So it is Tuesday evening – 27th October 2015 – we are once again in a Walmart carpark – nothing against Walmart carparks though – easy access to toilets and safe flat (ish) parking; we can even get Asda brand clothing if we so wished (but we don’t).
I have been a bit lacking in the posting department for the last 2 weeks and with the flurry of activity over the weekend whilst at Niagara Falls it seemed only right to add an update.
So we fully intended to give the 12 hour-a-day driving thing a go for 5 days and see how far we could get towards the Rockies.
We left Niagara on Sunday afternoon and drove up to Niagara on the lake with the sun in its fullest glory and the leaves on the trees burnished and golden. Such a lovely drive. We decided to keep on going and drive to Hamilton and test out the theroy that big truck stops on the Trans-Canadian highway have water and dump stations that RV’ers can use.
Without going too deeply into such matters, lets just say that one tank was very full and one tank was very empty!
So using our best internet skills we found a truck stop (one of a big chain called Husky’s) that on the website at least had a dump station and a water tap.
Unfortunately when we got there we discovered that neither facility existed.
Walmart it was then .. and in the morning – Monday – we headed off to a nearby RV park for a quick pit stop and some vital emptying and re-filling. Thankfully there are still a few RV parks open at this time of year but most close mid-October.
Re-fuelled and after breakfast we headed off – later than planned – to try for a 700km day.
Swapping every 2 hours and sitting at a steady 60mph on the speedo (because we know the speedo shows more speed than we are actually doing) it is possible, depending on hills and the complexity of lunch.
And so, at around 3pm, it was that I suddenly became aware of the battery light being on – the alternator was not charging the batteries.
We have developed our own way of keeping data costs down and route and information research to a minimum that involves using my phone data and allowing tethering to it for internet access via Sas’s tablet – we do this as little as often and try to use offline maps wherever possible – inevitably this means that in a stressfull moment it can take a few minutes to ‘get connected’ – something that we take for granted at home I guess. A quick ‘arghhhhh’ and ‘find a mechanics’ later Sas Googled and found us a mechanics and we pulled of the highway into Parry Sound to ‘Georgian Truck Services’.
Thanks be to someone on a higher level they were available immediately to help diagnose and remove the alternator.
After a couple of hours and an alternator test we discovered that the alternator needs a little ‘exciting’ to get it going (don’t we all?) and that this happens on start-up in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ manner. Anyway our circuit was broken.
So we camped the night in the mechanics yard – watched a film – had some food and slept a very peaceful night listening to the distant long distance trains passing.
Morning on the Tuesday, the alternator was remounted and it was decided that we would have a new ‘surface mount’ circuit added with a push button switch to manually trigger the alternator at start-up.
12 noon with the bill paid and the new circuit tested and working we were on our way. Thanks to Rudy, Mike and Russ at the garage for their help, friendlyness and electric hookup over night.
From Parry Sound to Sudbury and then onwards to Sault Ste. Marie. Great weather and some chunky house music along the start of the lakes – beautiful driving.
So people here we sit in Sault Ste. Marie Walmart carpark writing this and saying sleep well, speak soon.