Here is where I need to explain why I panicked about the windshield. I think I will seem a little less silly once I’ve shared this story.
A few years ago, en route to Toronto, someone threw a rock at my car from an overpass. The rock bounced off my hood into the windshield and the windshield shattered. There wasn’t a piece bigger than a dime left of it and it was everywhere in the car and in my clothing. I still have scars on my arms from being hit by the flying glass.
So, I believe can be excused for believing that I was in possibly great danger. 🙂
Back to that freezing cold morning in Fort St John, I decided to enjoy the drive to Fort Nelson and not worry about the windshield until I got a second opinion.
The first thing I had to do this morning was get gas. 113.9!!! At least there was service at that price!
It was an easy drive out of FSJ and I pulled over at the 10 Mile Rest area, a little ways out of town, to have breakfast.
Then I drove through a landscape that defies description–it was crimson, golden, azure, ashen, ebony, and verdant all at once. The 400km or so to Fort Nelson ate themselves up as I drank in this country that never ceases to make me weep with awe.
It was only about 1 when I pulled into the Fas Gas in Fort Nelson to top up the tank. I had to call the credit card company to remove a security hold (why do they apologize for those things?!) and then wait for a truck to get out of my way so I could pull out, giving me a break of almost a half hour.
Next stop was the glass place and I was told the same thing as I was in FSJ and by Croft and Les in comments and email–go forth and do the swap in the fall. The Fort Nelson chap was much more helpful, explaining to me how windshields are made, how they crack, and how having a windshield implode on you is practically a once in a lifetime event. That was good enough for me and I decided to push on.
I decided to save myself yet another day and get as close as possible to Liard Hot Springs Wednesday rather than Thursday. Mileage-wise the distance wasn’t much, but I knew there would be serious acrobatics ahead. I’d checked the forecast and knew the mountain passes were clear, something that could have changed overnight. It seemed safer to do a long, slow day when I knew the forecast than to head out without knowing what was ahead.
The mountains creep up on you after Fort Nelson and the stretch to Muncho Lake is truly not for the day dreamer nor the faint of heart. I literally inched my way down some stretches, geared down as low as I could, ignoring the column of vehicles behind me. Even though my heart was pounding, I was relaxed and in control. The sun was shining brightly against the snow and it just seemed like a good day to drive. I felt like a pro as I negotiated all those big grades (the worst was 8% compared to 14% coming into Pemberton!).
The joke of the day was the sign warning drivers of rock falls. They look a lot like the signs warning truckers of upcoming steep grades so every time I saw one in the distance I would slow down and move to D2. Better safe than sorry, but sheesh!
Coming on six, I was through what I believed was the worst and fatigue sneaked up on me. I knew I had less than an hour to go to get to the turnoff just shy of the Springs where I stayed last year, but I still kept my eyes peeled for an equally suitable spot earlier on. I found one that turned out to be much better as it was sheltered and getting so much late day sun that the rig was like an oven, enabling me to delay the turning on of the furnace. It took some work with the Milepost, but I finally determined that I was at the Sawtooth Mountains viewpoint.
By six thirty I had a pizza in the oven, a cold beer in my hand, and the water heater was working hard at ensuring that I got a well deserved shower!
By 8, I’d had a hot shower, eaten half the pizza, talked myself out of a second beer, eaten a piece of good chocolate, and read several chapters of my book (not necessarily in that order). It was still bright daylight out and this reminded me that I’ll soon need to relearn how to live in the sun.
At 9, I set the furnace to about 16 and went to bed with the cats and my book. I read until almost eleven, thrilled that I hadn’t had to turn on the furnace that evening. The furnace did eventually kick on, but much later than it had in Fort St John, and I hadn’t had to heat before going to bed, so I can say for sure that it was no colder than minus four last night. 🙂