Another Road Trip


Here we go again, another road trip just when I thought we were all done with those, at least until the Winnebago gets fixed. But, this “thing” in Las Vegas popped up and we felt compelled to go. It’s kind of like an international convention of PT Cruiser “people” we’ve met throughout the years. The instigator was Rick, the guy who dreamt up the Tualatin Valley Cruiser Club waaaaay back in 2000. As luck would have it, Diane and I are charter members of the group. We only know the core group of people, unlike Rick who has been in communication with all the foreigners, like those from the east coast, and from other countries, and knows them all by name. This gathering is an opportunity to put names with faces and just have a good, relaxing time. That’s for everyone else, you know, because Diane and I have to work. Since we drive pretty much everywhere we go those who outnumber us decided that it would be a great idea if we hauled everyone’s extra luggage so they wouldn’t have to pay extra to get it there. It kind of made sense since we had the Buick SUV which had plenty of room so, in order to avoid unnecessary bloodshed, we agreed.

Everything was going swell, right up until today, the first day of our trip, when we traded the Buick in for an Iimpala. We did that this morning, kinda on our way out of town. Seems like a dumb thing to do, right? Well, it sorta was but it wasn’t totally done on impulse. There was considerable thought and effort involved that led to this transition.

First, the Buick passenger seat only moves back and forth. It doesn’t go up and down and the the seat portion doesn’t tilt. The driver’s seat does all that, but I’m not allowed to drive so I had to sit in that relatively immobile seat for thousands of miles, like 94 thousand of them, with my leg hurting so much my hip hurt, too. Another drawback with the Buick is it doesn’t have proper chicken handles that I like to use when my arms act up and need a little traction applied. Oh, the Buick has them, but they are mounted on the window pillars, too far out of reach for them to be of use for anything other than hauling ones self into the vehicle. Proper installed chicken handles are located above the windows where one can reach up and grab it without thinking. So, not having one of those available for all those miles my arms suffered immensely. I endured because Diane loved that Buick, and I don’t blame her because sitting in the driver’s seat is pretty comfy.

Another aspect about the Buick that concerned me was its advanced age. True, it’s only six years old, but it’s got those 94K miles on it and I thought the prudent thing to do would be to trade it in while it was still in good shape and still under 100K miles. Made sense to me, so I started a campaign that got Diane to reveal to me that her next dream car would be a white diamond Impala with interior in any color other than black. I visited the local Chevy dealer numerous times over the years discussing cars, getting to know the salesmen, the manager, and eventually the owner and it paid off yesterday when Diane voluntarily drove by the dealer to look at the Impalas they had on the lot. There were only two of them – one red and one black, both with black interior. She loved the black one a lot, but it really needed to be white. Hearing this, the owner, Michael, and the manager, Jeff, got busy searching for the dream car. Michael found one in Madras about noon yesterday, made a dealer trade, then sent a driver to drive it home but we knew he wouldn’t make it back until after the dealership closed for the night.

So, we went home and emptied the Buick, Diane packed a bunch of clothes and filled a bunch of bags while I downloaded the Impala owner’s manual to get a head start on what all those buttons are for. I got through the whole thing around midnight when Diane thought it might be a good time for me to wrap it up for the night. So I did. But I couldn’t sleep until I got up and proper myself up on my recliner.

Long story short, we got the car about 10 am, they got the Buick, and we parted ways. Steve handled all the paperwork. Then we (Diane) drove it home to load all that stuff into the trunk and back seat. Amazingly, it all fit and Diane could still see out the back window.

Then we left, and made it all the way to Scappoose before we decided we probably should eat lunch before heading East. Faultiness’ was the choice. As we sat down to eat I noticed I had a phone message from Steve so I called him back. Turns out he still had our Driver’s licenses and hoped we weren’t all the way to Pendleton already. Since we were just 8 miles away, he jumped in a car and brought them to us. What a guy.

Then we ate and left town.

The trip to Pendleton was awesome. I pushed tons of buttons, paired our phones to the car, listened to Diane’s phone music on the radio via bluetooth, and called the OnStar lady to get directions downloaded to our Pendleton stop for the night. Diane confirmed that getting the car was a great choice. Not only does it have a new warranty, it has chicken handles in the correct spots, and my seat is very articulated.

Now we’re down for the night because we must rise early so we can be in La Grande by 10 am to watch Maryssa play softball. I’ll see about getting photos of the Impala tomorrow, but it’s really just a car so not a big deal. Just because it pretty much drives itself, is its own wi-fi hot spot, and can talk to us doesn’t mean it’s special.

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