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      11-05-2018, 07:54 PM   #1
warrenw
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Kimchi and Rice - A Build Saga (M2C)

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Kimchi and Rice - A Build Saga



This thread will be my diary/journal of sorts to document my progress with my M2C. It seems other M2C folks are posting their build threads in this section so I chose to as well, but this can always be moved if need be!

A little about myself, I am an American currently living in South Korea. It's not really that common given the fact that Korea is so homogeneous and frankly they heavily limit and regulate foreign work visas to very few occupational roles, and not to mention the fact that I moved without knowing how to even say "thank you" or "oh my god, please help me I'm so lost and I REALLY HAVE TO PEE" before I moved here. But here we are!

I'm not usually one for naming cars but in this instance I thought it to be appropriate to do so, and I settled on "Kimchi Rice" or in Korean "김치볶음밥" because the car is white and I'm a redneck so it seemed to make sense at the time. By the way, if you haven't eaten kimchi fried rice before you're missing out on one of the most wholesome, belly warming meals in existence.

This car is a lot of firsts for me; it's my first new car (newest otherwise was a 2009), my first BMW, my first car with over 400hp (before this the highest was my 240hp S2000), and frankly I had sworn off anything German after my disastrous high school / college car, which was a 1998 Volkswagen Jetta from the 7th circle of hell. I still have nightmares about the window switches, the never constant idle, and the smell of sweet, burnt coolant will forever be in my nostrils.

This thread will be more of a journal than a "build" in the sense of what we usually see around here. I think a lot of folks do a lot of stuff all at once which is all posted in the first post. I prefer to post as I go along, and document my trial and error process, and I think that's too much for a single post. As such I plan to keep a "table of contents" in the first post and I will update regularly with links for each post. Hopefully that works out.

I'm really looking forward to being a part of this community; my experience thus far has been really positive (even if you guys sometimes argue about the most asinine stuff LOL) and you all are a wealth of knowledge that I am grateful to learn from.

Happy reading!

Table of Contents:
Chapter 1:
Where should I begin? Oh the beginning of course!
Delivery
Basic Performance shop visit + reflector replacement
Getting through break-in
Dashcam install faaaaaaail
Protect the paint!
Let's go Racing!
Break-in, but not by the book!
Final Race of the Season - A Wet and Dreary Day
Self Car Washes!

Modifications
Tuning/Coding
Bimmerlink
Bimmercode (various)

Interior:
Blackvue DR550 2 Channel Dashcam (F&R)

Exterior:
Vivienne Ceramic Coating
IND Front Reflectors, painted
Acexxon Honeycomb rear reflector replacement
Haverkamp 70% front windshield, 40% side/rear ceramic tint

Engine:

Brakes/Suspension:

Wheels/Tires:

Exhaust:



Links:
Instagram
Personal blog (mostly travel stuff)
Naver blog (in Korean)
S2000 build thread - Nobody likes the tuna here
Flight stats

Last edited by warrenw; 12-09-2018 at 10:09 PM.
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      11-05-2018, 07:59 PM   #2
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Where should I begin? Oh, the beginning of course!

Where should I begin? Oh, the beginning of course!

I’ve always been a Japanese car guy. Sure, they’re torqueless, gutless cars but they’re also reliable, torqueless and gutless cars. I really like how vast the Japanese aftermarket parts industry is, even for discontinued cars. To this day some companies are still coming out with new products for cars that went out of production 10 years ago. Additionally there is an endless amount of parts available, both cosmetic and performance related.

I spent about two years building my S2000, it would sit in my parents’ garage and I’d work on it every time I flew in to visit. I had always thought about shipping it over to Korea but I always worried about how many speed bumps, terrible drivers, and overall terrible roads there are here so I was always hesitant. It’s really sad that it just sits there, but I really enjoyed piecing it together and making it “mine” so to speak. I just wish it got driven more.



As time went on I really missed having a “fun” car to drive. My first car over here was a 2003 Kia Optima but I literally hated it with a fiery passion and dreamed nightly of driving it off a cliff. Next I bought a 2009 Lexus IS250, which I really liked actually. At the time it came out it was loaded to the brim with features and some features it had I miss now that I’ve moved over to BMW – tilting mirrors for one, I’d prefer both over just one.

