Portland, by hook or by crook

When Sharon, Rufus, myself, and our friend Colleen left Vancouver for Portland at 10:30 in the morning on Saturday we had no idea that we would be arriving at 2:00 in the morning in a rental car after spending the day trying to get the Civic repaired.

In the border lineup, the engine temperature was climbing up more than it normally does and I heard a whine under the hood which I assumed was the radiator fan trying to start. My assumption: the rad fan had broken. No worries, at highway speeds you can get by without a fan and we could get it repaired in Portland.

About an hour past the border the engine heat began to climb dangerously high again so we pulled over to the side of the I5 rush and called BCAA. The towtruck arrived, a large flatdeck that could carry all 3 of us in the cab, and we drove to the garage that BCAA had recommended.

Towing the Civic

Unfortunately, the garage was closed! So we headed over to a Les Schwab up the road. “Oh, we don’t do radiator service here” the guy told me. Some more Googling around. There was a Meinike Auto in Lynnwood, about a 30 minute drive away that could help us if we could have the car in before they closed at 5pm. It’s now 3:30pm and we’re in danger of being stranded in small-town Washington for the weekend if we don’t get the car sorted.

We made it to Meinike by 4 and their team went through the entire cooling system. The verdict? No problems except it was low on coolant. Odd, because the car had recently been serviced and I’d had my trusted garage in Vancouver give it a full inspection so I would avoid issues like this.

But you can’t argue with the data. So we pulled out of Meinike and headed into Seattle for dinner. After some much-needed food (we hadn’t eaten since breakfast), we continued down the highway but after a half an hour the check engine light flicked on and I saw that the engine heat was dangerously high! So we found ourselves on the side of the I5 again waiting for a towtruck.

Rufus waiting for the towtruck
Rufus waiting for the towtruck

As we headed for the closest garage to the Seatac Airport (which had 24-hour car rental) we began to worry that we wouldn’t make it when our towtruck driver ran through a red light and then proceeded to tell us about the 18-car accident he thought he might have caused on the I5 that morning!

At 8pm we dumped the car at a garage in the small town of Burien’s roughest neighbourhood and I headed to Seatac to pick up a rental. By 11pm we had transferred our gear to the rental, dropped the Civic’s keys in the garage’s drop box, and were finally able to tackle the final stretch to Portland.

Exhausted, we pulled in to The Pocket House at 2am and tumbled into bed.

Rufus at the Pocket House
Rufus at the Pocket House