Thursday Tidbits

Posted on September 6, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

The trip got off to a perfect start


Thems are the brakes.

Traveling is always an adventure. At least it seems that way to me. Rarely does everything go exactly as planned. When you’re on a road trip with a young family, invariably there’s someone who gets car sick or a diaper needs to be changed on the 401. I must admit that I don’t miss those days. I remember the time I was traveling to Vermont with one of my daughters and we left a stuffed animal in a Burger King restaurant on the I-95. The discovery of the loss was noticed about a half an hour further south along the way. There was no option. I found the next off ramp, called the restaurant, asked them to put the animal aside, got back on the north bound lane and retrieved the stuffy.

Day 1 of the trip across Canada with my son and the morning dawned gray and rainy in Hope, B.C. It didn’t take long for the skies to clear as we zipped across southern B.C. When the weather improved, we noticed a lot of smoke in the mountains, the residue of the wild fires.

If you love fresh fruit, you would love Keremeos. There are dozens of fruit and vegetable stands in this agricultural area of the province along with plenty of wineries. We stopped to pick up some succulent peaches and cherries (stop drooling). The smoke in the mountains was very thick and when we looked up, we saw helicopter carrying water to a nearby fire. Make that a quartet of helicopters. They were using a nearby river to gather up water. A lady at the fruit stand said that this fire had been burning since June.

We stopped for lunch in Osoyoos, a picturesque town nestled in the mountains on Lake Osoyoos. We sat on the balcony of a lovely café overlooking a park and the lake. Our waitress informed us that the wildfires had killed their tourist traffic this summer. She said that the smoke was so thick by times that you couldn’t see the cars in the parking lot directly below the balcony.

We pulled into Nelson around 5:00 p.m. About a half an hour prior to this, Peter said something to the effect that the brakes didn’t feel quite right. After checking in to our motel, we headed straight for the golf course so that Peter could get in a quick nine holes before dark. A complimentary round of golf came with our room. Although dusk was settling in, we noticed a trail of brake fluid under the car as we were about to exit the golf club parking lot.

Back at the hotel, a quick call to a backyard mechanic back home came with explicit instructions. DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR ONE MORE FOOT.

We walked downtown for supper.  We ate at a taco restaurant.  At the table next to us were five firefighters with gritty, darkened faces. Their camaraderie was obvious as they laughed and joked easily while slaking several large jugs of water. No alcohol when you’re fighting fires.


Did I mention that my sister in law Catherine is brilliant? She is a very capable lawyer and an amazing cook. Her taste in men leaves something to be desired! Only joking, Catherine! When I was in Victoria for a few days before hitting the road back east, she asked me if I was a CAA member. I was for years but in retirement, cancelled my plan. She thought it might be wise to purchase a new membership with a long trip ahead. The plan had a stipulation that you couldn’t take advantage of the free towing until 48 hours after the plan was in effect. It only took 72 hours to recoup the membership fee as the car was towed to a nearby garage.

You can imagine what most businesses are like after a long weekend. We started calling on Tuesday morning as soon as the brake shops opened. The first one said that they could schedule an appointment in 5-7 days. Knowing we had to be home before Christmas, we respectfully declined. It took a few calls but we finally got an appointment.

If it is your bad fortune to have car problems, there are good places and not so good places for this to happen. Try to time your next mechanical misfortune in Nelson, B.C.  While waiting for your repairs, you can visit one of 59 restaurants, go for a hike or a round of golf or possibly hitch a ride on a pleasure craft on Kootenay Lake. When your biggest concern (besides the car repair bill )is getting too much sun or your fresh peaches going bad, then things aren’t so bad.

Peter posted a picture holding a glass of craft beer while gazing at the lake and nibbling on calamari. He posted it on Facebook and within minutes, received an invitation for a free beer from a friend from back east who now lives in Nelson and is part owner of a microbrewery. The beer that he was holding in the picture came from that microbrewery!

We pulled out of Nelson yesterday morning. We have some hard miles to make up but that goes with the territory.

There are good breaks and there are bad breaks. When you have bad brakes, turn them into good breaks. Just make sure it happens in Nelson.

Have a great weekend.

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The Macdonald Notebook: Business & Politics in Atlantic Canada

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