Buying cars in general is difficult as a foreigner. While I can get a US institution to loan me money, they won’t pay the dealer directly. Instead all checks are made out to the buyer personally, then you have 90 days to give your bank the title. And I’m ineligible for a car loan on the Korean economy. Also, Korean banks won’t cash US checks so I’m stuck cashing the check into US cash, exchanging it to won, then paying the car dealer in cash. It’s fine with a 2003 Kia Optima that you pay the equivalent of $2,000 for, but dealerships nowadays just aren’t set up to accept cash. When I bought my Lexus I had to bring the cash in a garbage bag because it was so many bills – maximum denomination is the equivalent of $50. The receptionist spent 30 minutes counting it all and it was only the equivalent of $15k! So the whole car buying process was a real turnoff and I wasn’t in a rush to buy anything. (Also, I may have exaggerated the garbage bag part – it was definitely a shopping bag though because it’s all I had access to at the time)

In case you’re wondering what a 2009 Lexus IS250 looks like…



Anyway… I got the itch. I heard about how various car companies have Diplomatic / Military Sales, but then I couldn’t really find any of those programs for anything other than BMW. The pros of the program are that you get great incentives, they ship directly to you, and you can ship it to the states when you move back. So that got me thinking, if I got a “fun car” BMW, what would it be? So I hemmed and hawed for about 9 months before I settled on going in to talk to a salesman about buying a M3 through BMW Diplomatic Sales.

Except I missed the new order cutoff for M3’s by, I kid you not, two days. Couldn’t order one anymore!

My backup was the M2. The main reason why I wanted the M3 is because I was used to sedans now and they’re actually quite utilitarian if you think about it, plus 425 hp! Plus, for the price I felt that maybe 365hp in the M2 wasn’t quite enough. The M4 would be nice but I didn’t want to pay the higher price for the coupe.

But apparently they stopped selling the M2 too. But they were taking orders for the M2 Competition, which I hadn’t really heard about.

So, I went home, did some research, and was immediately interested. I really wanted to get back into something fun and frankly the terms were really good. There is absolutely no haggling, the price they have is the price you get. MSRP – 10%, destination included. Not to mention I’m tax exempt through Diplomatic sales, so I figured I can even drive the car for 2 years and sell it for the same price I paid! There are very few cars out on the market you can do that with so to me it became a no brainer! In terms of looks I liked both the interior and exterior, I could get a MT, 410 hp sounded awesome, and the more I looked and researched the more interested I became. At this point some of you must be wondering “oh but Warren, I don’t understand, if you wouldn’t ship your S2000 because of the terrible road quality then why would you drive around in a brand new BMW??” Great question, glad you asked. I guess eventually I just got sick of not having a fun car to drive and decided to take the risk.

I was on a trip with my girlfriend, and I got back June 13th and went in on the 15th and placed my order along with the 10% deposit. Unfortunately what sucks about this process is once you order, you’re kind of stuck. Total payment is due when the VIN is issued, so if there are issues upon delivery of the car and you want a refund, well, they already have your money and it’s incredibly hard to get it back. So now I was in it. No turning back now!

Also, even though it’s a US spec, it doesn’t show up on track-my-bmw or any of those sites, so you’re at the whim of your dealer to get information and mine…. Mine didn’t share much.

Here’s the progression of the car from ordering to delivery.
15 June 2018 – Order made
18 June 2018 – Allocation Received – Week 33
19 June 2018 – Allocation advanced – Week 28
29 June 2018 – VIN created; balance of order due (in full)
12 July 2018 – Car complete
26 July 2018 – Car on car carrier Glovis Challenge
04 September 2018 – Car arrived at the port
18 September 2018 – Car delivered

I painstakingly watched the boat, Glovis Challenge, blip across the screen. It would move in and out of range of the “free” version of marinetraffic.com and I watched as it stopped for a day-ish in Southampton, stopped at the Suez Canal for what seemed like a prolonged smoke break, Singapore for what I assume is fuel but they certainly took their time, and then two different ports in China before finally docking at 5pm on Tuesday, September 4th. Which was actually right on schedule, well they were 5 hours late but I let it slide.



