Temperamental. Cranky. Grumpy. These characteristics belong to Percy, my friend’s car, bought for the Canadian/USA roadtrip ahead.
We loaded Percy up with our assortment of baggage and drove west, leaving the Canadian town Banff in our wake. Our first stop was Revelstoke, a town to beat even Percy’s temperament, where grumpy sass was the main dish of the day. It’s safe to say we scarpered pretty quickly after an essential coffee stop.
Kelowna was next on our list, with rolling hills and the Okanagan Lake. Very pretty, but we had to skip the chance for sightseeing as the weather trundling in was gradually getting worse and, seeing as Percy still had summer tyres on and almost non-existent tread, we knew we were in trouble. And we realised just how much trouble when we approached Big White, mountain of ice and snow. Even on foot, I was not stable. Ice does not play nice with me and my well-worn boots. The following morning, we woke to find Percy covered in fresh snowfall and left post-haste before the risk of us becoming stranded.
Big White, Kelowna
Raincouver (known as Vancouver to those who haven’t visited the city in winter and witnessed its pathetic excuse for the cold season) followed Big White. We got our own place in hipster Gastown through Airbnb, a private paradise after spending the last four months in a hostel, and set out to explore Stanley Park via bike. The park had a cool industrial vibe going for it and the bike ride was perfect for seeing everything. That is before we embarked on the mission to return the bikes to the rental shop. Picture pouring rain, hills, rush hour traffic and me on a bike. Recipe for potential death.
The calm before the storm
Granville Island was a quirky favourite of mine, alongside Davie Street. This street was at the heart of Vancouver’s LGBT scene, with its rainbow zebra crossings and cool cafés, like the Melriches Coffee House and its drool worthy coconut Nanaimo bar.
Yet, no matter how many chocolate goodness I managed to eat, it didn’t make up for the relentless rain and the colossal amount of homeless people in the city.
We headed to Whistler with a reluctant goodbye to our Airbnb apartment. Driving along the gorgeous coast road, we made it to the Aussie dominant ski town in no time. We explored, drank and generally lazed around before we had to turn back and face the fact that Percy was not well. The crunching sound echoing through the car every time we braked was a not-so-subtle hint that we needed a mechanic and so beat a hasty retreat to Vancouver.
We battled through torrential rain and wind, and arrived in the city to be told by the mechanic that we are lucky to be alive. It seems Percy had no rear brakes and the tyres were on the brink of exploding.
We killed time in the city before the mechanic finally discharged a healthy Percy and the three of us headed for the USA border with nothing to hold us back.
Percy, our grumpy car