Following the Lewis and Clark Trail
Days 11, 12, 13, and home

From: (Michael Sands)
Date: Sun, 22 Sep 1996 10:52:07 -0500
Subject: [NSX] days 11 and 12 in an NSX

Seems like so long ago, I have already forgotten! Where am I? Oh, I just looked out the window and find I am in downtown Portland, Oregon. Almost to the end of my journey.

I got up in the morning and went to Midas. They do mufflers. I never thought I would ever go to a place like this. I always do my own work. They replaced the rear pads and commented on the car. $107 out the door.

parked by trail

Now, let me see if I remember how to bed in new brakes. I think it goes like this, several medium stops to get the pads hot. You may smell the burning brake as the pads are green. The bond material needs to be boiled out. Let the brakes cool, then do it again. It will take four to six cycles usually to get all this stuff out. Then you can use them hard again.

I was surprised at how much better they work. I was noticing some vibration, like the discs were warped. But this is gone and the brakes work great again. The squealer on one side was broken off, or worn all the way through.

As I was washing my car, I was spraying the bugs off the front with the high pressure wash. I suddenly noticed the paint was coming off! It seems a tiny rock chip or bug splat will weaken the paint just enough to let the water under, and once there, will start to lift the paint. The primer or paint just underneath is more a orange than red. Be careful...

parked by Pend Orielle Lake, Hope

(This is near Hope, Idaho and the Samowen Penninsula. This picture I touched up, obviously. This is the only picture I took where I remember growing up, and the car was under exposed. Since this story is about the car, I took the liberty...)

I diverged from the Lewis and Clark trail and visited some of my growing up places. I stayed in Sandpoint, Idaho for two nights. I drove Idaho 200 from Sandpoint to Thompson Falls, Montana and back. This is a great sports car road. The Idaho side is a bit rough, but the Montana side has a great surface. The road follows the shore of Lake Pend Orielle and then the Clarkfork River. Great scenery and a great road.

Lewiston grade

(This is a picture of the Lewiston Grade. When I was growing up in the 1960s, this was one of the nearest big citys. We went here to do our back to school shopping. The grade as a fantastic series of switchbacks, and we always got car sick. Now it has been replaced by a modern freeway that is carved into the hill side. Now the old road is marked 35 mph and rich people are building their fancy houses with a view.)

Today I returned to Lewiston and followed the trail down the Columbia River. The wind was blowing and there were hundreds of windsurfers at Maryhill. The drive was nothing special.

One final note. You should put a coarse screen in front of your radiator if you plan on doing any high speed cruising in bug country. I noticed my fan cycling more frequently than usual. I was watching the temperature and it never left its normal spot. But in checking the radiator, I found it dented and the small fins bent by all the bugs. A trick to straighten then is to use a soft brush or tooth brush, and by gently stroking in the same direction as the fins, they stand back up.

Tomorrow, the Pacific Ocean, a look around, and home in the next day or so. Sorry, but I will miss the West Coast gathering tomorrow. Home it all goes well, as it sounds like fun!

Someone sent me a note at home, wanting a ride if I made it to Portland. I will be at Fort Catsop Sunday morning. I know it is a long shot but the best I can offer.

The following was never published. I got home and started looking for work. It took a bit to get the pictures back and the email converted to web pages. Here is what little I remember:

I left Portland early in the morning and headed down the remainder of the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean. My goal was only a couple of hours away. I was surprised at how far away from the ocean Portland is and how spread out the river becomes as the tide waters delay the flow of the water.

car at Ft Clatsop

Fort Clatsop was a very pleasant surprise. The US Park Service has recreated the fort and holds frequent re-inactments of the Lewis and Clark corps of exploration. The Center has many artifacts and a recreation of the fort itself. There are movies, slide shows, and artifacts of the expedition.

rear at Ft. Clatsop

I thought about the hardships they encountered, remembered all the entries in their diaries, and almost felt the same. It was funny, because I experienced many of the same feelings they did on their journey. I am sure the degree was different, but I was bored, scared, exhilarated, thrilled, enthralled, frustrated, sad, and happy. I missed my family, I marveled at the sunsets and sunrises, got rained on, got wet, ate well and ate poorly. And I had a wonderful time in my NSX.

I decided to continue down Highway 101, along the coast. I was up here earlier in the summer with my family and stayed at Cannon Beach. Big mistake. This was Saturday, and beautiful weather. The people in the Pacific Northwest were taking advantage of the Indian Summer and were out looking at the sights. It was crowded and difficult to move. It took me nine hours to get to Grants Pass, Oregon, where I spent the night. Nice roads, great views, but too many people. It made me appreciate the rest of the trip, made after school started, and not during prime vacation time.

The trip through California was uneventful. The end of Oregon and the beginning of California travels through the Klamath and Cascade Mountains. Nice, long, sweeping turns up and down the valleys. But the CHP drive fast Cameros and use radar. And there was a lot of constuction around Lake Shasta. But it was still pretty.

Then Highway 5 straightens out and gets boring as you travel down the Central Valley. I was home by 3:00, in time to pick up the kids from school.

Sixteen days and 7000 miles. Next trip will travel East of the Mississippi, in an Elise. The NSX is for sale, but my efforts to sell it are half hearted. One posting on the Internet and no follow up. My wife is using it as her daily driver. An amazing car...


  • days 1, 2, 3 (Sunnyvale, California to St. Louis, Missouri)
  • days 4, 5, 6, 7 (St. Louis to the head waters of the Missouri, then Billings, Montana)
  • days 8, 9, 10 (Missoula, Montana to Spokane, Washington)