Category Archives: Vacation 1

2012 summer vacation

Last Road Trip

The time is approaching… I will be quitting my job on June 1, 2012, cashing out my retirement and traveling around the warm part of the United States for three months.

This is the item at the top of my bucket list, and I’m pouring it all out! I’m sixty five years old, in questionable health, and I have no health insurance. Medicare? Don’t ask…

It’s not one of those ride off into the sunset scenarios. I have a home here in the valley, and a partner. It’s just something I need to do before I die. My employer has accepted my resignation and while they can’t guarantee my re-hire based on State rules, there is an understanding that I will re-apply the first of September.

My son Riley is prepping a sweet little 1988 Mazda B2200 pickup that’s a second owner vehicle and has been in the family since his grandmother acquired it from it’s first owner. 86K miles, 2.2-liter in-line four-cylinder sweety with a canopy for sleeping.

We’re going to make it extremely road ready and I’ll pick it up when I roll into Seattle on Sunday, June 3. I’ll stock up on travel supplies and depart Seattle on Tuesday, June 5.

The agenda is to hug the Pacific coastline heading south, all the way to San Diego, and then turning left, to the tip of Florida. I’ve done the Pacific run before and driven, flown and hitch-hiked the southern states, but I’ve never driven from San Diego to Miami.

I’m old and it will be my last run.

I’ll be living out of the truck, enjoying the beaches, showering at an occasional 24 Hour Fitness (getting a three month contract…) and maybe an occasional cheap motel.

I’ll also be borrowing bandwidth at every opportunity and documenting the adventure on this blog, which I started on June 6 last year after returning from Vegas.

Thanks for following my eclectic posts, and please stay tuned…

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Summer Ride

Here’s my new truck. It’s a 1988 Mazda B2200 extended cab with 87K miles. Riley and his buddy installed a new timing belt along with points, plugs, rotor etc…

Tires are next, maybe a new battery. Steph’s creating black curtains all the way around and I’ll be putting a foam bed in, along with camping equipment.

It’s a 5-speed so the mileage should be great. Interior pictures forthcoming.

I love my old truck Jack but there’s no place to sleep, and he only gets 10 mpg…

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Cool Places

I’ve been putting a lot of work into a program that presents lists of places, by state and category, that display on a Google map. You can load it up Here!

This is really a personal assistant to facilitate my travels this summer but if you venture out into the Western States you might find it of value.

Here’s an example of California State Parks:

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At The Market

Greyhound is just pathetic. The trips are long and drawn out and most of the passengers are just slow, sad and loud. Oh, and they all smoke!

Anyway, I’ve arrived in Seattle and I’m sitting at the Pike Place Market overlooking the waterfront. Not a bad day, a little overcast and the aromas are just driving me crazy. As soon as I post this I’m going to grab a pork Hum-bow for a morning snack.

Riley and Jess are heading up here this morning to grab me and maybe have some Chicken Adobo. They should be here in about an hour or so.

Sorry I can’t post any photos, all my connect tools are stashed away in my backpack but I’ll take a bunch today and post them tonight back at Riley’s place.

The truck is almost in my hands…

Update: I’ve just processed a set of photos I call Driggs To Market. These are shots of the Butte station, the diner across the street where I ate, along with some market shots and a couple from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure that was happening up on 2nd.

SlideShow (Driggs To Market)
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I left Kent, WA. early this morning in the rain. By the time I’d navigated up to the Pass I was surrounded by semis in a furious downpour when I hit standing water on the road. It was at that moment that me and my new little truck bonded.

The new used Goodyear tires with great tread that P.J’s mounted for me yesterday for $170 balanced, taxed and out the door, held their line and we made it through without a wiggle!

I’ve been cruising all day down the Southern route, through Boise and I’m now sitting at a Rest Stop due East of Twin Falls. I’m hoping to extract just enough juice from the distant neighbors to launch this post.

Bottom line: the truck is performing amazingly and if you’re reading this son, thank you and I love you!

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Seattle Clips

Here’s a little composite video from my Seattle trip.

It starts out with an old couple posing with the Gold Guy. The man spots me video taping him so he figures he better offer up a tip :-)

Then there’s a brief look at the early Pikes Place Market crowd followed by a couple of clips of the Komen Puget Sound Race for the Cure that was happening up on 2nd.

Finally I do a walk through of the Market with camera held casually in my right hand. That handsome, broad shouldered young man at the beginning is my son Riley. Notice how he spots my camera (at 2:20) and smiles :-)

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Home Away

Steph and I have been prepping my new Home Away From Home for the last couple of days. The bed of the truck has a gnarly ribbed surface that has been totally negated with a nice piece of Mahogany. The tailgate ribs were replaced with a hand-made knee pad.

The sleeping unit consists of multiple foam layers. There are containers for my stuff, a shelf, with water and a single burner cooking stove rounding out the back.

It’s an extended cab so the back contains food, clothes, coolers and charging units.

The cab is comfortable and I’ve installed some steering wheel security.

All the windows in the canopy have been completely blacked out. It should make for some good sleeping.

Now if I just had a roof for all three of my vehicles…

SlideShow (Home Away)

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Ontario, OR

I’m at a rest stop just East of Ontario, Oregon. This is the place where Jack blew his original engine when we were moving to Driggs, and where he got his new boxed 360.

