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We must be insane....

My wife's parents left Minnesota (Ely, to be exact) about 10 years ago, and landed in Georgetown, SC. They recently bought a house down there. We've tried to see them occasionally over the years, but now that we have a daughter, it's higher on the priority list. With the cost of flights, and the pile of gear that we bring, we decided to drive down this year. My wife and I took a week off, made sure our '04 Outback VDC was in top shape, and set off.

Our Chariot, I tinted the rear door windows for our daughter's comfort, but the rear quarters didn't happen....

20180401_115200 by Numbchux, on Flickr

The route:

Trip by Numbchux, on Flickr

We set off on a Friday, basically right from work, and drove to my parents' house near Minneapolis. We've made this drive hundreds of times. Woke up Saturday morning, 3 inches of snow on the ground. Great. Luckily the temps were warm enough, and we pushed our start time back a couple hours so that the main roads were merely wet, and we were able to make good time. Southern MN and Iowa are not terribly interesting places to drive, and our progress was equally not-interesting. Getting into Missouri gets a little more interesting, as 61 has a little more texture to it, and the occasional glimpse of the Mississippi River.

A very good friend of my wife lives on the outskirts of Eastern St. Louis, as her husband is stationed at Scott AFB, so we had an excuse to see them, and a place to stay. We came in through St. Louis about 8pm, driving through town was a little interesting, but driving across the Stan Musial Bridge at night was VERY cool


(photo credit and more info: Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge - Traylor Bros., Inc.).

Then Sunday morning, across southern Illinois, across Kentucky, towards Nashville, TN. This is another particularly uninteresting drive. My wife and I were laughing to the point of tears at a podcast we were listening to (Free Beer and Hot Wings show), but in hindsight, I think the drive was making us a bit crazy...


We did some searching, and looking on the map, and decided that since we had, so far, been able to make good time. The decision was to stop a bit earlier than we needed to in Knoxville, with the plan of getting an early start, and driving the Tail of the Dragon early Monday morning.

Well, traveling with an infant, we did not sleep well Sunday night, so we axed that plan, and took I-40 through the Smokey Mountains, and into the Carolinas. The drive from Knoxville, TN to Columbia, SC is kind of cool, but after Columbia, the landscape got pretty flat, and our route left the beaten path. But by the early afternoon on Monday, we had made it. At some point in this day, something in the exhaust began to fail.

We spent our days there primarily just hanging with family. We did get up to Myrtle Beach on Tuesday for a bit, with a visit at Brookgreen Gardens.

Then on Wednesday we drove down to Charleston, and visited Patriots Point. It's a fairly simple display, nothing terribly impressive. The USS Yorktown aircraft carrier's big claim to fame was that it picked up the Apollo 8 spacecraft, so there's a display on that. The USS Clamagore, which is a Balao-class Submarine, the only one left with a Cold War GUPPY III conversion, and is scheduled to be sunk near Palm Springs to be an artificial reef this summer.

While there, I got out my floor jack and small tool kit, and took a peak at the exhaust condition. And a couple patio blocks under the tire as a makeshift (not recommended, but better than nothing, I left most of the weight on the jack) stand:

2018-04-04_08-36-22 by Numbchux, on Flickr

The noise immediately seemed to come from the left side of the engine. I had this manifold off doing spark plugs not too long ago, so my fear was a blown out gasket, or worse, stripped thread in the head. Nope, the flex section in my OBX header was torn. I stopped at the local AutoZone, and bought a couple large sections of Versa Chem Tiger Paw muffler tape. This recommended using some tin foil for hotter areas, so I wrapped the flex section with foil, and then with the muffler tape. A couple zipties to hold it tight while it cured....good to go.


2018-04-04_08-41-17 by Numbchux, on Flickr

Fired it up, and heard another leak. Sure enough the pipe right behind the rear resonator was cracking and leaking. Oh well, that's going to be much harder to fix, and this is so much better.


Thursday we began heading home. I talked with my in-laws, and they said that they frequently go through Atlanta, and cut up from there to avoid the mountains so much. I decided to save the wear on our transmission and my nerves, and do the same.

Route:

Trip return by Numbchux, on Flickr

We went through Atlanta at about 5pm, I-75 on the NW side was slow-and-go traffic for about 20 minutes, but other than that, we sailed through town. We got a hotel in Cleveland, TN (just outside Chatanooga) with a fantastic view.

Friday morning's plan involved getting on the road fairly early, and using the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY to break up the day. But while the day got off to a good start, we barely made it out the other side of Nashville before our youngest passenger needed a break. The delay left my window at the Corvette museum down to an hour, but I decided I still wanted to go, so we pressed on.

