The Theme continues! Name those cars…
After rain in the east, and snow in the west, the car is filthy:
So after breakfast at the hotel and a gas stop at Costco, we head to the “Hippo Car Wash” in Coeur d’Alene to get the car cleaned up. They do a great job!
Continue reading “Not the Cannonball, Day 6: WASHington & The Finish”
The car begins a climb up a mild grade. I can’t recall if it was me pushing the pedal just a bit more, or the automatic
transmission kicking down under the load, but the rear end kicks out just slightly to the right. Only a few minutes
before I had remarked to my father “it feels like I have more grip here.” Well all grip was now gone, and we’re starting
a lazy spin at about 45 MPH headed for the median between the lanes. Dad grabs the dashboard and says “oh god”
with obvious fear in his voice. Oddly I’m calm and have no feeling of dread. I really do not want
to cross the median and put us at risk of oncoming traffic. I manage to correct our counter-clockwise rotation, only
to exchange it for clockwise, but at least now we’re headed for the shoulder and not who ever is driving eastbound.
I am looking ahead, oddly through the driver’s side window and considering our options. I’m not in fear for us, so
much as I am the car. I’m calm and my brain is telling me what to do. “Don’t slam on the brakes.” “No crazy wheel
motions.” “You are going to be OK.” “Just find a soft landing spot, and aim for it.” We’re not really moving that
fast, and we’re wrapped in three thousand pounds of German steel. Mind you it is German steel that is tumbling like
an off-course V-1 rocket in a flat spin, but for some odd reason I have no fear for our health. I’m worried about
over-shooting the shoulder and going too far into the ditch. If that happens we could be stuck and seriously damage
the car. I’m also worried about running over any of the reflector posts spaced at intervals along the roadside.
I’m able to make minor adjustments to the car’s attitude but have no hope of recovering fully from the spin at this
point. I tell Dad, “Hang on.” I’ve got the spin stopped and now we’re just sliding sideways, but inexorably also
towards the shoulder. I’m completely off the pedals now and decide where I want to come to a stop. A place between
two reflector posts, and short of a dead tree in the ditch. As soon as the front tires hit the grass I brake and turn the
wheel to the left, which pivots the rear end forward and completes our 360Â° spin, bringing us to a halt with the car
facing the westbound direction of travel in the grass.
You ask yourself “How did we get here?”
Our hope was to make it to Bozeman, or maybe Missoula, Montana today, in order to be within a days drive of home.
Instead we are delayed in Fargo while we have our grinding rear brake looked at.
Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota.
I love to explore new places, and re-explore places I’ve been before. For navigation in these sorts of situations I prefer to follow my nose and my whims. Today however we follow the nagging voice of some bitch named “Garmin”. She’s demanding. She’s heartless. She sends you on wild goose chases with no reward.
Dad has a GPS unit and fiddles with the damn thing all the time. I actually had a GPS back in the 1990s. It had no UI, just a serial cable to my old PowerBook, and fed data into a mapping program. It was a cool toy to play with, but I threw it away after a short while as it only served to distract me from the ENJOYMENT of exploration. I have chosen to go old-school… just an atlas, my innate sense of direction, and my whims. My father would rather trust Mrs. Garmin though.
The red-eye flight from Seattle to NYC is miserable, but a smiling Dad is there to meet me for the next leg to Burlington, VT. I am able to catch some sleep on the next flight. The nice folks from RPM pick us up at Burlington and provide a ride to Vergennes. The 450sl is washed and waiting for us there. We pack up our stuff in the generous trunk.
Before we leave (around noon) however we take a moment to get a quick tour from Peter Markowski of their shop and current projects…