Friday, August 29, 2008

On the west coast

I woke up pretty early, as usual. While I was puttering around getting breakfast, I noticed a couple in a campsite nearby pushing their van out of the site onto the road. I walked down the road to their site, and asked if they needed help.

I said, I have cables.

The guy said, You saved our lives! So I went and got my truck and cables.

I can never remember the proper order to attach everything but I do have the original owner's manual for the truck and there are instructions there. They didn't know the order either so I pulled out the manual. We laughed over the first few pages of instructions: lots of warnings about making sure both cars are parked near each other and turned off. We had to untie the front rope on the kayak to open my hood.

Their car started up right away, we joked about not leaving MP3 players on overnight (apparently the cause of their dead battery), and they offered me a bottle of ice wine in thanks for my aid. I gratefully accepted. Further, the woman showed me a better knot to use on my front tie down, something her father taught her.

They were moving to Toronto, they had family there. They were the second young couple I met on this trip that were moving from the Vancouver area to Ontario.

Vancouver is expensive, it turns out I am not the only person who has left because it is just too expensive.

As expected, the drive into Osoyoos was spectacular. I could not take pictures of it, the steep winding road requires full attention.

Unfortunately the ticking sound was not going away but rather getting more insistent.

I debated stopping to get advice from a mechanic on what the matter might be, but after running through all the possibilities in my head, I decided I didn't want to know.

I would just keep driving as long as possible and deal with the problem when it happened. I speculated on the fan belt, an engine problem, a transmission problem, something merely caught somewhere flapping in the breeze. But the fact that pressing the gas pedal made it worse and coasting downhill with my foot off the gas pedal made it go away was not reassuring.

Somewhere in Manning Park the rain started. By Hope it was coming down in buckets, drowning out the ticking sound. That made me feel better.

In Surrey I phoned Johanna on my cell, to tell her I was arriving. She and Dave were planning to go to Gambier Island around supper time, it looked like I would arrive just in time.

When I got to New Westminster I decided to stop at the garage where I used to go for all my truck repairs. They would remember me and my truck, and they did. I told them my truck problem and asked if I was safe to continue driving to the Sunshine Coast this weekend.

Stanley said, Don't drive.

I asked, Do you have any idea what it might be?

He said he wasn't sure but it sounded like a bearing in the engine to do with the lifters. I am paraphrasing here, I don't remember his exact words, but basically he thought that if it wasn't serious now it soon would be. He said I should park it and then apologetically said that he didn't think they had room for it this weekend.

I said not to worry, I was staying with friends just up the road and could park there; when I get back from Gambier and the Sunshine Coast I'd call and set up an appointment for the truck. Then I continued on up the hill to Dave and Johanna's place.

They wanted to leave for the island almost immediately, so in less than half an hour we took the kayak off the truck and into their side alley, I hauled out several bags and boxes from the truck and picked out clothes to last me a week on the coast.

I really wished I could take the truck, I wanted to try out the kayak there, but it just wasn't meant to be I guess.

We piled into their car, Dave, Johanna, Leia the dog and myself, and drove out to Horseshoe Bay at the far west side of West Vancouver.

We drove to Horseshoe Bay where we transferred all our boxes and bags to their little runabout and carefully picked our way out of the marina and into Howe Sound.

The Sound was pretty choppy and we had to go slow, the little boat bounced from wave to wave.

Eventually we made it to the West Bay wharf on Gambier Island.

Their house is a short walk up the hill from the wharf, Johanna and I walked there to get their island car while Dave moored the boat at their buoy.

Everyone on Gambier has an island car; these are old vehicles that are just for use on the island. Most of them are miracles on wheels, it's amazing that they still run at all. Dave and Johanna's car is actually their old mainland vehicle, so in relatively good shape compared to other island cars. Dave boasts that he has working signal lights!

Even though I travelled a relatively short distance today, it seems like a radical change for a single day. From driving all day to finally being at rest in a house in the coastal rain forest, with a real bed for the night and no plans to drive any further for a week or more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! How sweet it is to come to rest after a journey. Blessed haven!

Hope your truck is okay, but mostly hope you're having (or had) a wonderful, glorious rest while on the island. Sorry your kayak couldn't come, too, but I like your philosophy about that.