Monday, July 1, 2013

Is this thing on?

It's been a few months since I last posted an update and I am uncertain as to how to properly proceed.  Do I post about where we currently are and skip over everything we've done since my last update?  Or do I put what we are currently doing on hold and try to catch up?  Or I guess I could post a current update and fill in the blanks later.  I think I like how option #3 sounds.  At least Vanessa has been taking care of the pictures as we travel and so if you want to travel back in time, please feel free to visit her facebook page at and check out the photo albums residing over there somewhere.
Anyways, so here goes...

July 01, 2013 Fort St John, British Columbia, Canada
A couple days ago we passed through Dawson Creek, the starting line of the Alaska Highway.  Being on this famous highway made me all kinds of giddy and I was hoping that we could make it to the capitol of the Yukon (Whitehorse) in time for Canada Day, which happens to be today.  Afterwards, we'd try to hit up Fairbanks Alaska for the Fourth of July if possible.  Or use Haines Alaska as a second option.  But Shit Happens.  And here's the story.
I was anticipating some 400-500 kilometer days in order to meet our goal.  Vanessa didn't seem very happy with it, preferring to stop everywhere and hit up some trails, but I think I convinced her to suffer along with me for a couple of days and then we could slow down our travels once again and enjoy life.  Let's just get to Whitehorse ASAP.
I felt as if we were making good time, enough to even stop at Pink Mountain which is about an hour West of Fort St John.  There we could have lunch and get in a short run on the trails.  It'd make everyone happy, especially the dog.  However, a few hundred yards from the turn a loud slapping noise started coming from the rear of the RV.  At first I thought it was a flat but I wasn't drifting off to the side so I figured I lost some tread on one of the rear tires.  I slowed way down, turned on the road leading to the Pink Mountain Park and lucky for us, there happened to be a paved pullout right there where I thought I could easily change out the tire.

Ever have one of those days?
I emptied out the back where the jack and accessories are stored and proceeded to start jacking up the rear of the RV.  Problem #1 - the jack is too short and can not raise the tire off the ground.  No worries.  I'll deal with that later and loosen the tire first.  Problem #2 - no hub cap removal tool.  No worries.  I keep a large flat blade screwdriver in my tool bag which popped off the cap with a little effort.  And now for the lugs.  Problem #3 - where the fuck is the lug wrench?  No problem.  I waved down a young couple in a car and asked to borrow their wrench.  Sadly, it was the wrong size.  I thanked them for trying to help and wished them a safe journey.  At least I have Good Sam Roadside Assistance, right?  They'll swap out my tire for free.  Problem #4 - My phone doesn't have Canada coverage.  No problem, I'll bite the bullet and pay the stupid roaming fees (ouch!).  An hour later, the lady finally confirmed that someone was on the way to help me out.  An hour of roaming charges.  Great, can't wait to see the bill.
Around 30 minutes later a guy pulls up and I describe the problems and he gets to work.  Two jacks and some power tools later and the spare tire is on.  I ask him where I can get some new tires and receive some bad news.  Problem #5 - It's the day before a 3 day weekend (Canada Day) and most of the shops shut down early.  We have to wait 4 days to get new tires.  We can either drive 90km back to Fort St John and spend the weekend there, or we can risk driving 300km to Fort Nelson and sit there for the weekend.  I'm not one to take unnecessary risk and so I opted to backtrack to Fort St John.  I didn't want to risk another blowout along the highway in the middle of nowhere and left stranded along the Alaskan Highway waiting for the shops to open on Tuesday.
And so that's how we ended up spending Canada Day in Fort St John.  It's not exactly what we wanted, but it's not too bad.  There's a Walmart, a Safeway, a few coffee shops and fast food places to snag free wifi.  There's even a free dumpstation with clean water right at the city's entrance. Too bad this city is infested with giant mosquitoes though.  We tried to hang out at a local lake for a day but gave up thanks to them critters.  This morning we gave it another go at a local forest trail.  Can't stop moving or you're mosquito bait.  Too hot to keep moving for long periods of time.  No win situation.  But at least we got in a couple of miles.  And the city is actually kinda nice.  Sort of.  And later tonight we get a free fireworks show.  See, not too bad.  These local tire shops better have the tire size I need though!

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