Sunday, January 1, 2006

Driving Seattle to Jackson

Driving to Jackson, WY - Dec 29-31, 2005
I left Seattle, WA thinking I'd drive my VW EuroeVan to Jackson in 13-15 hours, no problem. I couldn't have been more wrong. Where to begin? Well I left Seattle around 5:30pm Friday. I had planned on a bit earlier but I had to drive up to GI Joe's to get that heater for the van, in rush hour traffic. Once out of Seattle I got stuck in more traffic at Snoqualmie Pass. The storm has shut down the pass for a few hours, so I sat there. What is worse is I started to feel sick. First a sore throat, then a fever, and sore back and neck, and it got progressively worse. While I wait I tried to put my tire chains on for the drive over the pass. Come to find out that the guy at Fred Myer who helped me had no idea what he was talking about and the chains were too small. Long story short, I turn around, buy new chains, and make it over the pass 5 hours later than planned. I had no problem going slow while I drove in the snow because periodically I'd see a semi-truck off the road, tipped over. Somewhere in Idaho I realize how bad I felt. I was full blown sick now. After sleeping at a rest stop for 4 hours I came back to get in the van and I hear the front tire hissing at me. It's a slow leak, but I was super paranoid. I had nightmare visions of being stranded.

The luck I had had thus far in the trip made my mind wonder. "Maybe I wasn't supposed to do this", I thought, "Maybe this is a sign". Pushing those thoughts out of my head I dreamed of the Jackson powder.

The rest of the trip I kept an eye on the leak, the tire doesn't seem to be getting flat, but I convince myself that it was... and that incessant hissing drove my fear. At one point I checked the pressure and it was almost double the recommended pressure. My paranoia was getting the best of me. The two passes in Idaho were snowy, but not bad enough for chains and I had the luxury of daylight.

The last obstacle to tackle is driving over the pass to Jackson Hole itself in the dead of night. I decided to go for it in the dark as the New Year approached. I arrived in Jackson just as the clock struck 12! It was pretty sweet (well as sweet as it could be, alone on New Years in a van). I toured downtown Jackson and watched the party people. I also kept and eye out for a spot to park the van to sleep for the night. Cops followed me multiple times as I slowed and gawked. One of them pulled me over. I tried a jedi mind trick on him saying, "I am not the drunkard you are looking for". He laughed, checked my license and let me go. I luckily found a Park and Ride in town and pulled in to sleep for the night. I slept about 11 hours I was so tired and sick... but I was in Jackson - the promise land.

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