I did travel recently! On sunday morning, with all the possesions I cared to carry, I took off for the east in my little Nissan, a gift from my wonderful sister.
Driving over the mountains through Snoqualmie pass was only slightly nerve wracking. I remember it being much more twisty and turny than it actually was, and before I knew it I was speeding past wineries in Yakima valley with the window down and the sun on my arm.
But, before I could even get out of the state I was forced to pay it one last exit fee.
Going 82mph in a 70mph zone on a long stretch of empty highway seems fairly conservative to me. Indeed there wasn’t much of the trip that I, and most others on the road, weren’t going around ten over the limit. I suppose they wouldn’t make much money if they actually expected anyone to follow the rules, though.
So I got picked out of the lottery of everyone breaking the rules to pay a little bit extra in taxes. And once he saw that I was a traveler and probably not likely to return any time soon, he wrote me an extra fee for only wearing one seat-belt. This would be the first of many unexpected expenses..
Oh well! Travelers and explorers throughout history have always run the risk of being waylaid by bandits during their adventures, at least mine was a short delay!
I’m back on the road and into Oregon! I stopped in Hermiston and Baker City, then sped along with nothing out of the ordinary or interesting, besides the lovely scenery, and broke through into Idaho.
I stopped in Boise, which I thought would be much bigger, and had a beer and a tostada (which was really good) at a mexican restaurant I can’t remember the name of.
Then somewhere between twin falls and Ogden I drove into an awesome storm.
I got right under those clouds, and lightning was flashing all around me, sometimes hitting places I felt were less than a mile off the road from me. It was really beautiful and exciting!
Finally I made it to Ogden Utah to stay the night. I tried to follow the signs to a motel 6, but I couldn’t find it. I have horrible eyes at night. So I ended up staying at a Comfort Inn, which was certainly nice, though twice the price.
I had pizza and beer in the room and chatted with friends and made facebook pasts, generally just let the world know I was alright.
The next morning I hit the road again, expecting to make it to Longmont, my final destination, by that evening. As I set out on the highway, I noticed my car was being very wobbly. I’d noticed this before on my way there, that at certain speeds the car would shake a lot, and I figured that was just how the car was, but this was really bad. So I stopped to take a look at the tires and found one was almost flat, and as I was filling it up I saw that a patch of it was as bald as a race-car tire.
Some friendly folks directed me to a Discount Tire and I got myself a new one (which was not discounted at all) after sitting outside looking at some mountains while I waited
I took off, now with a much smoother ride, and only delayed by a couple hours.
Big and brown and empty with no phone service anywhere. Rock springs was really pretty, though I didn’t actually notice the city.
But most of it was just empty nothing as far as I could see. I still enjoyed the ride though, the window down and the wind in my face, rolling ceaselessly down the road… until, just as I was thinking how smoothly things were going, my car starts choking. And stops, 70 miles from nowhere. With no signal on my phone.
By some stroke of luck, it was no more than a few minutes before a cop pulled up behind me and called a tow truck. It was then 30 anxiety-ridden minutes standing alone on the road in the middle of a dessert waiting for it to show up. And when they finally did, I was filled with an unreasonable fear that they would rob me or rip me off somehow, perhaps I’ve watched too many movies.
I was given a choice of going back 30 miles to Rawlins, or forward 70 miles to Laramie. Going forward was twice the price, but I could not bring myself to pay someone to take me backwards. So onward it was.
I rode in the back seat of the two truck as we drove in silence most of the way. The two tow truck operators conversed some with each other, and my unreasonable fears returned again briefly as they pulled off the highway to stop at a lonely shed. One of the drivers wanted to check on his dog… not whatever I was thinking…
We reached Laramie, and I was dropped off at GM dealership where a helpful employee told me he’ll have someone look at it tomorrow, and drove me across the street to another Comfort Inn, only another 2 hours from my final destination.
Still no signal on my phone, but at least I had wireless, and was able to chat with friends and family and post updates.
I walked across the street to an Applebees that night, and a tour-bus was parked outside. At the bar I ordered a steak and a beer and overheard a group of guys chatting with the waitress about how they were playing a show In Denver in the stadium on Saturday. I didn’t recognize them, but as I left I saw them getting into the tour-bus. I searched a bit online and… they may have been Kenny Chesney and/or Tim McGraw… there weren’t that many shows in Denver in stadiums on Saturday to choose from..
In the morning I called the dealership from the hotel phone, and they told me that I needed a new alternator. Three hours later they had finally installed it and I was on the road once more, feeling nervous about what else might go wrong in the short time left in my trip.
A few miles outside of Cheyenne and finally my service was back, and my phone beeped and hummed with stored up incoming messages. It was a nice sound 🙂
From Cheyenne I turn south and enter Colorado!
Its green! And there are cars on the road! There are houses dotting the plains!
I stopped in Wellington for gas and then passed through Fort Collins and experienced traffic! It felt really good to be back in civilization again.
I finally pulled up to my friends place he helped me unload my car while we caught up, then we were off and straight away hit two breweries.
I think I’m going to like my time here in Colorado 🙂