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@mini.turbodb Steals the Tacoma for a Seattle Safari

The day started off like so many others in the last several weeks - we woke up in our own beds. We didn't wake up early... or late, it was just the normal time. And, we knew - or at least, I thought we knew - what we were going to do today: like the days before, we were going to shelter in place!

Now, that wasn't all bad. See, yesterday @mini.turbdb and I had - unless you talk to her, in which case she would say she had - made up a batch of cinnamon rolls, which we were going to have for breakfast. And that's not a normal Monday morning breakfast - at least around here.

A day started with dessert is a day started off right.

Also a bit out of the ordinary - at least recently - the weather here was splendtaculicous. Blue skies, crisp but not cold. The kind of thing where, if we'd been out exploring, it would have been shorts, t-shirts, and smiles all around.

Like a brick hitting me in the head - but in a good way - I realized that today was the perfect day for an adventure. An adventure of the shelter-in-place variety. Because at least where we are, walks around the neighborhood are still recommended - and anyone who's ever read one of my trip reports knows that we're generally walking around outside the trucks - to take photos - way more than we're driving.

As one does, I got the truck ready for a day on the town. Well, not the town - we couldn't go that far. A day on the neighborhood. One might even say,

A beautiful day in the neighborhood...A beautiful day for a neighbor... Won't you be mine (from a social distance)...Mr. Rogers

With the spare tire mounted and a single jerry can on the tailgate - because seriously, would we need two?! - we set off. Oh, and we had the Trasharoo - since that's where we always keep a pack of disinfecting wipes, which we need now more than ever. #WashYourHands

Today's responsible citylander limits social interactions at fuel stations.

The trip unplanned, we had no GPS route to follow and decided to play each fork in the road by ear - hoping we didn't get lost along the way; knowing we probably would. Confident in the fact that if we did, we could probably roll down the windows and ask for help.

@mini.turbodb behind the wheel, we made a right turn where we usually turn left. Because adventure. And new driver.

Soon, we realized that with one turn, we'd chosen the most treacherous route possible - a water feature, rare for this area, staring us in the face - daring us to proceed. Knowing how sketchy this really was, I made @mrs.turbodb get out of the truck while I carefully picked my line and cautiously made my way through.

I nearly drowned.

Happy to be alive, it turned out that we weren't out of the literal woods yet. We all stared forward - through the windshield - and out of nowhere, @mini.turbodb exclaimed, "Oh my god, look at all the broken glass!"

She'd just noticed that the windshield had several cracks in it. The most recent was nearly a year old. Guess that's how life is as a nine year old.

Anyway, as I was saying, we weren't out of the woods yet. Somehow, we'd have to figure this out. @mini.turbodb spotted us from outside the truck so as to "not die." Her words, not mine.

In up to our front tires in woods.

We never made it through the woods, ultimately having to back up a good tenth of a half of a quarter mile - ok fine, 15 feet - on treacherous, level, gravel parking area, to choose a different route.

Looking for a bit less excitement after our two nail-biting-but-we-can't-touch-our-faces brushes with disaster, we came across a welcome sign not much further down the road. Clearly, this was going to be more our speed.

Sounds peaceful.

In fact, the greenway turned into one of the most colorful 300-400 feet of the entire advexpedition. It was garbage day, so cans of all different colors - if "all" includes only black, blue and green - lined the street. It was literally colors of Christmas - except without red, but with black and blue.

Plenty of places to empty the Trasharoo... if we'd wanted to touch anything outside our own home.

We toiled along, slowly, having failed to air down at the beginning of our excursion. If we had, the uneven surface of the road might have been less daunting. I was - at the very least - glad to have the upgraded suspension as we weathered the bumps we encountered.

Getting flexy, that truck is sexy.

Of course - as always seems to be the case - what seems bad at first is often the easiest part of any trail. Soon, the road got so bad that the local authorities had closed it off and were forcing everyone onto a reroute. We were lucky to arrive when there was no other traffic - if there had been, I might have had to spend time editing out their plates.

Throwing caution to the wind, we rolled on - now a good several blocks from our original departure point. And the question on your mind right now is likely the same that was on ours - would we have enough fuel?!?

Only time would tell - we were clearly getting lower.

The reason we carry a jerry can.

Before long, we found ourselves cresting a a nearby hill and driving under a pedestrian overpass. It was unremarkable by any measure, and yet clearly a highlight of our perilous journey.

Unremarkable.

The overpass, while totally unremarkable, did provide us with a bit of contrast for the next leg of the trip. Not long after the overpass, we came upon a partial view of the lake.

On anything except a real estate listing - where it would be sold as "expansive," or, "steps from the shore" - this view would be considered completely underwhelming. But, when compared to the pedestrian walkway... it was only just... underwhelming.

1,452 steps from the shore.

And all that water wasn't just confined to the lake. As we made yet another right hand turn - in addition to feeling as though we might just be driving in circles - we noticed a seriously muddy spot that could cause all kinds of trouble for adventurers less prepared than ourselves. Still without any type of traction board, I was glad to have a shovel in the back of the truck. Luckily for us, we were able to stay to the right - on the pavement - to avoid the muddy section.

Traction board reality check.

Having narrowly avoided the need to call for a recovery team - which would have really thrown a wrench into things given our desire to remain self-reliant and socially distant from everyone around us, we continued south until we came upon what I can only describe as an abandoned vehicle. Likely what had happened was that some adventurer with a similar idea to ours had gotten themselves in a little over their head. Unable to drum up a rescue team - or perhaps not wanting to put others at risk, given the situation across the nation at the time - they'd likely hiked their way back to civilization. A quick check revealed it had been abandoned for a week or two, and they'd appeared to have taken all of their belongings with them - we could find no personal affects anywhere.

I looked at @mini.turbodb and we both knew that the least we could do was get their vehicle back to safety so that they could retrieve it later. So @mini.turbodb climbed in, and I pulled from the Tacoma. Eventually, we had them cleared from the road and out of the way of any other traffic that might happen through the area.

No longer blocking a parking spot.

Having spent the better part of seven minutes on our rescue and road clearing, we realized we should have been keeping a better eye on our fuel levels. We'd been getting lower before, so it only makes sense that we'd be lower now. We took another look at the fuel gauge and confirmed our suspicions before making sure we wouldn't run dry.

If there'd been fuel in this jerry can, we'd have siphoned it.

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By now, everyone was getting tired. Having languished at home for the better part of three weeks prior to our expedition, spending a day in sunlight was more than enough excitement to overwhelm even the laziest of explorers. Throw in the mud, unremarkable views, and a continuous series of right hand turns and it was a recipe for exhaustion.

We decided we'd better head towards home before our luck ran out. Via right hand turns, of course.

As one does, we continued to stop along the way - we weren't sure if we'd ever pass this way again, so photos were a must. And the views, well - these are the ones you pay the big bucks for with real estate in Seattle. I give you, the clearest view of the Space Needle we could muster.

Squint and you'll see it.

Eventually we covered the three blocks or so back to the house - and, to our delight and relief - without running out of fuel! As we pulled into the garage, we realized we needn't have gone far in search of spring splendor - the color had been staring us right in the face all this time, peeking out from every nook and cranny. We'd been ignoring - or perhaps procrastinating - these little bastards for weeks.

It had been quest like no other. An exercise in exploration. A thrill for all involved. Next time - perhaps - we'll venture elsewhere. With - shhhh - left hand turns.

Thanks for reading!

2 Comments

  1. Jeannie
    Jeannie April 21, 2020

    This is a delightful, kept me smiling, a laugh out loud story. Creative and clever dad!
    And right-there-with-you daughter!

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