Our first day is now complete, and we are all still alive 🙂 .
We officially kicked off our FreedomAdventure in Calgary yesterday by gathering the last minute items from our Big Listinsky ™ and packing everything we needed for a great time. We loaded up the dogs and hit the road to great fanfare (our neighbour Dave messaged to see if we needed jam, he is a great neighbour!)
We chose to take the South West route via the Crowsnest pass, and it was a beautiful drive through Alberta’s rolling hills – traffic was light and Stevie was just motoring along like a champ. Our first stop was right in Crowsnest for gas. That’s where the “adventure” part of our trip began…
Jenn: Oh shit! We forgot the dogs leashes!
OB: Let me get this straight – “cheese grater” made the list FOUR fucking times and yet you didn’t bother to write down dog leashes? Ha ha ha ha ha!
It’s a good thing we packed our 25 foot training leashes… (a tad overkill for the quick pooch piddle pit stops!)
While Jenn walked the dogs, I was attempting to fill up Stevie. The fuel tank had almost emptied out so she needed a big drink. First up was pay at the pump. Insert card, select, amount, choose account, enter pin, and fail. OK, attempt 2, with the credit card this time – insert card, select, amount, enter pin, and fail. Figuring it must just be a failed pump, I went inside and tried 6 more times across 2 machines. It was only when the line of people formed out the door that the attendants realized their Internet connection was down. Oh well, $50 cash later and Stevie had enough gas to get us to Fernie.
Back on the road and everything was fine… until we got close to Fernie. As we slowed down to enter town, Stevie started stuttering and chugging and acting like we were out of gas. More on that in a moment. First, we needed leashes, so we stopped at Barkside Pets. What a great store with amazing staff! They took care of our leash needs, and gave us some food samples – spoiled pups making friends along the way!
Back into Stevie we went, but she was struggling to move us about so we decided to stop and have some lunch. Jenn had packed ingredients for a couple of excellent sandwiches and we found a park to enjoy them in. Side bar – we live in a beautiful country!
We finished up and began our next leg of the trip to the border crossing. Stevie chugged again in town, but once we hit the highway she was fine. We figured we just got some lousy gas along the way. We made it to the border, and had everything ready to cross. Our border guard was amazing! Mostly because he loved our dogs 🙂 . Things got a little interesting when he found out I’m currently unemployed… it probably didn’t help that we were in a 1978 motorhome and I was wearing my finest camping attire! However, we were well organized, had our vaccination records in a binder (Thanks Jenn and McKnight Vet Hospital) and had purged any offending items – see sandwiches above chock-a-block full of sliced deli meat and bacon. He asked to read the ingredients on our dog food so we pulled over to the side. He hopped on and seemed suitably impressed with Stevie, read the ingredients, and sent us on our way!
Having successfully crossed the most significant potential issue of our trip, we relaxed into the rest of the drive down to Whitefish Montana. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and the drive is really quite delightful. That is, until you enter town and slow down, and your motor home declares that she is tired and wants a break. This is when Stevie really decided to stutter and choke. We managed to get to a hardware store and I purchased a new socket set (JB: another thing not on your so-called Big Listinsky, eh?) I thought it might be a short in the distributor cables as Dave (aforementioned neighbour) and I had observed that when inspecting Stevie last month. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case, so there was no easy fix. There are also no photos available as the level of swearing probably isn’t appropriate for children or animals. Don’t worry, Jenn had the dogs safely away from the vehicle taking advantage of their new leashes 🙂 .
OB: OMG we are going to be stranded on DAY ONE!!!!!
JB: I know! Didn’t we tell these morons to get Stevie inspected?
OB: Yup! They are stubborn and stupid!
JB: Oh look, Jer thinks he’s a mechanic! Ha ha ha!
OB: It’s a good thing they packed a cheese grater…
OB: Hey Jenn, you should start to panic! I bet there isn’t even cell phone service to call for help! Panic Mode is sure to help the situation.
JB: Hey good call OB. Jer LOVES it when Jenn panics 😉 Pssst, Jer, I bet this is going to cost a fortune to fix!
OB: Probably the same cost as going to Italy.
JB: WTF were they thinking?
After putting the engine cover back on – didjaknow that with old vans you don’t just open the hood you actually need to remove some of the dash and un-bolt the engine housing? – we limped our way to a grocery store. We couldn’t cross the border with most food so we still had to get ingredients to make the rest of the dogs supper. As it was getting late by now, we also chose to pick up pizza.
Our next and last stop was the campsite, We pulled in and found our spot. As we began setting up, we discovered the site had no power. Did we mention it was 33 degrees and we were drenched in sweat? It took about an hour, but the campground folks got it all sorted out and we were able to finally turn on our A/C unit. By this time it was pushing 8 PM and the dogs were starving, so we made them supper out of the free samples we got – which they loved. It was like pizza for dogs 🙂 .
Finally, we were able to sit down and enjoy our now 2 hour old pizza. It was tasty, but they cut the slices in a very bizarre way…
JB: Go ahead, have another piece!
Jer: But I’m full and don’t need another one.
JB: Oh come on, look how small they are! It’s pizza, you can’t stop now.
Jer: OK fine, one more little piece. Munch munch munch
JB: Way to go fatty, this is why we can’t have nice clothes.
Finally, after all that, we were able to sit down, relax, and have a beer or 2 (or 3!) I was also able to google Stevie’s issue and it looks like old engines can experience “vapor lock” when it’s hot and at high altitude. We will find out on day 2 if that’s the issue. It certainly makes sense as it was super hot and we are at quite an elevation. If it’s not vapor lock, it could be the spark plugs, the distributor, the coil, the fuel pump… sigh. Maybe just one more beer…