Saturday, August 21, 2010
Fool's Excellent Adventure
This past week, went to Washington State to pick up a “free” motor home. This blog will be long and rambling but will tie into the “Fool” title of this blog.
My long time friend, Dirty Al, used his windfall to purchase a magnificent 45’ diesel pusher Prevost Liberty motor home. He gave me his current motor home with the stipulation I moved it from his location by 8/21/10. Background here:
This trip ended up involving the use of three different bus systems, two airlines, two light rail systems, a taxi company, and the Washington State Ferry System. This meant I was subject to the policies and performance of multiple peoples I have no control over. Not something part of my skill set; at least, rarely used.
First was the ride to the airport on the regional bus system. The only trip available put me at the airport two hours early. Next, Alaska Airlines to SEA.
Fortunately, the plane had just three vacant seats. Otherwise, Alaska would have delayed it under some pretext until they had a revenue load. At SeaTac, had a great cell phone conversation with NFO http://oldnfo.blogspot.com/ Caught the light rail to downtown. Senior fare just $1.25. More on light rail later. Near Boeing Field, watched Air Force One pass over. The ONE came into town for a fund raiser, etc., for Senator Murray. I’m sure the Democratic Party was picking up the tab for the trip! Not the first time I’ve seen Air Force One but it is the first time I’ve seen the plane looking dingy; not gleaming as in the past.
Downtown for the rental car; 60% less than at the airport. Picked up my son and had a wonderful day. Next day turned in the rental car, used the Seattle bus system to get to the ferry terminal and took the ferry to Bremerton where I met Dirty Al. We had a great afternoon and evening. The next morning my dawn departure in the motor home took place about 11:30. 170 miles later, things got very interesting.
Being ranch raised and spending many years in the car business, I am accustomed to dealing with vehicles with problems. Al had some carburetor problems, probably the float, and the fuel would drain out if not run daily. This made the vehicle hard to start. Also, the idle was set too low, or idled too slow because of internal carburetor problems. Fool that I am, I took off anyway. Just approaching The Dalles, OR, the engine started running wide open. The foot feed had no effect. The over revving threw off one fan belt. I exited I 84 and started negotiating stop signs, etc. by “blipping” the engine with the ignition switch like it was a rotary engine and using the brakes and managed to get parked safely.
Some two hours later, I found a place to store the beast and got it safely to the storage facility. The storage owner expressed some interest in the beast. An interested buyer and a motivated seller is a beautiful thing. The motor home is now his problem.
Greyhound comes through The Dalles at 4:20 am. Caught some sleep in the motor home and had the local taxi take me to the bus stop. Greyhound now requires you to have a ticket; the driver cannot sell you one. If you don’t have a computer, internet, and a printer for your e-ticket, you are out of luck! I did ride that bus to Portland, OR where I paid my fare. The ticket seller was about as happy as a toll booth attendant after a ten hour shift but the deal got handled.
Light rail to PDX, $.95 for “Honored Citizens”. Family members please note: I am not an “old fart”, I am a “Honored Citizen”. Please address me accordingly. Bought the last seat on the next Frontier flight. Being nice to the hired help pays off. Paid the “ride in the baggage compartment” fare, at the last minute, for a window seat three rows back from the door, with leg room and in flight amenities. The lady said they were having a “special promotion”. Again, family members, I can be charming when needed + the rugged good looks.
Easy flight to Denver at FL38. Pilots maneuvered around the bumpies. For a 1830 arrival on a Denver summer afternoon, it was an unexpected treat.
I like the light rail but can’t help thinking how much it costs to build and the impact on neighborhoods. At least in Seattle, a lot of low income housing was lost. Sure, if a tornado went through Rainer Valley, the headlines would read, “Tornado touches down in Rainier Valley, does $7,000,000 in improvements.” Folks need to live somewhere. Do these systems ever make a profit?
Please don’t think the trip, for me, was a disaster. Disasters are floods, fires, dread diseases, deaths, and not having a terrorist with a SAM when you need one. I got a break in my routine, saw people I care about, spent time in some beautiful country, and had good food and conversations. All the rest was irritants, nothing more. One benefit of being a fool is most things are just petty b.s. Drive on!