Our Honeymoon (Day 1 + 2) - So Lafond Of You

Sunday, July 26, 2015After finishing tidying up Goldenwood Lodge, and saying goodbye to all of our friends, Mark and I packed up Ellie and hopped inside to head down to my parents' cabin so that we could pick up the rest of our things before hitting the road. Mark turned the ignition, she started, we began to back out of our stall and then she stalled. We tried another few times to get her going, all efforts with the same end result—the ignition cutting right out with no rhyme or reason. Mark was finally able to get her going enough so that we could coast down the hill to my parents' cabin, where them as well as my siblings were packing up and getting ready to head out from Golden and head back to Calgary. Mark and dad tinkered away with the engine for a while trying to find any indication as to what the problem could be, with little luck. We decided that it'd be best just to try and get Ellie to Golden so that we could get her in to see a mechanic first thing Monday morning, if possible. With the carload of my siblings in front, and my parents + grandma in the truck behind, we began our journey down the backroads back towards the main highway; not two kilometers down the gravel roads, the engine cut off once again and we coasted onto the shoulder where we parked her. I was so incredibly exhausted that morning, and couldn't believe that this was happening. We made the decision to call AMA since we were totally out of options and couldn't even get her to a garage on our own (BEST wedding gift ever from mom + dad: getting us an AMA subscription haha). Since it would be 45 minutes at the least before the tow truck arrived, we decided to make the best out of the situation, unloaded the camping chairs, popped the top up, made coffee on our stove, and hung out together.

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Our AMA tow truck eventually arrived, and loaded up Ellie onto it's flatbed to take her into town; once there, we dropped her off at a shop that had been recommended to us, and took the opportunity to squeeze in a bit more quality time with my family before they left us to head back to Calgary. After a meal at Legendz Diner, we parted ways with them and walked ourselves to the nearest hotel to check-in. Almost immediately both of us passed out as soon as we laid on the bed—the events of the entire weekend seemed to have finally caught up with us. After sleeping for a few hours, we decided to get back up and head over to the mechanics (that were closed until 8am the following morning), because there were a few things Mark had wanted to try in order to get her back up and running again. We were so afraid to acknowledge that there was a possibility that this was a bigger issue than we were anticipating, but we tried to convince ourselves that it had to be something that was quick & easy to fix, ESPECIALLY since she had driven on Friday from Calgary to Golden with no issues whatsoever. After about 30 minutes of playing around with some options, a family of four in a matching blue Vanagon (that had been rebuilt from top to bottom and was in pristine condition) passed us on the service road; the driver of the van craning his neck out of his driver window to get a better look as to what was going on with us. They disappeared out of sight, and not a minute later had turned themselves around and were backing into the parking lot next to us. Remarkably, for the next hour and a half, this Westy-loving dad in camo pants was trying as best he could to help us (& our situation out!). I can easily say that one of the coolest things about owning one of these incredible vehicles is the instantaneous community that you become a part of; Westy owners are so very friendly, and it's amazing and humbling to be a part of that. After attempting multiple options to remedy our Ellie Blue, our friendly dad left us his contact info, hopped back in with his family, and continued his journey home to Calgary. Still feeling pretty defeated, starving, cold, and tired (seeing as by this point it was past 10pm), we walked in the rain to Boston Pizza for some dinner, and then headed back to our hotel to get some sleep.

Monday, July 27, 2015 After a pretty good nights sleep, we woke up and got ready to walk over to the mechanics so that we could be at their door as soon as they opened. We walked past the front doors at 7:50am (with it not opening until 8am) to find the OPEN sign aglow and the shop doors opened. We wandered in through the front doors to find the owner of the shop and began to explain our issue regarding Ellie. As expected, he told us that he was completely booked all day long, but if we were able to pull her ahead and park her outside the front door, he'd run out before his first appointment and take a look at the engine. It didn't take him long to identify that one of the main cables that run between the air intake sensor and the car's computer was bouncing and hitting up against our exhaust, which was burning through the wire-casing and in turn shorting out the vehicle. He pulled the wire up and held it away from the exhaust, and like magic, Ellie idled like a charm. PHEWF, the relief that we felt almost made Mark throw up! He told us that the damage wasn't too bad and gave us some electrical tape and a zip tie so that we could tape up the exposed filaments, and zip tie it up so that it was far from the exhaust. With gratitude-filled hearts, we took her around town for a test drive and could no believe how wondefully she was running! After making a pit stop to grab a few groceries, check-out of our hotel, and give Elle a quick wash (she got filthy on Friday when we arrived in Golden), we were ready to hit the road; it was 9:45am.

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Originally, our plan was to drive out towards Vancouver and enter the US a little further West, but because of the elevation of those highways and the amount of steep mountainous roads, we opted for a slightly flatter option and started making our way to Cranbrook. After a quick lunch pitstop, we headed to the boarder crossing in Eastport, Idaho and entered into the US. The first major city that we passed through was Coeur D'Alene, followed by Spokane (where we stopped briefly at Target since I forgot to pack a bathing suit haha), and then eventually made our was to the tri-cities of Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco.

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By this point, the sun was set, it was 9:30pm, our phones were dead, and our terrain had changed from lush mountain greenery, to dry brown desert. After a few turnarounds and some confusion (going off of solely paper maps is QUITE the challenge), we ended up at an RV park in the middle of nowhere. We pulled up to the office—which of course just happened to be closed for the night—and almost instantly, a white-bearded man in overalls drinking the biggest slurpee known to mankind pulled up next to us and asked “need a place for the night?” turns out, he was the maintenance man for this RV park, and was able to get us a stall for the night.