Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with C and that stands for Canada!

So we kept up the endless driving through the Yukon and British Columbia on the one road (note not roads) that bump and wave through the country.  We had heard from lots of other RVers that broken windshields along the Al-Can Highway are a common thing.  We had gotten lucky driving up, but our luck ran out driving south.  Through the many areas of “paving”, where they lay down oil and gravel and have the cars and trucks run over it until it gets crushed into the road, passing trucks kicked up some rocks and cracked our windshield and the glass in the rv door.  

Then, as we got into British Columbia, we stopped to get some groceries in Ft. Nelson.  When I went into the trailer, the smell of something burning was over powering.  I didn’t see anything on fire inside, so I checked outside, and one of the tires looked all burned up and was smoking heavily. We figured a wheel bearing froze up. 
those bearings are toast!

Of course it was a Friday, and we were still a good distance from Dawson Creek, one of the larger cities in the area.   Noel walked to a few nearby auto repair places and one said they “might” get to it the following week!  We slowly drove it to Triple G Campground, where someone told us of a local mechanic that might be able to take a look on Saturday.  We got lucky, and Al’s Service in Ft. Nelson was able to fix us up in no time, even having most of the parts.  The entire brake assembly was burned up, and he had to re-pack the bearings.  He didn’t have a hub, so he used gorilla tape and sent us on our way.

So Sunday morning we headed out again, making it to the Province of Alberta.  Darlene and Carl were following us when she texted to pull over when we could.  They were seeing smoke come from under our RV.  Great.  We got pulled over and the wheel NEXT to the one we just had repaired was on fire.  Noel put it out with the fire extinguisher. 

The white stuff is from the fire extinguisher - we were so lucky the whole trailer didn't burn up!

 It looked like it was the exact same problem!  This time we were further from a town, so we had to call our Good Sam Road Service for a tow.  Three hours later a tow trucked arrived and hoisted the entire trailer onto the back of a flatbed.  Of course this was a Sunday, around 5 pm, so we knew we were out of service for the rest of the day.

Its a sick feeling to see your home being towed away!

We were towed to a Ford dealer in Fort St. John, where we had no choice but to camp in their parking lot with no water or electric.  Like an idiot, I went to put the slides out and BANG, hit the car parked next to us.  Thank God all it did was push their flexible mirror in!  I scraped up the rv a bit, but at least the car wasn’t damaged.  The next morning Noel camped out for an hour waiting on the service guys to acknowledge him, only to be told that they don’t work on wheel bearings!  We un-hooked the trailer and drove around to a few other places, most of which said they couldn’t see us for at least two weeks!  One young man was kind enough to tell us about a mobile RV service, so we called him.  Troyer Mobile RV service came out and worked for several hours to get up us and running again.  Between the two service calls in two days, we were out over $1,000.  That doesn’t include the tow bill, which was thankfully covered by our RV Road Service plan through Good Sam.  So its back on the road!

Everything is so expensive in Canada – from gas (sold per liter, we paid as high as what equals to $6.00+ per gallon.)  Groceries are outrageous, as is eating out.  Crazy!  So glad to be back in the US, where $1 will buy you a hamburger off the dollar menu!  It baffles me why, when the oil is drilled right there in Alaska and Canada, it’s still more than it is after they’ve transported it thousands of miles to the lower 48.  

So we continued into Alberta, through Edmonton and stopped overnight in Red Deer.  Alberta is much more agricultural, with beautiful rolling fields of wheat and canola.  The fields of canola were bright yellow and looked beautiful against the blue sky.

Canola fields

rolling farms in front of the mountain range

The following day Darlene and Carl took one of the bus company tours, and Noel and I planned to take the national park shuttle through the park. 

It was still crazy windy when we got to the park, and the park service bus filled up fast.  Filled to standing room only, we bumped along, with long traffic lines stopping for construction delays in the park.  I knew after about ½ hour, this was NOT going to work for me.  I was already uncomfortable on the hard seat and squashed by the crowd.  Plus, the bus only stops at designated stops and only runs every 40 to 60 minutes.  We agreed to get off the bus, cross the street and take the next bus back to the visitors center to get the truck.  

In our own vehicle I was much more comfortable, we could stop and take pictures as desired, and no long waits or stinky strangers.  Muuuuuuucccchhhhhh better.

The road through Glacier National Park is called “Going to the Sun” highway and is 52 miles long.  Once past the construction, the traffic thinned out and we enjoyed stopping and taking pictures at our leisure.  The park is beautiful, with steep valleys and blue lakes and snowy peaks.  Just gorgeous! 
As we climbed in altitude, we began to see blooming bear grass.  Bear grass only blooms every three to ten years, so it was really something to see whole hillsides of the puffy plumes of white!  And so many waterfalls!

Beautiful Glacier National Park

One of the few glaciers still in Glacier National Park.  Most have melted

St. Mary's Lake

Noel with some flowering bear grass

One of many waterfalls in the park

At one stop there was a boardwalk that takes you to an overlook area.  We took the stairs up, but decided to take the wheelchair ramp, which meandered to keep the grade from being too steep.  What a stroke of luck!  There was a mountain goat literally walking up the wheelchair ramp!  Not 20 feet from us!  My camera was snapping away as we slowly backed up, but the goat didn’t seem the least bit afraid of us and walked almost right up to me before hopping off into the rocks and brush.  Score!

A real live mountain goat!
 We went as far as “Bird Woman Falls” before turning around to head back to the rv.  We weren’t but ½ way into the park, but by this time it was getting late in the afternoon and my legs and back were really hurting.  The wind continued to howl and I was aching to the bone.  

Upon return, we swapped stories and pictures with Darlene and Carl, then it was the heating pad and a vicoden for me.  It was a bittersweet day – this was the last “sightseeing” stop of our year long journey.  After Glacier, we are heading to see my sister in Denver, and then back to Dayton.

 We drove through the rest of Montana and into Wyoming, seeing lots of antelope and deer.

Lots of antelope throughout Montana and Wyoming

Watching me watching him!

 One night we stopped at a tiny campground one night  in the middle of a field about 80 miles north of Cheyenne.  We stopped specifically because it was so remote so we could star watch in the dark, big sky of Wyoming.  It was beautiful - so dark you could actually see the milky way and several shooting stars.  And the sunset wasn't hateful either!

Blazing sunset

Sunset in big sky country

We plan to spend about 3 days in Denver with my sister and her family, before heading back to Dayton.  We will be looking for a house to rent, so keep your eyes and ears open for something nice and affordable!

1 comment:

Ross Adkins said...

While the crack on your windshield looked small, it might get bigger in the long run, or when another stray gravel hits it. I'm guessing this was a part of your $1000 repair bill, so hopefully everything is in working order again. Drive safely!

Ross Adkins @ Bullseye Auto Glass