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My Alternator’s from Ellensburg

I left Seattle with high hopes to drive a long way and make it to Boise. I never expected Washington State to be so desertous and desolate. I filled up my platypus at a rest stop and kept my fingers crossed. I wondered, “Should I drink the water around here?” Maybe I was a little overly concerned, but I was sorta cautious about driving by the Hanford Site. Hanford was part of the Manhattan Project and is the most contaminated nuclear site in the entire United States.

I trucked on until I saw a large dam. After seeing so much sand and rock, the beautiful blue water grabbed my attention and I decided to take a close look. The Wanapum Dam on the Columbia river is quite impressive, but unfortunately when trying to leave, my car wouldn’t start. I felt really fortunate that my car decided not to start while at a dam’s visitor’s center. I was so happy be in a place where there were employees to help me. After trying to jump my car several times and finding out it wouldn’t jump, I rode to the nearest town with the local tower.


The closest town was Ellensburg. Even if I had the extra money to spend on a hotel – it was Central Washington University’s graduation weekend. This little college town was filled to the brim. The tow-truck driver called the mechanic and let him know I was going to spend the night in the shop’s parking lot. I have no problem sleeping in my car in the middle of nowhere, but the concept of sleeping in my car in an urban area kinda creeps me out. A little paranoid, I went to sleep clutching my tennis racket.

In the middle of the night I was woken up by the blaring lights  and people talking. I laid low under the covers. I didn’t know if the driver was the mechanic or strangers.

The next day when I had my car fixed. Thank goodness they were willing to work on a Saturday! I found out that it was actually the mechanic who had pulled in so late. Washington State has a policy where anyone who gets a DUI has their car impounded for 12 hours. So that’s what went on there.

My alternator had to be replaced. I swallowed my pride and called the guy I was dating when I was back home for a loan. He was the only person I could think of who I was close to who would have the money. I hate asking for money. I hate being so helpless. The damsel in distress crying out from across the country. Later on my best friend went on to lecture me on how I have a “real, stand-up man who is there for you when you need him”, so I “better treat him right”.

The mechanic and his wife were really sweet to me. The wife treated me to coffee from the vendor next door. I sat around as parent after parent came to pick up a U-Haul. Graduates heading home. I was heading home too. Around noon I headed out and made it to Boise by evening.


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