A drive to remember

As we all know, the reason Michelle and I were able to move here to the coast is because the Mighty P let us telecommute from here. My normal work attire now is shorts, t-shirt and no shoes or sock.

However, the expectation when we moved here was that we would need to come back from time to time and work in the office. This week was a whirlwind trip for me. The drive up was uneventful, and the time in the office productive. My boss also convinced me to finally let him take me out for my 5th anniversary lunch. (My second 5th anniversary.)

We went to Red Robin! YUM!!!

But it was the drive home, that will be remembered.

Since I am not up there often, I took the opportunity to swing by and see mom on the way home. She, I and my stepdad Doug hung out for a bit, and it was fun!  But being Friday, I knew I had to get on the road, and I would be suffering through hours long traffic. Rush hour in the northwest sucks-ass, and I had to fight some of the worst to get through Tacoma and Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM). I was expecting a long night…

As I took off, Doug suggested skipping I-5 to begin with, and cutting through the tideflats of Fife. It was a bit of a challenge, which included a uturn through a carwash parking lot, to get to the flats. Soon though I was flying at 50 mph, and hearing on the radio that I-5 was stopped dead just to the east.  Good call Doug!

I made it to I-5, and I was prepared for bumper to bumper all the way past JBLM through  Olympia….

Ladies and gents, I don’t know if the traffic gods smiled or it was just dumb luck, but bumper to bumper didn’t happen. I had to stop once just before the main gate and once in Olympia. Otherwise I was at the speed limit!

Now, if you are not a Northwest commuter, you probably have no idea how large the odds are against this! To put it in perspective, you have a better chance of spotting Bigfoot than having a speed limit commute on Friday in the Puget Sound area!

Damn, I shoulda kept an eye out for him!

Once south of Olympia, I was home free!!

The only hiccup I experienced was that the rest area I stopped at, the last before Oregon, was broken! NOOOOOoooo!!!!

I was lucky in two things, 1) It was NOT a potential bladder bursting stop, and 2) being a cyclist I keep an eye out in all travels for bathrooms. You just never know when you might need one! Today was that day, and 10 miles into Oregon was one I knew of, and life was good again!

Along about the time I was getting close to the Ocean, I was getting hungry. My Red Robin mushroom Swiss burger was wearing off. It was also starting to get very dark as the sun sets early these days. The first 2 towns you hit are Astoria and Seaside (Seaside, of course, being the Armpit of the coast). These are the two biggest towns I would be going through, so this was my best chance for a Subway sandwich.

Sure enough, in the armpit, I mean Seaside, I spotted my dinner. I got a BMT wrap, Rootbeer (no Diet Mtn Dew sadly) and a cookie! I got back to the car, started the car and then things got REALLY interesting.

One of the headlights burned out….

Now on I-5 or in town, this isn’t a big deal. There are plenty of street lights and the roads are relatively straight.

Where I was, heading was a twisting, dark ocean hwy, on a cloudy moonless night…

Well now, I was about 90 minutes or so from home, I had no idea how to replace the lightbulb (I do now) and most stores are closed. So I either hunker down and wait for daylight, or say what the hell, and go for it.

Anyone who knows me knows there was only one answer….  So with a big root beer gulp, I was southbound!

Now the one thing in my favor, was that the high beams still had both bulbs. But with other cars coming at me and the occasional fog bank, I couldn’t run the highbeams the whole way…

It was an interesting drive, but, using the high beams as much as I could and keeping the eyes peeled, I was soon in Tillamook. Only about 35 miles to go! Homefree… Or so I thought.

South of Tillamook, the road gets twistier. And, if possible, it gets darker. And just for added fun, the weather gods decided to join the fun…

Rain. Not mist, not drizzle, not showers. We are talking full on gully washin, sideways blowing downpour!! This would be hard to see in through in the daylight. Let alone with one light at 830 PM at the end of October!! Here there was no choice though, there was no place to pull over of I wanted to.

So, I pointed my nose south, put the wipers on max, and at times drove by Braille…. But south I went!

Along about 930 I finally got to Lincoln City, and I could relax the white knuckles a bit… I won’t lie, there was a huge sigh of relief when I pulled into the garage. Not to mention a glass of wine before bed!

This morning, with the magic of YouTube and the help of the nice guys at Napa (there was only ONE of the bulbs I needed in stock) I was able to replace the burned out bulb!!

I guess the lesson here is: The travel gods giveth and they taketh away. But I have always heard the travel gods also watch out for fools, drunks, and bike riding WSU Cougar fans!

It is good to be home!


2 thoughts on “A drive to remember

  1. Them gods sure are powerful! Glad you learned how to replace the bulb — that’s a good skill to have. Someday I bet you’ll be able to impress a beautiful woman named Michelle with that skill. 😉

Leave a Reply