Wednesday, February 28, 2018




 Text & Images
(c) Copyright 2017 by Neall Calvert

Osoyoos Lake from Anarchist Mountain

ON ONE OF THE HOTTEST DAYS OF THE SUMMER, in the hottest part of British Columbia, on a remote section of Highway 3 west of Osoyoos, I found myself staring at a rapidly climbing temperature gauge. I stopped the van to discover I had lost all the coolant from my engine. Not a golden moment.

After refilling with water from my supplies, I limped in to Stemwinder Provincial Park. When I found a campsite and lifted the short hood on the ‘96 Ford Aerostar (the motor is mostly underneath—it takes two hours to replace the six spark plugs on this truck), steam rose out of the engine compartment and a neighbouring camper looked over and asked if I needed help. I said I didn’t know yet.

It was late in the day and, frustrated, I chose to cool my mind and wait till morning to solve this seemingly major problem. And I turned over the whole situation to a Higher Power, as I have learned to do as soon as any difficulty arises. I wondered, though, despite having developed a beginning ‘kinship with Infinite Intelligence’, how on earth this power could fix a damaged cooling system in the wilds of the southern B.C. Interior. After all, God isn’t a mechanic, is she?

In the morning, after body-and-mind-awakening rituals and a cup of tea, I thought that a first step would be to squeeze whatever coolant hoses I could reach, probing for soft spots which might indicate a hole. I was awestruck when the very first hose I pushed suddenly gave way, showing me the broken fitting on the heat control valve, through which all coolant has to pass. Diagnosis completed—in five seconds!

In a state of relief bordering on bliss, I approached my campground neighbour and asked if he’d be willing to drive me the twenty kilometres to Princeton (population 2,828) where a new valve might be available; at worst, the shop could order one in and I’d have to wait a few days for it. He agreed. Jim had his own problem: Just that morning, he had discovered a leaking front tire on the near-new, deluxe Ford pickup he and his wife towed their trailer with -- it was down nearly a half.

A retired policeman, Jim turned out to be a choir singer and music aficionado (as was his wife); he was also a man at peace with himself, so was good company on the trip. The auto parts store in Princeton came up with a heat control valve for a seventeen-year-old van for about thirty-seven dollars.

I directed Jim to Kal Tire so he would believe my statement that they always fix flat tires for free. Their mechanic discovered the eight lug nuts on the heavy-duty truck’s right front wheel to be on so tight that, had Jim been required to change a tire at the side of the road, he would never have gotten it off; the nuts barely came off with the powerful air wrench.

After breakfast treats at the A & W we journeyed back with gorgeous classical music again effortlessly emanating via satellite radio from a state-of-the-art sound system. When we arrived at Stemwinder and I thanked Jim for the ride, his response was: “We are here to help each other.” A half hour to install the valve and I was on the road again. |~|

Mural Celebrating 50 Years of Portuguese Settlement in the Osoyoos Region

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