My saga of broken equipment continues, despite the end of the paddling portion of the trip. I am at a B and B across the street from a Canadian Tire store, hoping my car will be fixed by tomorrow!
Carl and I left Newfoundland in, surprise, surprise, foggy conditions. The rain did clear Saturday and was followed by a warm and sunny afternoon before the fog settled in again in the evening at the ferry terminal.
Spent the night on the ferry and arrived (nearly) on time in North Sydney. Walked across the street to get my car – dead as a doornail. Tried to jump it. As soon as the cables were detached it went dead again. Time for a tow. Unfortunately, no mechanics as it was a Sunday afternoon. More unfortunately, today is a national holiday in Canada. Fortunately, the Canadian Tire is open. Unfortunaley, I need an alternator, which they don’t have. So, I am here at least one more day. I have never sat and waited and been stranded so often during a trip – and it is not one of my strengths!
This has been the most challenging trip I’ve been on for a variety of reasons. Lots of logistics and travel; many obstacles when planning; more gear worn than anticipated – but I could never just order what needed to be replaced and check it off the list. It was unavailable, or backordered, or phone calls and emails weren’t returned, or the equipment arrived with defects… everything had to be done 2 or 3 or 4 times. Takes alot of time to plan this kind of trip as it is – without doing everything multiple times!
Depsite my best efforts, I was still plagued on the trip. Here is my list of what went wrong. The good news, is I had the proper repair items (sometimes with Carl’s help) to get it taken care of.
1. Leaky spray skirt. I tired to get a new, custom sprayskirt as mine showed signs of wear. Started in early April…. but, still it arrived a couple days after I left. Noticed a hole in current one on the first day of the trip. Used the spare for 9 days – until there was a dry enough time to fix the first one with some goop! Better, but still was wet most of the time..
2. Defective air mattress. Brand new thermarest (not self inflating) got an internal leak (hard to explain, but unfixable).
Wasn’t sure if it would last – bought blue foam pad as back up. The thermarest broke down little by little, but was usable till the end (thankfully – tried the blue foam and it was totally inadequate)
3. Broken tent pole. Fixed with sleeve in repair kit.
4. Lost tow bag. My own dumb mistake…somehow left it behind after a pee break). Luckily, Carl didn’t need a tow.
5. Leaky tent (was fine till midway through the trip). I put my tarp over the tent, so remained dry the entire trip.
6. Another broken tent pole. Used Carl’s sleeve to fix it. Then picked up some 6 inch pieces of plastic pipe at the next town, in case another one broke. I cringed everytime I set up the tent, hoping not to hear yet another snap…
7. Under deck bag came undone. That was one of the things that gave me grief installing – and was done mulitple times. But that is another story – and I knew if it failed I could live without the space.
8. Part of my kayak seat broke - where the back strap attached. Carl had an extra webbing strap to re-inforce it. I was getting pretty frustrated and incoherent by this time…
In addition to all those kayak items, and my broken down car, there were many things going on at home to cause me stress. While driving to Nova Scotia, mom ended up in the hospital – followed the next day by dad. Dad is home and doing well, but will need surgery. Mom is up and down, and in a long term care facility for an undetermined length of time. Has been to the ER several times, from the facility. It has been hard to be so far away… I have also learned that one of my good college friends has died, and an aunt has had a stroke and is doing poorly. It has not been a summer of good news.
Right now, I want nothing more than to go home – to see my parents, but also to go to my home, and just enjoy the beauty and friends and routine of the UP. I don’t know when that will be, and that is hard. More waiting….