Coffee is a big part of Seattle culture, and there are tons of little drive through espresso stands to get some fresh coffee. I'm told some of them even have "bikini barista's". On my way out of town I had to stop and get some because after just sitting in a car for days the short workout made me a little tired. The barista's at the stand I stopped at were fully clad, but they had a rather american menu option.
Oregon was pretty much like this, cold barren and not much there. That night was particularly cold, it's not fun trying to start a diesel engine when it's -7 in the morning, but at least there was a nice sunrise
Oregon and Idaho were pretty hilly and desolate, but once I hit Utah there were clear blues skies and that reflecting off of the snow was pretty neat, it was also very flat which was good for the gas mileage.
It was a pretty remarkable day considering the terrain change that occurred. I started out with sort of scubgrass plains in Oregon and Idaho. Then I hit barren Utah and near Salt Lake I hit the mountains again, and heading east toward Green River, I went through a portion of canyon country.
By the next morning I was back into Wyoming but the southern side this time. It was sort of snowing, but really windy, so not much to look at.
At this point, after two solid days in the car I found this gas station name a little funny. But Wyoming was good for cheap diesel.
Shortly after crossing into Nebraska, I caught up to this tractor trailer. It was going at a good speed and since elevation change doesn't exist in Nebraska I just set the cruise control the same speed as him and tucked in about 30ft behind him.
Oh look a huge train, and the same truck. We both even had to stop for fuel at the same exit. I caught up to it again shortly after getting back on the highway. I seriously drafted the same semi for about 400 miles.
There was some huge roadway monument so I took a picture of it. You can get a sense of how exciting Nebraska is, after driving 500miles through it, I took pictures of a train and a monument and that was it.
Two consecutive nights is my mental and personal hygiene limit to sleeping in my car. This was my hotel room about 30 seconds after I entered it. I then ironed my jeans, and walked to a nearby micro-brewery, drank some beer and slept like a baby.
Compared to the previous day, today had a lot of states to cross and several big cities.
This was a pretty cool bridge over the Missouri River in Kansas City.
This was one of three Centralia's that I passed on the trip, but none of them boasted an underground coal fire that's been burning for 50 years, so I didn't think it was worth stopping for.
Hmmm St. Louis traffic with cross wind and a boat trailer, so fun.
I managed to pry my white knuckles off the steering wheel for a second to grab this rather bad photo of the arch. I kept trucking the rest of the evening before making it about an hour or so west of Chattooga where I would drop 4 of the boats off the next day.
One last picture of the full trailer before dropping the first four off.
If you look closely above and to the inside of the trailer lights you can see the little bike lights I zip tied on the trailer and would turn on at night. While this was sketchy at best, it was apparently legal enough for the half a dozen cops I drove past at night.
Oh look its those long boats where you face the wrong way and an angry midget tells you what to do...
After dropping off the boats I stopped by NOC to say hello to the people there and go for another paddle. It was nice to see some familiar faces there and good to get out in the boat again. The paddle was pretty much like every other time I paddle with Hipgrave. I was 100 yards upstream warming up and he gives a signal and just goes for it. I spend the next 15 mins trying my hardest to catch up while trying to appear that I'm not trying hard. Eventually he slows down a bit and I catch up, but that's the way it goes between two competitive people. Each of us is secretly trying to drop the other while looking like they aren't trying, haha I love it.
After the paddle the plan was to meet another friend at a brewery in Asheville, but of course what's a long road trip in the blazer without a break down. About 30mins from Asheville I was getting pretty hungry so I pulled off to stop at a Subway, shortly after I put it in park the engine just died. I tried cranking it but it wasn't going, so I went to subway and got food so I wouldn't have to worry on an empty stomach. 30mins later its still dead, with my limited mechanical knowledge I quickly determine that it is outside the scope of my fixing and quickly put up a plea on facebook about diesel mechanics near Waynesville, I was soon able to get a mechanic/tow truck called and I received several support calls and texts for which I am very grateful for. The blazer was towed that night into Asheville, at least it's heading in the right direction. The mechanics were able to diagnose a bad fuel pump that night and that was all they could do. They were a pretty nice group, they made room for the kayak trailer so it could be locked up over night and pushed the blazer outside so I could sleep in it that night. That morning I went for a walk to get breakfast and to get out of their hair for a bit because the part hadn't arrived yet. Luckily there was a Bojangles nearby so that was a good way to start the day. Around 10:30 the fuel pump showed up and 15mins later the blazer was running, those guys knew what they were doing. I got the trailer back on and I was on the road again.
The final leg went reasonably quick its I drive that I know quite well at this point after working at NOC for two summers and going to several training camps and races there at other times. I also made it back into Sheetz territory which was good. Around 8:30pm I make it to Marysville to drop off two more boats and then make the final drive back to Montoursville. While this would seem like the point where I would start to relax, it wasn't. My first class of the spring semester started in less than two days and I had major laundry and packing to do as well as deal with the trailer of boats in the backyard. But it wasn't a big problem and eventually I was back at school with an epic adventure under my belt.
After 6167 miles of driving my boat from Worlds was at my house 100% intact
Since some time has passed since I finished the trip I'll add my comments of the trip.
Driving cross country and back with a trailer in the middle of winter is not a vacation it just isn't. I'm not going to say it was fun, because being in a car by yourself for 10 days isn't, but it was an experience. You can't have the good without the bad (sleeping in your car when it's -7 just plain sucks) and no matter how much you plan and prepare things happen, like your fuel pump giving out. All the cold, pain and discomfort are all in the past now, but the memories I have will stay with me.