Posted by: powellpjc | April 6, 2009

My Last Trip West

 

I picked up all my stuff in Thunder Bay and headed west, for the last time by car. I will head west again but it will be under sail.

The pic shows what I mean about heading west.

How could you go any more west?

How could you go any more west?

 

The driving for the first two days was miserable. A lake-effect blizzard in Thunder Bay saw me crawl out of town very gingerly. I was also nervous about the frontier crossing seeing as I had a car full of shit. I decided to cross at Fort Frances as it was the most direct route to Interstate 94 and that is the most direct route to the Pacific.

I had an easier time at the border than I was worried about. I had a manifest listing all the miserable shit I was carrying and it seemed to ease the border boy’s mind. The miserable shit also prevented me from seeing much out the back windows of my car. That, however, was not too important. There were very few cars out in the spring snowstorm to worry about.

I made it to Bemiji, Minnesota the first night. Home of Paul Bunyan, whoever he was. Who was he, anyway, besides a giant plastic statue and a comic book cat? And a blue ox?

Paul Bunyan country. He can have it.

Paul Bunyan country. He can have it.

 

The next day was hell. Punishing conditions all the way to Bismark, North Dakota. It wasn’t snowing but it was blowing and the interstate was down to one lane with the snowdrifts and snow-covered at that.

The Interstate at 30 mph. North Dakota for you.

The Interstate at 30 mph. North Dakota for you.

 

I saw some sights. Tractor trailers beached on the median with snow up to the windshield and the poor bastard driver yapping into his cell phone. A half-dozen civilian cars were also deep into the snow. One interesting show was a semi-trailer creeping down the interstate on the WRONG side of the highway. He had an escort of two police cars. One copper was 100 m in front of him and the other was 500 m in front of him, but leading the way in reverse. I suppose they have a protocol for this situation. The big truck must have been pulled out of the ditch on the wrong side of the highway and could not reverse direction. Looked exciting. I was too busy fish-tailing in the packed snow to take a picture.

Day two was a day for river crossings. These rivers I crossed: the mighty Mississippi; the flooding Red; Missouri; Yellowstone; Powder and the Big Horn. I’ve crossed them many times on my motorcycle and always swam in them when I could. Today was not the day.

Day three was no hell. Lots of mountain passes in western Montana with snow and rain. My new engine was pulling well. I checked the oil at every fill up. Didn’t want no breakdown.

Scary skies don't mean nothin' to me.

Scary skies don't mean nothin' to me.

 

Last day was easy. Rolled into Portland just after noon. The boat was still on the hard but the boys were working hard. I got a chance to take some pics.

Painting is more fun when someone else does it.

Painting is more fun when someone else does it.

 

While I was gone quite a bit of work was done including bottom paint to mast head antennae.

14 tons gets lifted.

14 tons gets lifted.

 

 

 

 

Grinding is worse.

Grinding is worse.

Back in the water., without mast.

Back in the water, without mast for now.

And there’s quite a bit left to do but it is exciting stuff now and when the work is done it is the Pacific, baby. Now, that is what’s meant by exciting.

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