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      05-13-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
f0xfire021
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Minnesota to Florida Road Trip Report

The brief rundown: Drove from St. Paul, MN to Knoxville, TN, through the smokies by way of the Tail of the Dragon/129/28, south to Walhala, SC, through Atlanta to Orlando, and finally to Sanibel, FL. Spent a week there, and then headed back through Nashville, Chicago and finally into Minnesota.

The e91 is a fantastic touring car. The ergonomics are really spot on, and allowed me to easily cover 300 miles in a sitting. Power is sufficient, and the overall chassis balance made it a joy to run down backroads in the mountains. All wheel drive is probably not necessary, but added some assurance coming back home in two straight days of rain. The only thing I'd change would be a slight drop so the nose didn't sit higher than the rear wheels with a week's worth of gear.

More details in the photos...





Headed out shortly after 4 am, and pushed through some early rain in western Wisconsin.


Long miles require copious amounts of caffeine.


Wide open through Illinois. Tried to keep speed in check.



I had just passed through Indianapolis when I got a TPMS warning light. I pulled off at the next exit and the right rear tire was down about 12 PSI. I discovered that small towns in the midwest don't do work on run-flats. I could see the screw buried in the tread, and knew that the tire was holding air decently, so filled it back up, and had the most hairy multi-task-filled drive through rush hour traffic of my life trying to find any tire shop in Indianapolis that had a matching tire. With the help of my wife back at home base, and after a lead from the outstanding service advisor (Jessie - never got her last name) at Dreyer Reinbold BMW, I found a matching tire and was back in action several hours later. I can't stress enough how helpful the staff at this dealership were. Although I found a matching tire at a Tires Plus, they went out of their way to provide an alternative setup with a different tire that matched the size I needed - and offered to stay late to install it. All things considered though, I'm definitely switching to regular tires after this experience.


Got to my campsite around midnight, and quickly threw up the tent and collapsed. The drive through Kentucky was beautiful, but mostly in the dark. Wish I could have driven that in daylight - lots of curvy mountain highways.


Woke up at 4:30 to the sound of an endless train horn. Figured it couldn't hurt to get on the road early.


The first of many of these signs that day.


To the dragon, hoping the rain would subside.


The wagon, all loaded up with a week's worth of beach gear.


Above Lake Calderwood, and Calderwood dam. Moody skies, and virtually no traffic.






Tail of the Dragon / highway 129. Worth the long drive the day before, and the early start. This road really makes clear how good or bad a driver you are. I'm not nearly as good as I thought I was before this.


Wagon in the mist.


Fontanta Lake






US 28 in North Carolina. Lots of curves and crazy camber changes.



I followed highway 28 all the way through Highlands, NC, and down to Walhala, SC. I hopped on the interstate at that point and made a bee line for Florida. Central Florida was more scenic than I thought it would be. Lots of ranch land and rolling hills.





Camped out west of Orlando, and then had a lazy morning heading to Fort Myers. Took backroads (hwy 17) through Arcadia. Saw a little mini-meet up of some great looking e30s at a local McDonalds near Four Corners, but didn't get a chance to say hi.








The beach! Hard to express how awesome this is after 6 straight weeks of snow... in April.





The return trip was less scenic, largely due to a steady rain that we drove through for two days straight. The 328 is a great car in these conditions though - super stable, and confidence inspiring, especially at 2am when you're driving through the mountains around Chattanooga.


My wife is badass, and likes driving as much as I do.


Into Illinois


Back to the land of bad roads.


No road trip is complete without a full compliment of destroyed insect life.


And back home after about 3800 miles.

Can't wait for the next adventure...
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      05-13-2013, 05:07 PM   #2
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Nothing like a good road trip and then getting back home to your own bed!
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      05-13-2013, 05:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading that. I'm glad you and your family had a great trip. What kind of camera did you use?
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      05-13-2013, 06:20 PM   #4
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Sanibel Island, you were right up the road from me...

I'm about a half hour south of there.

I have done the Dragon and have my own version in that area, Highlands is nice.
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      05-13-2013, 06:23 PM   #5
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ahh I love long road trips

looks like a blast

thanks for sharing!
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      05-13-2013, 08:26 PM   #6
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Nice pics...I'm sure you had great fun. Now I need to go to Tail of Dragon.
I-90/94 entry to Chicago Downtown reminds me of my days in Chicago
We just returned from a NJ to Key West FL road trip last week. It was great fun.
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      05-13-2013, 11:14 PM   #7
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nice road trip, we go to siesta keys every year in june but in the mini van
never went through tail of the dragon, looks beautiful; might do it this year
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      05-13-2013, 11:32 PM   #8
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Really fine posting & really enjoyed all the pics...Thank you
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      05-13-2013, 11:44 PM   #9
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Fantastic photos, looks like a fantastic trip. Took my '11 E91 M-sport/6mt on an equally insane trip a few months ago, Seattle-Florida-Seattle. I had reservations about how comfortable I'd be driving that far, but the sport seats/chassis were fantastic. I had 18" Dunlop Winter Sport 4Ds on O.Z. Ultraleggeras for the entire trip, since I was going through Idaho/Montana/Wyoming/Nebraska/etc. I didn't want to risk it on the summer tires. RWD did quite well on the snow with the winter tires.

