with Steve McCarthy
This is going to be a short column this time. Now don’t all applaud at once! Sheesh! Two reasons. One, I gave you a bonus column last month as I ranted on about Road Trips vs. a trip to the Mouse House. Two, we’re about to set off on our usual summer Massive Road Trip, and with the aid of modern technology, we’ll be posting updates from the road via Marianne’s iPad! Oh, did I mention we’re taking the TR?
Destination will again be Olympia, WA to see my folks and sister and her husband, and this time, we’ll also take in the new LeMay Museum. I’ll give you all a full account of this exciting new place. Oly is the destination because my dad’s health isn’t so good, and we want to spend as much time up there as possible. Now you might ask why take the TR? Why not jump on the Crowd Killer (as my friend Doc Jones calls a 737) and fly? First is comfort. Have you flown lately? I’m telling ya, three days in the TR is far more comfy that 2 ½ hours riding the rack that passes for an airline seat these days. I SWEAR the last time we flew up there, the whole crew was dressed up to look like the Spanish Inquisition. I didn’t expect that!
Another is expense. Flying has really gotten to cost too damn much money. And, you get no sense of travel anymore. At one faceless generic airport, you get rammed, jammed, and crammed into a tube, like Croppies into a gun at Athlone (look up the historical allusion yourself, I’m not teaching history anymore) and then extruded like human PlayDo out the other end into another TSA dominated penal colony. Who needs it? OK, whine whine whine. Get on with it.
Sure. The first thing of course is to make sure the Blue Meanie is up to it. After the last misadventure with the wheel bearing, I need to make sure things are all good. After all, 1300+ miles one way is a lot to ask. All the usual maintenance chores need to be seen to. Radiator flushed, oil and filter changed, fresh plugs, dress the points (never EVER take a trip on brand new points. The tab that runs on the distributor will wear a bunch in the first 100 miles and you’ll have to reset them at the motel that night), and adjust the brakes. Hmmm, lookee there. Seems there’s a bolt missing from one of the rear shocks. UGH. OK,easy fix and good to do it now rather than on the road. Lube up the suspension and add air to the spare and road tires and things should be good to go.
Well, not so fast. Took a little test drive and WTF? There’s a screaming from the engine bay! OH NO! Pop the bonnet and ugh. Again. Seems the twelve year old generator has decided that it’s bearings have had enough. Still, it beats sitting in a motel waiting for Moss Motors to ship me one and seriously, TWELVE YEARS ON A LUCAS GENERATOR? That’s pretty damn good if you ask me. The secret? Star Auto Electric in Monrovia. Mike there is a friggin’ genius. A but crusty perhaps, but do what he says and electrical stuff will work right and LAST. Even Lucas!
The next bit of planning is for luggage. Normally, Marianne will put up with sharing a backpack for a three day jaunt. She’s not having it for this trip and I can’t really blame her. So, a quick rearrangement of the tools and spares into a smaller tool box and stashing the larger bits in with the spare tire and why, there’s enough room in the trunk for an actual suitcase! Then, a quick look on the internet and hey, there’s a luggage rack that will mount on the trunk, will not need hole drilled and will cost a LOT less that Moss. Got it the other day, and it works great. Holds an even bigger suitcase for Marianne! Add some leather belts from Ross and it looks pretty cool! We’ll bring some large trash bags to keep things dry as the inevitable rain comes. We ARE going the the PacNW after all.
The last bit is the route. If you think for one second that we’re taking the I-5 through the Central Valley in July you must think we’re stooopid. Crazy, sure. We ARE taking the TR. Nope, we’ll take the Coast. All of it. Hwys 101 and 1. Quite probably the most beautiful drive that there is. We’re not going to flog it, we just want to cruise and take in the beauty. First night will be in Santa Cruz, second in either Crescent City or Eureka then Olympia. Google maps says 1347 miles. We’ve already spotted a few Must Sees. The Marin French Cheese Company in Petaluma (we would have added the only place in the west that makes Fois Gras but because our lame ass legislature bowed to PETA’s idiotic onslaught this delectable bit of culinary genius is now illegal in the Golden State!) as well as the Blue Heron French Cheese Company in Tillamook, OR will be on the list. Also Fort Ross, the Samoa Cookhouse, the Drive Through Tree and a bunch of other neat stuff await us.
So, stay tuned, same time, same place and we’ll let you know From the Road!