The road trip is on standby, we are back in Vancouver after Gary the car died on us.
Yesterday I was driving out of Seattle. I had said how good it felt to really feel like we were finally moving east.
However all was not well as half an hour later as I was driving up to Snoqualmie pass on I90 the car started losing power, so I moved to the right hand lane and hoped to limp 1.5 miles to the next service station. We didn’t get anywhere near that, the water temperature was beginning to sky rocket and we kept losing speed so I pulled onto the hard shoulder just as the engine died.
I went to put my shoes on, Pulled the hood, and Bex hopped out to see if there was an issue. Just after she opened it up the coolant cap exploded off and neon yellow coolant shot out like a volcano.
Luckily Bex had the time to run behind the car, narrowly escaping burns as the engine continued to heat up.
All safe and sound, no fire, we were in a beautiful valley in the Washington mountains, but very isolated with a cliff behind us and four lanes of traffic in front.
So on to the phone to roadside assistance for the umpteenth time.
Ten minutes later, 200m down the road, another car broke down and 4 nice hikers came and joined us in the wait by the freeway in the hot sun.
An hour later and we had a tow truck. But not before a car came up the road, smoke pouring out and blew up beside us.
Two minutes later and we were joined by yet another car which blew up 30m up from us. What a hill this is and why does it have such a devastating effect on cars.
So our tower in his words was a brusk asshole, but nice. And in his opinion the head gasket had blown and the cost to open up the engine to check would be more than a lot, and that’s before even getting it fixed, so Gary had given us a short ride before his untimely death.
Now what? We were stuck on a one road town in the mountains and a dead car full of gear.
Lots of calls later and we managed to talk roadside assistance into getting us a row to the border and a different to to collect us from the border to take us to the dealer.
And with a bit of chatting to the dealer he just about agreed to honour his agreement for a thirty day warranty and refund Bex provided we got the car back.
So at 8pm we had talked a friend to drive up from Seattle and take all of our gear.
We loaded us and the car onto the tow truck and drove the 130 miles to the US-Canada border crossing.
He was still a nice guy, passionate about food, living the rest of his days in a big RV having just left a house, home schooling his kid with his wife and getting of the grid. We learned that he isn’t too pleased with the government and some conspiracy theories came out.
As we approached the border he started freaking out, they were having sniffer dogs check all cars leaving the country, but he was allowed to ditch us in immigration. He has no passport so refused to take us to Canada for fear of who knows what.
Again we sat in US immigration, but not so uncomfortably as last time.
It’s amazing how many foreigners are stopped and searched by the Americans and almost no white people, but I guess not so surprising.
Our next tow driver was lovely and friendly, had a passport and when we came to Canadian customs pullout his trump card. He’s native and has native I.D. which he says means that no officials are allowed to fuck with him. It was the quickest, and easiest border crossing yet.
He was even nice enough to drive us around motels to find the cheapest, after we’d left the car outside the dealer.
So we woke up an have spent the day on the net trying to find another car to buy.
In Starbucks we met a lively lady who took us out for lunch at a Vietnamese place and gave us a lift to the dealer.
Rick the dealer isn’t a dodgy man, and after smelling the oil took us straight to his office, having just come back from the states, coming to the yard on a Sunday, he refunded the cost of the car in full.
Bex has decided to buy a car here in Vancouver, so we’ll hang about here a little while to do this and then get back on our way.
For now we’re trying to find a place to stay that won’t cost us money, so fingers crossed that things go better from now on.
I forgot to mention that Seattle is great, we stayed with Aaron and went to an alumni ice hockey match, great fun. And in the morning we met up with Katie who fed us tons of food.
I left saying how I would have to visit again. I never imagined it would be so soon!
Damn these posts are long these days.