Tuesday, July 12, 2005

We are back at Infinity Coach in Sumner, Washington (map). I say "back," but it is true what they say about not being able to go back -- Infinity has moved since we left in October (actually, they continually threatened to withhold the address of their new location from us, but I think that conflicted with their promotional objectives). Their new facility is quite impressive, with six full-length service bays, shop space, warehouse area, and tidy offices. They even have a lift system capable of hoisting Odyssey and her ilk. And while it is nice to see them move in to these professional new facilities and we are very happy for them and their success, part of us pines for the mom-and-pop feel of the old barn on the hill and the our-home-is-your-home philosophy that carried throughout the conversion project. (Insurance concerns have the new shop chock full of "employees only beyond this point" signs.)

We had a nice time at the Bus'n'USA rally in Rickreall, which was very relaxing (in stark contrast to last year's rally, where our status as an exhibit coach had us on our feet doing presentations all three days). We were parked alongside two GM "buffalo" coaches, and were promptly adopted by their owners, Kevin and Barbara, and Jeff and Tracie. They were even kind enough to invite us to sit with the GM crowd at dinner. We are very glad to have gotten to know them.

After leaving Rickreall we headed to Portland for a brief visit and dinner with our friends Terry and Karen there. It took us all evening to catch up, since we have not seen them since we were in Eugene to be painted in September. We did not want to drive far after our visit, so we pulled in to the Jubitz truck stop just north of the city (map). Jubitz' claim to fame is that they have been voted "best truck stop in the US" more than once, and we can see why. Touting the virtues of a truck stop is something like making silk purses out of sow's ears, but Jubitz boasts a hotel, decent 24-hour restaurant, cocktail lounge, cinema, postal center, Oregon state visitor center, two convenience stores, gift shop, deli, laundromat, arcade, and, of course, fueling islands and big rig parking. It is also extremely clean and well kept. We needed a place to stay in Portland and we also needed a laundromat, so this was a natural stop. Other than the typical downside of every truck stop, namely diesels idling constantly (which is white noise that does not bother us, although some people can't tolerate it), it was actually a pretty nice stop, and the price is unbeatable.

Infinity is working to get us into the shop tomorrow sometime. We have a long list of items for them, and we'll try to get all their questions answered by the end of the day Thursday, since we are leaving by plane Friday morning for a week in San Jose. We return here on Amtrak's Coast Starlight on Sunday the 24th.

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