Thelma + Louise Cross the Border
This story starts long before we made it to the Canadian border. Pop some popcorn, grab a cold beverage and settle in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride (literally…for us maybe less so for you I hope).
We hitched up like normal on the day we were crossing the border. After many discussions and observing the route, we decided that we were going to shoot our way across the street to a huge parking lot in order to keep from taking out the campground’s gate when we took the main road out to the highway. We’ve experienced this turn before and thought we might change up our routine. As we approached the gate, my mom accelerated and we all flew forward…and then backward, clutching whatever was in front of us.
No adventure ever starts off well with that noise. Some curse words were exchanged and then we immediately hopped out to see what in the world was going on. Nothing in the surrounding area looked out of place. In fact, even the RV looked fine but when we took a closer look, we noticed that the hitch (the part that connects the truck with the RV) flew back out of it’s original position. The RV was right up against the tailgate of the truck. Usually, there is about two feet in between those parts. I still couldn’t really comprehend what had happened and then my mom noticed that there was a part to the hitch that can move the whole system forward and backward. We always have it in the forward position but somehow, the lever to move it came out of place and hence the loud and startling jolt.
We didn’t have much room to do anything in the campground so we moved across the street as planned and tried multiple times to move the hitch back into traveling position but it wouldn’t budge. I was about to give up and call the whole International adventure off (typical me) when my mom decided to fix it manually. We unhitched the RV, my mom got in the truck bed and pulled the hitch back into the right spot and locked it in place. That’s my mom for you. We hitched the whole team together again and found ourselves back on schedule - with a thousand more grey hairs, shaking hands and pounding hearts.
We rolled up to the border and found our way to the designated RV area (per the many signs pointing us to the same area with all other “normal” vehicles). The line wasn’t horrendous and we were moving at a good pace. In fact the line could have been longer because per the instructions of the Vancouver campground we were NOT to be there before 2PM. Our ETA was 1:30.
My mom was hesitant about the height of the border booth but I shrugged it off and said we would be fine. They did, after all, direct us to come to this area. We made our way to the front of the line and then it was our turn. There seemed to be enough room on both of our sides to maneuver through the lane but as we approached it, my mom’s voice got shrill and asked if I had room on my side. Oh yes, I’m sure I do. We pulled up to the window, had a nice chat with the border person, showed him Phoebe, explained our visit and shared what we did and did not have in our RV or truck. He was not jazzed about me being jobless and seemed very stern about me getting employed upon my return to the US and was not impressed by my crisis counselor volunteer commitment that I was making while on the road. Oy vey. Other then that, we were good to go. My mom started pulling forward and the border person’s eyes bugged out as we continued to pull through. My mom shifted more to my side but I had to quickly pull in my rearview mirror so that it didn’t hit an unfortunately placed cement block. There was no backing up or changing course. We were committed and so my mom accelerated her way through and we walked (or drove) away with only “superficial”, according to the border patrol guy, damage to the rubber piece that runs along the side of the RV. Fortunately it didn’t effect the fiber glass so eventually we can just get that skinny panel replaced.
Still it was just about the last thing we needed.
After the border we had about 30 minutes or so until we arrived at our campground. We were driving along, feeling better about things, when a woman rolled down her window to signal she had something to say to us.
“Excuse me, but I think your tire is flat eh.”
Our first “EH!”
I was so enthralled and then realized that our tire in fact was low. Really low. It’s usually at 80 psi but it was now at 30. Good grief. We thanked the lady for kindly alerting us to this new problem and we started to panic (maybe that was just me) all over again. We thought briefly about making our way to the campground, dropping the RV and then fixing the tire but decided smartly to go straight to a tire place instead. A quick GPS search found a Canadian Tire store 15 minutes away. They had space for the RV and could fit us in.
We unhitched the RV (for the second time that day) and gave our truck to the tire gods and hoped they could fix the problem. We took a little walk, then sat around for 40 minutes waiting for word about our truck. Phoebe was not particularly happy that she couldn’t go inside but she did enjoy some time in the sun and felt extra giddy when some people stopped by to ooh and ahh over her.
As we began to get impatient my mom decided to run in to check on the status. One of the mechanics took her back to where the truck was being worked on and informed her that our brakes were shot or frozen or locked or something terrible and my mom’s heart stopped. As they continued walking back to the truck they passed Louise and were staring at a red vehicle. My mom busted out laughing and the guy looked at her confused. She shared that that red truck in fact was not ours and the mechanic immediately became embarrassed and apologized for frightening her. Our truck actually had a tire that needed a small repair and they would be done soon and we could get back on the road.
Finally, we were back on track and headed to the campground. After experiencing the rest of the drive to our destination, we were relieved that we didn’t try to make it there on that low tire. There was a humongous hill with a pretty steep incline that would have not been the place we would have wanted to have a tire problem.
I felt confident about the rest of our travels to the campsite but as we made a right turn onto one of the final roads, I yelled that the RV was getting too close to a curb with these metal bars coming out of it. There was nothing my mom could do so as she approached the curb, the RV went up and over the cement island and to my horror was about to take out those poles and damage the RV. By some miracle those metal poles were actually plastic, I guess, and they bent right over when we um….ran over them.
Let’s just say it took a day or two (or the whole week) to finally relax after this intense day. We were a little road terrified afterward but gained our confidence back when we left Vancouver and headed to Quesnel.
We enjoyed our time in Vancouver but were happy to get out of the tight city quarters for more open roads. Pictures of Vancouver below.