Pulling out of the of the Casino parking lot it occurred to us we needed two things…tire chains…and winter coats. We found a western wear shop and we bought the most expensive leather coats they had along with full quill cowboy boots. That was the easy part because tire chains could not be had anywhere in town for any price. Driving around we were informed that you were not allowed on the mountain passes with out tire chains. As a last resort we started looking in Pawn shops and low and behold we found a set for all four wheels. Problem was they were $300.00 and the manager of the place would not come down a Penny. Almost without hesitation we forked over the money. Sporting chains on all four wheels we are now ready to tackle the infamous Donner Pass. Locals say going over Donner Pass in the worst snow storm they had seen in years was very foolish. The only alternative was to back track down the Interstate. We chose Donner Pass. Snow was so hard you could not see ten feet in front of you but still this was amazing sight so we pull over to do some sight seeing. The creek beside us is swollen and a raging rush of water lapped up against our tire chains. By the time we decided to get going again the Vega was sliding toward the raging rapids so my buddy in what can only be explained as pure luck instead of applying brakes he floors the foot feed and guns the throttle full force until the tire chains spins us back to safety. We both look at each other, hearts pounding, and then reach in the back for a couple of beers turning them to the sky and yell, woop, and holler at the top of our lungs stupid stuff like,”were alive, were alive!”
With this we were making good time until we see red lights in the rear view mirror of the Vega. It’s a cop car of all things. We could hardly make out the car for all the snow. The Highway patrolman meanders up to the window like it’s the middle of the summer and spouts, “Going a little fast there” “The speed limit is 30mph and you gentlemen were doing 35mph.” He informs us that we will be towed the rest of the way and the car impounded until which time we pay the fine. The patrolman informed us they do this as a courtesy to all the tourists who drive reckless over Donner Pass. Enough said.
Coming out of the Sierra Madres the weather changes radically over from heavy snow to rain to finally a bright blue sky in the 70’s and on a down hill decent until you get into San Francisco. Did I say on the road? This is where the Vega blew a radiator hose in the middle of nowhere. Again repeating the Vegas debacle I stayed and watched the Vega this time while my buddy thumbs a ride on down the road to pick up a radiator hose. This time we weren’t so lucky and no one gave him a ride. It took hours until the wee hours of the morning and he comes driving up in ”Joe Blow’s wrecker service” which had charged him $175.00 to bring him back to the car. I mentioned to the wrecker drive that I thought what he charged was little absorbent and he just laughed. I suggested he give me chance to get some of it back so I suggested we flip double or nothing for the wrecker fee. He agrees, we flip, he loses. My buddy thought I was out of my mind just flipping odd or even for that much money but I reminded him about our Keno luck.
Back on the road we finally get into San Francisco at two in the morning, BTO blaring away, and every hotel we tried was booked. Dead tired we pulled down to the Warf into a parking lot. Paid the attendant to park and immediately sacked out and fell asleep like two bear cubs in their den or I should say a 1972 Vega. I awoke to the pounding hoofs of runners. Thousands running in the early morning before work. Bleary eyed I punched my buddy and ask if he wants a beer or breakfast. As he stirs to life and all squinty eyed takes in all the runners. We both sit there in silence looking for what seems like an eternity and then he mutters “Both”. We down a beer and with that beer it was becoming perfectly clear that we were turning into alcoholics of the first order. We walk over to a Warf café that looks like rodents wouldn’t even eat there but the place is packed. We order breakfast and ask if this town has any good Chinese food?
As the sun fades for the day my buddy and I are sitting in a Chinese restaurant over looking the bay with a beautiful sunset in progress. At times like this it becomes obvious that it doesn’t get any better than this. You don’t order off a menu here it comes as a six course meal. Some of it I approved of and ate heartedly but some I could not while natives ate at a fast pace with their chop sticks whizzing, After some strange Saki like cocktail to finish the meal I realized we still didn’t have a place to stay so back down to the Warf and another night hugging the Vega and the next morning again waking to the hoofs of runners banging away on the cement. Enough was enough, we had done the touristy stuff and the truth is as beautiful as San Fran was I was ready to get on the road down to LA.
Last edited by vegastre
on Mon Jul 28, 2014 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
72 Chevrolet Vega GT Hatchback
75 Pontiac Astre SJ Safari Wagon