So an Excellent Adventure can’t always be excellent right? I’m driving across Rt 16, the route that bisects British Columbia, out of Jasper to Prince Rupert where I’ll eventually catch the ferry when I hear the dreaded “thump thump thump thump…” and think “oh shit, please don’t be a tire!” One of my big fears is a flat tire. A fear that’s well founded, the tires on this monster weigh 300 lbs each and I honestly don’t think it’s possible for me to change one by myself. My plan at this point is to just stand on the side of the road and point at the situation while waving a $100 bill or two at random passers by. Seriously. I’ll do what I can, I just need an assist. Anyway lucky me, the tires all looks good! Hmm, if not the tires I wonder what it could be? Not really knowing shit about mechanical stuff (I think I’m getting better though), I climb underneath to look for something obvious. Well, it was obvious all right. Next thought: “shit, why couldn’t I have just blown a tire?!”
According to my handy GPS – which was working for a change – the next town was Prince George, BC a mere 174 kilometer away (a bit over 100 miles) and I did’t have a cell signal, sweet! I figure, meh, it is what it is, one way or another this too shall pass and start limping to the top of the next ridge hoping to pick up a signal since generally reception has been good in remote Canada. I get lucky and pick up a bar and begin to call the couple of truck towing companies in Prince George. The first few don’t really feel like coming all that way but one service reluctantly agrees. When I explain that it’s a 4wd Unimog and that we’ll have to disconnect the drive shaft to tow it (not actually that big a deal) he gives me the standard mechanic to non-mechanic reminder that I should know a lot more about mechanics if I’m planning on driving this thing around a couple continents blah blah blah, during which I have the idea that shit, if I just remove the driveshaft entirely I should be able to engage the front differential-lock and just drive it in front wheel drive to P George. He can’t quite bring himself to say “good idea” but at least acknowledges that “yeah, that might work”. So instead of sending the tow truck I ask if he can just send the mechanic and some tools (although it turns out I had all the tools we needed) because it was a two man job. So that’s what we did: removed the shaft, stuck it in the back and drove to P George in Fwd. Then I dropped off the shaft at a shop and they fixed me up Monday morning for $500 CAD (400 US) and I was back on my way!
While waiting for my part to be fixed on Monday I ended up staying in one spot for a couple days for the first time in awhile so I ended up making friends with the owners of the campground and got invited to their family reunion.