Zambales : The First Family Road Trip

I always seem to write about stuff long after they had happened, and this is just one of the countless instances of such.

 

A few weeks months back, our son celebrated his first birthday. Before any birthday celebration of course, we had to send out invites to people whom we wanted there. However, due to the restrictions on our work schedules, we were only able to hand out a few of the invites in person. Social media and various messaging apps took care of the rest.

We did make a very notable exception though – I wanted to hand out the invites in person to my in-laws who live out in the province. I thought it was an awesome idea for the three of us – my wife, son and I to take road trip together, and deliver the invites by ourselves.

The last time I went out there was when my wife and I had to pay a visit to do an errand related to our wedding back in March 2016. I’m glad to report that this time around, I didn’t have to fiddle with Aska so much to make sure she was going to make the trip in one piece. Actually, Aska isn’t the broken down car a lot of people might make her out to be. The reason I seem to have sudden bursts of car repair activity is more to give myself some peace of mind while driving. We’re talking about long stretches of open tollways with no way to actually get help once we’re on our way.

I did fix up a lot of things with Aska since the last time we went there – I replaced all the suspension bushings in the back so the car no longer dances around, I refilled the front oil shocks (because you know, poverty) so the whole car sits really well on the road now. I had the timing belt replaced along with the water pump because the old one looks just about ready to give anytime – of course, new hoses were also in order, along with replacing the little water bypass hose that was swollen badly. Aesthetically, she was the same car except I added on a pair of 7in round fog lights – because rally car.

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All I did was muster up the balls to drill through the fascia and bumper, and bolth them down. The electricals were installed by JC’s Auto Electrical when the car was rewired about a year and a half ago.

On the day we were about to leave though, I had to pass by JC’s Auto Electrical to check something out because I mysteriously lost all the lights save for the headlights. It turned out to be a quick fix because some of the terminals had some white corrosion on them. I also got them to make sure that the new fog lights worked because the switch didn’t seem to be working well.

 

Some things I didn’t quite have the time to fix though – my clutch is old, and the pressure plate is making it heavy to push down. You have to remember, this car is so old that it uses a clutch cable instead of a more modern clutch master cylinder. Funny thing was I had a new clutch kit ready to be put in, but I didn’t want to go out and get it replaced on such short notice – besides, slip wasn’t such an issue yet and I’ll be on the highway mostly anyways. Because the decision to do the trip was made on a whim, I didn’t get to replace the mechanical clutch fan – I was supposed to drop in a huge electric fan in its place. No overheat problems whatsoever since my thermostat is still good, and I installed a big 3 row radiator months before. Still have some oil leaking through the filter, which I suspect is happening due to the engine being in dire need of an overhaul. My old man re-clamped my muffler because the old supports tore off – surprisingly, it held out the whole way and were fixed in place by off the shelf stainless ring clamps.

As a whole though, our old girl was ready to take on the journey, which she did well, considering of course that she’s a daily driven 30 year old car. Most of the time was spent cruising at a steady 3000-4000 rpms on 4th gear, which meant I was going around 80-100 km/h at any given time, jumping up to 120 km/h or so if and when I wanted to pass vehicles. Now these speeds are just approximations, I may actually be going a wee bit less since I use R15/50/195 wheels instead of the stock R13/80/155.

 

The entire trip there took about six hours, which is pretty slow considering my wife and I once made the trip in about three hours. The reason for this was because I did not want to leave with the car looking really dirty, so I insisted we drop by Sushi Machine for a quick Aska bath before heading out. Traffic along EDSA going to Balintawak was terrible, we spent about two hours just crawling to the tollway. From Balintawak to our first stop at Petron Lakeshore took only about 45 minutes. We stopped for snacks because our kid needed to eat by then, and we needed to rest and stretch our legs for a bit.

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We left after about an hour, but upon entering SCTEX, it started to rain like mad – which was where my foggies came first got their test of fire. Previously, the square driving lights I used lit up the road ahead in a wide arc. These ones first a circular beam (well of course they do) on to the road, and then lighting up some of the surrounding areas as well. It was perfect! The asphalt roads became pitch black, but the yellow light helped show the way ahead.

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It took another 45 minutes from Lakeshore to SBMA, where we had to abide by their speed limit, and I took on some gas as well. From SBMA, it took about an hour and a half to San Antonio, which slowed down the pace as there was a lot of road work going on.

As soon as I came into the house, I wanted drop and sleep but the kid wanted to play with the grandparents, so we actually went to bed a little past midnight already.

 

The next couple of days was spent lounging in their house, me attempting to call the wrath of the rain gods by washing Aska (which was effective), attending the family church, having dinner with the in-laws (oh yeah, Coco Lime is lit) and making a last minute trip to a nearby beach because my supposed trip to Cabangan did not pull through.

 

The trip back was fairly the same as the one getting to their home, and we got stuck for close to an hour from the end of SCTEX going into NLEX. The traffic was bad, and I have no idea what was going on really.

 

This time around, I felt much more at ease with the place. It’s not that I had bad experiences previously, but our last trip was made in a hurry and the one before that was a back-n-forth deal. This time around, we stayed long enough for me to know some of the neighbors, and I was able to make acquaintances in their place and church. It was a fairly simple, uneventful but definitely awesome first family road trip and will definitely be followed by another one soon.

 

So up next on my to-do list with Aska would be to hopefully get new headers because, really, mine suck so bad. This time maybe I’ll settle for a re-installation of the stock muffler I have at home because my fart can is so loud inside that I cannot have the pleasure of talking with my wife*. I want to get the electric fans installed along with the thermoswitch. The a/c condenser really needs to go, and if all goes well, get some new tires so I can use the EX rims that a friend loaned to me. I’m also considering getting shorter shocks so I can lower the car a little more (to the annoyance of my wife) and maybe ghetto fab some roll center adjusters.

 

 

 

 

~

 


 

  • – since it took so long for me to publish this, I already went ahead and put back Aska’s stock-ish chambered muffler back in. Now it is possible to have conversations in the car.
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