Home Travel Stories Destinations J.T. and The Kid hitch a ride in a 1967 Pontiac Beaumont
J.T. and The Kid hitch a ride in a 1967 Pontiac Beaumont PDF Print E-mail
Written by Double Dragon
Friday, 09 June 2017 11:02

J.T. and The Kid hitch a ride in a 1967 Pontiac Beaumont

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Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

DAY 1/ Vancouver, BC/ Blaine, Seattle, WA

Having just returned from a trip I intended to stay in motion. After a few weeks back in Vancouver, BC I'd made a few bucks and hit the road about quarter to seven in the evening. Rush hour traffic had settled down a bit and Highway 99 was pretty quick heading to the border. The Blaine, Washington border guards searched the trunk. Puzzled to find virtually nothing in the car one asked,

"You're going for 2 or 3 weeks?"

"Yep."

"Travelin' light, huh?"

"Uh-huh."

I filled up on cheap US gas about twenty after eight and got moving down Interstate 5 South. In Seattle I took the Union Street exit to grab some gas. The station was closed. A grid of streets run in a square that is inserted at an angle to the rest of the streets which caused me to get disoriented. The upside was that the streets were empty of traffic and I gained a thorough understanding of the layout of the downtown and some of the suburbs which would serve me well in future visits.

DAY 2/ Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Nisqually, Tumwater, Centralia, Chehalis, Woodland, Vancouver, WA/ Portland, Hollywood, Parkrose, French Prairie, OR

After unintentionally seeing a lot of Seattle I eventually just drove the old coast highway down into Tacoma. A bunch of drug dealers hanging on the corner of MLK got excited about the car.

"Is that a Chevelle?"

"Nope. It's a Canadian Pontiac named Beaumont. it uses a Chevelle body and drivetrain. The nose, tail and trim is Canadian only stuff to make it look like a Pontiac. It has the same steering wheel and dash as a US Pontiac Tempest."

"That is all fucked up shit! They really made that? Damn straight weird mishmashed up shit!"

I'd driven up down and around for about 100 miles. Time for gas. At 3:30 AM I filled up at an AM/PM station on Puyallup Avenue. After wasting a lot of time to go almost nowhere I was ready to just crash out and forget about getting anywhere tonight.

There weren't any rest areas. I exited I-5 in Olympia at 4:30 AM and drove into the countryside.  I followed a dirt road named Hartman Road and parked in a ditch at the base of a pumpkin patch. A sign said this was Nisqually which is adjacent to an Indian Reserve.

I hadn't quite fallen asleep when a car approached. I always sleep in the front seat with the ignition key chain looped around my finger. I had the key in the dash ready to start up and drive out of trouble when flashing lights erupted. It was the cops. A loudspeaker voice echoed across the field,

"Put your palms against the roof of the vehicle."

The cops shone a flashlight in my eyes while ascertaining that I was just crashing out for the night. I eventually fell  back asleep for a few hours.

Next morning I followed Hartman Road through the country to a Chevron station. The Beaumont had used a bit of oil. I topped it off. I-5 passed through Tumwater, Centralia, Chehalis. 10 miles south of Woodland I ate lunch in a rest stop.

Traffic was moving briskly as I-5 wound through Vancouver, Washington and then over the Columbia River and into Portland, Oregon. Up on NE Couch around 24th I looked through Ozone Records then walked around the neighborhood. After crossing the river into NW Portland I found free parking on Burnside around 17th and walked a few blocks back to check out Powell's Books. A van ran a red light and barely missed me on my way back to the car around 5:30 PM. The car was parked near Triple Dragon restaurant anyways so I had dinner there.

I cruised along Sandy NE into suburbs Hollywood and Parkrose and had a look around before the temperature dropped to 50 degrees F and rain started in earnest. Hail started to hammer the Beaumont on I-5 around 11 PM. I pulled into French Prairie Rest Stop a bit south of the Willamette River.

DAY 3/ French Prairie, Aurora, OR

The Beaumont had only used 1/3 of a quart of oil. After topping up the oil I-5 carried me south to an exit that branches off to either the town of Donald or Aurora. I chose Aurora.

 

 

Last Updated ( Sunday, 18 July 2021 12:20 )