November 13th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0

Friday the 13th – not that such things bother us, of course.  Up early, out of the hostel, + down to the bus-stop to take the bus out to Renton where the A1 office was.  The reason for the early start was two-fold.  1.  The girl couldn’t promise to hold the car for us, so we were trying to get there before someone else snaffled it away.  A long wait for the bus, then a long ride at the end of which we missed our stop because the driver forgot about us, so we had to catch another bus back.  Then, again, a wait for yet another bus.  Debated whether to walk from there, eventually deciding against it, as we didn’t really know where the office was.  When, however, the bus we wanted finally arrived, it drove straight past us without stopping.  Terrific.  That rather forced the decision upon us, so we enquired directions, + walked to the office.  The car was still there, + very nice it looked too – a gold-coloured Pontiac Grand Prix.  We filled out the forms, and then were on our way.

It drove beautifully smooth as… as… anything.  Not that we took it far.  The first stop was a couple of hundred yards down the road for a Burger King breakfast.  And then away.  The car had a cruise control, + that helped to make the driving easier.  I did most of the driving this first day, while Val got some sleep – she was pretty bushed.  Stopped off for a swift free cup of coffee at a rest area, then on again.  About half-way down Oregon, the weather turned really bad, + unfortunately this combined with the most hilly + winding stretch of road.  Had to stop briefly at one point, things were so bad, + shortly afterwards Val relieved me at the wheel.  I slept some, + then she in turn had to stop because of the conditions – this time we had a Californian cop check up on us – no trouble tho’.  Me to the wheel again a little later, + when fatigue overtook me, we just collapsed across each other on the front seat + slept.  A dramatic journey certainly – the most memorable image is of hills all around us, clouds, storm + lightning, with us in the middle in a beautiful, clear moonlit patch.

And so, after several weeks of something pretty much approaching domesticity, we were finally on the road again, with all the excitement, but also discomforts, that that life brings with it.  Still, a day of driving, and not much else.  Nice to have a comfortable car to carry us south.

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