California Dreamin’: A Road Trip with our newest limousine!

Having established itself as the pre-eminent limousine service in Utah, VIP Limousine is making some changes, and is starting by the augmentation of its Salt Lake City-based fleet. Our assistant manager, Philip Keeve, chronicled his journey in a video (shared below), but there are some amusing details we also wanted to share.

First of all, we want to start by thanking our new friends at JWD Limo Sales in Fontana, California, for finding, preparing, servicing, and ultimately providing us with a beautiful new addition to our limousine fleet. They have a unique selection of limos for sale, and Rick was great to work with, even agreeing to meet us on a day off so we could complete the transaction. Thanks to them, we are now the proud owners of the best black stretch sedan in the state of Utah.

The journey begins with finding the vehicle online, and then getting together a flight for Philip to travel down to California. He flew into LAX on Friday evening, and then took the LA Metro and Amtrak to Ontario to crash for the night before continuing to neighboring Fontana early the next morning. For whatever reason, he enjoys a bit of adventure on the cheap, even if it takes longer, but especially if it also can save money and lead to interesting places.

A collage featuring a sneak peak of the limo, as well as shots of the Blue and Green Lines of the LA Metro.
A collage featuring a sneak peak of the limo, as well as shots of the Blue and Green Lines of the LA Metro.

Philip met up with Rick from JWD on Saturday morning, and headed over to the nearby local Ford dealership, Sunrise Ford of Fontana, where the vehicle was being serviced and inspected. First impressions were that it had been well-maintained and was in excellent shape, with beautiful coachbuilding completed by Executive Coachbuilders. However, nobody wants to risk driving 12 hours in an unfamiliar vehicle without it being given a clean bill of health, so the dealership took extra precautions and prepped it for the road ahead.

On test once done in the service bay, Philip found the engine to be very powerful and responsive, connected to a smooth transmission and just-right suspension settings. It was easy to drive and any sense of nervousness quickly subsided. Once done, Philip was able to close out the deal and confidently set off from the dealership. He stopped by a set of stores along historic Route 66 for a bite to get on the road, and then set off on the 650 mile journey from San Bernardino County to Salt Lake City.

The first big test in limousines is to see how well their powertrain can handle a significant gradient at reasonable speeds. Philip set the cruise control and let the vehicle do the work to see what would happen; it flew up and out of the valley along I-15 without a hitch. No sign of overheating, no sign of real strain, just effortless smooth power. Once flattening out, the limo settled down for a comfortable and cool cruise towards Nevada, with the air conditioning keeping the cabin just right in the 108 degree weather which prevailed.

Philip traveled nonstop all the way to Henderson, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas, when the vehicle needed to be refueled for the next leg of the journey. The heat continued to pound down in the Sin City suburbs, and Philip was sweating profusely, but the limo was unfazed, especially after getting a full tank. Skirting around Las Vegas to rejoin I-15 was a cakewalk, but the next stretch got more interesting.

In the area prior to Mesquite, Philip and the rest of the traffic were suddenly caught up in a nasty storm, with extremely high winds and rain so thick that everybody spent about 5 minutes driving blind. What was once an area to safely travel at 85 miles per hour became a danger zone where 25 seemed like 250. Wipers on full speed didn’t seem to do anything either, and the wind fought a tough battle against the long limo body, but ultimately both chauffeur and vehicle made it through without a scratch.

Eventually, the city of St. George beckoned just across the Utah border, which was the perfect opportunity for Philip to refuel himself and take a break. It didn’t last for long though, because shortly afterwards he was back on the road headed to Fillmore, a city in central Utah which was located in an ideal location for refueling prior to the final stretch.

Finally, at 12:30 in the morning, Philip eased the limousine into Salt Lake. As it was ticking cool, he noticed the new temporary insect adherents to the windshield and accumulated dust from driving through the desert after the storm. However, the entire journey for the vehicle had been no sweat, both literally with the crisp air conditioning and the solid powertrain, and figuratively with the logistics of travel around greater Los Angeles, meeting with JWD, and having a trouble-free journey…besides the storm. Trip completed, Philip got some rest and prepared the limo for duty at its new home with VIP Limousine.