Ready, set …

Okay today is the day! That is to say I have planned it to be. First cabin trip of 2022. Possibly.

Here’s how it’s going so far:

Got the Nissan Xterra re-insured and it was $100 less than expected. However, I couldn’t get them to start the registration on May 1 as I wanted: they claimed they couldn’t do it. They always managed to before. This time … no. But what was behind this? Well the day after I went in to the office and did this fine thing ICBC (the crown corporation that handles motor vehicle matters in this province) announced that as of May 1 you could renew on-line and registration plate stickers are no longer required. Well how nice. They could have told me that when I asked about starting it on May 1, couldn’t they? Evidently not.

So Saturday I went in to town on a little pre-check drive and to get gasoline. Hmm. Started out with 1/3 of a tank full, spent $75, and still didn’t fill it up. Thanks, Justin. Otherwise everything seems to be working. I even fired up the chainsaw to make sure it works too: no telling how many trees are down along the way.

I also took off the ‘dirt collectors’ by the rear tires:

Dirt collectors: useless pieces of plastic.
Plastic removed.
Sprayed on some Fluid Film (as close as I get to painting things these days).

Now … we’ll see how it goes. If there’s mounds of snow/ice blocking the road I’ll turn around and come back. There’s always later.

The too terrible trip to …

In our last installment I told how I was to make a little 2+ hour journey to pick up my wife at the airport. The good news was that there was now no snow forecast. The bad news was that they are notoriously inaccurate in their predictions. That hasn’t changed: I looked out the window at sunrise and it was snowing.

So for the first leg of the journey I’m driving in a blizzard, no chance of seeing the lines on the highway. (Side note: why do they use white line markings on roads where it snows? They are quite invisible!) Fortunately there wasn’t much traffic. I guess most people aren’t dumb enough to go driving in … hey, wait a minute! Anyway I had no choice.

How bad was it? It was so bad that for the first 50 kms no one passed me – I was doing all of 90 in the 110 zone too. That is bad! People around here generally go 30 over the limit no matter what the conditions. Why? Because we have a lot of stupidly bad drivers, that’s why.

Okay, so we get out of that mess and we have a new problem: Jojo is complaining her tire pressure sensor system is acting up. Great. Couldn’t she do that sometime before this journey? Like any point in the past six weeks? I look at the numbers and see it showing a couple of tires at 35 psi (all metric car, eh?) which is not abnormally high. I’d just put them up to 33 psi cold, which is what they’re supposed to be, all around on Friday. Really a 2 psi increase from highway driving warm-up is nothing. Anyway I stop and flip through the display menu to get at the readings again, thinking about letting some air out of the “high” ones. Guess what? It all settles down, and the ‘error’ reporting stops.

For a while. It came back about 50 kms later, then went away when I slowed down for the crossroad settlement, then came back when out on the highway again, then stopped when I did in the city, and hasn’t (yet) returned. Yep; drove the whole distance back without a warning. No perceived change in the tire pressures either. Technology is a wonderful thing – on those rare occasions when it actually works.

So the good news is I got there on 1/4 tank of gas. No need to fill-up for the return. Fine. (Yeah, like that’s gonna last, eh?)

Now about that “not much traffic” thing. It’s a holiday, and everyone in the city was celebrating by clogging the streets with their cars – and driving like maniacs. In this utter chaos I have to weasel down an unfamiliar road trying not to hit anyone or be hit by anyone while looking left and right trying to spot the hotel.

Well that didn’t work.

Stop and ask. Three times. They never heard of it. They kept trying to direct me to the other Holiday Inn, which is not near the airport but I know full-well where that one is. The obvious thing is to call Brenda’s cell and ask her where she is. Except that my cell phone doesn’t work. I should have mentioned that the day began when I tried to call the neighbour on the land line to let her know I was heading out. No ring. Her phone was out of order. Now that I’m in the city, my cell doesn’t work. I’ve had the problem before where it won’t connect because it’s out of area, but this time I don’t even get the message telling me I can’t do that. Terrific. Fortunately the denizens of the citadel are not so afflicted and one of them kindly Googled my destination, with some info about what to look for. Right: it’s across the street from the North Hill Shopping Mall. No problem.

One problem: you can’t get there from here. You have to drive past (I’d already done that twice; the hotel is about as obvious as the invisible man), turn left onto a side street, make a U-turn, come back at the main road, and then go right down it – and try not to zip past again. (Side note: by this time Brenda is trying to remember the license number on Jojo so she can phone the RCMP and find out if I’m in a ditch somewhere.)

Hello, hotel!

Now if only I could find my wife. (I swear to you I am not making this up.) There’s her luggage in the lobby, ready to go. Where is she? The clerk doesn’t know either. In fact they’re a bit concerned about this woman who dropped three suitcases on them – and then vanished.

Fortunately I’m exceedingly good at finding things I’ve seen before, and I spotted her head from across the expanse of the lobby as she wandered about the lounge area getting a drink.

Right. Got wife, got luggage … time to go home. And only an hour later than I thought it would be. Not bad.

Except she’s sick.

You know, if this turns out to be that coronavirus I’m going to murder someone. But yes, she’s feeling really ill. “Stop at the gas station, please” ill. Stop at the gas station. Better fill the tank with over-priced fuel just to be nice to them. Okay, honey; try and hold together the next hour-and-a-half …

Anyway we’re home. Suitcases inside. Wife in bed. Me trying to ignore how much my head, neck, and shoulders ache from that drive. Dogs happy. Cats happy.

No more adventures, please; we’re too old for this stuff.

I brought the Lumix along, but I only took a few shots. The hills were magnificent once the sun got on them, but I wasn’t going to stop on the way back to shoot with a sick woman in the car. Best to get it over with. That’s the trouble with that journey: it may be scenic but it takes so long you’re always pressed for time. Maybe some day it won’t matter how long I take, but not today.

Here’s a couple of through-the-windshield shots on the way down just to give you an idea what the area looks like:



It’s a little hard to drive at 110 KPH and take photos at the same time. In fact the police frown on it (actually it’s illegal to do this).

Jojo and her sister

There’s more connected with this trip, believe it or not, but I’ll save it for another time.