Riding Interstate 10 like there was a pot of gold at the end of it, New Mexico blew by and we were greeted with our version of a rainbow's treasure—Cracker Barrel. After a 2,250-calorie breakfast (that's each person, not total), we endured our first food coma, and also switched drivers. New Guy took over the helm while I grabbed some Zs in the back seat. Ford crew cab trucks have always had plenty of rear seat room, and besides using bags of beef jerky and Funyuns for a pillow, I enjoyed my time back there. Waking up to the smell of something horrible and hearing uncontrollable laughter, I thought I was going to get pink eye in Texas. You gotta love road tripping with two other goofy, grown men. Stopping to catch up on their own rest, we slept at a hotel for about 4 hours and hit the road the next morning. A quick stop at Alamo Customs in Alvin, Texas, gave Jake Brown, of Brown Speed, a chance to help get our Project Novakane performance truck up and running. After determining our ECU wasn't getting power, we hot-wired the computer, he did a quick on-the-fly tune, and we were off and running.
Performing a tire stress test at the Heatwave show in Austin, the Super Duty’s 800 lb-ft o
No better sight could be seen than the "Welcome to Austin" road sign at exactly 6:02 p.m. Friday night. As we picked up our Publisher Jeff Dahlin from his hotel there in Austin, he immediately commented on the uniquely horrible smell inside the cab. Windows down and the throttle smashed, we aired out the truck and laughed for a few miles. Arriving at the Heatwave show, we unloaded Project Novakane out of the enclosed trailer and set up our autocross course. For the remainder of the weekend, the big F-450 would serve as our commuter car, albeit one with plenty of space, air-conditioned seats, and 4WD. If you work for Ford PR, now is the time to skip to the next paragraph. At the conclusion of our weekend, we took the F-450 out on our autocross course for a quick exhibition run. Surprisingly, the dualie handled our tight course with admirable skill, and because of the success, we ended the run with an epic donut that had all 800 lb-ft of torque smoking the four rear wheels. Camera phones were in full effect as the smoke covered our course like the thick humid air of Texas in July. The crowd gave Harley a roaring, and much-deserved ovation.
Driving for seven hours, the sunrise in Arizona was a sight to behold.
Loading up the trailer and hitching it to the gooseneck ball, we pointed the truck west and headed out towards the sunset. There was no impending deadline in front of us, but we missed our families horribly, and getting home was priority one. Never a sputter or mishap, the Super Duty pulled like a freight train all the way back to SoCal. Making record time thanks to two heavy feet (sorry New Guy, you drive like an old lady) and because of no sleep stops, we arrived at our Irvine headquarters Tuesday night at 8:42 p.m. Looking back at the F-450 like a soon-to-be ex-girlfriend boarding a flight, we hopped in our much-smaller daily drivers and drove to our respective homes with a little tear in our eyes. That big beast did everything we asked of it, and did it in comfort. For $64,820 it's not cheap, but if towing large trailers is in your future, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better rig.
Total miles traveled: 2,746
Average fuel mileage: 10.1 mpg
Number of Monster energy drinks consumed: 26
Restroom stops due to energy drinks: 14
Heading home with only the horizon in our path.
Notes from the Road
- Driving from California to Texas' border is a breeze, but the trip is only really beginning. From the Texas border to Austin, Texas, 600 more miles has to be driven over some of the most boring and demoralizing land in the country.
- After driving our Super Duty for 5 days in Texas, we're certain the Super Duty line is the official truck of hardworking Texas men everywhere.
- When driving with three grown men, it is nonnegotiable to have a rule when horrible smells are exiting one's body. Windows down, no exceptions.
- With the power sliding rear window, getting drinks from the cooler in the bed were as easy as pushing a button.
- If you had to choose a restaurant for your last meal on earth, a Cracker Barrel along side any interstate would be the best option we can think of. We stopped there 5 times during our trip.
- Darn near everywhere we stopped in Texas with the huge trailer in tow, we didn't have any problems finding parking areas large enough to accommodate us.