Driving Home – Part 1 – Day 2

After a great nights sleep, we were up early and on the road just following the route I had put into the GPS.

 

Eventually we crossed into Alabama

The scenery slowly went by at a casual 40 – 42  mph or according to the MOG, 67 kmh.

 

Around lunch time we rolled into the town of Cullman Alabama, and stopped at Johny’s BBQ.  (I had researched all the best lunch spots along our way too.)

Alisa and I split a plate. It was pretty darned good.

Baby back ribs with beans and hush puppies

After lunch, I had a little detour for us to see a bit of local history.

Clarkson covered bridge

After checking out the bridge, it was time to move on…

On the horizon a storm was brewing.

Very heavy rain

But as quickly as it started, the storm passed behind us.

We were in the Bankhead National Forest. I had found a secluded place to camp for the night.

Time to relax and have a few beers…
Cooking dinner on the outside kitchen.

Stats for the day.

Driving Home – Part 1 – Day 1

So now that the Unimog was ready for it’s slow trip home, we said goodbye to our friends in North Carolina.

But before we left, Alisa’s Mom hopped up in the cab to see what it was like.

And before we knew it, she was standing up, looking out though the machine gun turret. (Yes, the Unimog has a machine gun turret.) 🙂

After saying our goodbyes, we were finally on the road, headed West.

Since we couldn’t drive on the Interstates, I plotted a route on the smaller secondary roads, and found camping in National Forests, Army Corps land, and other free places.

The route looked something like this.

I tried to find scenic things to see along the way, and our first stop was Bridal Veil Falls.  (I hadn’t been here in over nine years since my last cross country motorcycle trip.)

After a brief stop we continued on the narrow twisty roads.

After some seven years of saving and planning, it was finally happening…

We stopped to add some fuel

The view from the drivers seat…

 

One of the other things was had to do was drain the campers Black Water tank.

It had not been done before we bought the Unimog and needed to be done.

At the RV dump station

We’ll here goes…  Pull the lever and hope for the best.

With that task accomplished, we drove to our next destination, a secluded spot in a nearby National Forest.

We pulled into the secluded spot I had found, and parked for the night.

Our first meal in the camper.

Stats for the day.

(Yes, the time on the GPS is wrong..)

A successful first day.  I remember going to sleep in the back of the camper after a cold shower, listening to the stream just outside the window thinking how lucky I was…

Baseline maintenance before we start to drive the Unimog home…

So the Unimog patiently waited in North Carolina for about five weeks, until I could get some time off from work.

In the meantime, I started buying parts and supplies and learning about basic maintenance.

Finally on August 11th, 2017 we flew to North Carolina.  Luckily we have a friend there who has a garage big enough and he let me work on the Unimog for two days, to get it ready for the drive West.

As this is a new vehicle to me, I needed to change all the fluids, do an oil change and a few other things before we drove 1,100 miles to Oklahoma, where I had another friend who would let me keep the truck at his place till I had more time to complete the drive to California.  (Remember, the Unimog only cruises at about 40 mph…)

So here’s the Unimog in my freind’s garage as I start to do some basic maintenance.

I had ordered and shipped all the lubricants and parts I would need, and had everything ready to go, including select pages from the factory service manual.

Unimogs are special in that they do not have traditional axles.  Each wheel has it’s own Portal Axle, and each wheel has it’s own set if gears and bearings.

I wanted to make sure that each wheel had new fluids.  Additionally I replaced both fuel filters, the air filter, oil filter and flushed the transmission and refilled with Red Line Synthetic lubricant.

Five days of “high speed” travel in the middle of a hot summer is not what Unimogs were designed for, so I wanted to do the best I could for it.

One nice thing about Unimogs is that the hood and grill come off easily to make working on them easier.

Fortunately, I had some help doing the work,  (Thanks Patrick) and  as you can see, you have to stand on the bumper to add the nearly five gallons of oil that this truck uses.

There were a few other things that needed to be sorted out before we could make the trip West.  Unimogs run a 24V electrical system, so I had to install a 24v to 12v inverter in the cab so we could plug in things like the GPS and a USB port.  But after two days, the basic maintenance was complete.

 

Thanks again Patrick for your invaluable help, and Glenn for letting me use your garage.

 

 

So how big is the Unimog?

Well, here are some basic statistics:

Overall dimensions:

  • Lenght: 6,33m (20ft 9in)
  • Width: 2,30m (7ft 6in)
  • Height: 3,35m (10ft 11in)
  • Weight: ~5700kg (12’566lb)
  • Gross weight: 7490kg (16’512lb)

Fuel system & speeds:

  • Diesel tanks: ~500L (2x250L) (132 gallons)
  • Fuel consumption: 17,5 – 18 L/100km (13 – 13,4 MPG)
  • Range: should be about 2500km (1550 miles), 2100 km tested and there was still some fuel in the tanks
  • Maximum speed: 86km/h (54mph)
  • Minimum speed: imperceptible by GPS  (due to very low ratio of crawling gears)
  • Cruising speed: 67 – 70km/h (42-43mph)

It’s not until you’re standing next to it that you begin to realize how big this truck is.

Mog on the Blue Ridge Parkway

So Alisa was nice enough to fly to Baltimore and make the purchase.  A few days later she was headed south to North Carolina where we would store the truck till we had the time to do some maintenance and eventually drive it home to California.  Alisa drove a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped to send me this picture.

See? Unimogs make people happy!

Pick up in Baltimore

Because of her flexible schedule, Alisa was elected to meet the sellers, hand over the money and do the paperwork.

She flew from Los Angeles to Baltimore, arriving around 1:00am in the morning. This is the first time we saw the Unimog in person.

Instant love…