Tagged with " pacific border"
Oct 15, 2009 -

And the tension is broken in Squamish…

Whew.

Total cost of the repairs was 250$ less than the estimate, including all new brakes, a new tire, an oil change, a full mechanical inspection, and a much needed wash. I pulled out of the garage at 10, gassed up, dumped, took on water, and hit the road.

There is one last hairpin turn steep descent after Pemberton. It was nothing worse than what I’ve encountered on the Alaska Highway, but my heart was in my throat. I did everything I normally do at the top of such a hill–overdrive off, gear down, pray–and away I went. I stopped a few times en route to Squamish and finally pulled over here at the Canadian Tire next to which there is a Starbucks where I knew I could get online.

No sooner had I walked into the coffee shop than I heard a familiar voice say “Rae!!!”

It was my neighbour from last winter at Pacific Border, Will Imanse, author of an ebook I helped edit, Full Time in an RV. Too, too, too funny.

I’m off to find a place to hunker down for the rest of the day and then the night seeing as the next ferry is at 3PM and I’ve decided that would put me in unfamiliar territory too close to nightfall.

Share on Facebook
British Columbia, Canada, Driving, Funny, Maintenance & Repair, Nice Folks, Personal, Social, Technical, Travel    4 Comments
May 5, 2009 -

Coquitlam to Chilliwack

Ready to Go, Unable to Leave

Miranda’s insde was prepped and ready to go by 10:30 Friday night, but it took almost 2 hours for me to wind down enough to go to bed. I awoke around 5, my brain racing with everything I needed to do, but I was too exhausted to get up. I dozed and dragged myself out of bed around 7:30.

The day was brutal, but kind at the same time. For all I was inconvenienced, I was doubly convenienced. It wasn’t a great day, but, sum told, it was more exhausting than bad.

Finishing up exterior preparations didn’t take long. I could have pulled out at 8:30, but since I was waiting for Rack Attack to open at ten, I took my time.

When ten finally rolled around, I called the store in Vancouver and explained the situation to them. They were apologetic, claiming it was their fault that the clerk forgot that I needed a ‘stretch kit’, something that Thule doesn’t spell out but he ‘should have known.’ Yeah, blame the poor kid instead of the idiot manufacturers! He made arrangements with the store in Coquitlam for me, but warned me that I might have to wait several hours because I would need to be squeezed through between appointments. That was fine, I decided that I would simply drop off the car and go do with Miranda what needed to be done to Miranda.

I thought that I would never get out of Pacific Border! Miranda’s battery simply would not charge enough to get her started and I finally had to boost her. She still had her original 1997 battery, so, with a sigh, I added a stop at Canadian Tire for a new battery to my list of things to do. The sigh was more about the added stop than expenditure.

First stop was gas and propane. I really needed gas and fretted that I would be unable to start Miranda again after fueling up. I was right. Instead of acting like my independent self and unhooking the toad to give myself a boost, I asked for help, which I received grudgingly. So, propane was out of the question; there was no way I was turning off Miranda again until I had to!

Gas was cheap when compared to last fall. I filled Miranda up for under two hundred dollars. It once cost me over two hundred fifty to fill her.

The drive to Coquitlam was uphill and, thus, SLOW. Miranda made her awful grinding, but perfectly normal, engine noise all the way and I had to keep reminding myself that I could relax, that noise is a Good Thing!

Rack Attack

Getting to Rack Attack was quite a sport; there was some sort of police auction going on and both sides of the road were packed with cars. I just managed to pull into their lot and practically had to drive into a dumpster to get the rig straight enough to unhook.

The clerk told me that it would take about three hours to get me set up. That was fine, I suspected that the Miranda stuff would take at least as long. I asked him if, at the end of the day, he would be able to help me get the kayak on the roof and fully installed. He said yes, but that he would have to charge me the installation fee. Fine. At this point, I was already going to pay another 200$, less a 20% inconvenience discount, to get this kayak transported, so I chose convenience.