About 10 miles outside of Bowling Green.....disaster. Hit a bump, and the car got SO much louder. That crack behind the resonator broke off completely. Of course, there are no decent places to stop near the freeway until you are in town, but that meant I could drive right to an Advance auto parts, drive the front wheels up onto a curb, and take a peek:

20180406_130736 by Numbchux, on Flickr

I borrowed a tape measure, and then bought a 2 1/4" ID to 2" OD reducer and 2 1/4" muffler clamp. I unbolted the flange at the donut gasket (luckily I used new hardware when I put the headers on about a year and a half ago, so it came apart), pounded the larger end onto the pipe on the rear, and clamped it down. Then I slipped the resonator over the smaller end, forced it back onto the donut gasket, and put the bolts in.


20180406_133601 by Numbchux, on Flickr

There, I fixed it! It still leaked, but worlds better. Now we had about 15 minutes for the Corvette Museum, so we skipped it, and got back on the road. That's when we realized that Kentucky doesn't like to number their interstates. They like to use names, big, long, names, that are difficult for a driver to interpret from what a navigator is saying, and what's written on a sign while traveling at interstate speeds. But, after a moment of confusion between my wife and I, we got on the William H Natcher Parkway, and headed North towards the Western Kentucky Parkway. We crossed over the very high waters of the Ohio River at Owensborough, KY, and through a corner of Indiana, and across Illinois back to our overnight stop near St Louis.

We headed North again on Saturday morning, using the same route as our trip out (for a change) through most of Iowa. We decided instead of cutting over to I-35 at Waterloo, IA. We'd head north through Rochester.

We spent the night at my parents' house in Minneapolis again, and had a fairly normal schedule on Sunday, traveling the 2.5 hours or so home during our daughters "normal" nap time in the afternoon.


It was a great trip, and the car ran fantastically. All things considered, an exhaust leak is pretty minor.
 

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2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium (The Superoo), Graphite Gray Metallic, CVT, Yoko Geolandar G015 AT 225/65R-17
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Great trip report! Keep doing that trip and as your daughter gets older, long road trips with lots of time in the car won't be viewed as a horrible thing. We take our boys to visit my in-laws just north of Pittsburgh from Austin. We make it there with only one stop in TN for the night. They're full days in the car, but the boys love it now and they've gotten to see some neat things on the road.

I may seem like a beating now, but traveling with an infant isn't bad. Wait until you are potty training! :p
 

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Well I live in Minnesota and plan on a trip to the West Coast with my OB. only 124K on the odometer and it's a 2000. I'm excited to do a trip. Lots of memories and pictures! Will say, love the whole trip update and details of what had happened. glad to see yours made it!
 

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I simply cannot abide useless people.
2006 2.5i and 2002 3.0 wagons.
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These old Gen 2's are still a quite decent interstate cruiser for their vintage. Put plenty of miles on Kaylee and Mal between GA, TN, IL, WI, IN, PA, NC, OH, KY, and a few other places.

These days the Gen 3 is the interstate cruiser and the Gen 2 is the camping/dirt roads/used more like a truck workhorse.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
These old Gen 2's are still a quite decent interstate cruiser for their vintage. Put plenty of miles on Kaylee and Mal between GA, TN, IL, WI, IN, PA, NC, OH, KY, and a few other places.

These days the Gen 3 is the interstate cruiser and the Gen 2 is the camping/dirt roads/used more like a truck workhorse.
It did well, but it's still kind of cramped. I've yet to find a reasonably-sized (not full size van or Suburban) vehicle that I can put a rear-facing car seat behind me and be comfortable.

I bought this last fall and have been rehabilitating it for road trip use.
2017-12-19_02-09-38 by Numbchux, on Flickr
 

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'18 Outback Touring 3.6R, '11 Legacy 3.6R Limited. '11 WRX not stock
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Ahhh the lasting memories you create on those trips. Somehow those unscheduled vehicle work sessions seem to come flashing back for decades when you pass that point again.

Love Brookgreen Gardens Brookgreen | Myrtle Beach Attractions our little girl was looking into getting married there until the bottom line price was observed. :13:

Glad all went reasonable well.
 

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Sounds like a great trip! Your Outback looks like it's full of stories :) As someone who loves to hang out in Duluth, I'm jealous you get to call it home!
 

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Nice trip! I have to say you are very brave doing that with an infant. The longest trip we have done with our daughter is about 5 hours going to Northern MI to the in laws house. We have done it several times but usually its about the longest she can seem to handle right now. Also I feel you on the exhaust, I had a 2000 Chevy 2500 truck and we were moving furniture on a trailer from MI to WI and right after we get going the exhaust gets insanely loud. Turns out the pipe broke up by the cat which is under the passenger seat. It was too late to fix it so we did the 4 hour drive with a very loud roar all the way.
 

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2018 Outback 2.5i Limited
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Transfer

Was transferred from Pearl Harbor to Ballston Spa New York in December of 80. Drove a 1980 Subaru wagon, 4 speed manual, 4 wheel drive from San Francisco with two children under 2. It was fun.
 
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