Want to see some screenshots???????









Customs itself was a nightmare, my dealer messed up the paperwork 3 times further delaying the process. I had to get my tax exemption stamp, so I got the paperwork from the dealer, took it to my customs office for the stamp, only to realize the import price was wrong. So I had to take it back to the dealer to get it amended. Then I got the papers stamped again, returned to the dealer, he sat on it for two days before sending it to the port, they reviewed it at the port and the port of origin was stated as the US not Germany, they rejected the papers and I had to wait for the papers to come back from the port so the dealer could amend it again and then get them stamped at my customs office to then take them back and get sent to the port again to then clear the car.

I have a thread documenting the whole experience.

Just in case some poor individual is googling around looking for information on importing a car through BMW Military/Diplomatic sales, well I hope Google takes you here so you can read that Kolon Motors in South Korea sucks and don’t do business with them. All of these issues were exacerbated by the fact that I had to sell my Lexus before the BMW hit the port otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get my tax exemption, so I was driving around in a rental car and paying out of pocket for that and the rolling delays weren’t making it any cheaper. It wasn’t that the Hyundai Avante rental car was even that, well, bad, but I just… I just hated it I guess LOL.



Next was car insurance. What's interesting is cars over 8 years old can only get liability only insurance, so this was my first time getting full comprehensive insurance. So I paid about $1,100 for a year of full coverage insurance, at the Korean fair value. This means that I could go crash the car tomorrow and insurance will pay me $15,000 more for the car than what I originally paid in the first place. Awesome! But I think I'll pass on that for now.

Read on for the day we all wait impatiently for – DELIVERY!
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      11-05-2018, 08:05 PM   #3
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Delivery Day

Delivery Day

I knew I was in for a treat when I got in a near shouting match with my dealer over what constituted “pre-delivery inspection” and whether or not the VPC could omit certain tasks that they normally do. For example, I didn’t want holes drilled for a plate and I didn’t want them to wash the car. Apparently, the VPC has a “process” that “must be followed” and if there is any deviation apparently there’s a global meltdown and Santa kills 30 of his most trusted elves. This really goes along with the traditional old school Korean way of thinking, which drives me nuts.

My biggest complaint was that I didn’t want plate holes drilled because I wanted to use tape. Well according to Korean law that’s not allowed (actually, yeah plates have to be fixed and the rear plate has to be locked with a special mechanism so you can’t really take it off). So my next concern was that they drill for the Korean plate, which is a long plate, and when I go back to the US I have holes drilled where my CA plate won’t cover, I’m out money to fix it, blah blah blah. So I say I’ll take the “US style” Korean plate since I apparently don’t have a choice.

The next issue was that I didn’t want them to wash the car because I mean I’ve seen what they do, it’s an automatic car wash, and I have a guy (you know, everybody’s gotta have a guy. It’s the code of life. “A guy” to cut your hair, “A guy” to take care of that pesky neighbor of yours who plays his music waaay too loud, “A guy” to do your taxes, all that jazz.) who was going to do a paint correction anyway. Weeeellll apparently the salesman got irate and told me that I can’t change the process and I’d void my warranty and like he was visibly getting angry and it got worse when I told him I might refuse acceptance of the car…. So I let it slide, then once I got back to my office I emailed his boss and the guy in charge of his dealership chain. It didn’t change anything, but at least it helped me feel better because I know he got yelled at.

Which brings me to the meat of this story – delivery. I was promised delivery at noon, but that turned into 4pm because they couldn’t find a truck. So here’s another fun fact, rumor has it that since destination charges are included that whatever the dealer doesn’t spend on shipping they get to keep. As such, they lowball delivery drivers who are leaving the port to pick up their next load under the premise that “well you have to go that way anyway, so…. Take this car with you for next to no cost!” The fallout from that is sometimes it takes them 3 or 4 tries to get someone to bite. All that is unconfirmed but seeing what I’ve seen and knowing what I know, I’d be willing to bet money that’s how it works.

