On the road again....

john peck

Well-Known Member
#1
Well it's that time of year when cabin fever conquers common sense & I brace myself to face junk food & road rage.
Time to put the bike on the rack of my disreputable, rusting 33 year old van & take it for a ride. I water the small
weed growing out below the windshield wiper & load every imaginable bit of recreational paraphenalia carefully
organized for at least the first day's travel. That little weed grows back every year; I call it Gort.
Reviewing my pile of topo maps, I tossed my planned route out the window & put 'er in gear. Houston, we have
lift off!
Inevitably, I know I'll have a break down of some kind along the way, I call it maintenance. A couple years back
the van spent a week parked in a gas station while I rode the Historic Columbia River Trail. It got towed....twice
across the Bridge of the Gods to Cascade Locks. This time I was far more fortunate, having only to spend 2 hours
in a parts store parking lot replacing my solenoid. I allow myself up to 1500 miles for travel, roughly 50% of
my year's driving.
Now I have driven through Portland north to south, & it was a hellish experience at 0 to 4 mph. I only spent
about an hour lost after missing my exit. Und zo, I thought to myself west to east can't possibly be as bad.
I AM AN IDIOT! Came in on 30 in a torrential downpour at rush hour....on a Friday! B to B, trapped in a crawling
flood of steel & spray. boxed in by semis on all sides. Sign sez my exit is next, so naturally my signal lever picks
that moment to fall out on the floor! (later bought thread lock while doing solenoid) . Anywho, Needless to say,
I missed my exit again, & got even more lost than I thought humanly possible. I entered Portland at 4:30 &
finally left the Portland metro area at 9.
Throughout the trip I kept getting zoomed past by a couple in a red Camaro, & I thought to myself, if they
are in such a goddam hurry, how cum I keep getting ahead of them? There's no place like home; there's
no place like home.....
 
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Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
#2
I had an alternator fail at Cascade Locks. Was able to drive across the bridge and back (to see the only mechanic at the time) and spent the night there. Then back across to get alternator put in. There are worse places to have car trouble. I can also sympathize with you on getting misplaced in Portland. I'm not sure how I missed getting back on the alternate to I-5 after coming over Barlow Pass, but I did. I finally found I-5 and made it home. I have not tried going over Barlow since.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
#3
I used to be bolder, and take some of collection of antique Fords out on the road. In 1997 took the 1962 Fairlane to the Grand Canyon. That edelbrocked aftercooled hedman header 302 was a ball at 80-100 mph, the radar traps are not on the up side of the hills. Passed a similar model Fairlane by the side of I40 up the continental divide. The owner had not rebuilt his transmission before setting out and his clutches & bands weren't up to it.
The starter failed coasting down into Gallup NM, and weirdly enough, the local Autozone had one in stock. I didn't understand the shopping habits of the Native Am living up the road on US 666. Had really no idea the reservation inhabitants shopped out on the NM side of the line. But it was really convenient.
Last trip was in my 59 Custom 200 Ford (no chrome model) to Houston in 2005. No trouble that trip. I don't even try the interstates in big cities, I just get off and follow the old US # roads from one Target to Wall-mart to fast food restaurant to another. Slow, but predictable, no drama. Pity the states are pulling up all the markers on those - Indiana is particularly bad. Couldn't find my way across the Mississippi on the Eads bridge in 1982, all routes led to I64. 60 mph or nothing. On my bike, it will be nothing.
 
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john peck

Well-Known Member
#4
I used to be bolder, and take some of collection of antique Fords out on the road. In 1997 took the 1962 Fairlane to the Grand Canyon...... Couldn't find my way across the Mississippi on the Eads bridge in 1982, all routes led to I64. 60 mph or nothing. On my bike, it will be nothing.
I should probably get rid if that old van, but by now it's family & old straight sixes never die. It had a nice green moss patina, but the
wife snuck out & scraped it off when I was't lookin' Still, I've learned my lesson. It's more fun with less aggravation to travel slow &
not so far on the bike than to go long distance on busy hwys. with the van. I've had a couple break downs in that country. one
in a '63 fairlane, the other was hitchin' with the Navajos that rescued me on a dirt road outa Tuba City. Two of their 4 bald tires
went flat at once, So we all ended up hitchin' in triple digit weather. Guess I was the straw that broke the camel's back.:eek:
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
#5
I had an alternator fail at Cascade Locks. Was able to drive across the bridge and back (to see the only mechanic at the time) and spent the night there. Then back across to get alternator put in. There are worse places to have car trouble. I can also sympathize with you on getting misplaced in Portland. I'm not sure how I missed getting back on the alternate to I-5 after coming over Barlow Pass, but I did. I finally found I-5 and made it home. I have not tried going over Barlow since.
There's somethin' about The Bridge of the Gods; I ended up making 7 trips back & forth between parts in Stevens & a mechanic
in the Locks by the time I cleared out. I've grown to love that little burg. Are you familiar with the mythology surrounding
the ' Bridge of the Gods' ? Ya never can tell when you might meet a telepathic indian princess or an immortal wise old woman.
Oh, & It wasn't so much 'misplaced' as spontaneous exploration in the general direction.
 
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Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
#6
There's somethin' about The Bridge of the Gods; I ended up making 7 trips back & forth between parts in Stevens & a mechanic
in the Locks by the time I cleared out. I've grown to love that little burg. Are you familiar with the mythology surrounding
the ' Bridge of the Gods' ? Ya never can tell when you might meet a telepathic indian princess or an immortal wise old woman.
Oh, & It wasn't so much 'misplaced' as spontaneous exploration in the general direction.
Yup. My dad was born and raised downriver a bit from there and told us the story. Then there's the geological bit about it all. Did you know that the Columbia was also blocked by an earthquake upriver, near Entiat for a brief time? That was in the early days of "the pioneers" and is documented.

My Subaru went through 3 alternators and had a few other problems. I think I had a lemon.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
#7
Yup. My dad was born and raised downriver a bit from there and told us the story. Then there's the geological bit about it all. Did you know that the Columbia was also blocked by an earthquake upriver, near Entiat for a brief time? That was in the early days of "the pioneers" and is documented.

My Subaru went through 3 alternators and had a few other problems. I think I had a lemon.
I did not know about that, but was aware of the one that created prehistoric Lake Missoula & later the Scab Lands when the lake burst.
Not fond of the Scab Lands, Too many ticks.
The thing to remember about my breakdown in the Locks: Never let a diesel mechanic work on your ignition, never ever!