The Two Gringas Do It Again!

Day 1 -- Thursday 29 January 2004 -- Washington - Oregon - California

"We gotta get out of this place..."

Mile 0 - Vashon Island, Washington

It's like deja-vu all over again: it's Thursday morning, I've had about 4 hours' sleep, I'm waiting bleary-eyed to drive onto the 5:20 ferry from Vashon to Seattle to pick up Denise at her condominium, and yes, it's pouring down rain.

The only apparent difference from that other Thursday morning just over three months ago is that, instead of being crammed into a seriously over-packed 1992 2-door Toyota Tercel (the "Belize Bomber" of previous 2 Gringas fame), I am sprawled on the bench seat of a 1978 Ford F-350 "Camper Special" 2-ton pick-up truck with over-sized everything (including the 460 cubic inch / 7.1 liter gas-guzzling V8) and a factory-rated gross vehicle weight of 9900 pounds.

In addition to going through this monster** doing routine checks and maintenance and making minor repairs, we have added an after-market air conditioning system (just as we did on the Tercel -- -- highly recommended), a 150 amp dual battery system connected to a 1000w 120v AC inverter (same as house current, and enough to run my computer and coffee maker! ;-), a cheap canopy (like a low-profile camper shell) to cover the truck's bed, and -- believe it or not -- a plywood platform in the pick-up bed with a new queen-sized mattress (all made up with new sheets and blankets and pillows! :-) on top, and a pull-out 4 x 6 foot "drawer" under it for "the stuff"!

Hopefully the extra amenities will at least partially offset the discomfort of the ride; in fact, this over-sprung beast has the ride of an adolescent mule that's just stepped in a hornets' nest. A speed bump at 3 MPH feels like falling out of bed. I can hardly wait for my first tope...

. . .

Denise's condo is in a secured building; to get in you have to ring the correct buzzer, there's no directory and I can't remember the her unit number. But I know which one it is, so I'm out in the back alley at six AM in the rain, pitching pebbles at her windows. Takes me about a dozen tries before I score a hit accurately enough to get her attention.

We are loaded and halfway to the freeway when Denise discovers she has left her watch behind. She is, by her own admission, "particular" -- Denise will have her watch. We turn about and head back to her condo. The backtrack adds almost exactly three miles to our journey, or an increase of 0.07%. I give her a hard time.

. . .
[Marty -- can you insert Portland rain picture here?]
. . .

Mile 311 - Eugene, Oregon

We meet up with Marty Casado, creator and M.C. of, at his office in Eugene, Oregon. Great guy, nice lunch (thanks Marty! ;-), energetic and full of ideas and constantly busy, but I've utterly no clue as to how he earns a living at what he does... Oh well, he's obviously intensely involved in what he does and, who knows, maybe he's a kept man... ;-)

. . .

Mile 497 - Siskiyou Summit, Oregon

After the alarming weather report yesterday, the rush to buy chains, etc., Siskiyou Pass -- the highest point on I-5 -- was a non-event. It wasn't even wet, just bare and dry. The consensus is that, without the chains on-board, we'd now be buried in a ditch. We're not superstitious... ;-)

[Marty -- can you insert Siskiyou Pass picture here? Is that too many pix?]
. . .

Mile 681 - Corning, CA

We stop for gas for the third time today. The oversized truck has oversized fuel storage -- dual 20 gallon tanks -- but not, apparently, oversized enough.

Readers of // will recall that we'd added a 32 gallon auxiliary fuel tank to the Tercel used on that trip, for a total load of 43 gallons -- and thus the name "The Belizean Bomber". This allowed us to fuel up about every three days or 1500 miles and yielding about 40+ MPG.

By way of contrast this truck, with nearly the same capacity, was filled once in West Seattle, WA, again in Creswell, OR (just south of Eugene) and now a third time in Corning, CA, a road stop off I-5 in California's Sacramento Valley south of Red Bluff. That's about every 350 miles yielding about 10+ MPG.

Whenever we open the rear sliding window to ventilate the truck cab, the wind passing over the gap between the cab and the rear canopy makes a sucking sound. A really big sucking sound -- like liquid being pulled into a vortex, spiraling down a giant bathtub drain. We believe that what we are hearing is the 7.1 liter engine pulling fuel from the tanks...

. . .

Mile 739 - Williams, CA

Just a typical motel along a typical freeway in a typical place.


== End of Day 1, Mile 739, Williams, CA ==

** The monster truck needs a name. Please see the "Name the 2 Gringas' Truck" posting at //;f=8;t=000243 to see a picture and submit your suggestions -- a.s.a.p.!

MissLena is Galena Alyson Canada
Her email is themisslena gmail com
Her blog is at

Last edited by MissLena; 02/25/08 07:19 PM.