Thursday, August 17, 2006

When in Hope, there's hope!

I've actually made it a few miles into Canada!!! I'm sitting in a lovely little park in the town of Hope, British Columbia, and with Suzie in tow, we are beginning to have hope that the trip will progress well!

I spent Monday night back at the Snoqualmie Park in Fall City just outside Bellevue, packing up to hit the road. Had a new neighbor, a great looking guy who was familiar with Green Valley, for heaven's sake, thru his parents! Who drove a shiny new black Cadillac Escalade! Seems he caddies for "the Beerman" on the Championship tour, and they were in town for a tourney. Wish I could have hung around awhile!

He had already left, presumably for the golf course, when I started moving around on Tuesday morning. Too bad, for several reasons. I sure could have used his help when I took my final walk-around before hitting the road. Seems the clown who had serviced the coach at Camping World had been distracted before finishing his work. When checking the tires, he neglected to replace one of the two nuts that hold on the wheel cover (and the valve stem to check the tire pressure) and also the valve cover. The wheel cover was just hanging on by one nut. Thought I had heard a funny rattle when driving into the park, but . . .

I removed the wheel cover and put it in the coach (there's so much room in there when it's all closed up - the doggies thought I was nuts, so to speak). 

During the course of the day Tuesday, and again yesterday, I stopped at about 9 places looking for a nut that would fit - three truck stops, one Kenworth repair shop, three old roadside mechanics (the kind with missing teeth and a cigar behind their ear), even went into another Camping World where they "don't stock extra nuts - no one ever looses one of those!" and a Home Depot. NO ONE has nuts this size. And I don't need any comments about the size of nuts - I no longer see humor in this story!!!

Called the Camping World service manager where the work was done, and he was wonderfully apologetic and asked that I send him a bill for any repair work - no fears on that one, with a couple hourly charges for time wasted! I couldn't drive back south to get them to fix it, assuming they even had an extra nut in stock, because I had to get to Vancouver to get Suzie at the airport!

So I hit the road. After leaving a note on my neighbor's windshield wishing him well in the coming golf tournament!

Maggie had warned me that I might have to give up my liquor cabinet and three cases of champagne, or pay duty on them, so I approached the border crossing with severe trepidation! Didn't help that I almost knocked a low hanging awning off the checkpoint drive-thru lane! But the gal who checked my documents just said 'where are you going, how long are you staying, do you have any firearms (left my handgun at Maggie's for the duration), do you have any gifts, have a nice day'!! Things are looking up!

Until I tried following the printed directions I had to the RV park I had picked in Burnaby. Guess I need to RTFM (read the f*ing manual) - directions took me on the most direct route - thru tiny back-street residential roads where I received the most astonished looks from pedestrians at the size of the thing I was driving down their little streets. Finally spotted some RV's down in a little valley and just kept pointing that way until I found it. Sure enough, there was a highway just one turn from the driveway in. Think I need to tell the computer program NOT to take the most direct route!

By then I needed a break, so I hired a limo to take me to Vancouver International Airport to get Sooz. There was no way I was going to take the coach thru a city I don't know, in the dark, on streets that don't like me! But don't worry, I didn't blow the whole wad on the limo. It was "Budget Limo" - an old 1994 Cadillac limo. The driver arrived in full livery, and certainly got the attention of the RV crowd at the park! Delightful guy - I sat up front with him on the way to the airport, learned his life story, and laughed and had a great time.

Sooz was properly impressed with her pick-up and we shared a bottle of bubbly in the back of the limo, as of course we should!

She was happy to report that the security arrangements at both Honolulu and San Francisco were not troublesome at all, especially considering everything we're hearing in the news!

Yesterday morning, after a relatively leisurely start, we started our adventure. Before hitting the road, we installed a couple sun shades on our driving side windows. They are so big and high that the afternoon sun, which is usually on my side of course, is quite blinding. These should do the trick, and it seemed only fair to put one on both sides. Camping World wanted $65 to install them, which is understandable since there were 4 screws for each shade! Glad I can use a screwdriver!

We made it a short day yesterday, just to the little town of Hope, chosen simply for the name! With the thought that we'd sit down and plan out the rest of the trip. I learned on the way up from Arizona that I can't drive this big rig as long as I could drive a car! My original plan of 400 plus miles a day just wasn't feasible. So we broke out the champagne (what a surprise!) and started from scratch.

AND - great news - the new regulator that arrived from Weber BBQ the day before I left Maggie's works! I have a functioning bar-b-que!!! We can eat!!

What a gorgeous valley this is - the start of the Fraser River Valley - big high green mountains on both sides...very majestic! Except for the tear in the side of one of the mountains, where a number of years ago it just sheared off, leaving something like 187 feet of rubble obliterating the road and everything else in its path!

Anyway, it's about 8 a.m., it's 57 degrees and gorgeous out, with a high expected of 79, Sooz is starting the hot water for tea, so I'll sign off for now and hope for good roads and good luck and wi-fi at the next stop!!

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