Buy A Car? Hit The Road!
May 22, 2017

Good news? Bought a car. Almost new. Reliable transportation. Good gas mileage. A lot of the modern day bells and whistles. Bad news? Going in debt for the next five years paying for it. Higher insurance rates. Higher registration fees. Probably without the seasonal summer job to help. How to deal with it? Like Otter and the boys from Delta House. Road trip!

All of the bells and whistles include a USB port, so after spending an entire week ripping CDs and copying already downloaded songs onto a thumb drive, it was time to take my thousand-and-something songs and hit the highway. The interstate was the only real destination at first, but once getting there, it seemed that north was the way to go.

Truthfully, the idea of the trip was not just to crank up the stereo and see what this car could do, but to find out things like where the window washing button is, how to set the trip odometer, program the radio stations, and other such stuff. Yeah, you can sit in the driveway and do that, but how is that fun?

Two lessons were learned, and one right away. The thumb drive that I spent all week savings songs to, is incompatible with the car's system. I was only about 10 minutes out of town when I decided to crank up the tunes, and couldn't get it to work. Pulling over in parking lots, trying all kinds of things, while screaming and cursing, finally led to the conclusion that the car was fine, but the drive was bad. So I went home, copied the drive onto another (smaller) one, and started over.

I'm going to spare you the actual songs I listened to, but after hearing an old live album, it was time to switch into the random song mode (I call it “Geoff-FM”--kind of like the radio format Jack-FM where “we play what we want.”). I'll eventually have 500 songs on there, but I'm only at 200 right now. It's still a pretty good mix.

Rocking out and heading north, Mount Shasta soon appeared. You see it well before you get to Redding, but it looks after you all the way into Oregon. The town of Dunsmuir seemed like a good stop for a picnic lunch, but after driving through the town on a quiet Saturday, no good place presented itself. Mt. Shasta City, on the other hand, the next city up the road, was perfect.

A sandwich, bag of chips, and a soda purchased in Redding worked well, and even the bugs left me alone to bask near the base of the mountain, but then it was back in the car. There was never a definitive travel plan, but the Rogue River seemed like a nice distance, and Grants Pass, Oregon, the place to stop for the night.

Sunday was a day of walking and driving around Medford and Grants Pass, with the thought that driving across Oregon through Klamath Falls and eventually down to Reno, Nevada would only take a few hours. Klamath Falls is only about 75 minutes out, and Lakeview (the end of the road east) another hour and a half. Reno, however, was another 200 miles. Yikes.

The Reno idea was because it's only a little more than an hour from Reno to Grass Valley. I could stay in Reno, leave around 7:30am and be at work by 9 o'clock. That all worked out, and driving at night to get to Reno wasn't a huge deal, except for the drama that became lesson number two with my automobile.

One of the other cool features in newer automobiles is the computer that not only tells you how much gas you have, but your miles per gallon, and how many miles you can drive before your fuel runs out. Putting that last part to the test was not part of my agenda for this trip. According to the mileage signs on the road, and the computer in my car, it looked like I would make it to the city of Susanville fairly easily on my tank. That's if you drive optimum mileage (I don't know what that is), or any possible wrong turns (Susanville isn't on Highway 395, did you know that?).

Dark now, and with the sign saying 12 miles to Susanville, and now my car telling me I have 13 miles of fuel left, it was nervous time. With a reported 3 miles left in my tank, I missed the turnoff to Susanville. I pulled over and frantically asked my phone how far the nearest gas station was. It said four miles. Doomed to being laughed at by the AAA guy in a few minutes, I turned around and proceed to Susanville. My car now says I have zero miles of fuel left, and I'm two miles out of town.

It's nice to know sometimes that modern technology isn't perfect. Or maybe it is, and there's a built-in fail-safe for idiots like me or those who just want to see how far past the zero mark they can get. I made it to the gas station, put 12.6 gallons of fuel in it (I'm now guessing the car has a 13 gallon tank, which means at 35 miles a gallon I could have gone another 14 miles, but I'm never going to find out), got back on the highway and made it to Reno without having to call AAA.

Getting home from work this evening completed the trip, and I guess you could say the Tri-State Tour was a success. I got to listen to music, get used to my new ride, and commune with nature. That is, as long as communing with nature has a cup holder.

Burying the lead: We've been telling you it was coming for awhile, and it finally arrived this past week. The Marysville Gold Sox have a new radio home. KETQ-LP (93.3 FM) will air all Gold Sox and Yuba City Bears home games—60 broadcasts in all. The low-power FM, which bills itself as 'Q-munity Radio', is non-commercial, and also airs some high school games. Announcers have not been named, and if it's up to the station, likely won't get paid either. The Gold Sox season begins a week from tomorrow.

Immaculate inning: Football fans may know the famous 'Immaculate Reception' that gave Pittsburgh a playoff win over Oakland in 1972, but the baseball term was brought up last week, when Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen threw nine pitches in an inning—all strikes to fan all three batters. That's only happened a handful of times in the past decade, although Sandy Koufax did it three times in his career. If getting all three batters out is considered a perfect inning, it makes sense that all strikes would be “immaculate”.

Above photo: Is not the same as the one at the bottom of my column last week (My sales rep took two pics of me). I'm still yet to use the same photo twice in any of my columns.

My Weekend...

What a nice setting for a softball/T-ball field! Too bad there wasn't a game going on,
but watching from the outfield would definitely be the ticket. (Mt. Shasta City, CA)

Mt. Shasta looks a lot pointier when you look at it from the Oregon side.
That snow never really melts, does it? (near Ashland, OR)

It seems like everything in Oregon is a different shade of green. The Rogue River
looks calm here, but is moving swiftly. (Jackson County, OR near Medford)

These bear statues are everywhere! This one is called 'One Bear Band'.
Look for one on almost every corner downtown. (Grants Pass, OR)

Didn't see any whitewater rafters, but some of them launch from here. The
Rogue heads west, on its way to Gold Beach and the Pacific. (Grants Pass)

Road to Nowhere. After Grants Pass, Medford, Klamath Falls, and Goose Lake--
standing in the middle of US-395 at sunset (Modoc County, CA near Alturas)

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