Thursday, November 5, 2009

Taking the bus back to its roots

The day we picked up the bus from Clarence & Sylvia I followed Bryan St. George back to his home and backed it part way up their very steep driveway. Last Sunday we moved from Chilliwack to Kelowna and once again parked in Bryan's driveway. It's hard to appreciate just how steep and winding that driveway is from the photos but there was no way I was going to back around any corners 6 years ago. This time it was a piece of cake. Bryan was outside calling the signals and we could have put it in his garage if the door was tall enough.
We had a pretty exciting trip over the connector from Merritt to Kelowna because the Jakes picked this trip to quit working. The Coquihalla and the Merritt Connector are two stretches of highway where you really don't want to have a runaway. There's 6% grades on the connector that run for over 10 miles with no let up. I finally ended up in 2nd gear because that was the only one that would hold without regular brake applications. I only got the brakes smoking hot twice but that was more than enough. The Jakes turned out to be a pretty simple fix. One of the wires on the curb side of the engine had broken loose at the solenoid and was shorting out under the valve cover. Once I traced the problem to that side of the engine I decided that I was brave enough to pull the valve cover to see what was going on. That side isn't too hard to get the valve cover off - the other side with the turbo is a whole 'nuther matter. As soon as the cover was off it was obvious what the problem was and easy to fix.

On Tuesday Bryan and I headed off early in the morning to Central Valley Truck Service where Bryan had me booked in for a vehicle inspection. Despite the fact that the bus has previously been registered in BC we still need to have it inspected prior to registering it out here. The inspection went well with one notable exception. I hadn't bothered to check the clearance lights before bringing it in and I clearly should have because I had lost one whole circuit of lights. I think what likely happened is that when we put the awning on we must have pierced a wire along the roof line and now that circuit is shorted out. Of course I couldn't quickly fix that during the safety but they very kindly passed me anyway with my assurance that I would get it fixed. I spent yesterday working on it and have most of the lights back on. I've located the stretch of wire that has the short in it and all the lights on powered side of the short are working but now I have to figure out how to get power to the "other side" of the short.

The mechanical portion of the inspection went well, aside from the clearance light problem but putting the results into ICBC's computer was a huge problem. Whoever the genius was that decided to computerize the safety inspection records obviously never thought about the fact that the inspection technicians by and large are 60+ year old mechanics. It was beyond painful watching Billy try to type the results into the computer but it wasn't entirely his fault either. The application was, to be generous, less than user friendly. They ended up making at least 5 phone calls to ICBC and eventually ended up phoning Victoria to get the original registration number from when Clarence and Sylvia owned the bus. I was pretty nervous during that process because one false move and we could have easily ended up on some list that required us to have semi-annual inspections. No doubt we could have fixed that later but the problem might easily have popped up while we were in Mexico or Arizona and fixing that kind of problem over the phone might have been really hard on my blood pressure.

Right now we're parked in a very pretty spot in a yard belonging to some friends that we met in Mexico a couple of years ago. Their address is Peachland but to me it seems like we are closer to Westbank. When you were seeing those pictures of the Glen Rosa fire last spring they were taken just over the ridge that we look at out the front window. We've been trying to get here all summer but never quite made it until now. Later today I'll get a picture of our parking spot posted.

Tonight we're having supper with one of Marilyn's brothers who lives here. This weekend we'll probably move back out to Chilliwack. We're getting pretty close to ready to head south. We've actually got a reservation at a campground outside of San Francisco starting on Nov 29 so it feels like we are ready to leave. We're still waiting for our BC health cards to arrive and it wouldn't hurt our feelings if we were able to get vaccinated for the pig flu before leaving. I don't suppose there's a hope in hell of that happening though. I'm afraid the epidemic will be over and done before our government ever gets around to vaccinating the white anglo-saxon taxpaying members of the population.

1 comment:

Reluctant Cowboy said...

"BC health cards"

So it's official you won't be a plainsman anymore?
Yep that'd be me o'quick mind figurin that one out....

Hope the snows don't come before you head south :)