Stranded in Hope, BC

Well I had a bit of excitement the other day.  I left for Kelowna, BC from Vancouver Island on Monday, met some friends in Langley for coffee and once I heard that there was going to be a major dump of snow in the next few days on the Coquihalla I decided to beat it and head for Kelowna.

By the time I got to Abbotsford the roads were the pits but not unmanageable and after Chilliwack things got a bit hairy.  Blowing snow, lots of cars and my engine light started flashing! Not a good time for a breakdown.  My car started running really rough and I thought it might stall so got a bit worried and found a turnoff so I could check things out.

I parked and got out the owners manual to see what it said and of course I became an automatic expert on what was wrong.  Bad fuel, catalytic converter were all considered but the main things was the manual said to take it in for servicing asap.  That meant I could drive it so back on the freeway I went.  At one point I had my four way flashers on because cars were getting to close to me and if I had stalled it and it wouldn’t have made a pretty picture.  I would have made the news though but I really didn’t want that to be my big 15 minutes of fame.

Taking the first exit into Hope I stopped at several service stations until I found a mechanic right in Hope.  Picture this – me going in with my little car manual and said “I either have bad fuel or there is something wrong with my catalytic converter“ because the engine light is flashing.  After hearing that it could be flashing for a thousand reasons I sat back a bit and listened to what the fellow had to say.  Did I mention I had already seen that the Coquihalla was now closed? It was 2:30 pm and the snow continued to come down quite heavily.  He was able to get the car in at 3:30 to have a look at it and I went for coffee to come up with a strategy.  Thank goodness Hope now has a Tim Hortons.

Deciding that since my car wasn’t going anywhere and the highway was closed, I should spend the night in Hope and get a room.  The gods were looking after me.  I got a room at the Travelodge right next door to the car repair, unloaded my car and settled in.  At 4:30 the mechanic phoned and said my car was fixed!  wow what good service.

It was a couple of spark plugs that were causing the problem and although there weren’t any new ones in town (they would have cost me $120 each) he had a couple of good used ones that he sold to me for $40 and my car was good to go.  Dinner at Macdonalds with some people I met at the hotel and a quiet night checking drive bc  regularly.

The next morning, the coq was open, there was over a foot of new snow on my car and I trudged through snow to my knees.  However, drive BC was warning of blowing snow, whiteouts, etc and since I hate that highway anyway decided to avoid it.  In spite of everyone at the hotel saying that the Hope Princeton wouldn’t be maintained I chose to listen to my gut feelings and headed out.  Everyone else were going to take their chances over the Coquihalla.  Not Carol Ann!

Hah!  I showed them.  The highway was ploughed and empty!  I practically had the road to myself and had absolutely no problems.  I knew my favourite highway wouldn’t let me down.

I even stopped and took pictures for posterity sake!  I am now back in Kelowna all safe and sound.  So top that one, will you?

Happy travels,

Carol Ann Quibell


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