A month after my previous trip, I went down the Bella Coola Hill again. The little black truck I’d had towed to Williams Lake proved to be too costly to repair. The motor had gone. This after I had already spent nearly $2,000 on repairs this year – and used up the second of my 4 BCAA tows. The only vehicle available was a bigger Dodge 1500 – 11 years old, which was one of the newest vehicles I’ve owned. (I might have got a cheaper vehicle in Kamloops or the lower mainland – but how would I get to these places without a second driver?) It needed repairs, but at the end of the first week in May, the new truck arrived home. It has all the electronic bells and whistles imaginable – and the first thing I did was lock the keys inside. (Fortunately Igor was able to break in and retrieve them.) However, there was a shake at higher speeds, and it was determined (by phone) that it was a tire imbalance so it was necessary to go back to Williams Lake a week later to get that seen to. However, the night before I was due to leave, I discovered I was missing my driver’s license. Websites told me that, because of covid, I would need to make an appointment in Williams Lake. My computer phone can’t handle menus so I decided to go to Bella Coola and get a new license there – I wouldn’t need an appointment or have to wait too long.
It was a gorgeous morning as I set off.
There was a lot less snow than a month previously.
Half way down the Bella Coola Hill I saw the first green leaves!
And downtown Bella Coola is fully leafed.
Now legal again, I entered the cool, lush forest of my friends’ driveway.
Here is my new truck in front of their house.
It was pretty windy; we were just greeting each other in their yard when there was a loud crack and a boom. A great old fir had crashed over. They had noticed a crack in it and had called a faller about taking it down; however, even without the wind, this would have been a very dangerous tree to fall. It made a humungous mess but fortunately did no damage.
It is such a different planet in the valley. The scraggly apple tree was in full bloom.
The very next day, the first leaves came out at home.
The following Monday, I drove to Williams Lake to get the tires balanced. A great deal of work has been done on the potholes, but now we have long stretches of loose gravel.
Because I didn’t have a lot to do, I was able to leave town early. I drove to the top of Sheep Creek Hill – about 25 minutes – to where there are a couple of outhouses, as always, thankful to get to the openness of the Chilcotin. (It had rained heavily in town, but up here the sun was shining.). I prepared a snack. Suddenly there was a loud POOOOF and smoke started to pour from the engine of the new truck. I leapt out and realized it was actually steam. I could hear furious boiling. I switched on the ignition – the temperature gauge was normal. I walked 1/2 km to a ranch, but no one was home.
Back to the truck. A logging truck pulled in. (It is a brake check area.) The driver came by and determined that the radiator hose had ripped apart. He had a radiophone but could not call out to a telephone. However a gas truck stopped and the first driver knew the second, and the second could call out to a phone line. So I was once again talking to Downtown Service. The garage organized a tow truck. BCAA websites say tow truck drivers can’t take passengers due to covid, but the tow truck driver wasn’t going to leave me stranded there so I got a ride back to Williams Lake with him. That was free tow number three used up. Only one tow left and it’s only May.
Then the news that a radiator hose was unavailable in Williams Lake. I would have to spend the night in town. Friends I have stayed with before are extremely covid cautious so I chose to go to a motel. A place was not that easy to come by – the motels were full of tree planters. With taxes, the room cost $100. It was the most boring $100 I’ve ever spent. It was clean, but: no view. Nothing to read. Was not sure how to get the best out of the TV and got only ads and sport. The cover of the heat dial fell off when I touched it – obviously didn’t work. Traffic and fridge noise all night. In the morning tried the coffee machine, but that didn’t work either. Because of food sensitivities, it is hard to find anything to eat in town, but I had snacks with me.
The garage had given me fridge space for the groceries I’d bought and a car to run around town in, which was very kind of them.
Up at crack of dawn as usual, I had to wait a few hours for the repairs, so I went to nearby Scout Island Nature Centre. This is a wonderful facility. Williams Lake is on a flyway and all kinds of birds pass through. There are many different species than where I live. However, it is extremely noisy with industrial railway noises and traffic. The birds don’t seem to mind, though.
Yellow headed blackbird
The place was full of woodchucks.
And the heavy scent of choke cherries.
By mid morning I could leave. I spent the whole 4-hour journey wondering if I was going to get home, but I made it. And I haven’t dared go anywhere since!