And so it begins…and then it stops. We left the send-off party at Seward Park in Seattle in fine form with tear stained faces, communication wires dangling from the bikes, and no mental capacity to find our way out of town. We stopped a few miles from where we started to sort ourselves out and to put on our game faces. We headed for Mt Rainer national park and then the Gifford Pinchot national forest for our first camp site. The same camp site we have fantasized about over the past year as the first monument in our new life on the road, a heady and emotional connection to a magical patch of dirt. We never made it.
After an uneventful 100 or so miles we stopped for gas in the town of Packwood, WA. Shannon’s bike, “Zippy”, would not start, as a matter of fact it would do nothing including no lights or horn. We were broke down on our first day. Normally this type of event calls for raised blood pressure and language not suitable for children but we did not go down that path. This is the first day in a three year trip and one thing we have in ample supply is time, lots and lots of time.
I knew immediately that Zippy had an electrical problem and I would have to dig out my volt meter to see where the problem lie. I figured I would work my way from the battery to see what the hell happened.
We moved the bikes away from the pumps and I tore away the luggage and proceeded to open Zippy up so I could get to the battery. Once I could see the battery terminals I went to poke my volt meter to the red and black wires on the battery for a volt reading and low and behold, the black wire moved. These wires are bolted to the battery and are not supposed to move. The black wire terminal had broken due to stress fatigue and Zippy no longer had a good connection and therefore no way to keep the battery charged. Yeah! I knew what I needed to fix. Boo! We were still stranded.
During this process of bike problem sleuthing a parade of folks stopped to ask us what we were doing and chat about the bikes. Keeping with the new tradition of never being rushed we talked and smiled and explained that this was the first day on a trip to Argentina (to explain we are going round the world causes people’s head’s to explode). One of the folks we met was named Tom. Tom could see we were going nowhere fast and offered us his cabin to use. Our first day on the road and we have a free mountain cabin to use in the hills adjacent to Mt. Rainer, sweet! Tom gave us the key and said “lock up when you are done”. After a quick bodge (“fix”) on the broken part I was able to jump start Zippy off a car and we rode two miles to Tom’s cabin. Tom waved us goodbye and headed to his home in Auburn, 80 miles way.
The following day (a Sunday) I sourced a used ground strap from a fellow in town who had a swap meet in his yard. Word had already gotten around that we were the folks heading to Argentina with a Chihuahua and he refused to take my money. I spliced this hardware (the best I can tell it is from a 19070s-era Honda of some sort) into the harness and got Zippy back into the game. We spent another night at Tom’s place and headed for Long Beach, WA on the following day. Our first day out of town and the best of humanity is already bubbling to the surface. We are blessed beyond compare to have this opportunity to travel the world. Life is good.
We are currently camping at a groovy/strange little campsite surrounded by vintage travel trailers from the 40s, 50s, and 60s in the town of Seaview, WA. The “resort” is called the Sou’Wester and has been running on this site since the late 1800s. We like it here and the wifi was good enough to stream True Blood into the tent last night.
We are just getting into our groove and time to work on the website has started but is contingent on having internet access. For daily progress reports and photos be sure to check out our Facebook page at: Facebook.com/smboilerworks
We are still reeling from how meaningful and special the send-off party was. It has not been since our wedding that we have been lucky enough to have our family and immediate friends all together. It is something we will cherish for the rest of our days. Thanks for all the support from family and friends new and old. Off to Oregon tomorrow.