This update is a little overdue, mostly thanks to a harsh winter that buried my town in multiple heavy snowfalls, and a few inches of solid ice one day which broke pretty much every tree in town. I wasn’t able to work on my cars much since we had snow on the ground for two and a half months and the temperature rarely got above 40 F. But spring is coming, and with it another season of tinkering with cars.
My Porsche has been immobile since before I swapped the engine a year ago, and while it’s mostly put together and ready to drive again, it still isn’t running. Which you might expect after yanking out the entire engine and putting a different one in. As I write this, it’s at the foreign car shop for electrical work, and I’ll write another update when I can finally drive it again. This post is about my third vehicle, which is also red like my truck and Porsche. I’ve owned ten red vehicles out of 29 total, which seems kind of excessive.
As terrible as 2016 was for the world, I had a good time. A look back at my photos from the year tells an interesting and almost chaotic story. Here are the most unusual, exciting, and memorable moments from my 2016.
The night of New Year’s Eve 2015-2016 also featured a white elephant gift exchange in which I got a literal white elephant.
I have another Porsche story to tell. This one starts with a 1901 US $5 gold coin, and it will probably end with profit. But first, I have to tell an old story about the time I got a 1984 Porsche 944 for free.
On my 22nd birthday in October 2013, I happened upon a post on the Rennlist forums by a guy in Portland, saying he wrecked his 944 and whoever could haul it away within a couple days would get it for free. Otherwise, it would be scrapped.
I’d recently bought a $900 Chevy pickup so I borrowed a trailer hitch from a coworker, a trailer from a different coworker, and the next day I hauled my free Porsche home.
I recently bought a 1992 Nissan Sentra coupe from a coworker for sixty dollars. It came with some fun features such as a dead twelve-year-old battery, no muffler, a bad fuel injector, an incorrect throttle cable held in place by vise grips, and mold in the carpet.
The interior actually cleaned up really well, but the exterior needs some help. It’s missing about half of the white paint in large gray splotches, which gives it the effect of being draped in an image of a Holstein cow from a giant laser printer that’s running out of toner.
Now that my epic road trip is over and I’ve mostly recovered by sleeping a lot, it’s time for a recap.
The Pictures: Of the over 1000 pictures and videos I took, I selected 55 to touch up and upload to my Flickr photostream, so check those out. Some of them were used in my updates, but many were not.
The Experience: Driving through so many different places in so short a time was quite ambitious, as some people mentioned before I left. It was exhausting and expensive, yes, but it was also one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life, well worth the money and occasional hardship.
There were also many moments of pure serenity, especially the final two evenings when I camped out in the mountains in Wyoming and at the Oregon/Idaho border. Contrasted with the busy and noisy east, the remote places of the west seemed even more precious than before.
This morning near Hells Canyon was another cold one, though not as bad as Wyoming. Once the sun came up, the temperature rose quickly, a dry desert heat befitting the wild canyon.
I scheduled a ride through part of Hells Canyon on a jet boat with a tour company called Hells Canyon Adventures. Since the previous two weeks of driving went more or less perfectly, I arrived there with plenty of time to spare and the experience was wonderful.
Between Idaho and the northeast corner of Oregon, mountains tower up to a mile and a half above the wild Snake River that flows between them. It is home to mountain goats, black bears, rattlesnakes, trout, salmon, and giant prehistoric sturgeon lurking at the bottom of hundred-foot-deep pools. To read more about the canyon, click here. You could also read about the Snake River, which is really cool. And then you could click on more links and follow the articles through the tunnels of Wikipedia until you end up reading about Wankel engines.
Speaking of engines, the forty-foot jet boat I rode on (blue one in the picture below) had three 5.9 liter Cummins engines producing nearly a thousand horsepower.
I have many pictures from the gorge, and video going through class four rapids. Plenty of good stuff from the entire trip will be up soon on my Flickr account. For now, one picture of the southern end of Hells Canyon:
Last night in Wyoming was really cold. When I woke up it was 45 degrees and the low for today was 34. I stayed warm enough, though the cold did interrupt my sleep.
I left quickly after I woke up, using the heater for the first time, and drove down to Jackson, WY and over Teton Pass into Idaho. I spent most of the day on rural highways rather than interstates, so my view of the mountains was up close and majestic. I also saw a badger by the road somewhere in Idaho.