I averaged nearly 27 mpg and I was driving pretty quickly for most of the trip. It's quite easy to bond with a car on a trip like that isn't it? I don't really see me getting rid of this car anytime soon.
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      05-14-2013, 12:55 AM   #10
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Awesome. Thanks for sharing! Although one question, "early rain in wisconsin" shouldn't that be "early snow"? Lol seems like it will never stop snowing there (I grew up around the cities)
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      05-14-2013, 01:24 AM   #11
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Thanks for sharing. I loved the pics (as does everyone else..it's like porn for the multitude).
I love BMW station wagons, they are so cool. Every time I see one on the road it makes me smile and thing of road trips.
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      05-14-2013, 06:50 AM   #12
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Fabulous road trip. Love reading these type of posts. Makes you feel like packing up the car and heading out for your own adventure. Looking forward to reading about your next trip f0xfire021.
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      05-14-2013, 06:57 AM   #13
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Is that Sanibel/Captiva?
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      05-14-2013, 08:56 AM   #14
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Nice report - that's a long distance to cover, but looks like you made it with only that tire issue. Hope you had fun!
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      05-14-2013, 08:59 AM   #15
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I love roadtrips in my E90. Hope to see more reports from you!
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      05-14-2013, 09:25 AM   #16
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      05-14-2013, 01:48 PM   #17
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Nothing like McD's coffee, that's some some strong $h!t!

Too bad the wagon isn't Sport Package, that would have made it absolutely sweet! But I guess wagons are sweet to begin with, then 6MT makes it better!

And the missus drives manual too!

Nice write-up and pics..
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      05-14-2013, 04:50 PM   #18
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Nice trips & pics. Thx for sharing.....
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      05-14-2013, 05:01 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the kind words everyone. It was a great trip, and a lot of fun to recount on here. Regarding some specifics...

Quote:
What kind of camera did you use?
Cameras were an old Nikon d70, and a Canon elph 300hs. I mounted the Canon on a windshield mount for some of the shots, and recorded some video as well. Having trouble posting youtube links - anyone know how to get a youtube video to embed on here properly?

Here are the URLs from a few segments along 129/28...

Tail of the Dragon (partial):


US 28 right after Deals Gap:


Quote:
Is that Sanibel/Captiva?
Sure is. Used to go here as a kid, and was fun to go back and see it again.

Quote:
Although one question, "early rain in wisconsin" shouldn't that be "early snow"?
Ha! It was snow two days prior. I was really thankful for a snow-free drive this time around.

Quote:
Fantastic photos, looks like a fantastic trip. Took my '11 E91 M-sport/6mt on an equally insane trip a few months ago, Seattle-Florida-Seattle. I had reservations about how comfortable I'd be driving that far, but the sport seats/chassis were fantastic. I had 18" Dunlop Winter Sport 4Ds on O.Z. Ultraleggeras for the entire trip, since I was going through Idaho/Montana/Wyoming/Nebraska/etc. I didn't want to risk it on the summer tires. RWD did quite well on the snow with the winter tires.

I averaged nearly 27 mpg and I was driving pretty quickly for most of the trip. It's quite easy to bond with a car on a trip like that isn't it? I don't really see me getting rid of this car anytime soon.
Now that is an epic drive! I keep toying with making the trip to Seattle to visit some family. One of these days...

Quote:
Too bad the wagon isn't Sport Package, that would have made it absolutely sweet! But I guess wagons are sweet to begin with, then 6MT makes it better!

And the missus drives manual too!
We've only got manuals in our house, and that was a deciding factor for her and for me. I wish this one had the sport package, but I've been pretty happy with it in super base form. The wheel gap is a little lame on 16s, but helps with all the potholes in the winter.
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      05-14-2013, 07:30 PM   #20
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Really like the report.

I'm taking a road trip from Philly to western Nebraska (maybe further) this summer, and your observation about run flats has just about convinced me to switch from RFT before the trip.
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      05-14-2013, 07:41 PM   #21
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      05-14-2013, 08:07 PM   #22
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Great story! Thanks for sharing your experience and posting pics. I'm glad the trip went well except for the small hiccup with the tire.

AC set at 60 and 61?!?! You must've been freezing. I don't think I've had mine below 70 haha!
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