2009 Ford Flex: An Olympic Journey Days 8 & 9
February 26, 2010
And so we come to the end of my Olympic Journey. This was the trip that saw the Flex become our first car to break through the confines of the United States, but it also saw it become the first to go from 0 miles to 50,000 in our 'care.' Other cars have seen higher odometers, but they were all used cars.
Given the Flex's odometer that oddly goes to a decimal point, it's rather difficult to stop right on 50,000.0, but darn it, I did it. It gave us something to do as we counted down the miles to 50 grand. When we finally struck the big 5-0-0-0-0-point-0, here's where we were ...
I was expecting us to hit the milestone next to some sheep pasture or some non-descript mountain curve where I could take an ironic picture of where we were when this momentous occasion happened. Instead, we were at the picturesque foot of Mt. Shasta and right back in Weed, or rather, 4 miles north of it. How about that.
Day 8: Portland, Oregon, to West Sacramento, California
Total Distance: 582 miles
Day 9: West Sacramento, California to Los Angeles
Total Distance: 381 miles
The rest of our journey back went without a hitch, traveling from Portland to Sacramento, and then from Sacramento to Los Angeles. On Day 9, it seemed that in the week we were gone, all of California's cherry trees had blossomed. They just kept going for seemingly hundreds of miles along I-5. I would've turned off the recirc to see if we could enjoy a pleasing whiff, but I just knew there would be a 1,000-acre expanse of farting cow around any given corner.
So what did I learn from this journey? That I need to make it again, mainly, though obviously when the Olympics haven't turned Vancouver into Canadian Mardi Gras. The drive is easy and you get to pass over beautiful terrain and through three of the finest cities in North America -- Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. If you live on the west coast, it really is a must-do, and I'd love to take the coastal 101 route at some point as well.
As for the Flex, truth be told, I was yearning for something different by Day 8. I was getting bored (my left leg was pawing to use a clutch) and tired (my arms grew weary of no telescoping wheel). One problem no longer exists for 2010, and the other could only be corrected by not bringing along girlfriends and 1.3 metric tonnes of stuff.
Having said that, though, my passengers couldn't have been happier. It was reported to me that the entertainment system couldn't be easier to use, and I was happy that it didn't restrict sound quality too badly given that only the front speakers are working. I still think the refrigerator is grossly expensive, but I certainly enjoyed having a chilled Red Bull delivered to me from the back seat without having to refill an ice-filled cooler every day.
Here are some facts and figures from the trip.
Grand Total Distance: 2624.8 miles or 4,224.2 km
Total Fuel Consumed: 122.836 (do your own liter conversion)
Final Fuel Economy: 21.37 mpg
Flex-Reported Fuel Economy: 22.1 mpg (damned lying Flex)
Total Fuel Stops: 8
Total Pee-Related-Only Stops: 0 (well done Team Flex!)
Total Lady GaGa Alerts: 6 (Surprisingly low. I guess we didn't listen to Sirius that much)
Total Voodoo Doughnuts Eaten: 11.5 (we just couldn't do it Captain! We don't have the power)
Approximate Number of Cars Passed (aka Getting Flexed): 1,004
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 50,630 miles