I do need to tidy some things up around here and get those posts up about San Diego, Artwalk/Sushi Gallery and Driving in Southern California, but this post marks END of the KREDDIBLE TROUT (part of the) WORLD TOUR 2010. Day three of the journey home was when I returned home.
So here goes.
Saturday. 10:45am. Car won't start.
Turn the key and nothing. Now, the calmer of y'all might have just got a jump-start and have had done with it but let's let the shock and irony sink in a bit.
Lets let the voice of the mechanic who checked out the Troutmobile before leaving Victoria repeat in your head "the starter motor needs attention... the blardy-blardo hose is corroded like I've never seen... it may last another 50 thousand K... it may pop tomorrow... once it goes you need a new starter... the blardy-blardo hose.... the blardy-blardo hose...."
(...I know very little about cars and in my memory it was the blardy-blardo hose, ok?)
A little more irony rubbed in the wound.
Now, I'm not the 'woe is me' sort and can usually find a pretty cheery outlook on things, but when the car won't start and your ONE DAY'S DRIVE from home after being on the road for 6 WEEKS even Spock would say 'Well isn't that just my luck?!'
So... in a state of shock (hadn't had coffee yet either so... you just can't even imagine) I wandered into the motel lobby...
'um... um... do... you... do you know of... a... mechanic in the... in the area?'
'Not around here sir. here's one about a 15 minute walk away...'
'So... my car won't start and... and it's almost 11, can I leave my stuff in the room a little longer?'
'Of course, check out isn't til noon.'
'oh. that's good news. So... maybe I'll go across to the gas station... maybe they'll have an idea about a garage...'
What little money I had left felt at that point like it was lodged in the left ventricle of my heart and it would take crude surgery to get it out. But it'd have to come out and I might need to see what I could scrape up off the pit of my stomach too...
I called my support staff. Michelle's cheery voice turned very cautious as she heard the news. The caution was probably one part concern for my state and one part shock of her own. (She's the guilt riddled one... she probably started blaming herself.) I told her I was on my way to a Kia dealership up the street at the suggestion of the gas station guy. She asked if I'd tried to get a jump for it.
It honestly hadn't occurred to me. Or maybe it did. I can't remember. The way the car sounded.. it was like nothing was happening. I've heard cars try to start before... it didn't sound like it was trying. To be honest, my immediate thought was the blardy-blardo hose and the starter being shot. My immediate thought was upwards of seven hundred dollars as a complete guess.
I decided to stop being in shock, realized I was highly under-caffinated, and began thinking slightly rationally.
'I think I should try that first. You're right. I should get a jump. No sense assuming it's the worst just because the irony is so perfect. I'll get a jump. Thank you, my love.'
'Call me as soon as you-'
'of course. as soon as I... I'll call you. I love you.'
'I love you too'
I never heard her say that with such concern before. Maybe once a couple of summers ago. But I don't think so.
So, back to the motel I went and asked around. Someone else was getting a push start. Apparently her and her husband just broke up and he found out where she was staying and messed up her car. Why he'd opt to drain the battery I have no idea. Seems a bit passive to come all that way just to turn the lights on and snicker. I guess it's better than the alternative but I think she just forgot to turn them off herself.
I ended up stopping this couple, the lady looked like she'd been working in a roadhouse for 10 years and the guy was a friendly, docile little Mexican guy who didn't speak English. She translated and I told them I could parlez francais if that would help. They laughed because it didn't.
A couple of minutes later the Troutmobile was running and I was jamming money back into my heart minus the fin I gave the guy for the jump. He told me to clean the connectors with steel wool and a lemon. Haven't done that yet.
FOR THE LOVE OF JEEBUS I NEEDED A COFFEE!
Spun the Troutmobile round to my room, loaded it up without shutting it off and was out of there in 5 minutes. Being in Oregon I knew there would be little drive through espresso huts all over the place and within about 5 minutes I found one. Stocked up, two double americanos to go, drove through Carl's Jr to spend one of my coupons on a breakfast burrito and...
... I WAS OFF!