Mr. Lube

It took a bit of manoeuvring to back Miranda out of their lot, but I was soon off to the nearest Mr. Lube, about six or seven kilometres from Rack Attack. I knew the Mr. Lube on Fraser Highway in Langley could accommodate motorhomes, but didn’t want to assume anything so I’d called ahead to confirm with this one that they could take me.

I was apprehensive when I arrived because the entrance was tight, but they were waiting for me and had already figured out how they were going to get me in and out of the bay. It was such a lovely greeting, with a ‘welcome, ma’am, we’ve been expecting you!’ and then the giving of a newspaper and the offer of coffee and water (both gratefully accepted). I love these oil change places; they really know what customer service means, they are convenient, and, yet, their prices are quite competitive.

They were forthright and professional with me the whole hour and a bit I was there, telling me that a ‘basic’ oil change would be just fine instead of trying to upsell me to a fancy package, but informing me sadly that I badly needed a new battery and a rear differential oil change. I knew about the former and been forewarned about the latter, so I wasn’t as surprised as they expected me to be.

I was there, they had the parts, and they were willing to do the labour, so I just had everything done right then and there. A battery, installed, was 165$, which, really, isn’t that much worse than buying one at Canadian Tire and getting it installed. Sometimes, money is less important than is the energy that would have otherwise needed to be expended. The bill wasn’t pretty, but was right on par with what I’d been told her first tune up ‘should’ cost, so I didn’t fall out of my chair. It was pretty funny to be sitting in a garage in my house! The mechanics jokingly said that I was pretty rude, not inviting them in for tea!

Kal Tire

Next stop was Kal Tire, just across the road from Rack Attack. They had told me it would cost 12$ per tire to get the pressure checked and topped up, which I knew was exorbitant, but I wasn’t sure how to do it myself, so I figured that I would watch and learn, then do it myself next time. Yes, I admit it: I’ve thus far relied on other people to make sure that my tires are properly inflated. One learning curve at a time… 🙂

I rolled in there just past two and the gal at the counter told me that they had just accepted their last vehicle for the day. My face must have fallen, so she went around back to speak to the tech. He agreed to take me in even though his shift was over. Have I mentioned recently how much I love Kal Tire???

At any rate, even though Miranda had been sitting for four months, only two of her rear tires, so two out of six, were really low; the others were in the range of ‘fine.’ The tech explained to me what part to get to make the inner tires accessible so that I can check my own pressure next time.

On the radio these days, there is an ad for Goodyear tires and Fountain Tire stores in which a guy proudly proclaims that he is on his ‘cross-country Fountain Tire RV tour.’ So, I joked that I was on my ‘cross-country Kal Tire RV tour’, explaining that I’d been to the ones in Brandon and Regina. The laugh I got told me that he understood the joke.

It took about fifteen minutes for him to check and top up everything and then he wished me a good day. So much for getting a bill! Thank you, Kal Tire, you guys are GREAT!

Departure at Last!

The Rack Attack clerk had said he would call me when he was done, but I hadn’t heard yet from him. I decided to head back there and chill out until the car was ready. In one of those movie-perfect bits of timing, I pulled into Rack Attack just as the work was completed. Thankfully, the police auction was wrapping up and I was able to park Miranda on the street, with plenty of place behind her to line up the car for easy hooking up. The tech helped me get the boat out of the house and safely onto the car.

Ready to go, at last!

Ready to go, at last!

What awesome service I got today; a solid three for three. I was tired and cranky, but this really made the day pass by much more nicely than it could have. It was also easier to get the oil change and tire work done without the car hooked up because a lot of backwards manoeuvring was required. So, I would have have to dump the car somewhere anyway.

It was well past three when I pulled out of Rack Attack, so I decided to shoot for the Walmart in Chilliwack. You might remember that this was the first place I stopped in January when I came over from Oliver!

heading EAST on the Transcanada towards Chilliwack

heading EAST on the Transcanada towards Chilliwack

heading EAST on the Transcanada towards Chilliwack

heading EAST on the Transcanada towards Chilliwack

Chilliwack

My first order of business was propane. This was my first time fully filling Miranda’s tank, so I was unprepared for the bill. Thirty-seven dollars and change. Really?!

