Start/Finish: Drive Performance headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Distance: 2,960 miles round trip
Major routes to and from New Jersey:
- Wisconsin, Illinois: Interstates 94, 294, 80
- Indiana: Interstate 80
- Ohio: Interstate 80, 76
- Pennsylvania: Interstate 76 (to New Jersey), 80 (return)
- New Jersey: Interstate 80, Route 55 Freeway
Fuel consumption: 117.6 gallons
Mileage: 25.2 mpg
I haven't taken a long-distance drive in the DP WRX for a long time -- since August! Although I've taken it on short trips and it has been transported to Michigan for the Iceman Cometh Challenge 27-mile mountain bike race in Michigan in November, I haven't been very far with the car. I missed it.
Service at Sommers Subaru in Mequon, Wisconsin, included its 30,000-maintenance and the replacement of the summer performance tires with the Blizzak winter tires that we bought for the car last winter. So all I needed for this trip in January was to check air pressure, load up, and go. I had been anticipating ice and snow all winter, but we still didn't have anything major. Going to other states held greater promise for bad weather.
I left the Milwaukee area early the morning of January 12 with the goal of reaching Vineland, New Jersey by 11:00 p.m. eastern time that night. The Interstates and toll roads were clear, and I was at the registration table for the drive by 8:15.
Where routes and resting places are delineated on the 48HRS of Tristate website, there are five parts of the trip that I'd like to highlight.
Breakfast at New Jersey Motorsports Park
At breakfast, Subaru of America, Inc. Chief Marketing Officer Dean Evans presented the group a donation of $7,500.00 to The American Cancer Society -- the drive's charity. Subaru also arranged a special display of Subaru vehicles in one of the track garages.
- Subaru Road Racing Team #35 WRX STI – Andrew Aquilante was there to talk about the car
- Subaru Performance Tuning WRX STI Sedan that had been displayed at last November’s SEMA Show
- New Jersey Motorsports Park Subaru WRX pace car
- The 1986 Subaru XT Coupe featured in Summer 2011 Drive and follow-up postings on www.drive.subaru.com – its restorer Hank Reynolds was on hand to talk about the car (The XT Coupe and SVX owners in the group were especially interested.)
Escorts into the Chesapeake Bay
Our route took us to the Richmond, Virginia, area via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and Norfolk. The bridge and tunnel were the second high point of the day. Gathering at a rest area immediately north of the bridge, our 44 vehicles were met by state police officers who escorted us as a group to one of the islands before the tunnel. There we stopped, parked along the sea wall facing the bay, and took photos.
Mountain Roads and Snow (Finally!)
On the second day, we traveled into the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia, leaving behind four-lane highways for two-lane roads through the forests. We finally encountered snow, which was gorgeous on the trees and in the valleys. Finally, the snow tires paid off!
We ended the winter's drive with the group dinner in Winchester, Virginia, where we celebrated the donations that we were able to accumulate. Sponsor donations were raffled -- everything from bushings to calendars. For every $10 that we donated, we had a raffle ticket. The bottom line for the group -- the donations were heartfelt and important to all, because we've all been touched by cancer in some way.
We headed for Metuchen, New Jersey, for our final dinner. While the route from Winchester to Metuchen was fairly direct, we had one stop along the way -- Mach V Motorsports in Sterling, Virginia. Mach V owner Dan Hurwitz gave us tours of his shop and garage area.
Find out more about 48HRS of Tristate and its 11 annual treks on its website.
Notes from the Trip
Its appearance, the rumble of its exhaust, the feel of its acceleration, and the vibration of the subwoofer are a few of the parts that I've missed.
We only have three more journeys scheduled for the DP WRX, so I spent most of the travel time to and from New Jersey just enjoying how good it feels to drive. The trip had dry roads at first, but then ample amounts of heavy rain and snow. The car never winced; we kept on going and were never delayed.
Besides being fun to drive, it's trustworthy and competent. It's an all-weather vehicle with a high degree of accessible performance.
Come back for the last three trips with the car!
-- Ric Hawthorne