4PM rolls around, I was at the dealer early, and lo and behold… There she is!















Which brings me to my next point… Good God was the front plate bracket ugly. Not to mention, oversized for what the actual plate size is. And, I was amazed at how low it hung below the middle bumper piece. I’ll talk about that more later. But in the meantime, let’s see what the delivery mileage is.



5. Well I can be assured there were no joyrides, right?

I was also happy to see the interior was still protected.



First impressions? I don’t know if I had just been strung along for so long or what but I almost didn’t even believe that it was actually here, or that I could drive off with it no strings attached. I mean imagine that by this point you’ve made almost 3 payments on a car you’ve never driven, I think it’s a little bit fair to be skeptical.

Skepticism aside, the first 30 miles or so I was in awe with the sound (remember, coming from a silent Lexus), the crackles and pops, and the sheer amount of technology that was in the car. I still feel that I’ve barely scratched the surface of the technology in the car, and it’s mindboggling how far cars have advanced, especially in Germany, since my 1998 Volkswagen Jetta was produced. If you can’t tell already, it’s going to be awhile longer before I finally get over THAT nightmare.

I also noticed that the car felt… Skittish. I couldn’t quite place my finger until later that night I was messing with settings and perusing menus when I found out…



Well that explains it.

Back to the license plate, it absolutely wouldn’t work. I took everything off to see how many holes were drilled in the front, and it was 6 – 4 in line, 2 on the bottom. So I went to the DMV, got my plate switched to the Korean style, and installed the Korean style plate. There are two holes that show at the bottom, but you can’t see it unless you’re on the ground.



Still thinking about what to do, I don’t want to do too much bodywork, maybe when the m2 Competition is released in Korea I’ll just buy a new bumper which would be the Euro spec.
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      11-05-2018, 09:33 PM   #4
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      11-05-2018, 09:54 PM   #5
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Great story, even better car. Enjoy now that you have it!
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      11-05-2018, 10:15 PM   #6
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Congrats on your new car OP!

Since you're already eyeing the European version of the front bumper, you might want to look into some European tail lights also; it's minor and cosmetic difference but the turn signal on the rear is [COLOR="DarkRed"]red[/color] in the US spec vehicles but [COLOR="DarkOrange"]amber[/color] on the European version.

Looks better & safer, IMO. And believe it's a requirement in Korea that the rear turn signal must be the color amber.

You can always flip back the US-spec lights to recoup some of the cost..
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      11-05-2018, 10:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Poochie View Post
Congrats on your new car OP!

Since you're already eyeing the European version of the front bumper, you might want to look into some European tail lights also; it's minor and cosmetic difference but the turn signal on the rear is red in the US spec vehicles but amber on the European version.

Looks better & safer, IMO. And believe it's a requirement in Korea that the rear turn signal must be the color amber.

You can always flip back the US lights to recoup some of the cost..
You know I've actually been thinking about that! I think I might make the switch because I like the orange/amber color anyways!
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      11-05-2018, 11:17 PM   #8
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Basic Performance shop visit + reflector replacement

Basic Performance shop visit + reflector replacement

Within 24 hours of picking up my car I was contacted by another M2 owner, who had been reached out to by a BMW performance shop owner here in Korea. Apparently when one of the sales advisors posted pictures of my M2 online, the shop owner was extremely interested in seeing the car in person. The M2 is a popular car in Korea, and for whatever reason BMW Korea decided to wait a year before importing the M2C. As a result, my M2C is literally the only M2C in Korea, and will be the only M2C in Korea for the next ~12-18 months. And, BMW doesn't sell any manuals here - you can't even buy one if you wanted to! Even worse, you can't order a car either - you have to pick off the lot, every single time. It's really wonky and doesn't make sense, especially since Korea is a HUGE Asian market for BMW...

So I decided to arrange a date to meet up with the guy at his shop, because I had already read through his blog and was interested in seeing his setup. What I didn't know is he was going to invite a bunch of his friends and some other M2 owners to also see it - the more the merrier! For those bilingual folks (or even people who like looking at shiny pictures) Here's a link to his Naver blog.

