A quarter of a million miles, baby

Yesterday I was supposed to drive from Sacramento to Vancouver, WA, where my parents live. I got up and started checking weather and road conditions, and decided to leave around noon, since Weather Channel said that the rain/snow was supposed to stop around 10AM, and I figured that by the time I got up to the CA/OR border (the highest point in the drive) the roads would be fairly clear.

About 100 miles outside of Sac, this happened.

Odometer with 250,000 miles on it

A quarter of a million miles--awwww yeah!!!! :-D Go little car!!! :-)


I was quite excited about this! I mean, how many cars make it this far? And in such good shape? The whole way up after this, I kept marveling at the wonder of German engineering (and my parents taking good care of it before they sold it to me last year) and how fantastic it looked and ran after so long (it’s a ’96 — they bought it my senior year in high school.)

I stopped for gas at the north end of Shasta Lake and looked online, and saw that there were traffic alerts at Dunsmuir, Yreka, and all the way to the state line. Traffic was, according to the alert, at a “complete standstill.” Promising!

I figured there was an accident or something, so I thought to myself, “Self, it’s a BEAUTIFUL day for taking some pictures.” The rationale was that I’d hang out for a bit and let the traffic have a chance to clear up. It was–it was cold, but it was clear and the sky was blue. So I stopped at Castle Crags and took some pictures of the mountain. I couldn’t find a really decent vantage point, despite driving around a bit, since I didn’t want to get too far off the highway, but here’s what I took.

Castle Crags

I love the late afternoon sun.


Castle crags

The "wide angle" shot ("wide angle" in quotes because that was at 70mm.) :-)


After Castle Crags, I hopped back in the car and resumed driving north. I was pleasantly surprised to discover no traffic in Dunsmuir, so I stopped in Shasta City to try to get a good mountain picture. Again, I didn’t want to drive too far off the freeway, or I probably would have gotten a better picture. Oh well–it was still neat to see. I’m a sucker for mountains. :-)

Mt. Shasta

This was about the last of the good light, and then the sun went just below the horizon. Sweet. :-)


And thennnnnn… I hopped back into the car, and pretty much hit traffic from Yreka on up. And this wasn’t just the usual city 10MPH traffic either, this was SERIOUS traffic. As in, I think in one hour I moved a whopping three miles. I had no idea why, and no 3G reception on my cell as to look up why. But it was so bad that people were turning off their cars and getting out and then getting back in and moving them another 20 feet forward. It took me over three hours to go the 35 miles from Yreka, CA to Ashland, OR. I was about to lose it–I was hungry, cranky, my clutch foot was going numb, I spent 20 very long minutes stuck behind a cattle truck, and the drive from the border to Ashland SUCKED.

Why? Oh yeah, that was the cause of the backup… Apparently Oregon ran out of money to plow its roads. Seriously, the freeway from Yreka to the CA border was wet but clean and clear. And then you cross over into Oregon, and suddenly it’s a disaster. It looked like they’d sanded it sometime earlier that afternoon, but given that the snow had stopped almost 10 hours earlier, it was RIDICULOUS how much snow was on the road. So everyone was freaking out and creeping down (not to mention that it’s a steep grade on the other side of Siskyou Summit) and that’s why traffic looked like this:

Line of traffic at night

See this? There's not even any snow on the ground here, and it's STILL COMPLETELY STOPPED. It was really really not fun.


I finally got to Ashland a bit after 8 and pulled into a gas station because my bladder was about to explode. Sorry if that was an overshare. There are no parking spaces free, so I pulled up to a pump and decided to call my mom to let her know where I was and that I’d be getting into Vancouver a bit later than planned. As I was talking, someone knocked on my passenger window — it was the gas station pump dude. I forgot that in Oregon you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas. So, while I’d just filled up at Shasta Lake, I decided to top off as long as I was there, and I rolled down the passenger window.

Halfway down, it went, “CLUNK.” And then disappeared.


Of course this would happen to me. Not a normal, run of the mill car problem, but my window deciding to play hide-and-go-seek.


After much cussing, pinched fingers, and tears, I decided to stay here for the night. A cardboard box was procured… for the window. I opted to sleep somewhere more warm, and I ended up at a Holiday Inn Express. Don’t believe their commercials — I’m no smarter this morning than I was last night, or else I might know how to fix my damn window. Anyway, I’m off to an auto body shop this morning to see if they can fish it out and I can go on my merry way.

This is what I get at 250,000 miles, apparently.

Ya know, I like adventures, but this is a bit much. Oh well, I’m just thankful that it wasn’t an actual car problem of the engine variety–hopefully this will be a cheap fix. Wishful thinking, I know. :-)

2 Responses Subscribe to comments

  1. Chris Smith

    Wow! Lovely pics. I even like the traffic one, heh.

    Nov 24, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  2. A Mooseless Tuesday - How I See Life

    […] my pony boy today. Between a cold, a fever, and a thousand dollars worth of car repairs (remember the window incident? that’s part of it) I’m housebound today. I wish I could relish the day as a chance to […]

    Feb 01, 2011 @ 8:34 am