Road Trip

Emblazoned with California plates and a Seahawks cap, our intrepid columnist braves the highways and byways of the Western United States.

First things first. This will not be about the upcoming road trip to training camp in Cheney. The subject is coincidental, almost. I do encourage anybody who can make it to go to that, though. It should be a blast.

No, what I’m doing here is following in the footsteps of all those movie college clowns who, when the going gets really tough, and the world is closing in, opt to bail out and take a Road Trip. Yep, when the going gets tough, the tough get going……out of town.

The actual event that occasioned this trip for me is a small family reunion, occurring this afternoon in Auburn. Why I drove 1100 mile to attend an afternoon soiree in the park is no secret. As Jimmy Buffett once wrote, “California has worn me quite thin.” Things were closing in a bit.

My plans for moving have been bogged down by every excuse I can think of, and some I didn’t think of but came up anyway to assist me in procrastinating. This family gathering was planned somewhat at the last minute. But I looked at the pile of boxes in my dining room, thought about some complications that were popping up in my life and thought decided, “I have to get out of here!”

Some random thoughts on spending two days on the road in California, Oregon, and Washington:

The Good

Seeing Mount Rainier peek over the trees at the Scatter Creek rest stop. I know I’m close to home when I see that.

Crossing the Columbia River and seeing solid cloud cover on the Washington side. It didn’t rain, but I had covered my load pretty good anyway. It’s always good to plan for the unforeseen.

Trees. Lots and lots of trees. There is a place on I-5, climbing into the mountains north of LA, where there is a sign welcoming everybody to the Cleveland National Forest. Normal enough, you might think. But ironic, as can only happen in Southern California, it seems. There isn’t a tree to be seen within miles of that sign. It’s nice to be in a place where the “forests” have trees in them. Not to mention a place where the rivers have water in them.

Getting out of California.

Seeing the family.

Seeing bad drivers pulling over to the side of the road, shortly after they exhibit some of their worst maneuvers.

The Bad

Seeing a “Check Engine” light three miles into an 1100 mile trip. It only blinked momentarily, but it does give one something to worry about over the course of a day and a half long road trip. It never came on again. Go figure. Maybe it was just teasing me, trying to convince me to turn around and give up the quest. No way.

Traffic. Blech. I had originally wanted to leave Wednesday evening, but circumstances were not in my favor. Driving through 50 miles of LA traffic just flat out sucks. Mental note to self: Next primary vehicle needs functioning air conditioner.

Heat. It’s really funny, considering my aversion to hot, sunny weather that I spent so many years living in California. Lord I hate the heat. Ah well. Hopefully I can get out soon. Of course, with the recent heat wave in Western Washington, I guess I’m not escaping much.

Seeing that bad drivers (see above) sometime cause problems. There was another vehicle pulling over with him. I didn’t actually see it, but I assume he clipped him.

I have to go back.

Moving to Washington is taking longer than I wanted. I probably won’t make the beginning of the season. Darn.

The Ugly

My arms and legs. Mental note to self. When on said road trip, don’t stop for a snooze in the California delta area on a warm summer evening. Or at least cover up. They have mosquitoes, and other bugs, too. They ate me alive.

One of the worst exhibitions of driving I’ve seen in years. In the midst of a traffic jam in beautiful downtown Lacey, WA, a Mitsubishi sports car passed me on the right, changed lanes in front of me to get to the inside lane, passed two other cars in front of me while moving over to the right hand lane, then diving back across to the inside lane in one move, all within the space of about a quarter mile. See above.

My truck. Looks bad, but runs good. That’s what matters, right?

Well, I survived another jaunt up I-5. I’ve driven the length of that road several times. I wasn’t sure my truck would make it. I bought it used last fall, and I hadn’t really road tested it, with a few hundred pounds of stuff in the bed, over a long haul trip. Well, now I have. Hopefully, it holds up. I need to drive that road at least two more times, once to get back to California, and one more when I finally move permanently.

This trip is preliminary. One load done, and into storage locally. Opened up a PO Box so I have somewhere to forward my mail. Slowly, painfully, I’m going to get this done.

Good, bad, or ugly, I’m home for a few days now. Pretty soon, I’m coming home to stay.

Steve Utz writes a column for Seahawks.NET every Sunday. Send your feedback to Steve at Top Stories