So after a night in Ashland we got up early and headed north to Portland. We just took the I-5 for about 286 miles, we planned to go inland, but underestimated the distance and had quite a bit of a to-do list for Portland. The drive was set to take just over 4 hours.
Now the funny bit… I stopped about 30 miles out of Portland to fill up with fuel and check the oil level (as it had been burning a little over the first 1000km). As suspected the oil level was on the lower point of the dipstick and I thought I would run into the service station to grab a liter of oil. I rested the dipstick on the rear of the engine and headed inside. After finding out the service station only stocked 10W and thinner low zinc modern oils, I thought I would wait to go to an Autozone. I went back to the car, put the fuel nozzle back, shut the rear lid and drove off. 10 minutes later I hear a metallic ‘ping’ from the engine bay, then my red warning light illuminates. I swing across to the right emergency lane and expecting the worst. I pop the lid to see that my belt had destroyed itself. I thought this is strange, the guys at Benton’s replaced the belt, I’m sure of it. After closer inspection I notice something missing… My dipstick. I had left it on the rear of the engine in my rush to get back on the road and get to Portland and it had vibrated itself down towards the belt and finally picked up on it. I called John Benton with my tail between my legs and told him what I had done, he chuckled a little, told me to find an Autozone before they close for the day and to get a belt.
Luckily before I left on this journey, John had taken me shopping and got me to but some essentials in the tool department, so I had the tools for the job. Even more luckily, my dipstick was still sitting in the engine bay next to the engine pulley AND I had broken down 600 meters from a Napa Auto who carried a belt that was close enough to the correct size. Simone ran over to buy a belt while I disassembled the pulley. We put it back together, adjusted the shims and fired her back up.
I learned a couple of things; Portlandians are not so inclined to pull over and ask if you need assistance, and I should never put a dipstick anywhere other than the dipstick tube. Anyway, thanks to John for his calming words and advice, and thanks for taking me tool shopping.
In the end, Portland was great, we headed out to Multnomah Falls for a day trip and hiked to the top of the waterfall, it was spectacular. We ate lots, and drank good coffee and beer.
Next stop, Seattle.