Summer is fast approaching. It’s our time of travel.
I asked Bradley what places he would like to visit during the next decade. His list was short — but exotic. The Serengeti in Africa, Ayers Rock (Uluru) in Australia, The Pyramids in Egypt and the City of Petra in Jordan.
I wasn’t surprised. We’ve already been to the Galapagos, the Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza, Mexico, Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica — and we’ve ridden the White Pass Railway out of Skagway in Alaska.
Six months ago, we would have been making plans to head across the ocean.
But the Coronavirus has turned the world of travel upside down.
In today’s world, can you imagine getting on an airplane for a 20-hour flight from Portland to Cairo, with stops in Reykjavík and Paris? I can’t either. Even with a five-gallon dispenser of hand-sanitizer.
So we have had to revisit our travel plans. Wherever we go, it will be in the United States, and our travel will be by car. There are still issues concerning where we might stay and eat, but at least we won’t be trapped in an airplane.
From Oregon there are some attractive choices. A multitude of national parks in the western U.S. would make attractive destinations. I’ve never been to Mount Rushmore. I’d like to share Yellowstone, the Tetons, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Arches, Zion and Bryce with him.
We would prefer to go in an interesting — sometimes the opposite of reliable — car. At the moment, the most attractive vehicle in the SCM stable would be our 1971 Jaguar S3 V12 coupe. It cruises effortlessly at 80 mph and has excellent air conditioning.
The fettling of the Jag continues under the expert guidance of Ed Grayson at Consolidated Auto Works. After getting a new fan relay, the E-type no longer overheats. Ed just replaced the shattered polyurethane front suspension bushings, and the car now goes down the highway straight and true with no clunks.
We talked about renting a small motorhome. That would resolve questions about where we would eat and sleep. But cleaning up our mobile kitchen, dumping waste water and staying in RV parks didn’t mesh well with my notion of vacation. It also removes any possibility of joy in driving.
There’s a lot to see in this country. We hope to start our Tour d’National Parks this summer. Watch here for a picture of the Jag at Hoover Dam en route to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. If you have suggestions about the perfect road trip that starts and ends in Portland, I’d love to hear them.