Hee Haw, Moose Jaw!
Tue, 22 Jul 1997 20:48:52 -0700
Oasis RV Park; Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan :: 15 JUL 97
The title of this piece was an often heard expression in my
years growing up. Old family friends, fellow RCAF folks, were once stationed
here in Moose Jaw (nearly as unlikely a name for a town as Goombungee)
and whenever talk turned to this small Canadian prairie city the inevitable
result was a loud, boisterous, "HEE HAW, MOOSE JAW!"
At least that's the way I remember it.
In any case, I've been driving a few days. My calendar shows
10 days have elapsed since departing Vancouver July 4. As some of you
already know, getting out of Vancouver was a test of perseverance and
patience. Without detailing the boring minutiae of the ordeal, suffice
it to say even a week after getting the truck back from them I was still
finding loose screws, improperly installed coolant hoses (that subsequently
blew out) and whole parts missing. Everything seems operable now, but
we'll see how long that lasts...
Although Sunday, the 5th of July, in Kelowna was kind of nice,
as was the Thursday following it, I'm more than a little glad to have
left all that BC rain behind. CBC Radio is keeping me company so far this
trip, but I had to switch off a couple times last week when every hour
brought a report lamenting the "wettest 9 month period in recorded history."
It was really great to finally leave the Rockies and all that rain behind.
Of course, I promptly ran into one of those freakish hail storms.
00:00 Upsala, Ontario :: 16 JUL 97
It happened to be Stampede time in Calgary...and I also happened
to need four new tires for the RV. So, rather than trundling off ever
eastward in the morning, I ran a few errands and stopped by a tire shop.
"No problem. I'm sure we've got the tires. Just call back with the tire
sizes." Well, it wasn't quite that easy. Nothing ever is with travelling,
Apparently, the tires on the trailer are older than the trailer.
"H78 - 15," I told Bert over the phone.
"Err, what?" replied Bert.
"H78 - 15"
"Hmm. Nobody's used 'H' numbers in 15 or 20 years."
"But, Bert," said I, "the trailer's an '86!"
"Yeah, kinda interestin' isn't it? ... They're probably a 220
or a 225. Just bring the trailer 'round."
So I did. After some "Hmmm"ing and "Haw"ing, and a couple phone
calls, and Bert realizing they were bias ply rather than radials, we figured
out they were indeed 225s. A few hours later, Rolling Thunder sported
4 new 8-ply steel belted radials, a thumbs up on the brakes and freshly
greased and packed bearings. I knew the tires were a liability and had
planned on purchasing new ones immediately upon reaching a province without
sales tax: Alberta. But since I've owned the trailer, the wheel hubs had
never been opened so I wasn't sure what was going on in there. Driving
with a known liability is one thing-it's something you can keep your eye
on. However, whatever was gong on inside those hubs was a mystery and
when you're lugging nearly 5 tons of metal, appliances, electonics and
underwear-not to mention 30lb propane tanks-mystery implies unknown risk.
As it turns out, one of the bearings needed replacement. Now
I figure I can run mystery-free for, oh, 30,000 kilometers before things
start getting mysterious again.
So, while all that work was getting done, I completed more errands. First,
I mailed a few images off to a poster distributor. Hopefully, they'll
agree to publish and distribute-in sizes suitable for framing-some of
the pix appearing on the website.
Then I bought an acoustic coupler. Some of you might even know
what that is. For the benefit of those who don't...an acoustic coupler
simply allows your modem to literally 'talk' over a phone the same way
you or I do. It consists of a microphone and speaker and a few circuits
to convert sound from the telephone earpiece (picked up by the mic) into
something the computer can understand while converting things your computer
has to say into sound that the speaker blasts into the mouthpiece.
10:40 Cochrane, Ontario - Canada :: 17 JUL 97
Some level of calm is restored. Perhaps I should explain...
Darn near the worst piece of highway I've rolled the RV down
is a couple 100 km or so stretch of TransCanada #11 between Jellicoe and
Longlac. Hoy. Granted, it's under construction but...JEEZ! Signs warned
"BUMP!" and no bump. Then, without warning, BUMP! Or should I say SEISMIC
EVENT! By the end of it, the inside of the trailer was a shambles. CDs,
Photo-CDs, CD-ROM, audio and video tapes: strewn about the floor of the
trailer. The computer monitor had broken from its stand and was dangling
over the front of the desk-by its video cable. Worse yet, the C: DRIVE
on the computer itself gave up the ghost. This message now greets me at
BOOT DRIVE FAILURE.
INSERT SYSTEM DISK IN DRIVE A: TO CONTINUE.
That was yesterday. I guess saying I was in shell shock would
be putting it too strongly, but I caught myself in the mirror while putting
the Photo-CDs back in their cases and what I saw was a deflated soul.
Also, Longlac is not reached by the nearest CBC broadcast station so no
soothing Gzowski this morning, either. Cleaning up the damage, and thinking
on new preventive measures this morning kept me from getting back on the
road until well after noon. Then there were a couple stops in various
Home Hardware and Canadian Tire stores purchasing the preventive measures.
Tomorrow AM will see more time spent installing preventive measures, and
repairing more of the damage.
06:45 Canadian Tire parking lot; Val d'Or, Quebec ::
20 JUL 97
Well, when you're just travelling about having a look see events
like this are just a good reason to have a look around a place you might
otherwise have driven right through. But on a point-to-point destination
journey, when you're trying to get somewhere by a particular date, blowing
a wheel bearing at 4:00 PM on a Saturday's something of a setback. The
sound coming from the passenger-side rear wheel is scary enough that the
truck won't be leaving this parking lot until Monday when the mechanics
get back to work. Hopefully, it will be early Monday rather than late.
At least the accommodation is cheap.
It would be nice to have some electricity. And water.
In the meantime...a recap of the journey so far.
British Columbia: wet. CBC Radio informed me that I'd just escaped
the rainiest July on record in Vancouver. In fact, the previous 9 months
were the wettest since weather records had been compiled.
Alberta: dry, and hot. As stated above, the trailer wheels were
checked and a faulty bearing replaced. Wish I'd taken the extra time there
to have the truck checked out to. Ah well.
23:20 Isle Alberg; on Lake Champlain, Vermont :: 21
Well, it wasn't a bearing this time on the truck. It was a shot
universal joint in the drive shaft. $83 to repair. Could've fixed that
one myself, if I'd have been able to diagnose the problem. That's why
good mechanics deserve the big bucks.
23:50 Gunstock Acres; Gilford, NH :: 22 JUL 97
Back in New Hampshire, finally.
~~~ Responses Sought ~~~
When the only tool you have is a hammer, Every problem
starts looking like a nail.