In the previous post I mentioned that I was taking friends to Bella Coola yesterday. But fate took over and instead, I went to Williams Lake. I drove the van out to the highway no problem. Sure, there were a few slithers, but the north end is still mud and large lakes of water so the sliding around was expected. On Highway 20, however, as soon as I started to speed up, it was obvious that there was something seriously wrong with the steering. I must have done more damage that I thought when I slid off the road and hit a tree the other day.
It was about 7.00am. I would have to get a tow. I left the van near the highway so the tow truck would not have to drive through the bog holes. It was an hour’s walk home. A beautiful day, though, freezing quite hard and sunny for once. Large puddles in the forest were skinned with ice. The low sun sent golden shafts of light through the trees.
The nearest tow truck was half an hour’s drive away – and the operator was on vacation until May. Another place was half an hour east but even if I got the van there, he might not be able to repair it, and I would have to wait for parts. On the walk home I thought about a pickup truck my usual mechanic had for sale. I was going to wait until I next went to Williams Lake to look at it, if it was still there. I phoned the mechanic. Yes, he still had the truck. I phoned BCAA. Because the Nimpo guy was away, the truck had to come from Williams Lake over 3 hours’ drive away. It would take half an hour to load and another 3 + hours to drive back. I was wondering if there would be time for me to buy the truck and get insurance before everything closed. About an hour before I expected the tow truck, I set off walking back to Highway 20 carrying a backpack with overnight stuff in case I had to stay over. But the tow truck driver made good time.
It was just before 1.00pm before we started back to town. I had brought lunch with me but it was too bouncy to eat in the tow truck. The driver was not a conversationalist and although I cannot pick up radio, he was able to listen to a trucker’s radio show from the states. The top thirty country tunes blasted from the speakers for 2 hours. This is not my favourite music. All that whining and cliched sexism. I did get a chuckle out of a chorus line from hit Number 3, though. “Girl, you make my speakers go boom boom boom.”
Still it was an interesting ride as being high up in the cabin meant I could see all sorts of things not normally visible. 40 years ago in Australia I hitch-hiked a lot in big trucks: I had forgotten what fun it was to ride so high.
The snow was all gone from the Chilcotin but most of the ponds and lakes are still frozen. We arrived in Williams Lake a little after 4.00pm. BCAA picked up the tab for the tow – otherwise it would have cost about $1,000!!. There was just enough time to do the paperwork, pick up 3 boxes of produce, and sneak into the building supply store 2 minutes before they closed to stuff the back of the pickup full of insulation. It was dark when I got to my turnoff and I put the truck into 4wd and set it into the puddles and mud with some apprehension, but we made it home without mishap. This is not my favourite vehicle colour: but at least it doesn’t show the mud!)
The pickup will be good for the bush but not great for book tours. The mechanic will check out the van and see if it is worth keeping. There is a lot wrong with it – the steering, awd not working, back doors jammed shut (that alone will cost $500), windshield like a spiders web, 2 broken bumpers so we’ll see.