Cross country road trip in a D90 with four people - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old February 13th, 2014, 09:53 PM
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Cross country road trip in a D90 with four people

So as some of you may have seen, I sold my Defender recently. I am purchasing a '95 D90 in Seattle and I am going to drive it back to Richmond with three of my friends. I originally was going to just ship it, but my friends and I decided it would be pretty epic to drive it across the country, since none of us have ever done it before. It won't be comfortable, but I imagine we should have some good stories after the trip. I'm hoping it makes it further than 30 miles, since that's how far I made it in the last Defender I purchased out of state...

The trip is in the early planning stages, but I just booked our flights to Seattle on March 7th. This is our planned route, but it could change if the weather is bad. I don't want to be stranded in the middle of North Dakota during a blizzard. I've driven a few Defenders in the snow, and let's just say I would much prefer to be in a new Range Rover.

I just bought a Pelican 1660 from Jason (nathanwind) yesterday which I plan to ship out to Seattle next week with some tools and spares. The plan is to buy a trailer hitch rack when we get to Seattle which will carry the Pelican case. We will also be putting our bags (small backpacks) in the Pelican case since space is something that a D90 lacks, especially with four people in it.



We will be spending a half day in Seattle on saturday, then we will drive to Spokane that evening. I figured that would be a good first stop since its only about a 4 hour drive according to Google maps. That way we can see what additional items we may need for the trip. I picked the rest of the stops based on absolutely nothing other than just looking at Google maps driving times. The worst will be the 12+ hour drive from Billings, MT to Minneapolis, MS. The only place we plan on spending any real time is Chicago. We plan on getting there around dinner time, then spending the entire next day and night there. I'll be impressed if we haven't broken down or killed each other at that point, but we'll definitely need a break from driving.

I'd love to hear anyone else's experiences driving across country, especially a northerly route during the winter. I'm going to buy two Jerry cans, which I hope will be enough. I have no idea how far apart fuel stations are on I94. I'm hoping to be able to make it 250 miles with the stock tank and two cans.

As far as spares go, I'm not going to bring too much. I'm going to bring a spare alternator, starter, silver relays, and whatever miscellaneous sensors I have laying around. I might bring a water pump, but I wouldn't change that on the side of the road in the cold. I'm open to other suggestions as to what you guys would bring with limited space. The current owner of the D90 is taking to Lamorna Garage in Seattle to have it looked over and the fluids changed, so hopefully I won't encounter any surprises.
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  #2  
Old February 13th, 2014, 09:58 PM
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Frank Rafka
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Driving across Idaho and Montana is like driving on the moon…and it's fucking cold in Idaho and that was in a D2…

That's all I got…

edit…log every gas station on the route into a gps, 90's have small gas tanks (15 gallons) and you shouldn't pass one with getting gas.
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  #3  
Old February 13th, 2014, 09:59 PM
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Bench seat or jump seats in the back?
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  #4  
Old February 13th, 2014, 09:59 PM
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I've done that twice...you'll have a good time!
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  #5  
Old February 13th, 2014, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jafir View Post
Bench seat or jump seats in the back?
It has inward facing bench seats. They aren't the correct ones for the year as far as I know. I won't be spending much if any time in the back. I did tell my friends to just plan on wearing snow gear for most of the trip, especially in the back.

------ Follow up post added February 13th, 2014 10:04 PM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by mongosd2 View Post
edit…log every gas station on the route into a gps, 90's have small gas tanks (15 gallons) and you shouldn't pass one with getting gas.
Yeah, that's one of my concerns having never been to that part of the country. Will 25 gallons be enough fuel to make it across the plains between fuel stations?
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  #6  
Old February 13th, 2014, 10:05 PM
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Paul Kennington
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Take lots of photos on your trip!
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  #7  
Old February 13th, 2014, 10:09 PM
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Take lots of photos on your trip!
That's the purpose of this thread! We are going to bring at least one Go Pro, so we will probably make a short video as well.
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  #8  
Old February 13th, 2014, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jymmiejamz View Post
Yeah, that's one of my concerns having never been to that part of the country. Will 25 gallons be enough fuel to make it across the plains between fuel stations?
They usually clearly indicate on the signs if you aren't going to see fuel for a while. The most I've seen is on I-70 in Utah, which was about 100 miles. I think most on I-80 across Wyoming are less than 100.

Not sure about Montana.
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  #9  
Old February 13th, 2014, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JSBriggs View Post
RURR?

-Jeff
I think we should have enough space for something around the size of an iPod.
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  #10  
Old February 13th, 2014, 10:24 PM
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Matthew Greenspan
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I would go southward. Hit up Arches, Zion, Grand Canyon, Sedona and then westward where the weather will be warmer and better than north. I've driven westward in the winter from VA to Colorado and that was shitty in a DI. Can't imagine doing it farther north. If you do north I'd stop at Mount Rushmore for sure. I vaguely remember some other stuff from various moves across country, Wall Drug and the Corn Palace are the only ones that come to mind. Probably super tourist trap like. My recollections of them are from the early 90s. Other than that the only stuff that comes to mind from the north part of the country is boredom and shitty motels.
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  #11  
Old February 13th, 2014, 11:10 PM
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My 95 NAS D-90 is on fumes at the 200 mile mark.
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  #12  
Old February 13th, 2014, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jymmiejamz View Post
The trip is in the early planning stages, but I just booked our flights to Seattle on March 7th.

