Dear Adventurous Reader,
We are leaving Vancouver during rush hour. It is not the best of ideas, but we had to collect food and some equipment for our road trip, and it made sense to do that on our day of departure. Shopping on the first day of a long road trip is a hindrance, but due to a busy work schedule in Vancouver it was impossible to do this shopping before. I lament our departure time, as we pull up behind a long line of cars, until we get into the commuters lane and start bypassing all the cars with only a single driver.
Gradually the city is left behind. The tall buildings, the road exits to suburbs and neighboring cities, are all behind us. All that joins us on the journey is the rows and rows of cars. The tallest landmark on our horizon is no longer man made, it is the glacier that is near Mt. Baker, in the United States, and it beckons us to adventure. We are driving across Canada - though we left a little later than planned.
As we get closer to Abbotsford we are stopped behind lines and lines of traffic. A city-themed traffic jam stretches before us, and the sun shines upon our car making us feel hot. We have left Vancouver, we have not traveled as far as we wanted to, and we are stuck in traffic. Time to give up on making progress, and find a place to camp.
A small town of Chilliwack has a camp ground close to a low-running river. It smells like dead fish, but the view is very pretty, with the trees lining the mountain behind us. We have Campers Spaghetti for dinner, made beside the river. Eating beside the river sounded like a good idea, so we moved the food over to cook, then we smelt the river and looked upon the carcasses of dead fish but were not bothered enough to move away.
We wake in the morning and pack up. It is cold, and the overnight has caused condensation on the inside of the tents. Jacqui is making room in our trunk for full bags, food, and tents, the boys and I allow the tents to dry in the sun. We get into the car for a long drive, and discover the engine light is glowing. Fantastic.
Words of Uncle Josh hit us like a sledge hammer - he has a way with words - “If you see an engine light, stop and get it looked at.” We find a mechanic, then we find a way to burn hours in a small town until a spot opens up for the car to be looked at.
Thinking Aboot Lemons
I spend the next few hours thinking about the car we have purchased. We wanted a car that would get us across Canada and to get us about during winter. A car that could take us southward towards North Carolina, and keep us dry and warm. I am not sure if this fits the bill, not yet - I think we found a lemon. A big, hulking massive lemon. With rusted sills and underbelly, rolling suspension and an uncertain amount of issues that appear when we have only just started our long journey across Canada.
We didn’t feel like we had much of a choice with cars. We wanted a car that could fit us all in (eight seats and all our luggage), a car that could drive long distances, a car that could fight through a winter storm, and after all of that, come out the other side. A Suburban sounded excellent, on all accounts, except it is American, with a reputation for being a bit average.
The car we purchased found us. We had a look around, but this was the car with the puppy-dog-eyes that we couldn’t say no to. Historically, for us, these are the cars we buy and they have not let us down. This small issue of an engine light is not counted as “letting us down”, but it doesn’t build much trust.
We talk to our friends who own Suburbans, they all tell us that the engine light comes on “All the Time”, but it just keeps on driving. Again, sounds great, just not building much trust. American Engineering - maybe it is just the car telling us that the engine is running?
Hope is on the Road Ahead
The mechanic finds nothing wrong that will hinder our journey. The light comes on because of an oxygen sensor near the catalytic converter. He noticed a few things wrong with the underneath, which he fixes, and we are back underway again - at 5:30pm.
We drive on to the next town, so that we have made some kind of forward progress. Always forward, when the journey is so long. The next town is called Hope, and with a name like that, we take it as a sign of things to come.