Days 1 – 3. Tues. 30th April, Weds. 1st May and Thurs. 2nd May
A good flight with Westjet from Gatwick to Vancouver. We like Westjet. Although they are a “low cost” carrier, they are efficient, the seating is good and the crew are friendly and attentive. A late departure, due to a late incoming previous flight, caused by strong headwinds. The reverse for us though, so the strong tail winds meant our 45 minute delay was eliminated and we arrived 5 minutes early.
Flying across the top of Canada at approx 10,000m we could see both shores of Hudson Bay, covered in sea ice but with fantastic lily pad like ice formations and cracks appearing, indicating the thaw is starting. Of course it’s difficult to see contours from that height, but cliffs could be seen on one side of the bay and wind blown ice stacked against it. Crossing the vast plains of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, then deep open-cast mines of Alberta then seemingly scraping over the Rockies. BRRRRR, perhaps we don’t have warm enough clothing and bedding. Having coped in Northern Norway in May last year, we hoped we would be okay in Canada and Alaska. I hope we are right
The least said about our overnight hotel stop the better. The Airport Travel Lodge is tired and in need of a complete revamp. We were tired too and only needed a bed for the night. As we couldn’t keep our eyes open we were in bed by 8, but awake again by 3am!! The joys of jet lag! Up early and starving, we participated in the very unappetising hotel breakfast and grabbed a cab to Seaboard Storage to be reunited with the old girl.
The Seaboard staff are lovely and Anthony took us around to our container, while the owner, Ron, followed up with a heavy lifter. The door was unlocked and there she was, all snug with the roof rack detached and stacked behind her. The lifter made easy work of getting out the roof rack and then we pushed her out. Unfortunately only the auxiliary battery had been disconnected, so the main battery was as flat as a pancake and she wouldn’t start. A quick boost from Ron’s jumper leads and she burst into life. After packing in all our gear, we were soon on our way to Rovalution Automotive, the specialist Land Rover garage we have been recommended.
A beautiful morning and it feels so good to be back in our Land Rover and on the road – even in it is just to the garage. Due to a minor hiccup in programming our Sat Nav we arrived in West 3rd Street in West Vancouver and not West 3rd Street in North Vancouver – who said grid systems were simple! Fortunately we weren’t far away and Dennis stopped at a Roger’s telecommunications shop to get some wifi sorted. I sat in the Landy with the engine running – we daren’t turn it off in case she wouldn’t start again. I nearly jumped out of my skin when someone came from behind and tapped on the window. Would you believe a fellow Brit Land Rover enthusiast heading for the very same garage we were looking for. His name is Jack and he is importing Defenders into New Brunswick. We followed him to the garage where there were an abundance of Land Rovers of all ages, colours and types. Jack was meeting another enthusiast from Squamish, also importing Defenders. Unbelievably this was the same guy Dennis had been in touch with and who recommended Rovalution to us. This Land Rover world certainly seems very small. Once we arrived at the garage we turned the engine off and when asked to repark her of course she wouldn’t start. So capricious! All the guys gathered round and pushed her into the right place and we discussed the issues Dennis wants resolving with the Rovalution team. Once we had removed all the gear we needed, we sat in the office and waited for Sarah to come down from Whistler to collect us and after some errands and a monumental shop at Costco we headed up to Whistler
We are now very comfortably installed in Sarah and Tim’s new house. It isn’t quite finished, but we have a very comfy bed and a working toilet. What more do you need! It is only just a couple of minutes from Sarah and Tim, so we are spending most of the time with them and just sleeping in the new house. We have some tasks to try and do today. Washing and mending our seat covers, repairing the zip in the Caranex tent, upgrading the mosquito netting to keep out the “no see’ums” we expect to encounter when we go north and fixing the vent netting, which was damaged by the cooker fire we had in Siberia. This should keep us busy until it is time for the next update.