Bellingham Looking Good

Post by blogger | September 19, 2008      

A bit wet and scrappy today, but good to have the driving done. Just got off the phone with Grant Gunderson over at Ski Journal. Will stop by there and report.

Long slog up here from Carbondale. The Nissan Versa cruised it like a miniature Caddy, XJ was a bit squirrelly, perhaps worn ball joints, or just those new grippy tires leeching to every asphalt rut they could sniff out. Probably a bit of both. Yet amazing how that thing keeps on trucking with 230,000 on the clock.

So what if the XJ doesn’t get the MPG of a Prius? When you can rack that many miles in something that hauls weight, has a transfer case and can actually drive up a dirt road without ripping out the muffler, paying for some extra gas is not as big a deal as it seems — especially when you consider the cost of something new or new-used and include debt service. Besides, without the wind catcher on top XJ still gets an easy 19 mpg on the highway (unless you drive agro, then all bets are off).

I had to laugh when we hit fog at Snoqualmie Pass and woke up to same out our motel window (note to self: not camping was a good idea). As the one who infamously called the PNW “wet and scrappy,” in my history book “Wild Snow,” I’m sure the locals are doing everything in their power to make sure that’s a self fulfilling prophecy every time I show up. They’re probably up there cloud seeding as we speak. Or perhaps even installed fog generators outside our hotel room.

At any rate, it’s great to be here and we’re looking forward to exploring.


11 Responses to “Bellingham Looking Good”

  1. Nick September 19th, 2008 11:02 am

    Lou – what was the total drive time door to door (including stops, sights, etc….)?

    Good luck to Louie – wish I was starting college again as I sit here in my office.

  2. Lou September 19th, 2008 11:23 am

    Nick, we were on the road, including breaks, about 24 hours. It was quite a slog. Would have been perhaps 2 hours faster if we’d pushed it, and could have been more like 20 hours with faster driving and even fewer breaks.

  3. Chris September 19th, 2008 11:48 am

    I went to WWU, lots of fun times! Let Louie know to watch out for the party bus while out on friday nights in bham, at least till he turns 21! Vendetta to punish those that enjoy college. What dorm is he in? I lived in Mathes in ’01, rappelled off the roof one night…

  4. Jay J September 19th, 2008 11:49 am

    AH – the desire to reach the destination; Good choice here Lou, the journey, the view, the experience is/was MUCH more important !

  5. dave downing September 19th, 2008 12:19 pm

    Lou. we took (in the course of 7 days) about 22 from bonedale to bellignham. That was about 10 to boise, 10 to seattle taking the back way and about 1.5 to bellingham. definitely could have scrapped 2 hours with a less scenic route.

    as for the Jeeps gas milage. Screw getting more life out of it and being willing to shell out the money … it’s about having the auto industry quit yanking us around and give us a 30+ mpg 4WD. I don’t want a Hemi, just economy and ground clearance. sheesh:)

  6. Dave September 19th, 2008 2:47 pm

    speaking of better milage and some clearance … an update on the suby diesel :

  7. Steve September 19th, 2008 3:16 pm

    I could not agree more on the auto assessment.

  8. ScottN September 19th, 2008 7:07 pm

    Yeah, buy a Prius for 30K or drive my wife’s 94 Honda Civic that still gets over 40 mpg with 200K on the clock so far. The new AC system we put in this summer is worth more than the entire car (grin). As far as 4×4’s that get over 30 mpg, I bet a Tacoma (if you don’t need all that much interior space) with a 4 cylinder would easily get that. My 03 V6 Xcab 4×4 Taco averages about 25-26 mpg, but then again, I take really good care of it, full synthetics in everything and mostly easy driving, and I keep my tires inflated (wouldn’t Obama be proud….) Have fun up there Lou!

  9. Randonnee September 19th, 2008 8:16 pm

    Welcome to WA! Sorry for the weather. Today I rode my mountain bike in hot, sunny weather on Mt. Lillian in the Wenatchee Mountains. It is still dusty up high here. Perhaps a change to moist fall weather will come in a few days. The westside weather is amazing (wet and scrappy) to us central WA east slope folks. I have chatted with folks in the Park in downtown Leavenworth in the evening who say they drove from the westside to Leavenworth just to see the sun!

    We look forward to stories of Louie’s Cascade Mountain adventures. And good luck at University.

  10. Ryan September 20th, 2008 11:53 pm

    Hey Lou,

    Stop by Cruisin Coffee for me and enjoy a Mocha Milkshake. They are absolutely delicious but will clean out your colon.

  11. Lou September 21st, 2008 9:25 am

    Hmmm, Ryan, after two days of junkfood on the road while getting here, that sounds like a good option.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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