After Ft. Bragg I had to take some mountain roads to avoid closures on CA 1, but easily made it up through Eureka and on to Crescent City, where I spent the night in a Walmart parking lot.
I awoke too early the next morning, care of some very loud lawn mowers, and was soon on US 199, into Oregon, and onto I-5 heading toward Seattle. There’s not much to say about Oregon, it rained a lot and was very grey besides. A few hours later I was in Washington.
Right around mile marker 66 in Washington things got a bit interesting. With basically no warning Van Halen’s engine shuddered and died right on the interstate. With the engine dead the brakes and power steering stopped working, but I was luckily able to maneuver to the safety of the shoulder. I certainly felt like I was in the middle of nowhere, but my helpful insurance agent was able to arrange towing to a shop only a few miles away, in Napavine, WA. It turned out the shop actually was in the middle of nowhere, but the very nice owner said I could sleep in the parking lot and they would try to fix Van Halen the next morning. Fortunately, a complete failure like I had experienced is usually caused by something obvious so we were optimistic that I would back on the road soon.
The Astros are notorious for a difficult to access engine and to save some diagnostic time the next day I took it upon myself to remove the engine cover, which is actually inside the van. Check it out: Weird.
To cut to the chase, the problem was a bad crank sensor that was replaced by 10 am the next day and I was in Seattle not long after that. Sometimes bad things happen, and plans rarely survive contact with reality. But on the other hand, the word is full of good people and solvable problems so things usually work out OK.