MAX Update No. 59: Lies My GPS Told Me

| 9/23/2010 11:03:08 AM

I had quite a night last night.

My schedule for the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR wasn't bad — four 11 hour driving days, averaging 60 mph. I could fit in one restaurant meal (I have food and water in the car; yep, still watching my weight) and one fuel stop (MAX is getting killer mileage) a day and still never have to drive in the dark if I didn't feel like it. The weather is clear and warm all the way, it's going to be a walk in the park.

Then my face surgeon doctor found an afternoon slot for a follow-up (see MAX Update No. 56), and his office was on the way (Medford), so fine, a slightly late departure so I'll set the alarm early for the next few days to make up for it, no problem. After my visit to the doc shop, I did a mileage check in Klamath Falls — 84 mpg from Cave Junction — and learned that I'd better be careful when I stop for fuel because MAX draws a crowd and the crowd wants to talk.

I got into Lakeview in the wilds of southeast Oregon (known as the "Oregon Outback") at about 9 o'clock, where the woman running a motel told me that all of Lakeview is booked up solid (there's a pipeline construction job under way) and the next town on my route is Winnemucca and that's 200 miles and the road is ... in her words, "No, I wouldn't drive that road at night. Lots of switchbacks and there's a cliff on one side."

So I topped off the tank (only 71 mpg, but I'd been hurrying a bit and they don't call Lakeview "Tall Town" for nothing — it's up about 5,000 feet) so I wouldn't need to stop again until Wyoming, and set up camp at the local fairgrounds, where I slept until 2:30 when the frost woke me up. Okay, it's supposed to be warm all the way, but apparently not in the high desert in the dead of night. So what the heck, I can take it slow and still see dawn in Winnemucca. I'll be back on schedule and it'll be daylight driving all the rest of the way to Pennsylvania. I fired up MAX, turned on the GPS...

Oh yes, the GPS. I've never driven with one before and they're amazing.

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