPost by: StressCraxx » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:22 am

Ross,

Seeing the closest you will be to us is Fernley, NV. I would be happy to drive out to meet you. We certainly hope you will be touring through northern California, anywhere near the SF Bay Area. As a former member of LOCO and now member of GGLC, we'd love to have you visit and have you out for a meal. I think we could possibly roust up some fellow Lotus owners for a group drive/meetup.

Hope your preparations go well and your travels safe and enjoyable.

Best regards,
Dan Wise
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PostPost by: The Veg » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:36 pm

Since you'll be hitting a corner a ways south of me, I see more than one opportunity to meet or drive along. I noticed too that you'll be passing through Tuscaloosa AL, which is where I grew up and spent a total of 21 years of my life. I see Tupelo too, be sure to stop in at Elvis's birthplace- the house is preserved and open for tours.
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:48 pm

Thanks for your offer, John. I will be in touch with my detailed route as the departure grows closer.

And, Dan, that is a very generous offer to meet me that far from your home. I originally wanted to go up the PCH but I did that in 2005 and once I had Furnace Creek as a touch point it sort of dictated the route east of the Sierras. I am up for route suggestions as long as I don’t have to navigate major cities or add lots of miles.I think the trip is already long enough don’t you?

Ben,lets talk when you are out here soon and figure out a plan.

In the meantime, I would like to discuss options with all. Please email me directly at lotusross at comcast dot net to keep from cluttering up this thread.
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PostPost by: Gordon Sauer » Sun Sep 06, 2020 4:09 pm

Don’t see Dallas in the cards as you’ll probably shoot up to Lebanon from Florida, before you get this way but if you get more into Texas let me know, lots of folks hear that I’m sure would meet up with you, Gordon Sauer
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PostPost by: [email protected] » Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:20 pm

Hi Ross,
A fellow ELCC member, Victor Smith, brought your post to our attention and your planned big road trip sounds really exciting, especially the part about visiting the Olympic Peninsula and Cape Flattery.

We'll pay attention to your future posts and itinerary and will hopefully be able to offer you hospitality and maybe some companion drivers while you are in Washington.

Please feel free to contact me directly.

Sincerely,
Dave Ellis, Evergreen Lotus Car Club Chairman

PS: I have two of your books about road tripping in Lotuses and really enjoyed reading them.
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PostPost by: Unibrain » Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:20 pm

What a great cause and a great trip. When you are closer to donation time please let us know.

I do have a couple suggestions for the Oregon to Death Valley leg. When you get too Corvallis, turn east on HWY 20 and head towards Bend. In Bend, head south on 97 and then at Le Pine head East on Hwy 31 towards Lakeview. There is some great central Oregon scenery along the way including some lava flows and Fort Rock. Once in Lakeview, head south on Hwy 395 along the east side of the sierras. Again great scenery, including Mono Lake, and history (the Bodie Ghost town and Manzanar Historic Site). At Lone Pine, head on Hwy 190 into Death Valley. I think this entrance to the park is much better than the route through Beatty.

When you hit southern CO, I highly suggest heading North at Durango on HWY 550 to Sliverton and Ouray. Great history along the way and some of the most spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery. The weather window on this route can be short. Warning!
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PostPost by: suehoward » Sun Sep 06, 2020 6:33 pm

Hi Ross

I especially like the charity you have chosen. I contributed previously when Lady Ann did a fund raiser. Please let me know how many miles you have driven. I wish you were driving further east on this adventure as I would have joined you in either the Elite or Elise.
Hugs for Lady Ann!

Cheers
Sue
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PostPost by: Sploder90 » Sun Sep 06, 2020 7:17 pm

Unibrain wrote:What a great cause and a great trip. When you are closer to donation time please let us know.

I do have a couple suggestions for the Oregon to Death Valley leg. When you get too Corvallis, turn east on HWY 20 and head towards Bend. In Bend, head south on 97 and then at Le Pine head East on Hwy 31 towards Lakeview. There is some great central Oregon scenery along the way including some lava flows and Fort Rock. Once in Lakeview, head south on Hwy 395 along the east side of the sierras. Again great scenery, including Mono Lake, and history (the Bodie Ghost town and Manzanar Historic Site). At Lone Pine, head on Hwy 190 into Death Valley. I think this entrance to the park is much better than the route through Beatty.

When you hit southern CO, I highly suggest heading North at Durango on HWY 550 to Sliverton and Ouray. Great history along the way and some of the most spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery. The weather window on this route can be short. Warning!


Have done a few US road trips and a national parks annual pass pays for itself even on a 6 week trip across the pond :wink:

Sierra Nevada are beautiful (& the IPA beer ain't bad either :D )
Manzanar makes you stop & think of a different time in history..


Not looked too closely at your route as yet 're Oregon to California leg but Lassen NP? Redwoods / Sequoia... The road into Kings canyon is superb but a rather long cul de sac...
think Yosemite in a convertible would be amazing... certainly worth a diversion ..just check the roads are open..exit via Tioga pass from memory should put you on course for death valley....stop at Scottys castle
Although your neck may ache from looking up in Yosemite..

Bristlecone pines..but don't take silver canyon road... Trust me

Agree the weather warning have been nearly caught out a few times and we always rent a 4x4. Often as not from Denver airport..

