Ever since I left Mazatlan at Easter in April, life has been challenging me at every turn, causing me to wonder many times if leaving was the right thing to do. Nevertheless, there is one little-big reward for all of it.
My first grand-child, Violet. She more than makes up for everything.
She took us all by surprise by arriving more than five weeks early on July 8. I was still in the tedious process (setbacks) of getting my Jeep and new-to-me small travel trailer ready to hit the road and head west to Vancouver to be there for her expected birth around mid-August.
But before all of that, I took about 3 weeks to drive on my own from Tuscon, Arizona after crossing the border from Mexico with Mike’s assistance and company. Almost immediately, my first challenge was a stalled out Jeep on the side of the road. One tow and mechanic bill later, the radiator hose was re-secured and coolant re-filled after losing all of it when the hose popped loose. Later in the trip, an engine code revealed that all the spark plug wires needed replacing. But this was just the very beginning of many Jeep fixes and new parts, and much mechanic expenses. It gives me palpitations right now just thinking about it so I will leave off the laundry list on the Jeep. Suffice to say, it has been never-ending and I will never sell the Jeep now. It is worth a mint. I will drive it until it finally dies a final death. Should have left it in Mexico.
I did have a fun road trip through Arizona, Colorado (spent a week near Denver with my sister and brother-in-law), Utah, Idaho and Montana. My favourite state was Utah and I will return there sometime for further exploration.
I stayed put in Edmonton with Mike from May 13 to the end of July with a brief trip by plane to Vancouver to greet my surprise grand-daughter. She was a strong girl from the get-go, not requiring any of the usual preemie medical assistance at 5lbs 1 ounce. Nine weeks later she had doubled her weight by eating like a horse.
I finally set off at the beginning of August, towing my 16 foot fiberglass travel trailer. And promptly four days into the trip, the Jeep blew a front differential spectacularly in the left-turn lane in the middle of a town in British Columbia called Osoyoos. A gorgeous spot to get stranded.
A couple of tows later, the Jeep was dropped at a mechanic shop to await an after-market front differential, and my trailer was parked and hooked up in my sister’s vacation home backyard in Penticton, B.C. The house itself was rented out and my sister wasn’t there, but I got lucky in one way – the backyard is huge, with rear lane-way access, electrical, water and sewer hookups, and a garage building with a bathroom. And even more lucky, her sister and brother-in-law had recently bought and moved into the house next door. For about 10 days, I lived in the trailer and used the neighbours’ shower every morning. Such kind people, they also fed me dinner every night.
I rented a car and drove out to Vancouver and back a couple of times while I waited for the Jeep repairs. It took 10 days because I refused to pay $600 or more for the differential the mechanic had sourced, and found one for $50 in a small town in British Columbia. Mike drove down from Edmonton, picked it up, delivered it to the mechanic, spent the night, then drove back to Edmonton, all on a weekend. About a 10 hour drive each way. He deserves extra brownie points! However, much of the mechanic bill was labour and it wasn’t cheap.
On the road again. I was so leery of that Jeep at that point, Mike flew to Penticton, drove it and towed the trailer with me to Vancouver, then flew home. More brownie points. We had an enjoyable weekend in a campground east of Vancouver.
With the labour day long weekend approaching, I knew that finding a campsite for the trailer anywhere near Vancouver would be almost impossible. But I am nothing if not resourceful. Some research online led me to a website called Boondockers Welcome. What do you know? There is a group of RVers out there who offer free camping on their property if they have a spot – just because they love fellow RVers and use the website themselves as well. Kind of like couch surfing for RVers. Normally, most of them say 1 or 2 nights is the max. I found one in Surrey/White Point, about 45 minutes to my son’s apartment, offered by a woman my age, named Susan.
When I arrived, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured if I had a place to park for the long weekend at least, I would move on after that to a campground or RV park. Once again, I got very lucky. Susan told me right away that I was welcome to stay as long as I wanted, and not only that, I was welcome to use her bathroom and shower any time. I had electric and water hookup parked in her rear driveway off the back laneway. Teddie had two new friends to hang with too. Susan has two friendly Boston Terriers.
This is where I am still. Fall has arrived and the nights are cold but I am quite comfy. I am spending lots of time helping with Violet, driving back and forth to Vancouver. The new parents have settled into life with an infant and despite initial struggles, adjustments, and sleep deprivation, they are coping well. Violet is thriving and beginning to sleep for longer periods at night. I love every minute with her.
Soon I will head back to Edmonton though and I will likely sell the travel trailer before I go. Why? Only because I had told myself I would try towing a trailer as opposed to driving an RV or camper van. And I have. But I don’t trust the Jeep enough to do a lot more of it.
I don’t know what I’ll do all this winter. I expect to spend some time in Mazatlan but not the entire winter. For now, my vagabond gene is satisfied. I have a grand-daughter I will get to missing I am sure. And I have to find a way to pay off all those mechanic bills….