At the same time, due to my "complaint thread" posted above, another American M2 owner who also lives in Korea reached out to me. So I invited him over to the shop as well, and we drove together up to the guy's shop, and sat in a metric ton of traffic since it was 5pm going towards Seoul... But eventually, we made it!

He also put the car up on a lift so we could look underneath and see the changes between the M2 and M2C.





















Since I was already there, and there was a lift present, I asked him to install my iND painted front reflectors and my Acexxon honeycomb rear reflector replacements. It's actually more work than I would have thought!














All in all it was a fun time!


Last edited by warrenw; 11-06-2018 at 04:29 AM.
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      11-05-2018, 11:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenw View Post
Basic Performance shop visit + reflector replacement

Within 24 hours of picking up my car I was contacted by another M2 owner, who had been reached out to by a BMW performance shop owner here in Korea. Apparently when one of the sales advisors posted pictures of my M2 online, the shop owner was extremely interested in seeing the car in person. The M2 is a popular car in Korea, and for whatever reason BMW Korea decided to wait a year before importing the M2C. As a result, my M2C is literally the only M2C in Korea, and will be the only M2C in Korea for the next ~12-18 months. And, BMW doesn't sell any manuals here - you can't even buy one if you wanted to! Even worse, you can't order a car either - you have to pick off the lot, every single time. It's really wonky and doesn't make sense, especially since Korea is a HUGE Asian market for BMW...

So I decided to arrange a date to meet up with the guy at his shop, because I had already read through his blog and was interested in seeing his setup. What I didn't know is he was going to invite a bunch of his friends and some other M2 owners to also see it - the more the merrier! For those bilingual folks (or even people who like looking at shiny pictures) Here's a link to his Naver blog.

At the same time, due to my "complaint thread" posted above, another American M2 owner who also lives in Korea reached out to me. So I invited him over to the shop as well, and we drove together up to the guy's shop, and sat in a metric ton of traffic since it was 5pm going towards Seoul... But eventually, we made it!

He also put the car up on a lift so we could look underneath and see the changes between the M2 and M2C.





















Since I was already there, and there was a lift present, I asked him to install my iND painted front reflectors and my Acexxon honeycomb rear reflector replacements. It's actually more work than I would have thought!














All in all it was a fun time!

I like how the shop copied the beats by dre logo. lol.
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      11-05-2018, 11:36 PM   #10
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I like how the shop copied the beats by dre logo. lol.
There's.... A lot of that going on over here. Lol
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      11-06-2018, 12:06 AM   #11
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Awesome write-up! Looking forward to future updates...

On a completely separate note, how'd you learn Korean? haha its a language I'm trying to learn
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      11-06-2018, 12:21 AM   #12
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Awesome write-up! Looking forward to future updates...

On a completely separate note, how'd you learn Korean? haha its a language I'm trying to learn
In order of most effective to least effective:
- Move to Korea and learn-by-immersion. There's a course at my local university where you can be certified level three in 9 months. ...It's also a full time commitment.
- Take a class, preferably one that meets more than once per week.
- There are some books that are pretty good, if you're a beginner then I'd recommend the "Active Korean" series.
- Get a Korean girlfriend, and have her translate everything for you due to your utter inability to learn languages.
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      11-06-2018, 12:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenw View Post
In order of most effective to least effective:
- Move to Korea and learn-by-immersion. There's a course at my local university where you can be certified level three in 9 months. ...It's also a full time commitment.
- Take a class, preferably one that meets more than once per week.
- There are some books that are pretty good, if you're a beginner then I'd recommend the "Active Korean" series.
- Get a Korean girlfriend, and have her translate everything for you due to your utter inability to learn languages.
Awesome!! Thanks for the suggestions
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      11-06-2018, 01:52 AM   #14
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Lol what a read. Ive just spent good hour reading your travel blog! I was visiting korea this march, would love to go back
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      11-06-2018, 02:46 AM   #15
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Lol what a read. Ive just spent good hour reading your travel blog! I was visiting korea this march, would love to go back
Oh yeah? If you come back hit me up and we'll do something fun and non-touristy, and likely BMW related
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      11-06-2018, 03:05 AM   #16
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Awesome Like your taste of AW and 6MT

Going to flash the ECU?
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      11-06-2018, 03:12 AM   #17
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Awesome Like your taste of AW and 6MT

Going to flash the ECU?
Yup! I want to get the M4 GTS tune at least, I'm not sure I want 7,000hp but something like the GTS tune would be nice.
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      11-06-2018, 04:09 AM   #18
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Read it all! What a dedication and a lucky man you are.

