I have always loved road trips. There is something about being a car and discovering new places and new things. I have also always wanted to drive through America. I had the opportunity to do this years ago when I drove from California to Atlanta, Georgia and then back months later. It was a great drive, but not as much fun as it could have been. I did not stop much other than for rest breaks and fuel.
Recently, I decided to it was time to do a proper road trip and head out again. This time, I wanted to take some time to literally smell the Roses or whatever plant or flower was particular to whichever state I planned on visiting. This time around, I would actually take time to enjoy the trip other than just flying down interstate highways and the like.
With this idea firmly planted in my head, it was time to decide which car to take. I had recently acquired a low mileage 2003 540i M-Sport. It would need a few things done to make it roadworthy enough in my mind to make the 6,000 mile or so trip. Then I also thought about using my Suburban SUV, but then it would be as much fun, it would not be a BFC worthy trip AND I would need a gas tank to follow me. Can you imagine what the cost of fuel would be like!
The third option was my 2000 M5 that I was in the process of restoring. I say restoring because when I got it, it had issues. VANOS issues, body issues, rear differential issues, etc. I had done a lot of work on it so far and it was on duty as a somewhat daily driver. After a not so lengthy poll in the E39 section, the M5 won the vote to be the chariot for this trip. Here was the discussion about that: http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...-Route-to-Take
Now, in fairness to the M5, it is a pretty robust car in the sense that the S62 performs pretty well and is surprisingly not as prone to issues as the M62 engine that came before it. The M5 was also a comfortable car capable of triple digit smooth speeds when it itch came up.... not that I was planning on that a lot!
Using the M5 also made this feel more epic. I mean, come on - an Imola Red M5 cruising the back roads and interstate highways of America. What could be more epic??? Okay, so going to the moon is probably more epic, but you catch the drift.
I had initially planned to go in June, but there were too many delays and too many things to do, so I pushed it to July. July happens to be Independence month for the US and though I am not leaving on July 4th, the trip still adopted the tag Freedom Tour. What better way to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy living in the US than to exercise that very freedom by going cross country!
To make this journey more fun, I decided it was not enough to have an Imola Red Stock M5, it had to had come fun bits on it too. I had a few DINAN parts laying around the garage, so I thought wouldn't it be fun to build a DINAN M5 and take that on the trip. As we all know, one simple idea never ever seems to be the way things go. From that one simple idea will flourish other madness!
I did not go as mad as thinking of building something like a S/C M5 as time was of essence and also, I needed something that would still deliver somewhat decent gas mileage and reliability over 6K miles or more and in varying climatic conditions.
With that in mind, I started building the car. Along the way, as one usually does, I realized I needed more parts. I now wanted / needed DINAN Suspension bits even though I already had the Koni shocks. Then I needed new front end suspension parts like control arms. Then I needed a better exhaust system, even though the stock one was there. Then there was the oil change, plugs, etc. This was about to become a bit of a build.
I reached out to some manufacturers and presented my crazy idea. With some, I had built somewhat of a relationship with them over the years. With others, it was first contact. I have to say I was blown away by the response I got. Everyone I contacted was ready to support me and this project in anyway they could. And so, my build started with boxes arriving with new parts and such.
My thanks go out to the following companies who jumped on board with this project:
Steve Dinan Autotech
Peter Pan BMW
NGK Spark Plugs
FollowMee GPS Tracking
Last but not the least, our very own BIMMERFORUMS! Without all these supporters, the trip would not be taking place in this fashion. I will mention each organizations participation in this project, but that will be down the line otherwise this one post will become a novel.
You can follow some of my build work in this thread: http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...ip-Prep-Thread
One of the fun things about having all these supporters and partners is that it allowed me to express the boy racer in me and put stickers on the car. Lots and lots of stickers! I think I must have gained about 111 BHP in stickers alone! LOL! I must say here that the sponsors and all DID NOT ask me to put these many stickers on the car, it was a little fun that I got carried away with and I went nuts with stickers! For me though, it also makes it a pretty special car for the trip. It's like I am performing my own solo gumball rally... LOL!
