August 5th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Tom and Chris

Up at the normal sort of hour, and had the normal sort of breakfast (normal for us anyway).  It took us some time to pack up the tents etc, so it was later than we intended by the time we left.  And about 90 minutes later, we were stopped again.  We pulled up at some stop lights, stalled, and then just couldn’t start again.  We tried several times, then pushed the car into the centre to get out of the way of some annoyed drivers.  We put the hood up, and took a rather perfunctory look at the engine, before I gave up and walked over to a (fortunately) nearby garage.  The mechanic came straight over, looked at the engine more thoroughly than we had, then towed us back.  The trouble, apparently, was a fuel pump, so as soon as he finished his lunch, he would change that for us, then install some points that we already had.  While this was going on, Val and I walked around the corner, + looked over the boyhood home of Herbert Hoover (far out, huh.)  The house itself was fairly interesting, tho’ really just as an example of a turn of the century American home, but the guide was a monumentally boring person.  Then we ate our lunch sat in Hoover Park, by which time the car was nearly finished.  The mechanic was excellent, and charged us $43 for the whole job, including the new fuel pump.  And so, we were on the road again.  Tom had made big noises about visiting Portland, so we drove into there, and had really just begun to look around when he wanted to go, to miss the traffic.  We did buy some cheese from a terrific deli, but that was about the extent of our Portland trip.  We got caught in the traffic nonetheless, + took us an hour to drive out of the city, but then it was a straight run up to Seattle.  We drove out to the home of the parents of one of Tom’s friends – they invited us in for a drink, and then, showing considerably more grace than Tom, invited us to stay there for the night.  A son of the house came in with some friends, and then they took us up to the top of a hill.  We all got totally wasted – boy, did I get the munchies.  A good evening.

Tom proving difficult again, though if he had not been with us we would never have had the introduction to his friend’s parents.  Am consistently amazed at what seem like ridiculously cheap prices for everything; probably the result of inflation since then, though the difference between UK and USA also a factor (we exchanged all our sterling into dollars before leaving the UK at an extraordinary rate of $2.40 to £1).

The car also proving both problematic and, relatively speaking, expensive. But still, having our own transport gave us some unwonted (but not unwanted) independence.

Have wearied of reading the word “interesting” – obviously my catch-all word for very nearly everything… and therefore not very interesting as a result.

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