THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
A Canadian interlude

Timing issues

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Leaving Vancouver this morning (c) JMB
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JMB's rather cool vanity plate
Entering Oregon
Entering Oregon
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Where the above photo was taken
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Slow but adequate progress - at the old rate anyway

I collected Speranza from the Vancouver dealership this morning, settled my modest bill, thanked the team there for their prompt assistance and returned to JMB's to repack and set off. We said our goodbyes on her driveway in glorious sunshine. I really enjoyed my interlude in Canada. It was great to see JMB again, to meet her husband for the first time and to spend time with doughty contributer here, Cascadian.

My thanks also to Meg, JMB's friend who was drafted in to help with cooking etc as JMB was not fully fit. That she was not really up to entertaining without help had been concealed from me as she knew I would have checked into an hotel instead. I enjoyed Meg's cooking and it was kind of her to weigh in. 

Speranza was in fine fettle today and we devoured the miles well enough. That we didn't cover the usual distance was to do with the late start and waiting to cross the US border. Having said that, the border guard was friendly, courteous and curious about my trip. Once my eccentric plan was explained to her, she wished me well and waved me through. My concerns about issues reimporting the car were misplaced. As promised by my shipping and insurance agents, it was straightforward. In fact I took no longer to go through the border controls than the more typical visitors in the same line.

Interstate 5 - even apart from the current fallen bridge near Burlington, WA - is the worst road I have driven so far. It is utterly tedious and crawls through Seattle and Tacoma - even at an off-peak time. I could not wait to get off it, but didn't succeed in doing so until the last leg of my journey, when I turned onto US 101 and headed down the Pacific Coast.

My entry into Oregon was spectacular. The state line where I crossed it was is in the middle of a channel crossed by a four-mile long bridge. I am now comfortably ensconced in the most comfortable chain hotel of the trip (I have a two bedroom suite, for what it's worth - though I only plan to sleep in one of the beds) underneath the bridge.

I had the best restaurant meal of my tour at the bistro around the corner and settled down, before writing this post, to replot my return journey on a worst case scenario, given that the relatively minor issue with Speranza (a) will be expensive to fix because it involves a lot of dismantling and (b) is covered by a warranty that expires in the middle of next month. The sudden time pressure is to do with getting her back to London (as the warranty only applies in Europe) in time for her to be fixed at Ferrari's expense.

By making enormous sacrifices - including some of what were to be highlights of the tour - I can get it down to 12 days. It will involve more than 400 miles a day (as opposed to my planned rate of 260) and leave very little time for tourism. I will drive by the Grand Canyonl but it's to be doubted if I will have time to pause and look at it. The trip may turn into a task, which is the very opposite of what I set out to do.

Even that is as nothing to giving up on driving the Pacific Highway, doing the 17 mile drive near Pebble Beach, visiting San Francisco (or indeed anywhere much in California) and driving through Death Valley.

The revised schedule will be exhausting and - given the daily mileages - not particularly pleasant, so I hope it can be avoided. I have asked my shipping agents if I can deliver Speranza later, or if there is another ship that can still get her to London on time. I have also asked my service guys in London if there's any way she can be booked in for a warranty repair (on something - after all - that has been unsuccessfully "fixed" before and has gone wrong again during the warranty) even if she arrives for the work after the warranty expires next month.

I hope I can get one or more positive answers overnight so that the trip can be rescued. I will proceed at the increased pace while it's under discussion, but I doubt I can sustain it long. I will have no time to spend with the friends I was meeting along the way and will be able to drop in for coffee at most. The whole thing begins to look very different from the plan I have been happily executing to date. So here's hoping....

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