About Coolers, Fridges and Near Death Experiences

After such a long day as the last, we obviously needed a lot of sleep. That’s why I was very surprised when we both woke up at 7 am, after “only” ten hours of sleep. Anyway, we went downstairs to have some breakfast – from a buffet which is included in the room, still only cereal today.

A little later, we went outside and went through the whole van throwing everything out that we wouldn’t need on our trip and sorting whatever we still found useful, like a few rolls of paper towels and toilet paper as well as an anti-insect spray which might come in handy in the summer time.

Since the van was pretty dusty and dirty after it had probably been stored somewhere for quite a while before being sold to us, we headed out and searched three different gas stations for a vacuum because we obviously do not own one and we figured that the little broom that Dallas gave us wouldn’t quite do the job. We finally found one right next to the Great Canadian Oil Change, a little garage whose mechanics would be so nice to help us out twice within the next few days.

The only major problem with the van, which Dallas told us about quite a while ago though, was the little fridge integrated into the kitchen area which doesn’t work anymore. That’s why, while still in Germany, I ordered an electric cooler which can only be sold by certain dealers in Canada. So I had it shipped to an RV rental just outside Kelowna and that’s where we were headed next. The new cooler was ready to be picked up and the workers were even so nice to give us a screw driver to get the old fridge out of the kitchen section. That task proved to be much more complicated though, so after giving the screwdrivers back and thanking the guys there, we took the van with both the old fridge and the new cooler for a ride to the next Walmart where beside some food we purchased a saw to cut out a little piece of wood which was holding the fridge in place and locked it from sliding out of the unit. When after that rather radical measure we still couldn’t pull the old fridge out, we saw no other possibility but to use the one screwdriver Dallas left us in the cutlery drawer in order to take half the unit apart, finally pull the old fridge out and screw all twelve screws back in.

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The cooler, finally in its place. I opted for a cooler opening on the top instead of a fridge with a door because of its advatage in energy efficiency.

All of that happened on the Walmart parking lot so then, we drove back to the hostel. While I was driving the van through a residential street and we were discussing how we would get rid of the old fridge, Silas all of a sudden told me to stop by the side of the road. There was a highrise right next to us – with big containers for all the resident’s garbage behind it. Silas quickly jumped out of the van, grabbed the old fridge and tossed it into one of the containers. After he jumped back into the car, I drove away rather quickly because by now there was a car behind us and we really didn’t want any trouble on our second day in Kelowna.

Just shortly after arriving at the hostel, we left again. We wanted to take the van to a lake very close to downtown Kelowna to have our first experience of Canadian landscape which would hopefully be followed by many more.

The day before, we had a very scary encounter with all the fresh snow coming down in Kelowna ever since we set foot out of the airport. Driving within the city was no problem but when we were driving on a much less busy road heading to a cheap gas station just outside Kelowna, I tried to keep the van on the tracks that previous drivers had made in the snow. When I slightly left that track once, the back tires of the van started sliding sideways – and so did the whole van. As a reaction, I steered the other way to balance the van out which made the back tires go the other way. That process kept on for maybe five seconds which felt like an eternity to me. Finally, I was able to stabilize the van again and super happy not to have crashed it in neither a car on the opposite lane nor the trees next to the road. And I kept driving at 30 km/h maximum to the gas station. From there, Silas safely brought the van back to the hostel, at a very slow speed of course.

Anyway, that incident made us choose the Waterfront Park right beside the lake but also accessible by a rather busy street downtown over two viewpoints only accessible by two very small roads outside of town, probably even making their way onto a hill.

If I can be so idle to compliment ourselves here, the park was a great call. After figuring out how Canadian paid-for parking lots work, we walked past an impressing, maybe ten feet tall statue of two jumping dolphins and reached a beautiful system of artificial streams in which the uniform yet individual buildings of a huge complex right by the lake where mirrored. Due to a cloud sitting right in the valley, we couldn’t see much of the lake but still, the walk through the small park was very scenic and just absorbing the little streams, the snow-packed trees, the sound of footsteps in fresh snow and the cold and humid air was such an inspiring feeling. That was exactly the way I remembered the Canadian winter. I was reminded of my long walks through the snow when I was going to and from school, the supermarket and the mall three years ago, right here in Vernon, 45 minutes from Kelowna.

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Not the best lighting or weather but look at those reflections in the water!
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Even worse lighting – but we will be back in the park at daytime in the next post…

After half an hour in the park, we made our way back to the van, stopped by the Walmart for a few groceries and drove back to the hostel.

On the way there, we encountered two further near death experiences. Many streets in Canada, such as the one going all the way through the city of Kelowna, have several lanes in each direction and on intersections, there isn’t always a light signal for turning left. So when you’re allowed to drive, so is the opposite lane keeping you from turning left. So the only time you can actually do that is when they get the yellow signal and stop driving. But then, so do you, and it doesn’t take too long until the cars waiting on the intersecting street get their green signal. With the very limited acceleration and a little misconseption on the time between the two green signals, it seems very easy not to make it out of the intersection in time – and that’s exactly what Silas did. Luckily, the cars on the intersecting street noticed us and reacted immediatly allowing us to quickly drive off and laugh about what just happened.

Just two turns into smaller, residential streets later, we took a left turn onto a very small street with a considerable amount of fresh snow on the ground making our back tires go for another slide. Luckily, Silas managed to regain control over the car before it could hit any of the parked cars on the side of the narrow road. And let me tell you, we were both so, so glad when we left the van in the parking lot and entered the hostel without any injuries and with an untouched van.

After eating pasta with tomato sauce yet again, we went to bed at 9 pm once more.

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