Enjoy the car and keep modding!

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      11-06-2018, 08:19 AM   #19
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Trying to get through break-in

Desperately trying to get through break-in - a story of pain and suffering

The title may be melodramatic, but the principle is still relevant - break in periods suck. Being my first new car I am not used to this "break-in" concept. As such a few rules may have been broken regardless. What WAS interesting to experience was feeling how certain parts started to break-in as I drove more and more. This only really applies to truly mechanical systems, and wouldn't apply to say, the "steering feel." Surprisingly enough, things like the clutch and brakes definitely "broke in" and even the engine seemed to loosen up a bit after more miles were put on.

A lot of my driving is local, during my burdensome work commute that entails driving ocer vast terrains finishing my journey after a grueling 9km - each way - I knew I had to do something otherwise I wouldn't finish break-in until next year.

So i decided to just get in the car and drive for a bit, which isn't a common thing to do here given the $6.75/gallon for premium gas. It was a holiday, "Korean Thanksgiving", and so I jumped on the freeway and just started driving.

The funny thing is, I was happy to report there was no traffic and I ended up on a newly built road that had only 2 speed cameras for about 60km, no traffic, and smooth roads! What could be better than that??



The downside to the drive though was that it was almost 3 hours on toll roads which means I gotta pay... right? Well I worked out that if I start back close to where I started from then I wouldn't actually have to pay very much. There's no way to turn around and go back the way you came on a toll road, so instead I went in an oval





Information tidbit, Korea is well known for their rest stops. They're absolutely huge, there are about 200 of them country-wide and they generate over a billion dollars of revenue annually - they're taken pretty seriously. If you think about it, it's important to have all encompassing service stations because you can't just hop on and off the expressway whenever because it's a toll road.

These places have everything - gas stations, food court, coffee, bathrooms, convenience stores, street food, clothing shops, pet relief areas, playground, etc.

Here are some pictures that I totally stole off the internet if anybody is curious.















So I stopped at a rest stop for ice cream. These things are good, but if you really want to spice up your life you have to try a goo-goo cone. Goo-goo cones are well, ice cream cones, but they're chocolate with marshmellow, nuts, chocolate sauce, pixie dust......etc.





Then I trekked home.

It took 3ish hours to do 230km, with some definite speeding in there, but also some traffic pockets. It's important to remember that almost all highways are 100km/hr which is pretty slow so it takes forever to get anywhere. It wears on you, and then you slowly begin to accept it and before you know it, you've lost your soul too!

So I set out to speed up the break-in process but I realized once I got back that... 200km-ish is only 10% of the break-in period. I still had a looong way to go....

***Note: yes, driving on the freeway is incredibly boring. However: it's also difficult to find mountain roads that are worth driving on because unfortunately, many two lane "less traveled" roads have tons of speed bumps. This is because theres some law that requires a certain amount of speed regulation per XX km of road, and they don't want to spring for speed cameras on these road types so they just threw in speed bumps. Ugh.
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      11-06-2018, 08:34 AM   #20
twboy1999
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great write up

enjoyed the reading!!
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      11-06-2018, 10:32 AM   #21
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Wow AW looks really good on the M2C. I felt it was pretty blah on the OG M2 but something about the changes to the bumper with the black wheels make it look great.
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      11-06-2018, 10:36 AM   #22
Cavpilot2k
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Love me some kimchi. Never ate it fried with rice when I lived there, only traditional cold on white rice.

CHop chae bop is still one of my favorite meals.
And chicken cheese ramen (ramyon).

I lived there for a year in 2000-2001 while in the US Army. One of the greatest experiences of my life. I love Korea and Korean food.
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