I could see RVs parked in the parking lot of not only the Walmart, but also the mall across Luckakuck street, so I tucked myself in out of the way without asking for anyone’s permission. It was just shy of five and I hadn’t had any real food all day, so when I saw an Earl’s restaurant across the street, I decided that a dinner out was in order. This decision was mostly fueled by the fact that Earl’s makes the best mojito I have ever enjoyed and I really, really, really wanted a drink. 🙂

After dinner, I bought some stuff for breakfast and lunch tomorrow, then came home and started to write this post. At some point, I decided to go see a movie if there was a theatre close by. I don’t do that often, go to a movie when I stop somewhere. In fact, I think the only other time I did it was in Brandon! But I felt the rig was safe and that no one would steal the kayak off my car, so I asked Majel if there was a cinema within walking distance, and there was, just a half kilometre away! Majel often has the phone numbers of the locations she brings up (!) so I as able to use the cell to call the theatre to find out what’s playing.

The choices were pathetic–two teeny-bopper comedies, an adult comedy, and… oh, what’s this? A superhero origin story? I knew knothing about X-Men, but love superhero origin stories, so I decided to give ‘Wolverine’ a try. I enjoyed it very much, enough to make me want to seek out the X-Men movies so that I can better understand what I just saw. I can also say that any American movie that opens in Canada, has both its protagonist and antagonist be Canadians, and has the bulk of its story happen in Canada earns a plus in my book. 🙂

So, it’s now 9:30 and raining gently. I put a garbage bag over the seat of the kayak and hope it stays in place. Otherwise, I’m very relaxed and relishing the irony that I’ll have more privacy tonight than I’ve had in months. I don’t miss having neighbours. I just hope I can get used to the noise!

Aha, wrote too soon! Another rig just pulled up beside me. I actually prefer it that way in the sense that there is safety in numbers and I feel more legitimate when I’m not alone.

Chilliwack is set in one of the prettiest surroundings I’ve seen since Cochrane Alberta!

Walmart with a view!

Walmart with a view!

Walmart with a view!

Walmart with a view!

Walmart with a view!

Walmart with a view!

Share on Facebook
Batteries, Boondocking/Dry camping, British Columbia, Canada, Electricity, Maintenance & Repair, Nice Folks, Preparations for Departure, Propane, Social, Travel    6 Comments
Apr 19, 2009 -

Winding Down

It is difficult to conceive that two weeks from now, my time at Pacific Border RV Park will be over. It has been a cushy four months, but I need to go back to a less luxurious way of life!

I’ve contacted a few RV maintenance places to get quotes for a small tune up for Miranda as well as a generator inspection. It would be brilliant if I could get all of this done in one place on May 2nd, but I’m not holding my breath. I really doubt that I’ll actually be heading north by this time in two weeks, but that’s only because I’m too lazy to take the rig out next weekend to get things done! The only problem with my having to stick around for a few days at the beginning of May is that there does not seem to be many places where I can boondock in the Vancouver area, but I’m researching my options.

I feel so differently about the GVR than I did four months ago, even four weeks ago. It’s taken a long time, but I have fallen in love some parts of Vancouver and the surrounding area, parts where it would be possible to build a life without having to stray into the parts I dislike. The end of the road, whenever, and if ever, it comes, could very well be English Bay or White Rock or Cloverdale or North Van or a number of other locations. This region is so much more than the sum of its parts; in fact I feel that it needs to be judged by the parts of its sum!

It has come to my attention in the last few months that, deep down, I am seeking a ‘forever home.’ The more I travel, the more the definition of that becomes clear to me, but I have not found the place yet and I don’t think I would even recognize it until I get many thousands more kilometres behind me.

Blog Widget by LinkWithinShare on Facebook
British Columbia, Campgrounds, Canada, Maintenance & Repair, Musings, Personal, Technical, Travel, Why I Do This    No Comments
Pages:1234»