BC Day ‘Short’ Weekend (Mis)adventures

Broken car on the Duffy Lake Rd.

Broke-down car on the Duffey Lake Road

Our car is a weekend warrior, pretty much like us these days. We don’t use it at all during the week since we get around by bike or by walking, but on weekends, especially in summer, we put it to good use mostly to get out of the city. I don’t think we had any problems with it in the five years we owned our old beat-up Subaru Legacy, but on the previous long weekend one of the rear tires blew out. In fact, the long weekend before that we also weren’t off to a good start as Neil threw up all over himself ten minutes after we left home and we almost missed our ferry.

Murrin Lake near Squamish

Murrin Lake near Squamish

The BC Day long weekend seemed to arrive too quickly and we weren’t exactly sure what our plans would be until the last minute, which is not unusual for us. I felt more like swimming and relaxing, but Gili was keen on hiking, so we decided we’d take it easy on the first day, leave not too early, have a swim or two, do some car camping and then do a three day hike in the Van Horlick area, off the Duffey Lake Road, an area we’ve never been to before.

OK, I'll try to fix the car...

OK, I’ll try to fix the car…

There was a lot of traffic leaving Vancouver, but once on the Sea to Sky we remembered how beautiful this area is. I hadn’t been on the Sea to Sky for nearly a year (!), so it was very refreshing. Everything seemed to be going well, we stopped at Murrin Lake for a swim and picnic and when Neil was getting sleepy we continued driving. We passed Pamberton and Neil was still sleeping so we decided we’d find  a place to camp somewhere along the Duffey Lake Road and manage with the leftover food we had. We both kind of wanted a burger from One Mile Eatery, but it wasn’t worth waking Neil up for it, and anyway it was still too early for dinner. Little did we know that we’d get our burgers a couple of hours later.

I started to fall asleep when the car started to climb the Duffey Lake Road but I woke up to a strange sound. I asked Gili what it was and he said something with the gears. I had memories from the previous long weekend so I asked if we should stop to see if we don’t have a flat tire again. Everything seemed fine with the tires, but when we continued driving Gili noticed that the speedometer showed 0 km/h even though we were driving 60 km/h. So we stopped again to investigate and when Gili tried to start the car again nothing happened.

Dinner at One Mile Eatery, Pemberton

Dinner at One Mile Eatery, Pemberton

By then Neil had woken up and with nothing else to do he decided that he’d try to get the car started himself. We tried to convince him to go and play in the big open field behind the car, but he was very loyal to the car and did not want to be too far from it, and his mood wasn’t so good either. After a while we decided that the best thing to do would be to head down to Pemberton and call a tow-truck as there was no reception there and it didn’t seem like it would get us anywhere if we’d spend the night by the car.

Good morning by One Mile Lake, Pemberton

Good morning by One Mile Lake, Pemberton

It was very easy to catch a ride and in fact two cars stopped for us at once. They both had plenty of room and we chose to go with a friendly doctor from Vancouver Island who was on his way back to the ferry. It turned out he was a fellow South African, and with a similar background, Gili had no problem maintaining a conversation while I was busy with Neil in the backseat trying not to get car sick from all the curves.

Once in Pemberton, Gili spotted a tow truck at the gas station across the street. He went to talk with the driver who already had his hands full himself but called another tow truck driver who arrived in less than five minutes. Some $360 later, we had arranged for our car to be picked up and dropped off later at a mechanic in Whistler.

A refreshing swim at One Mile Lake

A refreshing swim at One Mile Lake

Now we could finally order our burgers and Neil was busy running around all over the place. The service was very slow, but we weren’t in a hurry and we tried to figure out our plans for the night. We tried to use social media for help, so we contacted Sam, the only person we know from Pemberton, who gave us a few suggestions of where we could camp.

Walking back towards Pembeton to catch the bus

Walking back towards Pemberton to catch the bus

The night was peaceful and we woke up to a beautiful morning. We decided not to catch the first bus back but rather take a walk to the lake and enjoy a swim. Gili called the mechanic and they let us know that they wouldn’t even take a look at the car before Tuesday as they were packed because of the long weekend and then closed for two days. So busing back to Vancouver it was.

He's a natural beach bum, Iona Beach

Neil is a natural beach bum, Iona Beach

We tried to keep Neil awake till the bus ride, which caused him to be a bit unhappy but was totally worth it since he slept all the way till Squamish including two stops in Whistler. For some reason another company was operating instead of the Greyhound and we got a comfy luxury bus. The bus ride felt like an adventure, something we’ve never done before in BC and despite the second part of the ride being more challenging with Neil awake, the 3.5 hours passed very quickly.

We spent what was left of the long weekend cycling around Vancouver and catching up on a few chores like finally deciding where we will go in September and booking our flight tickets (France, stay tuned). We cycled to Iona Beach in Richmond one day, had a picnic and picked blackberries on the way back. On Monday we cycled to the beach in West Vancouver crossing the Lions Gate bridge with Neil for the first time and appreciating the somewhat new barriers beside the cycling lanes. We brought along the stove to make quesadillas (our food for the trip) and Neil was very excited that we used the stove.

Picnic, Ambeside Park, West Vancouver

Picnic, Ambleside Park, West Vancouver

So even though things didn’t go exactly as planned we still had a great weekend and in a way it was more memorable than just another hike. I think we are very open to dealing with different situations when things don’t go exactly as they should. I was still happy that we managed to go swimming in two different lakes and once in the ocean. The only thing that was a bit upsetting about the whole situation was that Neil’s bike was left in the car, since we had brought it with us, thinking that maybe he would like to ride in the campground. A week later Gili caught the bus to Whistler early in the morning and released our car. It turned out that once the battery was changed everything seemed to be working again, strange. A few hours later Gili got back and Neil had a very happy reunion with his bike. All things come to a good end.

More beach time, Ambleside Park

More beach time, Ambleside Park

Posted in Cycling & Cycle Touring, Duffey Lake Road, Metro Vancouver & North Shore, Sea to Sky | Leave a comment