Wednesday, July 30, 2008
PDX '02, Part I of N
Those who know me at all also know, or at least have heard me speak about, a few people. I met B the winter semester after I married Cindy through a mutual friend. In short order, we were fast friends. We studied together through undergrad as well as law school, and then worked together at the same law firm for three years. As such, B is one of my oldest friends that I didn't grow up with. Between our 2L and 3L years, both of our wives were pregnant. We were each relying on their respective insurance plans from their jobs. We each ended up getting jobs in the Portland area. So, we decided to leave the wives at home to take maintain insurance coverage while we headed to Oregon where we would share an apartment. B had a truck, so we rented a U-Haul for him to haul most of our stuff. I loaded 5 bikes on the top of my sweet 96 Subaru Loyale and headed for Oregon. Why so many bikes? I needed a road bike, a mountain bike, and a bike to commute in to downtown PDX. More on my commuter in a subsequent post. If you've been across eastern Oregon, you know it can be pretty bleak. We were making our way through the hills near Baker when the front end of my car suddenly resembled a guyser. The temperature gauge confirmed the obvious as the needle was almost instantly in the red. We pulled over to assess the situation. As I opened the hood, the remaining liquid in the radiator spilled out on the ground. Water drawn from a nearby stream similarly drained immediately out of the radiator. Upon closer inspection, we realized that the axle that supports one of the fans had broken loose and made its way through the radiator. No big deal, I'll call a tow truck and get it fixed in Baker. The problem was there was no cell service. What to do? We needed to get to PDX in time to move in the apartment so we could be to work the next day. So, we had a broken car, no cell coverage, and we needed to keep moving. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. I'm not so proud of our 'invention'. B had a tow rope but nothing to fix it to on the trailer. So, we threaded the tow rope through the door latch on the trailer and pinned it in place with a tent stake. We made our way toward Baker with the truck towing the trailer and the trailer towing me. We kept this makeshift train moving all the way to Pendleton. On the way to Pendleton, it all started to go wrong. You see, there's a massive descent on the way into town. Any number of warning signs tell you of the curvy, long, steep descent. The trailer provided the perfect draft. That was great on the flats, but it made for an interesting descent into Pendleton. B did his best to keep his speed up, but there were a lot of vehicles going slowly down the hill, which made for lots of breaking. The brakes heated up quickly and started to smoke. They continued to smoke until I wore through the pads and the calipers were pushing on the rotors. It turns out calipers don't work so well. Unfortunately, we weren't even close to the bottom. What to do? Only one option, the clutch. So, I got braked with the clutch as much as I could. Finally, we made it into Pendleton, my nerves frazzled. The final damage? The clutch drove the engine at high enough rpms to burn up the alternator. And not surprisingly, the clutch wasn't doing very well either. So, we packed everything as best we could into B's truck and the trailer, pulled the radio and plates from the car, and left it in a junky part of Pendleton, and made our way to Portland.