Friday, August 31, 2007

The Great Adventure - Loose, and out on the road....

Daughter and I rose early this morning, full of vim, vigour and vitality. Eager to set off on our adventure to travel to Kamloops and attend daughter/granddaughter's family orientation barbecue at Thompson University.

We met for an early morning cup of coffe (no breakfast, - that was to be a treat on the road) and set off, down the driveway, turn right out on to the highway, and down the hill into town. As we crested the town hill Daughter noticed the battery warning light was on. We got out the cell phone and consulted Husband.

Worry not, said Husband. That light must be defective, it has been on since time immemorial!

And so we went on, watching the rest of the gauges carefully, but all seemed well, and eventually we stopped worrying about the baleful battery light and gave in to a feeling of light-hearted pleasure and adventure.

We had instructions to add oil in Princeton, a forty minute drive away, - but when we arrived there we found no service stations open, and so blithely continued on the next leg of our journey to Merritt.

I will inject here that Daughter has had a bad experience with deer jumping off hillsides on to the road, and in her particular case, righ
t on to her car. Consequently she is nervous driving during the hours when deer are most prevalent crossing the highways. We proceeded cautiously, and I have to tell you she behaved admirably and with coolness and aplomb (also quick reflexes) when a small deer rose up from the ditch along the highway and darted immediately in front of the car. She slammed on the brakes, and the deer gave a little leap and bounded away.

I looked at her with admiration, but I'm sure her heart was pounding, and shortly after she remarked that she would like to pull over when we reached Dry Lake. Which we did, within about ten minutes.

This is a lake with many memories of fishing expeditions with grandchildren. Daughter left the car running as she stopped to relax, - as she got back in the engine of the car stopped running - permanently. Gauges still looked normal, except for that "defective" battery warning light, but the engine was hot.

Alas, our little adventure was taking on somber tones. I tried to call with my cell phone, but in this neck of the woods you are out of range almost all the time.

Walking back to the pay phone at Dry Lake we started the ordeal of finding a Tow Truck on this busy Labo
ur Day Week-end. After a number of frustrating tries, and Daughter's anxiety that Mother would not keep her cool, (as has happened before) finally the answer was Yes, - the people from Princeton could come out, but it would be a long wait, - so we phoned Granddaugther and Husband to bring them up to date on the Great Adventure, Loose on the Road. And then returned to wait.

I got a whole heel knitted on the new pair of striped socks, and the hours went by. Just at the end of the second hour Daughter saw a man across the lake get into his rowboat and come across the water to where we were stranded. He beached the boat, climbed the hill to the roadway, and asked if we had help coming. I thought that was right neighbourly of him, and it lightened our distress somewhat.

Shortly after the Tow Truck arrived. What a splendid vehicle, and driven with such aplomb by a pleas
ant and burly young man. It was like no tow truck I have ever seen before (I have a limited knowledge of tow trucks....)...a splendid snub nosed vehicle with a sliding deck that the driver appeared to slip under the car and then hitched the car onto the deck of the truck. The little red Grand Am looked as if it was in a parade, and just needed a few ribbons and balloons to look quite festive. It was blushing somewhat and I'm sure it felt quite shame faced at having not lived up to expectations.

Wayde, the driver, called the cab his "fish bowl" and so it was. All glass, front, back and sides, so we had a great view of the highway and the hills, and rills and other scenery while gliding down the highway some eight feet off the ground.

A pleasant young man, - he had two or three stops to make as we marked our return trip to where we had started out so full of cheer and optimism.

He had to stop and get a bun to eat, and some gas to take to a stranded motorcyclist, and you will remember that we had had no breakfast. I kept my eyes studiously averted as he ate that Danish, but my stomach grumbled a little about food so near, but yet so far.

As he finished eating we were hailed down by a fellow tow truck driver, who said, plaintively, that "this was his first time and he didn't know how to do it" -
get the wheels under the back of the car he was trying to lift, that is - (the lady with the dog on a leash, who was a passenger in the car, giggled). He was not fortunate enough to have one of these new fangled tow trucks, but our intrepid driver, Wayde, was quick to give him instructions, and called out to him as we drove off to be sure he hooked on before he did whatever it was he had told him to do. I silently wished him luck and a good performance with his "first time".

Husband was at the outskirts of town to meet us. He followed along behind and consulted with Shaun, the mechanic/owner at our destination garage. I paid the Tow Truck Company enough money to buy a new monitor (almost), Daughter bit her tongue and eventually we said farewell to the recalcitrant Red Grand Am and came home to EAT and have some coffee.

The final diagnosis was a wretched alternator that has been on the brink for many months, but never received the final push until today. Daughter was exonerated at being firm about not continuing, even if the car would start, as that would only have resulted in us breaking down and being stranded farther away from phone contact with anyone, in the wilds of the Princeton Merritt road country. And with a steady stream of motorists and semi's passing by, oblivious to our distress.

The Red Grand Am is spending Labour Day Weekend in the compound at the garage, but we are already planning a trip to visit Granddaughter/daughter on her first day without classes.

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