There is dreaming and then there is doing…it would appear I’m a glutton for both.
How I bought a 1973 Jeep Wagoneer: the short version.
For a very long time I’ve hankered after a few specific things, all of which would seem fairly impractical to an outside perspective but that make perfect sense to me. When it comes to these particular items or ideas, I seem to do a damn fine job of slipping an ether-soaked rag under the nose of that little voice that says “no, that’s a very bad idea”. Not that the voice isn’t there, just that its muffled and sleepy and gets overridden with the voice of desire and skewed practicality. Case in point: you have one thing that doesn’t work well (or at all), say a boat or a car or a relationship, and most people wouldn’t go out and purchase another of the same caliber (see: vintage) without getting rid of the first one, especially if they lived in a garage-less apartment (well, perhaps a new ladyfriend who had a garage could supplement the one that didn’t). Anyhow, all of this is usually taken into consideration…except when there’s a blinding of desire and you just have to say “yes!” and go for it, regardless of what the outcome may be. It’s a 50/50 chance, so why not? And as an older, possibly wiser friend put it “So you’re impulsive? That’s what I love about you.” Just wait til my collection of boats ends up in your yard…
This story, however, begins with an ebay auction and series of somewhat cryptic negotiations, to be followed by a flight to Seattle (which we almost missed as the loudspeaker rasped our names and we bolted down the carpet), a rental car to the Stanwood exit off I-5 and the purchase of a dream wagon. That transaction however, was followed a few hours later by some nasty backfires, an eruption of radiator fluid and a loss of power. Oddly, what followed that wasn’t a complete mental meltdown. Instead, good karma prevailed and the car’s previous owner, who’d seemed like a really nice guy, was in fact a nice guy and told us to tow the car to his house (always, always, always get AAA) where he would fix it.
Upon arrival to the compound it became apparent this wasn’t his first foray into Jeepdom. A collection of old Porsches rounded the collection and it turned out he re-builds old bathtub Porsches by hand. Totally amazing, considering he’s kind of in the thickets on Camano Island. With a garage full of tools and parts he figured he and Franklin could get the car fixed up and have us on our way the next day, in the meantime we were invited to stay for dinner and sleep in the guest room. Corned beef smelled good, the kids were excited to have company and we figured what the hell. I still slept with a mag light under the pillow, though.
Checked out the gaggle of chickens, worked on the car and finally got underway the following day.
Returned the rental car in Seattle and hopped on the ferry.
Landed in the midst of some beautiful houses and headed towards Port Townsend. Totally out of the way in the grand scheme of things, but how often are you going to be in Washington State?
Port Townsend = pretty damn sweet. Got in late in the evening, grabbed a cute hotel and some drinks at Sirens where karaoke was in full bloom. Some good ones, some odd ones and a hell of a lot of what people who don’t live in the mission continually describe as “hipsters”.
Got our walk on, ate a fantastic lunch at Sweet Laurette’s and took off again, slightly hungover and bound for Beaverton to visit Franklin’s kinfolk. As Beaverton’s in Oregon, just outside Portland, it was another long drive, though quite pretty in parts. For some reason I have no photos.
Spent the night in Beaverton, then headed off in the morning to catch the 101 south for our trip home. Had to stop at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville and check out the planes. Didn’t do the full tour inside, but been there before and it’s so incredibly cool, you don’t even have to be into planes (though it helps).
The Spruce Goose moved there from Long Beach many years ago and is still gigantic.
They’ve also taken over some neighboring vineyards and have wine tastings,which makes everything more awesome.
Wove our way down the coast, not stopping much except the occasional thrift store, vista point or smoked fish stand.
Kept thinking we’d stop in some little seaside town for chowder or a nice fresh crab, but forgot that daylight can be deceiving (especially that far north) and all the sudden it was late and we were really bloody hungry. Saw enticing signs for this seafood market on the water, got super psyched and then stood looking at the “closed” sign on the door til the man inside took pity and said he’d give us some provisions to go. Heated us some chowder, wrapped up a crab and we were back in the car (wolfing the chowder, of course).
Back on the road again, we didn’t really have a plan, but figured there’d be a good camping spot somewhere in the myriad of State Parks that lay ahead. Enter snafu #1: many parks only have day use, no camping. Snafu #2: by the time we found an awesome park with a campground, the campground was closed due to budget cuts. (This is the part where I go on a 15 minute tirade about what’s important in this country). So sometime around 11pm, we rolled into a spot back in a weird canyon with teenagers roaring by at ungodly speeds, it being a Saturday night and all. This is also where I cracked and cleaned the crab in the dark and woke up the next morning with an Exorcist-like case of the vomits. Perhaps is was a gill, then again it may have been baby flu (the Franklin twins had Beaverton beat in the barfing department), but whatever it was it left me down for the entirety of the trip to SF.
I did manage to crawl out of the car long enough to capture this tremendous event. It would appear cars weren’t quite as wide back in the 1930′s… Regardless, Franklin was a champ and drove the whole way home, no small feat on the 101 and I continue to thanks the heavens for bench seats.
Wagon of dreams? It may not be perfect, and I may be crazy, but neither seem that detrimental at the moment. Sometimes you just have to go for it, you know?