Anyway, I hope you will join me or at least follow me a bit on this trip. I will be updating here and on the Facebook page and you can also follow the trip at: www.rovingredm5.com. I will of course also be on FB, Twitter and Instagram. There will be tons of pictures and videos too (if I can figure out how to use my first action cameras). There will be daily blogs and updates.
The plan here is to wake up with a map, drop a pin and head out. I will literally be roving in one general direction - either heading out East, or heading back West.
It is a fond hope that I will meet a bunch of BFC members along the way. So, if I am going to be in your town or area, let's get together. If you see me on the road, let's pull over and say hello to each other. I have a bunch of friends here already, I hope to make more friends in person.
Cheers everyone and wish me luck!
Last edited by AquilaBMW; 07-12-2016 at 01:23 PM.
Sounds like a ton of fun. Enjoy it and drive safe!
1998 Boston Green M3/4/5
2009 Space Grey E91 6MT
2015 White Jeep Grand Cherokee (Wife's)
2002 Schwarz Black 325xi Touring - Sold
2005 Titanium Silver 330i ZHP - Sold
2003 Silver Grey 330i ZHP - Sold
2002 Steel Grey M3 - Sold
1995 Alpine M3 - Sold
1995 Cosmos M3 - Sold
1986 325E - Sold
If you make it to Richmond, we can tour a few cool shops around town.
In for some epic pictures! I'll try to stay updated on your progress to see if you get close to the Philly area at all.
Most fun I ever had driving was driving cross country. Enjoy!
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I was at DINAN yesterday. The car finally has a very, very important and powerful sticker on it. Can you figure out which one yet? Look closely.....
Still can't see it? Here... this should help.
I couldn't have done all this without all the support from this board and it's members. Hope to see and meet a bunch of members on the road!
So basically you are doing a cross country Pokeman Go only with BF.c members instead of imaginary characters.
Cool! Give me a shout if you make it around Georgia!
You not gonna make it through Denver I suppose?
Your current situation is not your final destination
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Currently working with a company called FOLLOWMEE to use their GPS tracker for the trip. I am having a tough time embedding a dynamic map on to our site or anywhere else. However, they are able to provide a link to a public access URL map that will show our position while we are traveling. Would you guys mind clicking on the link below and tell me what you think. Thanks!
Last edited by AquilaBMW; 07-14-2016 at 11:21 AM.
You should swing up to Michigan to see our Great Lakes!
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Cool! I'm in the Kalamazoo area which would be on your way thru to Detroit possibly. Also I'd recommend Grand Rapids, MI as it's now "Beer City, USA" lots of great breweries in MI
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Here is the roughly drafted route:
San Francisco - Tahoe - Reno - Salt Lake City - Denver? - Yellowstone Park - Sturgis - Mount Rushmore - Rapid City - Chicago - Detroit - Indianapolis - Maryland - NYC - Richmond - Norfolk - Charlotte - Spatanburg - Deal's Gap - Atlanta - Dallas - Houston - Austin - Phoenix - Sedona - Las Vegas - Los Angeles - San Francisco!
I'll be watching as you get nearer to Houston You'll no doubt get plenty of unsolicited route advice. I'll send mine later, but West of Houston can be plenty boring so don't plan on I-10.
Norfolk to Charlotte has Durham & Raleigh in between them (I'm in Durham).
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Around when will you be in Phoenix?
6 spd swap, "Almost Nardo" Vinyl Wrap, JB Racing LTW flywheel, M5 clutch & control, BC Racing coilovers, cat back straight pipe, E60 SSK, ZHP shift knob, hard wired aux, Style 32 17", BFG G-force Sport Comp-2 tires, shadow-line trim, reenforced differential bushing, ATE Type 200, Hawk HP Plus pads, intake res delete, 10W40 M1, trans fill 50/50 Redline MT-90 & 75w90NS, solid shifter carrier bushing, pixel fix, red needles