Road Trip: Burning Photons

goodfather road trip

Last Friday afternoon, I bade farewell to my Beautiful Wife and our girls, and climbed into my imaginary monster Winnebago. I had some serious ground to cover if I was going to make it to the East Coast by sundown from where we live in the Seattle area.

Willie Nelson in the 8-track? Check.

Fuzzy dice hanging on the mirror? Check.

Pocko sitting in the co-pilot chair…? Just when I thought this trip wasn’t going to get any weirder.

I strapped myself into the Captain’s chair and turned the key. The monster roared to life with a banshee whine and the clump of an engine that’s been held together with chewing gum since 1973.

“Punch it, Pocko!”

“Arggggddggg,” said Pocko, in his best micro-Wookie. We took I90, and at 300 miles per hour, Snoqualmie Pass felt like a speed bump. We slowed down coming into Spokane just so I could live out my high school fantasy: rolling through town in a vehicle bigger than anything else on the road.

Leaving SpokVegas

After taking out a freeway sign (and realizing we were running behind schedule), I decided to go for broke. There was only one way we were going to make it over there on time, and although it seemed extremely unlikely we would survive, it was our only hope. Pocko read my mind with familiar ease, and shook his head violently.

Pocko: I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Me: She’ll hold together. Hear me baby? Hold together…

I pulled back on the steering column and we were airborne, dodging power lines and a platoon of traffic helicopters that had apparently flown over to see just what the heck we were driving down the road. With a jolt, the impulse engine kicked in – a heartbeat later we were in Miami as I struggled to keep us on course.

Miami_at_nite

“Turn right,” said Pocko, his lips flapping from the acceleration. I did, and then unbuckled my seat belt. “Pocko, you have the conn. I’ve got to locate our guest.” I went aft to the rear compartment where the computer console was bolted onto the bunkbed/formica table, and started punching in calculations. With any luck, my skills in metaphorical physics and Pretend Mathematics would aid me in finding my friend.

OK, that’s it, I thought. Energize…

The small shower cascaded light, and the shower turned on as well. A second later, there stood a dripping Irish Gumbo, with a wet celery stalk dripping peanut butter on my floor. He walked out of the stall, and surveyed his surroundings.

“You built a transporter… out of a Winnegabo shower?” Just then, the tiny microwave oven dinged, and the smell of warm stew filled the bus as I opened the oven door, and handed him the bowl. His eyes closed, as he breathed in the scent. I could see him ticking down the list of ingredients in his mind, as he took the spoon I offered, and tasted my version of Irish Gumbo. Suddenly, the Winnebago lurched to the side.

“That wasn’t phaser fire. Something hit us!”

“GF, get up here!” said Pocko. I ran to the front and looked out the windshield at an impossibly close New York city skyline. We lurched again as I pulled hard to starboard. Irish Gumbo stood where I left him, seemingly unperturbed, eating stew.

“Strap yourself in, IG, we’ve got some cruising to do if we want to make it up to Canada by tomorrow morning.”

“Canada?!” I thought we were going somewhere warm…?”

“Oh we will. I hope. We just have to pick up someone first. I’m a pilot, not a Captain! But I know where we can find one…”

New York City flyby

Road Trip: Fueling up

Gotta go see my good friend Irish Gumbo this weekend. I don’t have time to do this in real life (not that blogging isn’t real life), so I’m driving my blog over to where he lives: the Metaphorical East Coast. I think America’s Sputnik Moment landed there. We’re gonna pick up some friends along the way, and fulfill his greatest desire: to be warm.

One way or another.

Pre-crazy-roadtrip-checklist:

  1. My special road trip banjo, which is different than my normal banjo. You never know when the mood will strike.
  2. 20 pounds of pork rinds. It’s a long trip.
  3. Frozen Irish Gumbo in tupperware. Ironic that I’m going to see a frozen Irish Gumbo, and I’m bringing him frozen Irish Gumbo. Let me know if that makes sense, eventually.
  4. Warm clothes. It’s not Hell-frozen-over where I live, but it sure is where he is. I might even pack the red long johns with the butt flap. Heheh, I said butt flap.
  5. Dilithium crystals for the warp drive. ‘Cause I gotta get there, like, tomorrow. Impulse power just isn’t gonna cut it.

The Elusive Flaming Geyser

Last weekend, Julia and I decided to take the girls on a little roadtrip. We live in Western Washington, which is an incredible area of beautiful mountains, forests, rivers, and ocean shores, but we haven’t explored much of it at all. We’d like to get out more, so last weekend we decided to do just that. We set the bar low: no 10-mile hikes, rock climbing, hang-gliding, or survival hikes. Just a nice stroll in a park we’d never been to.

Julia found the Flaming Geyser State Park out on highway 169 which looked perfect. Not far from our house, and real flaming geyers! Sounds cool enough. From the state website, “The park’s most unique feature is its “geysers” (methane seeps)” fed from underground coal seams. There are over four miles of hiking trails, and you can explore the edge of the Green River, which runs through the park. It sounded absolutely perfect for us. We embarked on our journey.

We never made it.

Apparently, highway 169 was washed out right at the park. The road was closed, with a detour routing us around the park and back onto the highway three miles beyond it. I never got to see huge vents of orange flames shooting three hundred feet into the air, with occasional methane fireballs scorching nearby mountain-tops, or feel the blast-furnace heat blister the paint on my car in the parking lot. I was Disappointed. But my beautiful wife saved the outing by finding a smaller park with access to the river, where we spent some time exploring.