Dailies: March 26-27

As you probably guessed by the title, this post is covering 2 days of the Canadian Frame(lines) journey. We usually only do this for weekends – we like to have some fun without immediately updating blog – but this post covers a Tuesday and Wednesday, travelling between communities… How crazy could we be getting? The truth is, we didn’t post last night because we didn’t want anyone to panic. Now that all is well again, we’ll fill you in on all the details.

Yesterday morning we got up at Erin’s place and she awesomely made us some coffee and gave us farm eggs and fresh homemade sourdough for the road – we got pretty spoiled. When we arrived back at the bus we packed up a couple of loose items and prepared to leave; this is where we hit out first problem. I realised I hadn’t seen my wallet in a while and it wasn’t in my coat. We turned the bus almost entirely upside down and called every place that we had been in town since we last it. Ryder even went over to the Cultural Centre and dug through couch cushions. We never found it, but everyone in town who knows us has been alerted and I have a sneaking suspicion it is somewhere in the bus.

Then, it was time to real in the cords we’d run to the campsite beside the rink for our block heater and our electricity. They were covered in snow, which was okay, but certain sections had become embedded in ice. Ryder wrapped up the sections of cord that weren’t under ice and began to chip away at the ice with a shovel, while I boiled pots and pots of water to pour on the ice and help melt it. After about 20 minutes the cords were free and we were on out way. A quick stop to fuel up our propane tanks and say goodbye to Guylaine and then we hit the road!

It was a relatively smooth drive from Gravelbourg to Regina, a few bumpy sections but nothing like the way from Swift Current to Gravelbourg. We arrived in town and headed straight to starbucks to get some food, caffeine, and internet access. We worked there for a couple hours and then ran some errands which included an economical and filling dinner at costco, and a fateful trip to futureshop.

We’d gone to futureshop hoping to pick up some harddrives – we are taking so much video and so many pictures we’re quickly going through all our available data storage. We parked the bus outside the store and headed in. After looking around and getting some help from some employees we realised they didn’t have quite what we were looking for, so about fifteen minutes after we had arrived, we headed back out to the bus determined to get to bestbuy before it closed. We hoped back in the bus, started it up and… It wouldn’t start, it wouldn’t even turn over. So here we are at a quarter to nine in the evening, in Regina, Saskatchewan, with no idea what could have possibly happened in the last fifteen minutes to make our beloved bus go from running like a top to giving us nada. The one thing we knew for sure was that if we let our bus sit overnight without being started, or plugging in our block heater, we wouldn’t be able to start it up even if we fixed whatever was wrong with it.

We headed back into the futureshop and talked with one of the managers who said we were welcome to plug in overnight, but that the only outlets were around the back of the building and we were parked in the front. Since we have a lot of extension cables, Ryder and I decided to walk around the building and see how far away these outlets were.

They were really far.

Even with the insane amount of extension cables we brought there was no way they could ever reach from our bus to the outlets. But by some luck there was a tow-truck driver parked behind the building and when he saw us wandering asked if everything was alright. His name was Nick and after telling him out situation he offered to try and tow us around the building, we of course accepted and we slowly but surely made our way around to the back of the building. We asked if we owed him anything and he said no. We then tried a couple times to offer him $20 at least but he wouldn’t take it.

We were saved! We unspooled our cords, hooked them up to the bus and… No power. We tried another outlet… No power. We couldn’t get power from any of the electric boxes along that row of parking stalls. Ryder hooked up the propane and lit the furnace – we decided weren’t going to freeze while we tried to figure this out. I put a pot of water on the stove to make some tea and Ry went back out to see what he could do. He found a working power outlet on a building next to the futureshop, and it was close enough for us to run cable to. Ryder left them a note so they knew what was going on. Our block heater was powered, we had interior lights and heat. We called our friend Magnus who used to own a mechanic shop and has helped us with the bus many times in the past. He gave us a few ideas and things to check out. We tested to see if the battery was a dud, but it wasn’t – we were getting 12 volts. After that we decided it was too cold and dark out to continue troubleshooting the bus and instead drank some tea and crawled into our now very cosy bed to prepare ourselves to tackle the bus in the light of the morning.

We woke up at 7 o’clock this morning and got straight to work testing different parts of the electrical system around the starter. After a little while there was a knock on our bus door. A man named Carlos who worked at the building we were plugged into came by to see how we were doing. He had seen Ryder outside working on the bus and brought him a coffee. He also told us if we needed a phone or a washroom or a shower or anything to knock on the door and ask for him. After realising there were 2 people on the bus Carlos came back a few minutes later and brought me a cup of coffee as well. After the coffee it didn’t take us too much longer to find where the loose/corroded connection was and BAM… Our favourite bus started like a dream.

We returned our coffee cups to the business – who tried to offer us more coffee, and thanked them for all their help. They were all really kind and genuinely happy we’d gotten our bus working again so quickly. We packed everything up, grabbed some breakfast, filled up on diesel, and hit the highway.

We had a long day of driving today. When I say we what I really mean is Ryder. Even though my cast is off, my arm isn’t strong enough to drive the bus with the gusts of prairie wind we so often get hit with. When we left Regina slow was lightly falling and not sticking to the highway. That quickly subsided, but we were left with a lot of fog for a while. By lunchtime though the sky was clear save for a few high altitude clouds. We stopped for a quick fuel up in Whitewood, SK and had some lunch in Brandon, MB. After which we headed straight over to my great-aunt and uncle’s house in Steinbach, MB where we’re staying tonight.

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