The area around Silverton is stunning and the Railway to Durango is worth a trip and if you fancy an adrenaline rush try Soaring https://soaringcolorado.com ( no affiliation & not cheap but a good day out :D )
I think the best hotdog I ever had was in a bar in Salida :lol:

Basically you guys have got a stunningly beautiful country with really diverse scenery... I feel privileged that I seen as much as I have.. Post covid I will be hopefully be back for more

Enjoy your trip... I think you need to get chatting to a TV production crew and really promote it (you ever read this forum Mr Leno?)
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PostPost by: bulfin » Sun Sep 06, 2020 8:19 pm

I second the Tioga pass recommendation. I went from Las Vegas to San Francisco that way in a TR-6 in May of 1975. 98 degrees in Death Valley when we left at 7am. Snow and iced roads over the pass and waterfalls surface frozen in Yellowstone. They opened the road for us and 2 other cars. Quite an adventure - at least the one lane road was paved then!

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PostPost by: SENC » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:54 pm

Sounds a great trip and a great cause, and I'll be happy to support the cause. I'm a few hours SE of your closest point in NC so maybe a bit far to join for a few miles, but who know when the time comes! Regardles, I will message you my contact information for your trip files in case you need anything while passing through NC.
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PostPost by: Ross Robbins » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:37 am

Thanks to all of you who have responded. I am delighted that I have piqued so much interest.

Sorry Gordon, Texas is one of the states that I will miss based on the X shaped path I will be taking. One of these days I will reprise my trip with Ann to Big Bend NP which was a delightful surprise when we were there on a Texas 1000 tour in our Elite years ago.

Dave Ellis and Victor Smith; I have not fully fleshed out the route up there in the PNW yet and welcome your input along with that from JohnCh. I will be getting more specific with route and dates in the coming months and will most certainly keep you appraised. Thanks for your offer of hospitality and thanks for the kind words about the books…at least you have some idea of my wanderlust :D

Jim…My plan takes me northbound from the San Diego area through Death Valley and up into Oregon. I will most certainly take your suggestions into consideration, though I do want to get to the coast by at least Lincoln City. And while I heartily agree with your suggestion of the Million Dollar Highway through Silverton and Ouray, I have done it many times and this time I will head southwest out of Durango rather than north!! Your point about weather is one of my major concerns in planning a spring trip…Springtime in the Rockies is a crapshoot for sure!

Sue H, it is nice to hear from you and I appreciate all your support for the Roundup River Ranch. Just so you know, we are doing our fifth Driving for Kids event the last weekend in September and have a donation site here if you wish to contribute once again:https://www.classy.org/campaign/driving-for-kids-2020/c278311 We have raised over $200,000 so far! I am a bit confused when you say “…I wish you were driving further east on this adventure…” as I am going as far east as I can to the tip of Maine and will cross New York twice! I will hug Lady Ann for sure.

Sploder, Thanks for the suggestions about the Redwoods, though we have done that last year on a specific trip to do exactly that…it was magical! And as I said above, the route east of the Sierras is pretty much defined. If you do come back to visit Colorado, make sure to let me know and I will join you for a drive and libations! And, if you have a TV contact, I’m all ears :lol:

Bob, I will have to put that on the next route plan, I’m afraid, and I will!

Henry, My default Google route takes me through west central North Carolina but I am all ears if you can suggest a better route that avoids I-95 at all costs! Oh, and the DC area as well! Please let me know.
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PostPost by: Sploder90 » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:51 pm

Thanks for the offer will give you a shout as / when we get back.

Have a couple of vague TV contacts from some consultancy stuff but they are this side of the pond so might not be much use.

Keep us all informed of the plans and the trip and pictures will of course be obligatory :D
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PostPost by: SENC » Mon Sep 07, 2020 1:54 pm

Ross - my temptation would be to pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway at Afton Mountain, a bit west of Richmond, VA, and drive the full 450+ miles to Cherokee, even though this takes you even further west of me. This would be the slow, relaxing, and scenic route (and next to no trucks) - phenomenal views and definite Lotus roads, though restricted (as I recall) to 50mph and below. You just have to plan your gas stops carefully as there is next to nothing on this road. From Cherokee you could begin your journey SE through the Georgia and/or SC hills towards Savannah/Jacksonville.

My second choice, if you want a more coastal tour, would be to pick up Hwy 17 just south of Manassas and stay on it as far as you want into Florida. The downside is 17 goes through every town along the way - the upside is there are lots of neat little coastal towns in NC and SC. If you're really feeling adventurous you can detour further east coming out of Norfolk and drive down the Outer Banks - including a couple nice ferry rides from Hatteras to Ocracoke and then Ocracoke to Cedar Island. From there, through Beaufort (one of my favorite little towns anywhere), Morehead City, and Swansboro before reconnecting with 17. This route brings you through Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach - would definitely try to meet for a ride and meal - or host you depending on your timeline and stops.

I would be more inclined towards the blue ridge route if coming through before Labor Day because beach tourist traffic can really slow parts of 17 - but if after Labor Day, Hwy 17 (with or without OBX detour) shouldn't be bad. There is a nice highway detouring Myrtle Beach if you can stand 30 minutes on a freeway (it isn't a crowded freeway).
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