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  • Trans-America Trail in a Stock Montero - Part 1 : Sight Unseen

    Trans-America Trail in a Stock Montero - Part 1 : Sight Unseen

    Be sure to read the Trip Intro - Part 1 Part 2 - Part 3

    After flying into Atlanta and purchasing the 2003 Mitsubishi Montero we rough planned our adventure, purchased basic supplies and spent the night a local hotel. We got up early the next day at 4:30am (7:30am local time) and drove to the nearest Mitsubishi dealer in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The plan was to have the oil and transmission fluid changed as well as a full inspection.

    We got bored while waiting for the service to be completed and explored the dealer lot and recorded this video segment describing the trip and basic plan. Our actual route on the Trans-America trail was extended to include: Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado.

    Servicing the Montero was extremely important especially for this type extended, remote, long range trip. They found a slight rear cam seal leak (no worry) and backward routed serpentine belt. Re-routing the serpentine belt was a priority so they fixed that and serviced the engine oil and transmission. Afterward we felt confident in the ability of the Montero to conquer the journey ahead... little did we know the tie rod was failing and spare tire was flat.

    We left the dealer and went exploring. Our first stop was the Old Stone Fort, this prehistoric native american structure had walls extending nearly 2,400 foot in length. The the natural landscape of the peninsula surrounded by the Little Duck River provided excellent protection and an ideal location for the settlement. We hiked part of the perimeter trail then explored along the river. It's amazing how 70 degrees feels like 100 with the humid type climate!

    From there we drove to the Trans-America trail and jumped on the GPS track. The majority of the Tennessee route is on back road but the majority of them were paved. It was still an enjoyable way to see the countryside of Tennessee and certainly a vast improvement over interstate driving.

    We encountered some fun sites along the way but the most entertaining was an off road park! Unfortunately, it was getting dark so the pictures and video didn't really come out. Nevertheless, it was the perfect opportunity for me to demonstrate the off road capability of a stock Montero to Joe. Joe, had low expectations of the Montero and was less than impressed with it initially. However, after driving some twisty section of trail to demonstrate the near perfect balance and incredible traction control Joe started changing his opinion. At times the tire would be 4 foot off the ground yet the truck remained completely level and smooth.

    From there we drove into the night and eventually drove to the small town of Lawrenceburg and stayed overnight at a hotel. It was an exceptional second day filled with adventure, exploration and surprises. More to come...

    Read Part 2 : A Deep Hole
    - By : Peter Stewart