If you’ve been following my blog at all (and if you care) you’ve read about my engine woes. I burnt it up when trying adjust my carb settings trying to get rid of an area of throttle movement that caused the engine to bog down. I sent the engine back to the manufacturer and it was rebuilt. Then as I was breaking in the new engine it burnt up again. I sent it back to the manufacturer and they rebuilt it AGAIN. This time recommending we try a different carburetor and two-stroke oil. To ensure it was done right I asked that the engine be sent back to Six-Chuter and that they do the break-in.
The engine was sent to Six-Chuter’s engine guru, Rolando Santiago who lives outside of Vancouver Washington rather than at the factory in Wenatchee. I loaded up the airplane into my trailer and (with my wife who graciously offered to come with me) hit the road. Bear in mind this was a day and a half after we got home from our anniversary trip to Hawaii. Also bear in mind that the Pacific NorthWest was about to be hit with a huge wet storm.
The drive up was nice. We listened to the radio, talked about our Hawaii trip, how amazing it was that we were just there, and now we were here. Our goal was to make it to Cottage Grove, OR the first day. We did. Unfortunately we were delayed by 2 hours due to a jacknifed big rig about half a mile ahead of us on the freeway. The rain had started and apparently this rig was not able to handle the tight turn at his chosen speed. We were supposed to arrive at Cottage Grove at 6:30pm but didn’t get there until 8:30pm. Driving in the rain and dark on mountainous roads was not what I had planned.
We finally arrived and the front desk called the restaurant and had them stay open for us. They were closing but they were very nice to us. We stayed at the Village Green Resort and Gardens. The grounds are lovely but we couldn’t see them in the dark and rain. The rooms are kind of dated but the grounds more than make up for it. The next morning it was still raining but we could at least get a look at the grounds before breakfast and hitting the road again.
This time it was only a three and a half hour drive to Rolando’s house. Most of the drive was unremarkable except for the gorgeous scenery. 🙂 All except for the drive through Portland at lunchtime, in the rain. (I need to stop typing “in the rain” because it rained non-stop while we were there.) Rolando meet us at a gas station near his house and then showed us to his super-secret hidden driveway. My trusty truck slogged the trailer up into Rolando’s yard and I unhitched the trailer and left it in his capable hands. He and his son would do the engine install and breakin and then call me when it was done. My wife and I were free to go explore.
Because of the rain and our fatigue from all the driving the only thing we wanted to explore was our hotel room. We crashed and took a nap at the Red Lion Inn which was right on the Columbia River. We had dinner and then crashed again afterwards. I found our room number amusing and somewhat ironic due to the fact it was a non-smoking room.
The next morning we wanted to take a look at Portland and get some coffee. We pulled up just past the coffee place and a homeless man began lounging on my truck. >:-( I asked him in a rather ungracious way to please remove himself from my truck. He started to walk away then turned around and started screaming at us. I told Cristy that coffee in Portland was a bust. We headed for Vancouver WA instead and found a great little coffee place called Pines Coffee House. I can tell you after comparing both towns I can see what Vancouver insisted on a river with drawbridges between them and Portland.
We had lunch at a great little Thai restaurant called Thai Orchid. They have a great mix of Thai food and sushi, which, surprised us a little. However the food was good and was a great place to stay out of the rain. To help Cristy relax a little I found her a boutique called Not Too Shabby. Boutiquing helps Cristy decompress after travelling. Right about the time she was finishing up we got the call that the engine was done.
It was 2:30 in the afternoon and by the time I picked up the trailer and airplane it would be 3:30pm. I knew we wouldn’t get far but at least we could get south of Portland! We loaded up and made it as far as Salem. It was pretty stormy the whole way. Probably the heaviest rain I had driven in for quote some time and pulling a trailer to boot. We got to the Red Lion in Salem and hit our room and collapsed on the bed. We took a quick nap before dinner and a long nap afterwards.
The rain abated somewhat overnight. When we got on the road at 8:00am it was only drizzling. It had stopped raining by about Roseburg, OR and by the time we climbed the big grade out of Ashland and pulled into Calfornia the clouds were starting to break up. It’s amazing how the rain just stopped at the California border. I guess we’re not paying our rain bill or something. Before I go on I have to say I had the best gluten-free muffin I have ever tasted in my life at The Stars and Dreams Gluten-free Bakery. They also sell gluten-free breakfast sandwiches and hamburgers.
There were very few clouds as we drove past Mt. Shasta except for the standing lenticular clouds at it’s summit. As we drove down the grade into Redding there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We finally pulled into home at about 7:30pm, my first vacation from work, and our 30th anniversary trips finally done. What we learned is that we really enjoy travelling and if we could drive shorter distances and had a travel trailer with us that we would enjoy travelling even more.