The date is Wednesday, November 1st, 2017. 2:10pm Central Standard Time. Snowing like a motherf***er outside.
A quick backstory: my buddy Marc ended up crashing his Gen2 MazdaSpeed3 into a ditch avoiding a rodent on the road in rural Wisconsin. Though the damage was not as bad as it could’ve been, it did render his Speed down for the moment as he fixes the damage himself instead of going through insurance. The plan is to get another Speed daily while he repairs his Gen2 in his garage.
The original plan was to fly down to Tallahassee, FL and get picked up by a seller in southern Georgia that had a silver Gen2 Speed3 for sale, but the times just did not align for Marc and I to either drive or fly down and take a look, purchase and drive back to MN/WI. Marc then found a Gen1 for sale “locally” in Winona, MN. Though it was still a somewhat decent drive away from our homes, it was a helluva lot closer than Florida Georgia Line (queue the music!).
Here’s the route: Rockford, MN to Roseville, MN to New Richmond, WI to Winona, MN then back to Rockford.
To give you perspective, that’s the route that me and my buddy Marc drove in my 2012 Mazda3. For scale, I used the whole State of Minnesota.
Hell, we may as well be Canada at this point. The winters here get brutally cold. In fact, just a few years ago, Minneapolis/St. Paul was labeled as the coldest place on Earth, beating out Antartica by a few degrees. Trust me, it’s cold here.
Our original plan was to drive down, get some beautiful shots along the way and some nice shots of the car at night. However, Mother Nature pretty much said “No, f*** you guys. That ain’t happening.” and decided to have a lovely freaking blizzard the day of the off.
The initial drive from Rockford to Roseville was one headache that I really didn’t want to go though again, only because traffic was absolutely appalling. My left leg has gotten a workout and I’m sure is currently more developed compared to my go-pedal leg. Leaving from Roseville to New Richmond, WI was for the most part actually pretty free-flowing, however once we arrived in New Richmond, the snow really started to come down, hard. We didn’t stay long in New Richmond and we decide to leave an hour early, making the expected 2-hour trip into a 3-hour one.
Boy, did it pay off.
We stopped at a Flying J Truck Stop to fuel up and grab some snacks for the drive. The start of the drive was very dull, since we were taking long, straight country roads over to what’s called “the river road.” Everybody seems to be going 30mph on the long country roads. In a bold move, I decide to overtake a truck and trailer and the slush in between the lanes was shit-inducing. Yeah, let’s not do that again.
Then, we arrive at “the river road.” Boy, did the drive not disappoint! With the wonderful winding roads, and the tree branches being coated in the freshly-fallen snow, the amount of beauty did not disappoint. Unfortunately I didn’t stop to take pictures because I wasn’t sure how much longer it’ll take us to get down to Winona on time at 7pm. Close your eyes and just imagine it, though. Absolutely. Breathtaking.
Though the brief drive down the river road was absolutely stunning, past that it was really a “meh” drive. Not sure if it was too dark to see the scenery, or what.
Anyways, we finally arrive at the seller’s house and boy is the country just amazing. Quiet, peaceful, no road traffic to speak of. Just the sense of serenity bliss. Right when we arrive, the seller was backing up the Speed into his driveway to show us. He didn’t even get a chance to get the handbrake on and we pulled in right in front. Talk about perfect timing!
We pop the hood and give the engine a quick inspection to make sure what we were buying was what he listed in the ad. It didn’t disappoint. Sounded great, looked great besides a rust bubble on the driver’s front B-Pillar door frame. The test drive proved to be equally as respectable with no qualms from the turbo, good strong pulls and good brakes.
Then… we got distracted by the other cars this seller had in his driveway. Namely the two 6th Gen VR-4 Galants, the DSM Eclipse and an Evo 9. He sure does love his diamonds!
Take a gander and the two Galants! These two beauts were pretty much rust-free and both put out 400+ bhp.
After a long drive back to New Richmond from Winona, Marc parked the Gen1 next to it’s bigger brother Gen2. Together, in MazdaSpeed harmony.