Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 2 : Vancouver, BC

Thursday was supposed to be an all day trip up to beautiful Peachland, BC, where Stefan's paternal grandparents live. It is situated in the Oakanagan, and the 3 hour drive is a scenic mountain highway. When you get there all you can see is a sweet little town snuggled in between cherry & peach orchards, a huge lake surrounded by mountains. Unfortunately, we never made it up there...

Yes, that is the truck we were driving, and yes, that is it's tire laying next to the highway barrier. Our car made it about an 70 minutes to Peachland, when we heard a loud noise. Stefan and I looked at each other, quite shocked, and saw our front driver's side tire rolling across the highway! We quickly stopped on the side of the road, while seeing that the wheel had hopped the barrier and was rolling into oncoming traffic (110 KM/H or about 80mph)! It hopped the other barrier and went into the ditch, or so we hoped.
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After realizing what happened, we were both quite shook up when we knew it was quite a miracle that there was no one behind us, next to us, or on the other side of the highway. The wheel could have made someone else loose their steering, or, if slammed into a windshield (it was bouncing high!), it could have easily killed someone going 80mph. Praise God we were also blessed to be stopped on a part of the highway that was relatively straight, so that people and semis could get over with plenty of time before getting to us. Not much of the highway was like that!
Here is kind of a funny picture. Stefan almost looks like he is dancing, but what you maybe can't tell is that he is on the opposite side of the barrier on gravel. It was incredibly steep and we were both loosing our footing just walking on it. I must have snapped the picture right as he was catching his balance! Here you can see a better view of the truck's lost wheel, and that the rotar (disc brake) rubbed down about an inch or two from the metal rubbing against cement in the short amount of time it took us to stop. Stefan ran across the highway and did find it at the bottom of a hill, laying very close to a mucky pond.
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For all of you who don't have AAA, can I PLEASE tell you to go and get it. It has saved me at least a minimum of 6 times throughout the years I've had it, all for an $80 yearly fee. This was no exception. The small logging town of Merritt had a tow truck out to our site within 40 minutes (about that far away from where we were) and towed us there for free. AAA is the same as BCAA there. We were also thankful that our friend who we were staying with has BCAA, and has the 'golden' version, getting his truck towed from Merritt to White Rock, a four hour tow, all for free! That tow would literally have cost hundreds of dollars.

Here is their other 4-Runner, that we got to use the rest of the trip. You have to haul yourself up in this sucker, and we felt right at home in this mountain culture with this truck that had tires at least 2 1/2 feet tall.

While we were waiting for Luke to pick us up in Merritt (he had a 4 hour drive to get there) we were lucky to see Stefan's paternal grandfather (Opa) and his aunt, uncle, and two cousins on furlow from Africa. We had taken the trip to see them at his Oma and Opa's house, but since our car couldn't make it, they hopped in their car, brough along some delicious Linsen & Speatzle (lentils + German noodles), Stefan's favorite, and drove down to visit with us in Merritt for a few hours. It was a good time, but we wish we could have seen Oma, too. There just weren't enough seats in the car. Hopefully we'll see her soon.

Before we went back to White Rock, we wanted to get a bit of food for the road, so of course, I took this opportunity to get my favorite Canadian treat, poutine. Any time we are north of the border I have to eat this. Fries, gravy, and cheese? YES PLEASE!
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What we thought was a diaster of a day turned out to be not so bad. Of course, it could have ended much worse. Thanks to the 3 wonderful cars that stopped and helped us with a phone, water, and safety. We saw who we went up to see, and the guys had a great time chatting on the long drive home. And I, of course, relished my poutine!
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