Thursday, May 06, 2010

November until now (Part 7)

When I got in on Thursday, Sandi and Thane were still in Wasilla so I met up with them and we went out for dinner. Sandi said her Yukon heater wasn’t working very well again (three months before it did the same thin and I thought it had a bad thermostat but it ended up being low on coolant) so I checked the coolant level and it was really low. I wasn’t sure what the problem was but I knew it wasn’t good. After I got back to work on Tuesday I called my import mechanic hoping to find the best place to take it to because our GM dealer is terrible to deal with. Luckily the import guys had a mechanic that works on the Vortec engine so I made her an appointment thinking she had a leaking head gasket or worse. They told me it probably wasn’t that bad because these engines are notorious for having leaking manifold gaskets and would probably be an easy fix. I told them I hoped so because my luck with all things mechanical were pretty poor recently. They called the day after Sandi dropped it off and said that it was worse than feared, and even worse than a leaking head gasket. Apparently two of the valve rocker arms broke and there was metal all in the engine and it was cheaper to replace the engine with one they had found that had 50k miles on it than to buy replacement parts for the existing engine. I was just thrilled., an engine and transmission all in one month. The only major component I had left that hadn’t failed was a rear end. Luckily when I paid the bill for the transmission I took it in the rear end so I don’t have to worry about that any more. All I could figure was that I’d better try to stay at work for about eight weeks to get caught up on all of our mechanical catastrophes.

On the bright side I did get a few days of riding in good snow before I headed back to get the truck. Amazingly when I called on Tuesday to see what the status of the truck was they said that they got it done on Sunday like they’d estimated and was sitting in their yard ready for me to pick it up. I wasn’t sure how long it would take them to finish when I booked my ticket so I booked a flex ticket so I could change it without an additional fee if necessary. When I called Alaska Airlines to change my ticket the agent told me that there was an additional $230 fee. I told her I booked a flex ticket so I shouldn’t have to pay a change fee. She said that only my northbound flight was flex and I’d have to pay. I’d say I was hemorrhaging money at this point but I was only hemorrhaging my visa number. The outpouring of actual cash was going to have to wait until I actually had some cash to pour out.

I flew home from work on Monday; I was originally planning to come home on Sunday to spend Thane’s whole spring break week with him but those plans were pretty well shot due to everything going wrong as of late. I did get all day Tuesday at home to go for a two hour ride in almost two feet of fresh snow and hang out with Sandi and Thane until they dropped me at the airport that night for my second flight to Kelowna. Wouldn’t you know that every time I left for either work or to go on this trip we got fresh snow. I wasn’t upset about getting to ride on Tuesday but was really wishing I had the rest of the week to play in then new snow. I’m not sure where but somewhere in there I finished my Stephen King novel and swore I’d never download another one.

I guess since I’d paid $1500 for a ticket to Kelowna Alaska Airlines took pity on me and gave me a first class seat to Seattle. I was happy about that, I like having room to stretch out and sleep especially on a redeye flight. This flight left Anchorage at 12 am instead of the 2:30 flight I had last time. It figured that the guy I sat next to wanted to talk and did, all the way. I got almost no sleep the whole flight so when I got to Seattle I went and found a little piece of floor to sleep on. I prefer the 2:30 flight to the 12:00 because when you get to Seattle before 5 am almost everything is closed. I got a few hours of sleep on the floor then made my Kelowna flight without any issues. When I went through Customs the officer asked me why I was in Canada and I told him I was picking up my truck which broke down on my way through. He said “they still haven’t got that thing done yet?” It was the same Customs Officer I’d had before; I told him that I had been assured it was ready this time. I once again jumped a shuttle to the Greyhound station and then waited for my 2:30 bus to Merritt.

I arrived Merritt a few minutes before 5pm and called the mechanic shop for a ride from the bus station. They sent a driver and had actually washed my truck before I got there. By the time I got all the paperwork taken care of and the trailer hooked up it was a little after 6:00 so all I had to do was top off the fuel tank and start driving. The rest of the trip was long but mostly uneventful with the exception of me cutting the corner too short turning into my friends driveway in Fort St John British Columbia. The trailer caught a snow bank and went off the side of the driveway which in turn broke the drain pipe to the grey water tank and popped out most of the rivets on the running board on the drivers side of the trailer. This just meant a little added maintenance when I got home. I took a long layover to visit as I hadn’t seen Saunderson’s in a few years, and hadn’t been to their farm since Sandi and I drove our ’97 F350 up from Washington in 1999. I left their house at about 6:30 the next morning and pushed fourteen hours to Whitehorse where I grabbed dinner, slept five hours and then made a fifteen hour push for home. I’d left Merritt on Wednesday evening and was home Saturday evening, a day earlier than I thought. Who could complain about that?

I still had a little over a week off so I spent a day skiing in Girdwood and two nights at Clay’s cabin at Honolulu creek riding snowmachines and the rest of it with Sandi and Thane. Then I went back to work for two weeks of recuperation before coming home to do two days of trailer maintenance before driving Sandi and her horse back to Washington…

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