Posted by: bkropf | October 10, 2007

Test Two: Disaster (5)

Yesterday was sure exciting as I was plunged into the inevitable, though much quicker than I thought.


I bid farewell to my cousins in Bend, joking I hope I didn’t see them later that day, and headed east to join Hwy 26 on my way to Boise and then on to Yellowstone. It was fun, listening to The Bravery and following a bus-load of children as they zigzagged through the never ending sagebrush and scrubby pines. As I descended upon Prineville I was struck by the beautiful leaves and scenic vistas. I stopped to take some pictures of the town and courthouse and powered up. Many people including myself have been speculating as to the mpg the van gets and it is…11.7 mpg. It was a pleasant surprise given most of the journey was going over Santiam Pass. I am hoping for 15 when I hit the open straight highways. For my budgets I used an average of 12 mpg which I hope to beat.


Speeding out of Prineville I was thinking about the different stages we go through in life. The catalyst when my older brother Andrew used to go to rodeos or the reservoir or something in Prineville when he was in a cowboy phase. I wondered if I was having my quarter life crisis which I can pretty much confirm I am. I started to think about what I’m going to do when I start working again and wishing I wasn’t so anxious to be productive and just enjoy the break in-between careers.


As I pondered about 12 miles out of Prineville the van started to lose power periodically for a few seconds here and there. I had noted this going over the pass earlier in the trip but convinced myself it was no big deal. It ended up being a big deal when I lost power completely and sat at the side of the road (I had figured the chances of breaking down on my trip were about 75-85%, I guess it was more like 100%). Lucky for me, I have watched all the episodes of Man vs Wide on the Discovery Channel and everything Bear Grylls has ever taught about survival rushed back into my brain. After checking the van for a bit to see if I could do anything (I couldn’t), I thought about what I needed in the wide to survive. I ended up with my cell, water bottle, an apple, my Ipod and walking shoes. My goal, make it into cell phone service. I started walking and noted somethings about myself as I walked.


    1) I hate asking people for help. I pretty much will do anything to avoid it. Be this bad, good or either, I haven’t decided yet.


    2) I did not look forward to riding in the tow truck for 45 minutes with some strange man. On my list of least favorite things to do that is just below taxi rides at 6am going to the airport. Why just below you may ask. That is an honest question and I’ll give you an honest answer: In the tow truck you have to sit next to the driver and possibly talk, in the taxi you are in the back and can pretend to do important work on your laptop. Also I like flying which awaits you at the end of the taxi ride unlike the hunched old angry lady I encountered at the end of my tow in Bend.

I continued walking a while and saw a short pointy mountain to my right and a more rounded one to my left. I though, “What would Bear Grylls do?” I’m pretty sure Bear would try to climb one of the mountains to try to get cell phone service, however I was feeling the road would be my best bet as if worst came, I could hitchhike. After another mile or so I made it to spotty service and called AAA.


They had a driver to my van by the time I had walked back and we sat in sweet silence only broken by the cracking CB as we drove back to Bend.


My gracious cousins laughed a little that I was back so soon and came to pick me up at the shop. Unfortunately, they won’t look at the van until Thursday, fortunately, I’m not in any huge rush. That night me, my cousins, and the others staying at my uncle/aunt’s house went to Bible study.


Here is why I’m happy. I feel that God blessed me with breaking down a few miles from cell service, an hour later I would have been a long long long walk from help. Also, please reference #1 above, I hate asking for help. Also being broken down here in Bend, I can spend more time with my cousins, see my aunt and uncle tonight, and hopefully get everything fixed early in the trip.


Seeing as now I’m having to pay for this unbudgeted expense, I have decided I will ax the leg up to Yellowstone and drive to Ogden, see my buddy Glendon, and drive to Denver from there. This will save gas money and some lost time.


High-point: Getting on the open road, brief as it was.

Low-point: Breaking down


As I write the repair shop called and said the van is working fine when they tried to start it and they have no idea what could have happened. After calling people and talking to the shop more I think I’m going to have to risk it again and hope for the best. It might have been vapor lock and if that was the case, letting the fuel line cool would solve the problem. Stay tuned for next post, if I make it to Boise. Then again I might be back in Bend.



  1. A GREAT READ….maybe you should consider writing! Loved the pictures…the courthouse is amazing! I’m praying you make it to Ogden before too long! Love, MOM

  2. This is hilarious! Tim got a chuckle out of it too! Sorry for your troubles! Way to keep your chin up! Love, Janna

  3. […] bad happen to me every time I try to leave Bend (If you don’t believe me please read this blog post)?  Maybe it is a sign I should just stop trying to leave and resign myself to a life in […]

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