The flight out was excellent all around. No rush, no traffic, no waiting. Jon
was happy to take me to the airport at 5:45 and I got into Portland on time. Getting through Portland was smooth, the trolly is adjacent to the baggage claim and will take you all the way to Beaverton for a mere $2.00. I got through a fair amount of I Am America (And So Can You!)
on the way.
No beavers, lots of rain though.
dropped me at his place where I played Flatout
for a couple hours. It's a pretty mediocre Burnout/NFS hybrid, normal EA stuff. When he finished work we headed over to Northwest Investment Cars
to check out a VR4 I had seen on the internet
. It looked pretty clean all around, a far cry from the ones I inspected in San Diego and Sacramento. The salesman answered a few of my questions but was fairly dismissive of me. Maybe he didn't think I could/would buy the car, maybe it was a half-ass attempt at the snobbery I'm familiar with being a desmo, maybe it's a sales tactic. He said the car listed at $17,000 but would 'go for $16,000'. I asked to take it to a mechanic, he assured me they inspect each car thoroughly and I'd only be permitted to bring a mechanic in to see the car in their shop. But he was pretty convinced the VR4 was pristine, offering as evidence their mean inventory value and distribution network. I saw what he did there.
Sure enough, their crack garage team missed a leaking valve cover gasket (which explained the oil on the exhaust manifold I asked about) and broken window regulator and rear defroster. None of these things concerned me, but it definitely discredited their purported reputation. I could certainly see the Porsche-buying demographic much more upset buying a car with a noisy window than one with a clutch on its last legs.
I toured Nike HQ and got to see PRE's shoe
and buildings named after two excellent Raiders (Bo and Jerry). Meanwhile I talked to the Mitsubishi dealership across the street from NWI and set up an inspection appointment. With a little urging and the comment, 'Mitsu has never heard of sending a mechanic to the salesman's garage for the inspection' I got the NWI guy to take the car over. The guy at Mitsubishi looked at the car (rendering the aforementioned analysis) at the last minute and stayed a bit after hours, I was very grateful. By this time Arthur
and I were eating glorious hamburgers
and knocking back local drafts. He offered some very creative and insightful thoughts on various topics, ranging from cars to ladies to ai projects
Wheelings, dealings, and the end of the world.
We headed back to Arthur
's and I got to sample some more Oregon brews as we got inescapably sucked into a B movie
on some strange movie channel. The film, On The Beach
, was a puzzling melange of drama, romance, and suspense. The basic plot: Australia awaits its doom in the form of an ever-expanding fallout cloud created by a nuclear holocaust that has destroyed the northern hemisphere. I'm not sure how I didn't immediately think 'paranoid cold war era movie remake'. This tv version replaces Gregory Peck, Ava Garder, and Fred Astaire with Armand Assante
and a few people you've never heard of. Needless to say, its captivating mediocrity entertained us enough to persevere countless Bowflex and miracle drug commercials. Oh yeah, and of course the nation falls into anarchy; it's an island full of convicts.
Saturday morning I called NWI to offer $15,500 and rationalized it as the price the salesman said it'd 'go for' (also the KBB value) minus a few hundred for my repair needs. He called me back to say that the shop owner would only do $500 off the original $17,000. Strange logic, I told him I was firm on my offer and they should call me back if they reconsider.
I spoke to my pops, he said putting an offer in over the phone was pointless and I should go talk to them in person again. I think I was still annoyed by the salesman's attitude and their unwillingness to deal after being far from straightforward. I do grant that I was happy they took the car to Mitsubishi and were a lot nicer communicating with me by phone that night.
A few g's from the pocket no hesitation.
I decided the car was worth paying $500 more than I thought I should, so I had a $16,000 bank check
made out, giving them a little more time to consider my offer. Then we headed over and I passed them the check. After a quick trip to the back room, my deal was accepted. They were pretty well organized with the paperwork, had some trouble with their computer systems, and said a few things that would lead me to believe I had gotten a good deal. Hard to tell if they were slick as the pomade and pinstripes let on, but I guess if I'm asking myself that the answer is no.
Care for some delicious beef?
After a short introduction to the wonderful world of twin turbo awd, I headed over to Molly's to watch Patrick Swayze
's Road House/Mike Nelson's Rifftrax
. I was a little worried that the magic of MST3K had gone with the sassy robots and sketch routines. But I was delightedly reassured of Mike's ability to entertain and especially look forward to the ones featuring the other SOL crew.
Pints and fishbowls.
I met back up with Arthur
and we drove downtown to his old roomies' place. We played some Call of Duty 4
, which was very impressive, then headed to one of their regular pubs. I was exposed to all sorts of interesting bits about life in California's Canada.
To the Emerald City.
More like the underwater city in Waterworld. Wait a minute, Denver? That was our
planet. You maniacs. You melted it. Damn you all to hell.
So anyway, I took Amtrak up to Seattle
. It was rainy. Santos, Zac, and I headed over to the Fox Sports Bar to watch the afternoon games. Victory (Oakland and fantasy) was glorious, especially for Santos who pulled into the bottom seed playoff spot with his PF mark as the decider. Then Zac
and I drove out to the Redmond area to watch the evening game and order food from Dan. After that came Wing Dome
, a definite highlight of the trip, and another bar for live music. Dan
both finished work and met up with us to watch the highly entertaining band.
The next day I was set to return to Portland and begin the long drive back to San Diego. Unfortunately the rain had caused a mudslide that stopped rail service
for at least two days. Zac
also informed me that I-5 was closed
due to mud or flooding or something. So I made a mad scramble for the airport
. It seemed appropriate that I fly to Portland since I had a credit from the return flight (to San Diego) that I had canceled. Unfortunately, it's Alaska Airlines' policy to charge $75 if you want to apply the credit to a different route. Needless to say, they're going on my 'avoid' list next to used car salesmen.
I returned to Portland without incident, but with growing tension of knowing that I had a long, late drive ahead with some big unknowns; primarily the weather and the car.
Took a drive back to the Golden State'n.
It wasn't a short trip. But by the grace of Monday Night Football on the radio, all wheel drive, energy drinks, Arthur
's cds, my aunt, and the powers that be, I made it. Left at 18:30 on Monday, arrived at 18:30 on Tuesday having caught some shut-eye in Sacramento.
Here's the VR4 with 1,000+ miles of rain, dirt, bugs, and house pets plastered to the front. Less lazy pictures of a cleaned car to come...