Boogieing up the 5 with a new lease on life and a belly fulla coffee & burrito (which was actually pretty good) I was in a happier place. (and yes, I called Michelle as soon as I got the car running)
Portland... I'll have to take a rain cheque on visiting again. I will miss you and it felt crappy to drive right past the bridge that led to the Saturday Market, but I was on a mission & didn't want to tempt fate.
I did, however, make one stop in Portland.
See, I'd been trying to get a Hooters t-shirt for my lovely fiancee for a while and hadn't had any luck in the two others I spotted along the way. They were both out of the kind I wanted. I had given up (or forgotten about it) by this point until, on my way north through Portland I was confronted with a huge Hooters sign. I took it as a sign as I'd been thinking at the very moment I saw it that I needed to stop for one of my many, coffee induced pit stops. The boobies - er, I mean the ladies who are more than just boobies but allow themselves to be objectified to sell buffalo wings look at you funny when you make more than the usual amount of eye contact and don't want to stay to eat buffalo wings. I think it's almost a personal affront to them. I got a t-shirt and asked where the bathrooms were. As I wandered through I noticed several men with their young boys with them. One of the kids was about five. I assume the kid tried to play with a doll once and that was it for him.
'Honey, I'm takin' the boy to Hooters before he goes all gay on us! I might have to get him drunk too! You just keep watchin' Martha Stewart with Sally, everything will be alright!'
So... long story short: the Hooters t-shirt fits. ahem.
And I was off!
Every largish city after Portland had traffic to contend with. I thought it couldn't be too bad in the Northwest-ist of the northwest. But even Lakewood was slow. Tacoma too. Seattle was the worst traffic I'd seen since LA. (then I realized I missed the express route! I could see others, speeding along, almost completely devoid of cars but I just could not get to them.) After Seattle I stopped in who knows where for my last Jack In The Box meal. This time it was out of necessity and frustration. Not like the many weeks before when the thought was a novel one. It didn't even occur to me at the time that I'd come full fast-food circle. I was just cranky about the lack of option.
Then, the sky began to break and the sun began to shine. Was that Canada on the horizon? Did I smell maple syrup? Indeed I was approaching the border.
I thought for sure I'd be stopped this time. Not that it's more difficult to get into Canada, but because it is a much larger border crossing where I figured they had enough staff to warrant pulling me over to inspect my car full of unsold art. I looked in the rearview mirror... my eyes were glossy from 3 days of coffee, fast food and driving. I looked stoned. Surely they'd stop the stoned-looking-guy with the back seat full of large bubble-wrapped art pieces that I'd taken to referring to as my fat artistic son, Horace. (I made a point of not answering him when we were in the line at the border though he wouldn't shut the hell up about wanting more Jack In The Box. The kid drives me nuts.)
I breezed through as easily as when I came down. Without incident and with a great amount of relief.
Surrey smelled like the ass of a cow. Welcome home, eh!
Got past that, into Tsawwassen and the tiny line up for the ferry HOME! The thought of the car not starting in the line when we were to load onto the ferry had crossed my mind but I put it out quickly. Got on the ferry and took the only picture of the day with the camera on my phone.
Damn BC Ferries... the ice cream machine was out of order!
I arrived to the eager arms of my love and, after unloading the Troutmobile, was able to finally get some rest.
And thus, ladies, gentlemen and those undecided... we've come to the end of the KREDDIBLE TROUT (part of the) WORLD TOUR 2010!
If anyone is interested in any tour merchandise we have some tid bits at marked down prices. I'll sell you the pen Hurricane Terra gave me... got lots of art... which I'll be hocking at various markets in the Victoria Area.
I'd like to thank Col J for making all this happen (even if sometimes there was too much lumber involved), Mrs. Col. J, Mrs. Trout, all our art lackeys and the tour hosts who helped me along the way. Patrick at Sushi Gallery. Thank you to all who purchased art off me. Thank you adventure and random meetings. Thank you weirdos. Thank you normal folks. Thank you Troutmobile for being the best frikken little mobile I could ask for (that little thing was 6 years old when I got it 4 years ago, has been across Canada 3 times & is still kicking! Some applause please!)
Very soon I will blog the San Diego, Artwalk, Sushi experiences before they become more fiction than fact. Until then, I have to make some dinner.