Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wayne and Margy's Summer Vacation

Powell River Ferry Terminal
Life on a Powell Lake float cabin is like a perpetual summer vacation, but sometime Wayne and I think it would be fun to do something different. Our 2015 "summer vacation" is an example.

We loaded up our 1989 Ford Tempo with the Big Yellow Banana, our 20' Current Designs Libra XT two person sea kayak. If that wasn't enough, we crammed lots camping gear in the trunk and back seat.

We set out for Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. That's not as easy as it sounds. From Powell River, you have to catch a BC Ferry to Comox before driving along the Island Highway north to Campbell River. Because Mr. Kayak starts to vibrate quite a bit over 80 kph, we decided to take the old coastal route 19a. Plus, it's much more scenic passing forests, farms, and finally right along the shore.

Our old 1989 Ford Tempo with the Big Yellow Banana on the Comox Ferry.

After a quick McDonald's run for a McFlurry and wifi for our iPad GPS, we headed out of town to Strathcona Provincial Park. We had reservations for two nights at Buttle Lake Campground to use as a home base for exploring Buttle and North Campbell Lakes with Mr. Kayak.

Blocking the road to load up.
It's excellent road all the way, and our old Ford Tempo with it's big load was doing exceptionally well. We decided to stop at the Strathcona Park Lodge just outside the park to check it out. We parked along the road and walked around to see all the amenities: cabins, lodge rooms, restaurant, hiking, water sports, and special youth activity and education programs.

When we got back, the Tempo wouldn't start. Seemed like vapor lock, not surprising on a hot day after a long drive up a mountain road. We sat in the shade and let her rest -- several times. By 5:00 we thought we better call for a tow. We have AAA from the States, but it's seamless with BCAA.

Strathcona Park Lodge entrance was our exit.
In just over an hour, Clint and his a big tow truck arrived from Coastline Towing. That's amazing. Sometimes you have to wait longer  in the big city. Coastline serves Vancouver Island, and will even go out in the bush to get you out. Good to know! First Clint unlocked the car, which accidentally got locked with the keys inside on the last try to get it started.

Clint determined that there wasn't anything he could do except haul us back to town. Fortunately, their big truck had ample room on the bed for the Tempo with it's long load on top. To get her on board, we had to block the road in both directions. Wayne went out to assure drivers it would be quick. You see, salmon were running up the coast at Tahsis.

An overnight and all day stay at Gord Knight for repairs.
When we got back to Campbell River, Clint dropped us at the Gord Knight used car sales lot with a full service shop. Don't tell our Tempo, we did have fleeting thoughts about a trade in. But fortunately the mechanics found a burned out inertia fuel shutoff switch. It's supposed to protect you from fuel leaks during roll over accidents. Basically, it shuts off all fuel flow. Not good when you are trying to take a summer vacation.

The fix wasn't expensive, so the Tempo was reprieved. But by that time, we didn't want to head all the way back to the campground. We'd already spent one night in town at Painter's Lodge (watch for a future post). All we wanted was make it back to Comox to catch the last ferry, and head up the lake and our perpetual summer vacation at home.

Do you have any funny (after the fact) summer vacation stories? -- Margy

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Thanks for stopping by. Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome. - Margy