Extreme Road Test - 2003 Hummer H2: Leg 2, Los Angeles to Key West
Civilization didn't take and we're preparing to return to the road, seeing our formidable mission through to the end. Office life marked a chiaroscuro contrast from our adventurous experience, transforming two nomadic nocturnal savages to proper white-collar urbanites. As John caught up on photo assignments and writing chores for the October issue, I focused on the online editorial duties that will see more radio clips added, future vehicle forecast updated, and other essential content managed in the near future. Comparing notes, we still averaged Mexican meals every other day. Ah, the irresistible allure of the beef taco...
Just as we required bodily rejuvenation, the H2 needed basic servicing in preparation for Leg 2. Planning ahead, we had advance-ordered a fresh windshield to replace our pockmarked and cracked glass in anticipation for a dealer visit. We dropped off the H2 at a Hummer dealership Wednesday with a laundry list of maintenance items that included an alignment, tire rotation/balance, patching of the flat tire, oil/filter change, topping off of fluids, and full vehicle detailing. Friday evening, we picked up the freshened sport/ute, discovering that U.S. Customs authorities had held up the delivery of the windshield. It wouldn't be available until Monday or Tuesday, well into our planned trip. As much as we need fresh glass, we had a schedule to keep.
Prepared for a sunset photo shoot in the Malibu hills, we were disappointed the vehicle hadn't been washed. We creatively conned usage of the dealership power sprayer to excavate the copper paint from the road grime before heading out for snaps. While reviewing the trip data in the driver's information center display, we found that the Oil Life indicator had not been reset, though paperwork indicates the fluid had been changed. Referring to the owner's manual, we were able to reset, leaving us just a windshield away from mechanical readiness.
Piloting a 340-horsepower 2003 Infiniti M45, Kiwi lead the charge up sinewy roads that twisted like a politician's half-truths. With light fading as quickly as our pregnant wives' patience, we scrambled through a series of photographs destined to grace these Web pages. Meanwhile a friendly mountain biker cranked old Who tunes from his clapped-out van, providing the soundtrack to Kiwi's shutter showmanship.
Done for the night, we blazed down the Pacific Coast Highway towards Los Angeles, eager for a quick, soul-satisfying meal. A combination gas station and Taco Bell Express served all our vehicular/bodily refueling demands for combustible energy. Plans were laid for our Saturday Leg 2 over flour-tortilla-enshrouded spicy delights. The plan: while Kiwi attended a day-long baby-preparation class (collective sigh...), Editorial Assistant and Leg Two co-pilot Brian Vance and I would complete basic preparations and initial video shooting, targeting a 5 p.m. Saturday departure.
Leg 2 promises new adventures, with destinations such as Death Valley, Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore, and Cape Canaveral, as well as South Bend, Indiana, for the Hummer Homecoming at AM General's headquarters. Again, we'll be pushing man and machine to the extremes. We hope you'll join us for the ride as we'll post daily updates from the road.