This is my first night in the new canopy layout and I have to say, pretty comfy! I truly have everything I need here, except a shower :-) I’m using an 11 Mbps connection called roadconnect and I’m assuming it’s a courtesy wi-fi for travelers.

Heading straight across Oregon tomorrow, through Bend and on to Eugene. I’ve been to both those towns before, but never taken this route. It should be beautiful country so I’ll grab some shots and post them tomorrow evening. Next day, the Oregon coast!

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East Oregon

I asked the gas attendant what Hwy 20 heading to Bend was like and he said “typical boring Oregon highway”. Halfway there a large cougar crossed the road in front of me, the scenery was sparse but powerful and there’s a little town called Riley along the way. Not too boring…

Bend, OR was twice the size since my last visit about 9 years ago and I just blasted through there as my destination was the Oregon coast, west of Eugene. I should note that a Bend Arco had all pumps going at $4.09 a gallon because everyone else was at $4.29.

The surprising town was Sisters, OR, just north of Bend. What a tourist industry they have! Great little shops had the sidewalks jammed while traffic just crawled through town on this very pretty Sunday. I thought of what Driggs could be…

Arrived in Eugene around 4pm and located the road to Florence which is right on the Pacific Ocean, 90 miles away. Unfortunately, the rattle in the engine was getting worse.

Coming over the mountains down to Eugene the engine begin rattling when I let off the throttle. This was a new sound and had me concerned. Since it wasn’t going away I had a very hard choice to make, pass the point of no return and head south all the way to San Diego, or turn north just in case I had to limp it on up to Riley in Washington.

I went north, through Salem which has become a ten mile stretch of strip malls. Veered East of Portland along the Columbia river on 84 and traveled to Hood River where I grabbed a loose LinkSys for quick updates to Riley and Steph.

It’s 8:15pm and I’m hunkered down in a spot along the river with no internet, writing this for a post tomorrow.

I’ve changed my plans. In the morning I’m heading to Lewiston/Clarkston, WA and then to Missoula, MT along another route I’ve never been on. Hey, summer vacation is what it becomes!

After that, back home for a brief stint. I’ll get one of my local bro’s to track down that noise, and then onward…

I need to say something about gas prices before I put the netbook away. They really, really suck!

My mind is blown by how many people out here on the road are driving huge motor-homes, pulling large trailers with big trucks, and basically just putting in the vacation miles to get where they want to go. I thought we had a recession going on, how can they afford this?

I’m shelling out $100.00 a day and I drive a Mazda four banger with a five speed…

Breakfast = Shredded wheat, granola, bananas and powdered milk.

This view is better than sitting in front of my office monitor. :-)

Ok, the road is a bit boring…

SlideShow (East Oregon)

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Missoula Run

Woke up this morning along the majestic Columbia River and headed down to the sleepy town of The Dalles, OR for fuel and to launch yesterdays post.

The destination today was my favorite Montana town, Missoula. I had never driven the route I was embarking on and I figured it to be just a straight shot. It turned out to be far more.

Overall it was beautiful country, huge waterways and land formations combined with Walla Walla onion farms that stretched as far as you could see. The onion smell was amazing!

The stretch from Louiston, OR to Missoula, MT was 210 miles. I assumed a flat road and was ready to rock. It turned out to be 190 miles of sharp curved roads that followed a large raging river through incredible forests and if you didn’t do 55mph you would be run over. At the end I felt like I’d just run a Grand Prix…

The Columbia River.

Looking back on the Columbia.

My truck is waiting for me to quit shooting photos.

More of that cool formation.

Looking back at the raging river. Pretty calm here…

SlideShow (Missoula Run)

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Driggs To Beach

Having come within one hour of the Oregon coast, I’ve ploted a straight line from Driggs to it’s exact vertical position on the coast, and I’m making that my special destination

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Heat Map

This is a screen capture of the current gas prices in the U.S. as of this morning, provided by Click on the map to go there.

It accounts for my $100 a day gas habit as I recently bounced against the Pacific Coast.

I need to rethink my timing. I’ve heard gas prices are going down as the summer progresses and this site is my new best friend. Also check out my new menu option Fuel.

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Menan Buttes

The Menan Buttes are the remains of the only volcanic eruptions that have occurred in freshwater within the United States.

My travel truck needed a new windshield and the shop in Rexburg was only a few miles from the Buttes so the trips were combined today. There is a correlation here because the window erupting inward would have certainly sliced my head off!

Shot from Hwy 33.

On the backside.

A cool watering system.

Rock formations like this were all over the place.

Oh yeah, my new windshield!

SlideShow (Menan Buttes)

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Here We Go

Jill and I are on the road again. The first trip shakedown exposed the flaws and they have been corrected, both mechanically and logistically.

As long as I can score an internet connection, this blog will continue to rock. On Saturday, a quick visit with Riley in Washington, Sunday the Oregon coast!

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I first saw this old cement plant in Lime, Oregon a few weeks back while bringing my truck to Idaho. It’s on a big curve so the exit is past you by the time you see it.

I was determined to stop on the next trip (today) and came around the corner the other direction, and I’d passed the exit!

The first thing I thought was Oh Well, then I thought Screw That and drove several miles to the next exit and came back. It was an early morning good shoot!

SlideShow (Lime)

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