Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Massive Trucks Migrate to Eugene

We returned the two rented moving vans to Penske's location in Eugene yesterday. The GPS took us over highway 242 rather than the more sane 126, proving once again that the human operator can be far stupider than the devices he or she is operating. A quick glance at a map would have told me that 242 wasn't really the smartest way to take a 22-foot truck towing a car carrier laden with a VW Vanagon and a 26-foot truck over the Cascades. When not gingerly negotiating hairpin turns between giant outcroppings of razor-sharp lava which could have easily torn through the skin of the vans, I had a chance to look at the beautiful scenery.

On the way back we took the more sensible and faster 126.

A good friend and his fiancée dropped in last night. I had wanted them to stay at the quirky McMenamins, but it, and the more corporate and bland Ameritel and Phoenix, were booked up ("It's a Tuesday night! What the heck could be going on in town that would fill your hotel?" I asked Reception. "Summer," was the answer). At least the downtown hotels seem to be doing hand over fist business right now. I warned our visitors about the Bend Riverside Motel, which Mrs Elliott and I both found to be fairly grotty (and my pillow smelled like soup), so they stayed at the Bend Inn & Suites and said the place was perfectly adequate, if characterless. We all went out for dinner at Merenda. The upstairs was closed but the downstairs was packed. The food was exceptional. I hope they continue to do well through the upcoming economic troubles: may downtown Bend continue to offer more than Subways, Pita Pits, burgers, and Italian immigrant food (see this story in today's Bulletin).

We have electricans running conduit and wire right now, installing two new 20-amp circuits in the shop. John Baker (the husband of husband and wife-owned Para-tech) is installing the Dish dish. We won't have missed all the Olympics -- we can get them from the OTA antenna he brought along if it picks up the local NBC affiliate, and maybe I can find an encore presentation of the episode of Mad Men (AMC) that I missed during the move.

That's about it right now. The weather is spectacular, the view from the deck sublime.


  1. Well, I got a little chuckle out of your taking the covered wagons over McKenzie Pass. Don't know if you took the time to stop and read the history signs, but that is in fact an old wagon road.

    I have to say, I'm a little surprised you took the McKenzie Hwy when there's an in-your-face sign at the base warning that it is not recommended for vehicles over 35ft, or something like that. GPS or no GPS, that's usually a sure bet you're faced with hairpin turns.

    But it's a beautiful drive, and it's only open from about the end of June to the end of October. So I hope you enjoyed the scenery. Those are the most recent lava fields in our volcanic history.

  2. I did allude to the stupidity of the driver (that would be me). Of course I saw the sign, and I'm here to tell you that my son and I did discuss exactly how long the 22-foot van + car carrier were. I had no illusions that the combined length was over 35 feet, but I didn't know how much "fudge factor" they had dialed in before they came up with 35 feet as the limit. Of course I knew that if a cop stopped us, there would be no fudge factor--35 feet is 35 feet, so we were taking our chances there, ticket-wise.

    Then (here's the really lame part) I had no map with me. I didn't know there was a more sensible way to get to Eugene. As far as I knew, this was the only route that could get us there before we picked up another day of rental fees on the trucks and carrier.

    So we soldiered on.

    As I say, no brains. And feeble excuses.

    I would have loved to have stopped to read the interpretative texts, but the parking areas were full, so we just kept grinding on. The lava fields were spectacular! I'd like to know how long ago they occurred.

  3. The most recent lava flows there erupted about 1500 years ago.


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