We're Home - October 4, 1998


This page will, sadly, be the last one of the saga.  We thought we'd use it to lay down some final summaries, thoughts and comments.

Distance Traveled - everybody knows from grade school that the US measures about 3000 miles from coast to coast.  And, if you look at our US map on the main Saga page, it looks like we went nearly straight across the country.  So why did it take us 4500 miles to make the trip?!?  The answer, of course, lies in the roads we chose - twists and turns, and things to stop and see.  Could also explain why it took us 11 days!

Weather - We were really, really fortunate with the weather we enjoyed, especially with the leaky windshield.  After the snow the first day and a few showers that followed (that resulted in that fantastic rainbow - the picture doesn't do it justice!), we had dry weather the whole rest of the trip.  It was hot and summery until we got to Cincinnati, and then it became cooler and fall-like.  We wore shorts every day!

The Car - For the Alfisti among you, we realize that we may not have provided as much nuts-and-bolts info as you'd like, so here is some nitty-gritty (if you have any questions, just email us):  Overall, the car is in excellent mechanical shape and cosmetically has a super-excellent body and very good interior.  Absolutely nothing failed or even deteriorated noticeably during our cross-country jaunt (although it would have made a more interesting story if it had).  Here are some details:

Engine - As original, with Spica fuel injection and stock cams, headers - everything.   It was never rebuilt by the previous owner (of seven years).  It used a quart of oil every 500 miles or so (we added a total of 8 quarts during the trip) - a bit more than you'd like, but not very unusual.   Head gasket's good (no oil in water or vice-versa) - just a little oil seepage on the rear of the engine.  It backfires some going down hills, and was a bit balky starting (despite a new thermostatic actuator), so a little Spica work is in order.   A little pinging was noticed (even on premium fuel) and will be addressed shortly.  The car got well over 25 MPG on the trip - probably closer to 27.

Other mechanical - The suspension is in excellent condition, thanks to much recent work.   Has the yellow (i.e.pretty stiff) springs, but the ride was not at all objectionable.  The car handles extremely well and is pleasant to ride in (which we say even after coming off our 4500-mile trip!).  There is a minor drive line vibration - the mechanic who checked it over and changed the fluids before we left noticed a somewhat loose U-joint.  The vibration did get a little worse during the trip and will be looked at soon.

Body - Thanks to a three-year-old $3500 high-quality paint job, the exterior is beautiful!   The door jambs, engine compartment, inside hood and trunk lid were done as well.   There are a couple of minor paint dings.  Underneath, the car looks practically new - no New England winters!  We do have the windshield leak to deal with.  Wheels are original Campagnolas in excellent condition.

Interior - The seats were recovered, but not with the original style of pleating, and there are a couple of torn seams.  The headliner is new and correct.  The dashboard has a cover, but it's a good one - hardly noticeable.  The instrument cluster is - literally - melted and deformed (that California sun!), but we picked up a nice one at Alfa Parts Exchange.  Needs a couple of other cosmetic things, like gearshift boot.  John could either drive it as is, a reasonable option, or invest in freshening the interior, another reasonable option since the car is so nice.

Email Problem?   We were told near the end of the trip that some people were having trouble sending email to us en route by clicking on the email link, although we did receive LOTS of mail!   (Many thanks to all of you from all over the world who contacted us on the road - it was fun being in touch!)  We never could determine what the problem was, so if you were having trouble and would like to send either (or both) of us a message, just copy the following email addresses to the "To" box in your email program:
        John:  vanpratt381@sbcglobal.net
        Dave:  dave@dvpratt.com

Alfa Spotting - We were disappointed, but not all that surprised, to encounter just that one other Alfa during the entire journey.  John's GTV, though, turned LOTS of heads!  It was fun to watch people's expressions, ranging from delight (pre-teen girls), to awe (must be other Alfisti), to dreaminess (middle-aged guys driving company cars), to scorn (rednecks driving pickup trucks).

The Fish, of course, was fake, and the descriptions of John's fishing exploits were, well, fish stories.

Here are a few parting shots, taken somewhere along the way, that we thought were appropriate for this final page. 

John's House, Medfield, MA
After a good night's sleep in a familiar bed, Dave went over to John's house to help him harvest this year's crop of honey (John keeps a hive of bees).  Here, the two cross-country trekkers meet for the first time (as far as we know).

Could Have Been Anywhere, USA
Here we are, just motoring along, enjoying the sights, sounds and, uh, aromas in the relatively close confines of the GTV.  (Photo taken at speed from the dashboard using the camera's self-timer, with fill flash.)

Location Unimportant, USA
This shot sums up our sentiments about the journey.  Be sure to read the street sign . . .

We know that you couldn't possibly have enjoyed these pages as much as we did experiencing the trip first-hand, but we hope that they've provided at least a pleasant diversion for you over the past week and a half.   Thanks for watching!  Until the next trip . . .


John & Dave

The End






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