I question the wisdom of my own decision to leave quarantine, even if briefly.
Last weekend, Bradley and I piled into the SCM Volvo 122S and drove to the Oregon coast and back.
Our destination was the fabled Bowpicker Fish and Chips in Astoria. The establishment is housed in a free-standing boat on a trailer.
At 69, I am in a high-risk group if I contract the Coronavirus. So we exercised what I thought were proper precautions. We went directly from our condo to the Volvo parked in the underground garage. We cleaned the door handles with Clorox wipes before getting in.
We drove straight to the coast. It was overcast with intermittent rain showers.
Our only stop came when the oil-pressure light began to flicker during spirited driving on a twisty section of Highway 26.
I had not recently checked the oil, and I guessed that the level in the sump was low.
We stopped at a NAPA store. I sent Bradley in to get two quarts of 20/50 High-Mileage oil. He wiped the oil bottles and his hands with sanitary wipes.
He learned how to open the hood on the Volvo and check the oil. It was two quarts low. As the un-baffled sump holds just four quarts, the oil pump pickup, located on the left-hand side of the sump, was starving on hard right-hand turns.
Bradley then learned how to pour oil into an engine, and check the dipstick afterwards.
We motored on. The Bowpicker had closed early, but a good second choice turned out to be South Bay Wild on Duane Street. We ordered takeout ahead of time, and Bradley went in and picked it up.
Halibut is in season, and we enjoyed our deep-fried delight in the car.
I tried and failed to balance the meal on my lap; the second time I spilled it the container of tartar sauce came open and deposited its contents onto my expensive driving gloves. Their aroma will serve as a permanent olfactory reminder of our trip.
On the way back to Portland we stopped for fuel. Bradley wanted to learn how to put gas into the car. He wiped the handle of the nozzle with Clorox wipes. He then picked up the nozzle, inserted it into the gas tank and filled it. We were getting 24 mpg.
After he was finished, he went to the restroom and washed his hands with soap and water.
We then drove back to Portland, this time taking Highway 30 to Interstate 5. While the Volvo was a joy on two-lane roads, that was not the case on the freeway — at 75 mph in pouring rain – with hulking SUVs whistling by us at 90 mph.
The teachable moment and bonding time with my son were very positive. He is thoroughly at home in the 122S, and his memories of being in the Giulia Super are fast fading.
He learned how to replenish the fuel and oil in the car. He’s starting to understand that old cars require thoughtful care and feeding, as well as attention. Supposed I hadn’t noticed the oil light flickering? That could have cost us an engine.
I understand that I put us both at a higher risk than if we had simply stayed home and played video Scrabble, currently a favorite pastime.
What would you have done? Did the risks outweigh the rewards? Would you have made a different decision?
I look forward to reading your thoughts.