Where to start... Seattle would be the obvious spot. Having left Portland, we drove north to Seattle, and after spending 2 days in the city we rested the car at a secure car park and flew to the east coast to see some big cities and visit the family in Michigan. 10 days later we landed back at Seattle airport, waited 1 hour for our baggage and headed to the car park (which was also our hotel). I was a long day so Simone went to bed and I got to work... At a little after 11:30pm I got out my trusty tool kit and scrambled under the car, popped off the rocker covers and started checking the valve lash. Both inlet and exhaust valves were tight, however exhaust was well under at .004". I adjusted all four pots, packed the car, topped up the oil then headed to bed around 1am after washing up.
4 hours later the alarm went off and we started what would be a long drive. We had planned to drive from Seattle to Crater lake, then on to Chico, an ambitious drive of 1100km. The morning was a breeze, we had very few cars on the road, and then 30 km north of the Oregon boarder in Washington we got pulled over by Washington Highway Patrol. I was about 15mph over the speed limit but the nice office took it upon himself to give as a warning and told us to enjoy our drive. We grabbed a bite to eat and a coffee in Portland and then headed towards Crater Lake. Unfortunately the warning from our new friend at the Washington PD fell on deaf ears… this time an Oregon Highway Patrol pulled us over, and I wasn't so lucky the second time. We head the long sweeping bends to ourselves and I got a little wrapped up in the moment.
After the hill climb and driving through the snow at Crater Lake where we spent a couple of hours, we headed down the south side of the mountain towards Chico. Somewhere between Weed and Plamoth Falls things went wrong, the engine died, and we pulled over to the side of the road. Stranded with very little phone reception I started trying to diagnose the engine problem, it took no time to figure out it wasn't getting fuel thanks to John and Ryan who had fitted some clear fuel filters. I pulled the fuel lines off as the filters were visibly dirty, but I wanted to see how much fuel was getting through. I called John for some calming words and advice, cleaned out the filters and checked the fuel pump. The car was also low on fuel and the stuff coming out of the tank looked pretty average. I wanted to get some clean fuel in the tank before trying to pull the muck I had in their back through the fuel filters.
Simone got out on the road and strayed trying to hail down some of the cars driving past, after some time our saviours arrived, Rick and Jerry from Plamouth Falls. They offered to drive us 15 miles towards their destination, fill up with 5 gallons of fuel in a can they had in the back of the truck, then drive us 15 miles back to the car, before heading back towards the gas station to get home, all of this on a Sunday night... Amazing. We got some good clean fuel, filled the tank, and after some winding, we got it to fire up. Thinking the problem was a combination of bad fuel that we got up at Crater Lake, low fuel (too low, only a gallon or so in the tank), and a pretty old tired tank.
We ended up getting to Chico at 9pm, just before the Sierra Nervada Brewery closed a huge day to say the least and after two beers I we were off to bed.
Tomorrow is the Yosemite that was the inspiration for this whole trip… Looking forward to it.