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Discussion Starter #1
Did this with my two boys this summer. Prepped the Odyssey by removing the front passenger seat and the two middle row seats and mounting not one but two roof cargo boxes. The interior of the Ody is huge in this configuration and there was plenty of room for the three of us to sleep inside. Basically a counter-clockwise circumnavigation of the US starting in VA. Averaged 550 miles a day. Get an app for your iPhone called Roadside America and it has a feature called "Near Me" that will plot all the weird roadside attractions as you are driving and give GPS directions. Really breaks up long drives and is a lot of fun.

The Badlands



The SPAM Museum



Roadside dinosaur



Truck in a tree



The Cadillac Ranch



Rusty Truck in Galena, Kansas, the inspiration for "Mater" in Pixar's "Cars"



Giant Sequoias



Mount St Helen's

 

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Discussion Starter #2
And a few more...

Devil's Tower



White Sands National Monument



The VLA (Very Large Array)



Crater Lake



Hot Air ballooning



Sedona AZ



Mount Rainier



The Geographic Center of the Nation, Belle Fourche, SD



Ooops, a little transmission switch problem



Paint pots at Yellowstone


 

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EPIC TRIP. Congratulations, sir, that is well done, indeed. Your boys will tell stories about this trip to their own grandchildren.
 

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Great pictures - like an armchair tour of the USA!

The Ody is riding quite low. You must have stowed a lot of gear in those rooftop carriers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The Ody is riding quite low. You must have stowed a lot of gear in those rooftop carriers.
I have replaced shocks, struts and springs. Latter were H&R which lowered the van about 1.5".

Part of the fun for me was planning the route with my sons and also working together to get our 02 mechanically ready for the trip. It's never to early to show an eager kid how a car works and to perform basic maintenance. We were at 159K miles before we started. In the month before we left, we replaced 5 motor mounts, brake pads and rotors, the left front brake caliper, brake fluid and power steering fluid, AT fluid, motor oil/filter, and both front lower control arms. Aside from a failed
4th gear clutch switch, the van held up well with nearly 65,000 feet of elevation gains through the Rockies, Sierras, and the Appalachians at ambient temps over 100 degrees. She burned no oil and we treated her to a dealer oil change in Lodi, California where the service advisor told me he had never seen so many dead bugs on the front of a car.
 

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I assume you even have pics of the bug carnage on the front of the car? :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I assume you even have pics of the bug carnage on the front of the car? :D
Haha I kicked myself for NOT taking that picture. The van was up on the lift when the service advisor called me back because the technician couldn't figure out how to drain the oil through my Fumoto quick drain valve. He looked up and said 'Man, you nailed more bugs than I've ever seen before.'

My camera was up in the van where i couldn't get it and when they returned the car to me, it had already been washed. :(
 

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Can you post pix of your interior setup?
Seems like it was a really cool trip! I look forward to road trips with the kids in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Can you post pix of your interior setup?
Seems like it was a really cool trip! I look forward to road trips with the kids in the future.
Thanks! Really one of the most memorable things I have ever done.

Strangely, you just don't think of taking photos of things as mundane as your car's interior but my sons took a few blurry photos of our mess. Actually with the frequent fuel stops, we managed to keep the interior relatively trash free. The front seat is easily removed by just removing four bolts and unsnapping the power harness (I did run the whole trip with the SRS light on). Taking out three seats lightens the Ody by almost 150 pounds. We brought two coolers; one with ice to keep drinks cold, and the other without ice to keep semi-perishable foods -marshmallows, chocolate bars, trail mix, etc, from melting when the van was parked in sunny areas. Those were stowed where the front passenger seat was. I hung plastic grocery bags off one of the headrest posts of the driver's seat for trash and also a small canvas tote off the other post for frequently retrieved items such as flashlights, the camera, charger cables, and our National Parks Passports.

The space under the third row seat in the 2nd-gen Ody is incredibly useful. We stored a small stepladder under there to help me access the roof boxes. The boys kept their video game cartridges and other electronics and personal items under there when they weren't in use, but were easily accessible. The rear cargo area was a small kitchen with a 5 gallon water jug and firewood storage. We stacked plastic 12 gallon storage bins that had our camp stove and other cooking gear. When closed, these doubled as a small shelf where we stored dry foods and canned goods that were campground staples. We also had a separate tote bin where we stored all of our footwear as loose shoes can clutter up a car quickly. Non-cooking campgear (tent, sleeping bags and pads, fishing poles, backpacks, etc) were stored in one roof box. All clothing was stored in the other roof box.









