Driving and Tire Changes!!
New Country, New Rules!!
So after buying a car I now have to get used to driving it, in a new country. I'm not unfamiliar with driving on the right hand side of the road because of all my European adventures. I have only driven a left hand drive car once before though and I found it very difficult to get my road position correct, lets just say I hit the curb on more than one occasion.
I was very grateful to my new Aus friend Kellie for coming with me to get the car. She kept a cool head the whole time I was driving it on the main roads for the first time. My biggest fear was turning left across all the traffic, I hate holding people up and feel a pressure to turn. It turned out to be not as bad as I thought. With Kellie navigating I could concentrate on my road position, there were a couple of close calls at the start, nearly took out a couple of wing mirrors but we made it. I even drove through all the traffic in Downtown.
The biggest challenge I have found is the right of way at a 4 way stop junction. Instead of one way being the right of way and you just pull out into the main flow, everyone has to stop. Supposedly the first one there has right of way no matter which way you turn. If there is a que on more than one of the 4 junctions you take turns but it's really confusing. Getting the hang of it slowly though.
So having successfully navigated Vancouver, the next day it was time to make it out and up to Squamish to go and visit Caoimhe and to have somewhere free to stay for a while. I convinced Kellie and Flora to come with me and catch a Greyhound bus back. Again with the navigation help of Kellie and Flora we made it safely and slowly to Squamish, I then drove pretty much to Whistler where Caoimhe had gotten stranded at work and picked her up to.
Like I mentioned in a previous blog, once I know something has to be sorted then that goal possesses me for a while. Over the next few days in Squamish rather than getting out and exploring I was intent on getting winter tires for my car. I know soo much about tires now it's absurd. There are effectively 5 main types of tires over here, Summer, All season, All weather, Non-studded winter tires and Studded winter tires. All season or Mud and Snow tires as they are sometimes called, are the bare minimum for driving in the winter in Canada, that is what my car had on when I brought it. After doing some research and with the help of my partner Matt, who is still in the UK, we came to the conclusion that for Golden we needed at least Non studded winter tires.
It took a few days but eventually I found some tires already mounted on rims that looked like the right thing. As it turns out the tires were great but the rims were wrong, but only just. I waited two days for the garage to fit them only to find out when they get to putting them on the centre whole on the rims is slightly wrong! I had paid 350$ for the tires and rims second hand, the garage quoted me 500$ for new rims. There was noo way I was going to pay that much so onto the internet once more.
I was pretty stressed at this point. It had taken what felt like ages to come close to getting the right thing, I just wanted to cry. We couldn't afford 500 dollars on new rims and what was I supposed to do with the old ones. I also wanted to go to Golden on Monday or Tuesday, I hadn't been to whistler to get kit that I needed because I didn't want to risk getting stuck in snow. The Garages were shut on Sunday and it was Thursday evening. I only had 2 days to sort it!
That night I found some much cheaper rims at Canadian tire, there was one of those in Squamish and it said they had 20 in stock. I got there, asked many questions and then settled on getting the rims. However it turns out they hadn't updated their computer and they only had 1 rim, who only has 1 in stock!! I asked when they would next be in stock and the guy just shrugged, 'may be a week and a half'. I was soo gutted and angry I couldn't respond, I just walked out. Back to google on my phone in the car park.
The next place that had them was another Canadian tire in North Vancouver which is an hour away, it was about 5.30pm so I went for it. As I left I Squamish I noticed I wasn't on a massive amount of fuel but I thought I would make it. I was 35 min into my journey when I decided to pull over and google map a gas station, there was one 14 min away, few. Except I took a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way on the highway. According to the map by the time I could turn around again I would nearly be back in Squamish. I was getting a bit panicky now, what if I ran out of fuel!!! In the end I ended up going all the way back to Squamish, getting fuel and then going to get the rims.
I've never brought tires or rims before so this has been a massive learning curve for me. I was very amused to put 4 wheel rims in a shopping trolley and take them to the till, such a bizarre and slightly surreal experience! By the time I got home it was 9pm but I had my rims and the next day I finally got winter tires onto my car!
While I've been in Squamish I have been testing out my cars loading capacity. Caoimhe has moved into an unfursnished flat, so along with her flat mate Petra we have been getting bits and pieces for it. If the job in Golden doesn't work out I might be able to start a moving service!
I'm going to leave it there for now. The car is fully winter ready and I am looking forward to testing it out in the snow at Whistler before the big drive to Golden!