After pulling my well and truly dead legs into the driver’s seat after skiing Baker, it was time to boogie on down the road to Seattle, where I was happy (for my selfish sake) to find that my friend from university days Andy had no plans for New Year’s Eve. After a few hours of driving and frantic “how late are they open on NYE?” store searching, I find myself at Andy’s place in Redmond. Computer chit-chat begins immediately, as it always does. We’re both computer engineers and programmers, it can’t be helped.
But hey, it is New Year’s Eve, and we’re not quite so nerdy as to spend it debating Windows vs Linux. It is a fairly quick drive to downtown Seattle, but not a quick search for parking, which is difficult in Seattle at the best of times. We finally find a spot and make a fairly lengthy run for the Space Needle. I never thought I’d actually see the Space Needle NYE celebrations in person, having seen it several years on TV. I’m certainly glad I did though, as it was a good fireworks show, and the celebratory downtown atmosphere was fun. Drunk NYE revelers spilling out of bars on the walk back to the car make for good entertainment too. This was certainly an unexpected, but welcome, addition to the adventure. Reminded me that this trip has more to offer than just visiting ski resorts.
New Year’s Day gave me a chance to get a bit caught up on some work while I had the good WiFi connection and warm office space of Andy’s place to take advantage of. After the beating my legs took at Baker, I knew there was no hurry to get to the next stop anyway, as my legs are always useless for the 2 or 3 days following the first ski of the year. But I couldn’t put things off too much either, so that afternoon I took my leave from my friend, as I had yet more shopping that needed doing. Seriously, all this shopping was getting annoying, especially what with me being naturally frugal.
That night saw me sitting in a Costco parking lot. Fancy, I know. But it was actually a decent place. As quiet as you like, and no-one around to bother if I had to use the generator, which of course I did as my batteries were really not holding much of a charge. The next morning my main mission was to find out what was going on with the batteries. While I was told that they were fairly new (installed in ’11 or late ’10) I got the distinct feeling they were on the way out. First shop I found with a tester… claimed they were fine. But this was just testing voltage, which I know is not a proper battery test. I would have to try again and hope the next person had more of a clue.
In the meantime it was time to his a laundromat. Ah yes, one of the great road-trip traditions. Can be as interesting or as nightmarish as a bus station experience. Thankfully I was not in the projects, so this place was just fine, and even had nice front load washers so I could give my less than presentable ski jacket a clean. The long hair and bushy beard goes a long way towards giving me a homeless image. I don’t need to add to it with a jacket that looks like it was found in a back alley.
Next stop was Home Depot, where I would spend quite a bit of time agonizing over what foam board insulation to pick up and just how many sheets I would need. The answer turned out to be 4 full sheets of their top tier 2″ foam boasting R-13, better than the walls in my RV. Getting 4×8 sheets of anything into an RV is quite a challenge, by the way. But it can be done. Barely.
No more dawdling. It was time to make my way to Stevens Pass. Thankfully along the way I hit a tiny but well stocked and knowledgeable RV shop (open late no less, it was almost too good to be true) that resolved one mystery: one of my two house batteries was well and truly dead. So much so that it would be constantly discharging the good one. 6 hour battery life explained. They even carried the same brand of batteries so I had hopes of picking up a warranty replacement on the way back the next day, since it had a three year warranty. That night I would find out how well a single good battery holds up.