Westward Ho – Day 1

 

Preamble

We’ve got 2.5 weeks. We’re heading west until we run out of west, or time. Going as fast as we can until we get close to the rockies (~500 miles a day, and hotels at night). Stopping quickly at relatives along the way. Hoping to see as many National Parks as we can along the way, and not freeze to death in Glacier National Park, or any of the others in the Northwest while we camp.

Day 1

(Kay)

We forgot our passports…

Half an hour from home we realized it. We don’t plan on going to Canada, but we’ll be right there when we get to Glacier National Park, so it seemed wrong to cut off that possibility. Also, there might be a hurricane coming through while we’re gone and if the house blew over it would be good to have them.

So, we went back.

It was… demoralizing. So much stress at work to get away from, surprise contractors literally ripping off our roof, causing dogs to bark constantly, stupid city drivers, and, and and … ugh.

But… eventually… eventually we made it back to the highway.

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Driving was largely uneventful until we saw the smoke… and flames from an SUV with its front end engulfed in flames.

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We called 911 and they knew about it, but I let the operator know we were first responders and asked if anyone needed help. She said they all got out ok, but she also wasn’t there and I trust first hand info better than stressed people on the phone.

We popped the trunk. I grabbed the first aid kit and started jogging ahead to the people. There was a mom comforting a little kid, and four other people walking away from, or staring at their vehicle going up in flames.

The operator was correct. Everyone was ok, and very quickly someone with flashing lights arrived and started donning fire gear.

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A full sized fire truck arrived a minute or two later.

Please, buy a fire extinguisher for your car folks. They’re cheap, and it’s much better to put out a wee flame and get towed, than to have your entire vehicle go up in flames stranding you in who knows where.

A few minutes after the fire we finally crossed 10,000 miles on our new Subaru Outback, but we were so focused on what just happened we missed taking a picture of it.

That’s 10,000 miles in less than a year, and we don’t commute to work. We expect to put another 5,000 on it before this trip is done.

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The gods gave us a nice calming sunset for our troubles.

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We thought that was it. A couple more hours of driving before reaching our hotel, but no.
Once full dark had set, and a fine rain had started, we came across a car with no tail lights, that was really difficult to see. So, we called it in, and tried to give the state troopers enough information for them to track the person down.

Please, do a regular walk-around of your car folks. Check the tire pressure, check that you have all your lights working, including the brake lights.

And while you’re at it, make sure you’ve got the basic roadside stuff : a fire extinguisher, flashers, jack, spare tire, electric air pump, tire pressure gauge, etc. And, of course, a good first aid kit. Like, a good one, not those boo-boo kits you buy at the drug store.

 

About Kay

An old-school geek, addicted to travel, with a love of programming, writing, Esperanto, and starting businesses. -- @masukomi on Twitter.

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