Day 1 - Sunday
We started the rally at almost exactly 240,000 km on the odometer of the Hellica.
After getting breakfast at Lord Slung Blade's Manor, we travelled to the nearby community hall to take pictures. While there, a large dog approached, presumably lured by the sensation of an impending earthquake via Sweet Chili Heat. The dog was friendly, and I believed this to be a good omen for the voyage.
"Gifts" were exchanged, and the Hellica received an Asahi-branded ema, a pair of leopard-print panties, and a Hello Kitty fuzzy sticker.
We traveled across the province of Alberta, passing the Okotoks Erratic down into Black Diamond and beyond, almost to the US border and then into the southernmost parts of BC.
One of our first obstacles on our way into BC was the winding mountain road leading into Salmo, a small BC town. Eleven to thirteen percent grades combined with the rain letting up conspired to give us our first sign of overheating issues, and Slung Blade expertly moose-tested a juvenile turkey who appeared on the highway.
Upon arriving in Salmo, we were the first in the convoy. This would become a frequent occurrence throughout the trip, as the Hellica just made a shitload more torque and power than the overloaded RX7s.
We waited at the Salmo Esso for a half hour. Nobody appeared. There was no cell coverage on the mountain pass, and our CB aerials couldn't hit anything on our trip channel (which is no surprise - our CB aerial couldn't call across a parking lot, let alone a mountain range).
Finally, we decided to turn back and go and look for our missing companions. We heard Sweet Chili Heat before we saw it, the blaring anal-trumpet of a 12A echoing through the valley.
It turned out that on the long downhill sweeper, Cool Ranch's oversized battery had come loose from its moorings and grounded out the side-post on the flip-up headlights. They had to fix it on the side of the highway, between a truck overrun bay and a precipitous drop into a tailing pond.
We decided to bed down in Nelson for the night, and found a campground in the core of the city.
Our GPS navigation took us down the steepest city street I have ever seen outside of San Francisco, and it was a lucky chance that the rotaries hadn't taken the same path. Sweet Chili Heat in particular would have bottomed out, a stricken magic-Dorito machine trapped forever in a flyover town.
Climbing out of the Celica at the campground, I noted two things:
- My back hurt,
- Sweet Chili Heat just woke up every baby in this campground
We slept pretty well that night, bolstered by free beer. Also there was a huge bird fight and a freight train rode past the campground blowing its horn for what felt like an hour. Did I say we slept pretty well? We didn't sleep very well.