Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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PNW Trip Stage 3: Pendleton to Spokane; More Minivan Hassles

Today's third and final stage of the trip to Spokane for the 2015 Worldcon planning meeting was relatively short by comparison to yesterday, but much more stressful.

Dayton Depot
Ordinarily, running across a beautifully restored and preserved train station would have been cause for an extra stop for lunch and a pleasant time, in this case viewing the Dayton Historical Society's Dayton WA Depot.

Supervising Bear
We got off to a good and early start from Pendleton. travelswithkuma supervised the loading of the mininvan. Unfortunately, he (and Lisa and I) forgot about the throw pillow from our sofa that she brought with us because she doesn't like most hotel pillows. Because we're not retracing our steps, we can't retrieve it on the way back. When we realized it wasn't with us somewhere in the middle of Washington, we called the hotel, gave them my credit card number, and told them to send it on to the place in Seaside where we will be next week from Tuesday.

Waitsburg Park
When we stopped at Waitsburg to refuel (after I missed a turn and took us on a out-of-course dogleg up WA-125 that did have the advantage of letting us check out what we later figured must be the Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad), the minivan wouldn't restart, at least not initially. Lisa eventually got it going again, and she offered to drive while I drank the coffee I bought at the roadside coffee stand.

Washington Countryside
Riding instead of driving meant that I could take a couple more photos out the front window, including this one showing the interesting striping on the rolling eastern Washington countryside from the way it had been harvested.

Not long after we left Waitsburg, Lisa said with dismay the that Service Engine Soon Light had come back on after leaving us alone all day yesterday. We traded drivers again and decided that we simply couldn't stop the engine again until we got to Spokane. As we drove along, once again the same symptoms as from back before we left Fernley showed themselves: the cruise control stopped working and the H/AC vents wouldn't change direction. On the bright side, this suggested that the fix was known: the vacuum hose had come back off again. The engine light was probably the EGR light again.

Dayton Depot
While we stopped briefly at Dayton and Lisa had a brief look at the minivan's engine, we couldn't risk getting stuck here. We pressed on.

At Colfax WA, we passed a NAPA Auto Parts. We stopped, and while I idled the van, Lisa went in and bought lengths of two different diameters of vacuum hose. This was smart, and we ended up needing them both.

After a long and not always particularly comfortable drive thanks to the AC pointing at our feet, we limped in to Spokane and parked the van in the garage under the Convention Center. I'm really glad we didn't drive the Rolling Stone because there doesn't appear to be anywhere to park vehicles above 6'7" anymore. The place we parked the big vehicles when we were here for Westercon years ago is where the Convention Center is today.

First things first: we moved our stuff into the hotel (the bell clerks were very nice about letting us borrow a cart instead of insisting that they had to come with us), then we went to get lunch/dinner. Luigi's restaurant a block from the hotel had an excellent salmon lasagne and spaghetti with mizithra cheese and meat sauce with some nice Italian sausage. Pasta needed a walk around downtown, including stopping at Rite-Aid and buying a few supplies. Feeling somewhat more human, Lisa put on an older shirt and her less-good jeans and we attacked the minivan.

Lisa determined that the two hoses that she'd not replaced but simply put back into place had slipped back off again. Pushing them back in wouldn't do any good at this rate; they'd just slip back off again. So with much fussing and improvisation, she managed to replace both the accessory and EGR vacuum hoses. When she was done, things started right up, the engine light reset, and the accessories started working again.

Lisa isn't completely satisfied with the fixes. She says it would be better to have the actual custom-fit parts for this model. However, assuming the new vacuum hoses hold, this should be good enough for us to let us make the rest of the trip and eventually get it back to Cory so he can take a crack at additional adjustments. For now, however, we're safely in Spokane and have the first evening of our three days of meetings behind us, about which more tomorrow.
Tags: kuma bear, lisa, minivan, trains, travel

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