Saturday, 15 October 2016

The longest runner....part 2

Continuing from here

After nearly 4 years of living in the sunny summers and mild winters of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, the family was about to trade driving on roads like this.... this....

....nice, huh?

My wife was given a fantastic opportunity of relocating way up north. Her boss was offering a company house, cover the entire cost of us to move and the high potential of putting a lot of extra savings into the bank. On paper, it looked like a really good deal.

So, with the house all packed up, we loaded down our own vehicles with valuable, personal affects and clothes for the trip. I had faith in the wife's van, a 2004 Ford Freestar, to make the trip without issue, but I had two concerns with my 2001 Chevrolet Impala.

First, there was this small oil leak from somewhere on the top end of the engine. It made it's initial appearance about a week or two after I brought it home, after the excited purchase. It wasn't a big leak, but I wasn't sure how the long drive and sustained high temperatures would effect it.

Secondly, if I forgot to manually shift the transmission out of overdrive down into third gear, the car would buck like a bronco going up fairly steep hills!

The big day came and with the house packed up, move out walk-through completed, we were off. Well, almost. A quick stop at a gas station to fill up on fuel and check all the fluid levels, then the big trip commenced. 

The first leg of the journey was around 4 hours away, stopping off at 100 Mile House for fuel, food and a stretch. No issues with the car that I remembered. Next, off to Prince George, another 3 1/2 hours north. Once again, nothing memorable other than a much needed overnight at a decent hotel.

The next day would be be the real test of things. A big part of the next 4 1/2 hour drive would be through a feature called the Pine Pass. Snaking it's way through the Rocky Mountains, the Pine Pass is at the best of times, a dry and clear, two lane with optional passing lanes, scenic driving experience. At other times, a snowed in, one lane, alternating traffic nightmare. Good thing this was June....

Arriving in the outskirts of Dawson Creek, the family and I stopped off at a Petro-Canada Card Lock for refueling and fluid checks. Opening the hood of the Impala produced this result....

Turns out, the water pump was nearly dead. I could see the green trickle of antifreeze coming out of a hole in the side (not a new hole, but one the is already present on the water pump, for whatever reason). I took the chance and just topped off the levels and we pushed on for another hour north.

After the overnight in Fort St. John, I checked the Impala over again. Fluids were good, tires were still black and holding air, I figured we were good to go. The nearly five hours trip through some of the most scenic countryside I had ever seen was mostly uneventful, vehicular wise. No problems, warning lights or gauges going off the scales to take away from the experience.

End of the line. The wife and son arrived first, then followed by me about a half hour later. However, that was a slight change in plans on where we would be staying. Nevertheless, we made it safe, sound and no major breakdowns.

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