And We're Off

Sunday, 8/17

I promised the girls we could sleep in a little. We were all pretty tired from the flight and the time change and all. We check out of the hotel on time though, and head out to find some breakfast. Couldn't find the "Blue Sky Café" that was recommended, and other places seem to have a long wait. We go to Target instead and get some supplies for the trip - they have a Starbucks there so we grab a light bite. Dark clouds are rolling in and I'm getting stressed out - this is all taking too long and we have no wipers!

  By the time we get through Target, it's almost noon. We FINALLY hit the road and start heading east on I-70. The dark clouds have dissipated with no rain, and the skies clear up as we head east of Denver. That's a mixed blessing - because now it starts getting HOT out: Upper 90's.
Heeding advice from Chuck Petersen, we are careful not to push the cruising range too far. We weren't sure when the tank was full or what mileage we were getting around town - so we stop early for gas in Limon, CO. It's only been 156.6 miles. After computing the MPG we got 18.6 mpg on that first tank. OK, it was a mix of city and highway - but I was expecting better. I don't know what grade of gas the previous owner was using - these cars should get premium. Although out here premium is only 91 octane. Hmmm…
  At the truck stop in Limon a large Ford pickup towing a big trailer pulls up next to us. Turns out this is a traveling Ford "road show" for the new F-150. The trailer has 4 truck chassis on it, racked up one on top of the other. The Ford guy comes over and is fascinated by the Volvo. We talk about the car for a while, so I figure it's only polite to ask about his vehicle. Turns out his trailer is setup to show that the ford F-150 frame is stiffer than the competitors' frames. He's driving around the country doing demos of this and his next stop is St. Louis.
  After gassing up we decide to get lunch. There's a McD's and a Arby's. We decide to hit the Arby's because the McD's looks busy. Bad decision - Arby's was slow as can be, and had minimal air conditioning (if any). I was hoping we could eat quick and cool off a little, but no such luck on either goal.
It's hot - high 90's in Colorado. We cross into Kansas and it's even hotter. We learn later that the high that day was 104F. Because of the heat we have to drink a lot - and that means extra rest stops too. It's slowing us down. But the car handles the heat very well. As long as we keep moving, the temperature gauge stays out of the red.
On the next leg we go 148 miles, not stopping until we hit Oakley, KS. The gas mileage is improved - 23.9 mpg. Still, I expected better - my 1800E gets over 30mpg on the highway runs. Hmmm…
The 1800ES runs OK, but on occasion it "skips" or "misses". It seems to be an ignition issue or maybe fuel. I decide that in the interest of keeping moving, we would try a couple cans of Techron fuel injector cleaner. If it gets worse, I'll open up the box from IPD and put in wires and plugs. Although I just realized I don't have my spark plug gap tool with me…

Back on the road, and we press on to Russell, KS (home of Bob Dole!). They have a Sonic Drive-In here, but we really want to cool off - so we drive a little further into town and find an A&W! This is also a drive-in, but this one has a dining room. The girls each order the largest size A&W rootbeer available: 64 oz! Holy Cow - that's a gallon of root beer between the 2 of them! I get one a little smaller. The food is great! It's now getting dark but we need to drive some more - we only make it as far as Salina, KS, on our first day. We spend the night at a Holiday Inn Express there that was pretty reasonable. I'm disappointed in our progress, as I was hoping we could get to the Kansas City area on the first day. We'll need to do better tomorrow.


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