 

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You guys campted out too! wow, what a trip! How did you find campgrounds?

Did you remove the 2nd row and use the 3rd row for seating so you have better access to your coolers and food while in the car? Instead of removing or folding the 3rd row and just having everything in the cargo.

Also, with the lowered suspension, the van seems to have a bit more negative camber in the rear, did that affect the tire wear at all?

Again, great trip!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We were traveling in the latter half of August so all the National Park Campgrounds had available sites. In all we visited 18 units of the Park system. In most cases, we saw the park in one day and then moved on without camping (Mount Rushmore and the various cave and volcanic parks can easily be seen in a few hours). If you are going to the more heavily visited parks in July, you might have to reserve in advance. Except for Yellowstone and Mount Rainier, most of the parks we visited were among the "less popular" sites, though all are stunning in their own way.

We considered the idea of keeping the second row seats but liked the idea of keeping all the gear separated in the back so we would have to do less rearranging if we slept in the van. We ended sleeping in the Ody on four nights. I am only 5' 7" so I could lie down across the floor comfortably. My 8 yo slept next to me and my 10 yo slept on the third row bench. Having the main volume of the van open also made it feel less psychologically cramped during long hours on the road.

The H&R lowering springs do increase the negative camber. I have had my current Yokohamas for about 15,000 miles so it's too soon to tell about wear. I'll be switching them to winter wheels soon so I'll compare the inner tread of the front tires to the rear tires when I remove them
 

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Ya, timing is really important for road trips like that, crowds and bad weather can ruin an otherwise perfect holiday.

I really like the feeling on these sort of road trips where it's you and the car vs the elements. I had a few Offroad/camping trips with my Grand Cherokee, and I really liked the comfort the car provided me. Anyways, maybe that's just me, and I will be the first to admit, I am a bit weird. :)

About the tire wear, keep me posted, I'm curious. I noticed on our 2011 that the outside shoulder of the rear tires are wearing out more than the inside shoulders. I'm assuming it's because of the rear toe-in . But maybe that extra camber allows for a more even tire wear.
 

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A quick shoutout to kbh for accomplishing this feat with your trusted Odyssey! What you and your boys did was undoubtedly included in the so-called "1001 Things to do before you-know-what". By unselfishly sharing your knowledge, experience and those priceless pictures, you and your boys gave everyone a clear idea on how to devise our own game plan, logistics, mechanical preparation and contingencies in order to make plans similar to this succeed without any major hiccups.

Truly, doing a cross-country tour takes anyone out of their comfort zone and forces them to rely on their own selves and work more in conjunction with their groupmates to accomplish their common goal. Your unquestionable knowledge of your Odyssey inside and out is the deciding factor as to why you were able to log those 9000+ miles with a fair good amount of confidence.

I'm not jealous of you and your boys, but instead I'll refer to all of you as my respected road warrior idols whom hopefully me and my young boys could emulate.

Congratulations.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thank you for the kind words kulas. Without going off the anthropomorphic deep end, my boys and I did consider the Ody to be our fourth trusted travel companion. We logged over 188 hours of driving time during the trip and slept all but three nights inside the van or nearby it at a campground. Aside from the clutch pressure switch, nothing else failed during the trip at temps ranging from 35F to 106F and altitudes up to 11000 feet all the while hauling all our gear.

Many of my friends thought I was being daring taking a ten-year old car with 159 K miles already on it out for such a long trip. Since I had done all the maintenance though, I was pretty confident she would hold up. I had wrestled with the idea of just renting a van since the rental fee would have been comparable to the money I spent in parts for refurbishing the Ody. For my boys though, this is the only car they have ever known so they liked the idea of maintaining it and going out into the unknown in a familiar ride. I would recommend that anyone undertaking a trip like this to at least get familiar with emergency procedures such as changing a flat tire or jumping a dead battery. I did join AAA before the trip, but I noticed at many times during the drive that I was totally out of cell phone range so if something did happen, we were in our own.
 
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