We will be spending a half day in Seattle on saturday, then we will drive to Spokane that evening. I figured that would be a good first stop since its only about a 4 hour drive according to Google maps. That way we can see what additional items we may need for the trip. I picked the rest of the stops based on absolutely nothing other than just looking at Google maps driving times. The worst will be the 12+ hour drive from Billings, MT to Minneapolis, MS. The only place we plan on spending any real time is Chicago. We plan on getting there around dinner time, then spending the entire next day and night there. I'll be impressed if we haven't broken down or killed each other at that point, but we'll definitely need a break from driving.

I'd love to hear anyone else's experiences driving across country, especially a northerly route during the winter. I'm going to buy two Jerry cans, which I hope will be enough. I have no idea how far apart fuel stations are on I94. I'm hoping to be able to make it 250 miles with the stock tank and two cans.

As far as spares go, I'm not going to bring too much. I'm going to bring a spare alternator, starter, silver relays, and whatever miscellaneous sensors I have laying around. I might bring a water pump, but I wouldn't change that on the side of the road in the cold. I'm open to other suggestions as to what you guys would bring with limited space. The current owner of the D90 is taking to Lamorna Garage in Seattle to have it looked over and the fluids changed, so hopefully I won't encounter any surprises.

The route you picked is as direct as you can get with summer appropriate distances. Though in winter it will have you driving before sunrise to after sunset, and March can be hit or miss on weather. I would not worry about more than a single spare fuel can, just get an early start in the morning, pace yourself, and stop before it gets late. I'd look toward the southern route for a much more enjoyable trip.

Gord'n should be able to square away the truck service, and if you need anything on the Seattle side, let me know we are less than an hour away and I am in town almost every week.

Brian
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  #13  
Old February 13th, 2014, 11:20 PM
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The Montana bit is valid on gas especially east of Billings. Yes there are a couple towns before Miles City (2 hours solid at 80 mph w good roads) with gas, but they all close at dark. It's miserably cold and few vehicles on interstate after dark willing to stop. Phone service spotty at best. Not to run you off, just plan it out, real problem in winter few from more inhabited areas understand.

That being said, be sure to stop by if go through Billings. Have a hobby shop out back with a loft for any needed repairs or place to crash.



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Roads coming back from Idaho this morning.
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  #14  
Old February 13th, 2014, 11:21 PM
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I'm from Montana and have family along a good portion of that route including Missoula, Billings, and Bismark. Send me a pm if you want.

Seems to me your driving times are a bit off. Early March I would plan on seeing several blizzards along your route. We always get some of the most violent storms in March. Seattle to Spokane I would plan 5-6 hours. Billings to Minneapolis, tough to do in one day especially in a 90. Something more like 16 hours.

Lucky for you the prevailing winds in that country blow west to east, so you should at least have a tailwind. Something important in a square box. Hopefully the crosswinds that are notorious for blowing trains over around Livingston will be quiet!

I've got plenty of cool places to stop too if your into exploring a bit want good steak or a good brew. Gas won't be an issue. It's pretty regular.
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  #15  
Old February 13th, 2014, 11:28 PM
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If I were doing this drive (and I did the part between Seattle and Texas), I would do it like this:

Seattle -> Enterprise, OR -> McCall, ID -> Boise, ID -> back roads to... -> Salt Lake City -> Moab -> Telluride via Hwy 46 -> Silverton -> Durango -> Pagosa -> a bunch of boring shit -> Virginia
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  #16  
Old February 13th, 2014, 11:31 PM
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x2 Especially this time of year.
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  #17  
Old February 13th, 2014, 11:59 PM
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Bob Vogler
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I agree with the comments about seeking a more southerly route that time of the year.

I drive from Seattle to Wisconsin every year in late April to hunt wild turkeys with relatives, but not with the Defender--I'd like a reasonable chance of actually getting there and back. I'll often encounter severe snowy weather on the trip, even if I go south via Salt Lake City and across I70. I would definitely have second thoughts about going across Montana and N. Dakota in early March.
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  #18  
Old February 14th, 2014, 12:05 AM
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John Putnins and I did Montana to DC straight through in January in a 300tdi 110 on mismatched 35s. We followed an ice storm most of the way which complicated things. For instance, the snorkel would become encased in ice every 15 miles so the passenger would have to lean out the window at speed and use an ice scraper to break off the ice so the engine could breathe. We also pulled a third member in the middle of the night on an ice covered drive through of a bar in Grey bull, WY.
These are the trips that make memories. You'll have a blast, we did.
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  #19  
Old February 14th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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all you need is silver relays, and probably a good idea to swap those plastic radiator plugs for brass. The only issue I foresee with a 95 is the clutch MC especially if its a low mileage truck. Fill the transfer case up. This is exciting.
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  #20  
Old February 14th, 2014, 10:00 AM
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What kind if tires? Does it have a lift? Is there a roof rack? What kind if top? Aftermarket radio? Sound insulation? Stainless oil cooler lines? These are all things I would address before going cross country.

Check your fuel pump. My 94 has a loose wire somewhere on the fuel pump. I have to jiggle the wire leading to the pump to get the pump to engage before cranking the engine. It's a really redneck series of events in a public parking lot. Haven't had time to drop the gas tank and fix it.
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