Well, I knew it was inevitable... can't take a trip this long and not have SOME kind of vehicle issues. Still, I was unhappy to say the least when I was in the Willamette National Forest, stopped at the ranger station for a map, and the van wouldn't start. Fuel pump. Great.
However, as far as breakdowns go, it couldn't have been much smoother really. So far, my phone works everywhere... I was able to get AAA right away for a tow. Of course, in the middle of nowhere, I wasn't sure what would come next. A tow the 40 miles back to Eugene? A crappy mechanic who'd screw me over or do a crap job? argh.
Well, the guy who towed me turned out to be something alright. (can you tell I'm at a real computer right now? probably the longest post you'll see in a while. ha.) On the way back to the tow place, I learned quite a bit about him.... first, that he 'feeds' a homeless guy out back who he lets live in an old RV. We stopped for water, beer, smokes and a sammich. The tow driver was also the owner and mechanic of the shop. ASE certified, baby. AND in his spare time, an EMT and volunteer fire fighter. I felt pretty confident this guy would be helpful and competent. He was nice enough to let me camp near the river on his property, where I stayed in the shade while the van was repaired the next day.
While I was paying him, he asked about what I do etc... and proceeded to buy $100 worth of goods for his anniversary. Score! Photos to come...