The Trip From Hell To The 2012 Vernon EvaluationsTuesdayThe day started out sunny and promised to be a good travelling day. Maria Badykand I packed up all of the tack, equipment and feed needed for our one week stayin Vernon. I decided to leave with the horses on Tuesday figuring that we couldarrive Tuesday night. Let the horses adjust and get use to the track on Wednesdayand Thursday, have Friday as a day off for them to conserve energy and then theshow started Saturday. We were a little late bandaging legs and loading but wefinally pulled out around 12 noon. We were hauling two horse trailers with thethree mares in Marias trailer and I was hauling the stallion in my trailer.As we pulled away from the barn I had a sense of foreboding. Weve never had anybreakdowns or problems with the trucks or trailers before. I hoped this wasntgoing to be a day that we did.Just for fun, I had packed walkie talkies so Maria and I could still chat back andforth once we got out of cell phone range in the mountains.Four hours down the road and just before the town of Fields the truck started tosputter. Oh s%*t went through my mind. I called Maria and told her what wasgoing on. We were winding along some S curves along the side of the mountainwith semis blowing by us and behind us and my truck was sputtering. It caught andkept going for a bit, and I was crossing my fingers that it had maybe sucked upsome dirt in the fuel tank and we would be fine. But no. It started sputtering moreand more and I had no power left. Then it just stalled and the engine light came on.(wasnt that a little late for the light to come on?) Trying to steer a 8,000 pounddiesel truck towing a horse trailer with live cargo around a mountain curve with nopower steering is NOT COOL. Thank goodness the road straightened out and ashoulder began. There was a lodge just up the road from us but the truck couldntcoast that far. We pulled over and I called my husband Kyle. Unlucky for us hewas in the US at the time so this dooms day really racked up his cell phone billwith roaming charges. I told him what happened and he said first thing check theoil. I checked it reluctantly(I hate anything that has to do with grease, oil and
engines) Oil was low but ok. So then try starting the engine. It would turn over butnot start. So he concluded that there was no fuel getting to it. Then he asked me toopen some valve deep in the engine. I was not happy about sticking my hand andarm down something that is hot and oily however desperate times call for desperatemeasures. I opened the valve and diesel trickled out. Ok so apparently it was eitherthe fuel pump or the injector pump that wasnt working. Time to call RoadsideAssistance.Have you ever tried calling these guys when you are stuck in the mountains? Holyman was that ever an ordeal. I called them, waited 5-10mins on hold then was putthrough. I had to give them my name, information, ID number, licence platenumber, approximate location,(the girl I was talking to couldnt read a map so thistook about a half hour for her to understand where we were. I didnt think thedirections of just in front of Wasapa Lodge, 12 kms east of Fields on theTransCanada was vague) and then the nature of our call. She then had to call usback.Half hour later I received a phone call back asking where we were again. Oh mygod. Then they said that they would need to contact a tow truck company.We sat there for another half hour. She called back. She said they could tow thetravel trailer to a safe location. I said no this is a horse trailer not a travel trailer andwe would like it towed back to my farm. She said she would call me back.Almost an hour later I called them back and had to go through the same thing allover again. All my info and explaining the nature of our call. Finally I was allowedto say who I had been speaking with and they transferred me to her. I was told thatthey couldnt tow my trailer back to the farm. It had to be to the closest safelocation. Ok so I was going to have to find out what farms are nearby so we couldbring the horses there. But no. She said that the nearest safe location was theparking lot of the lodge. I asked her if she was kidding. I had an expensive stallionin the trailer and Im suppose to just unload him and tie him there on the side of thebusiest hwy in Canada? She then said well why dont you leave him in the trailer.She obviously had no idea how horse trailers work. That if you leave a horse in atrailer that is not anchored by a truck, the trailer can tip backwards. I dont knowhow many times I had to explain this to the woman but I was getting more than
frustrated. She said again that she would call me back and let me know when thetow truck was coming. I told her we couldnt tow the truck until we hadreplacement truck to anchor the trailer.Another wait. Then a new girl called me back. I then had to explain the wholething all over again and why a horse trailer is not a travel trailer. Unreal.Meanwhile, Kyle and friends of mine are scrounging around trying to find a truckthat we could borrow to either come pick us up or use for the week in Vernon.By now we had been sitting on the side of the road for 4 hours. The horses werestarting to get impatient so we fed and watered everyone. Maria grabbed us someburgers from the lodge. Apparently the lodge doesnt permit people to use theirbathrooms unless you are a guest there. They made an exception for us withirritated pursed lips. Real nice.I received another call from the Roadside A and they had some bad news. The towcompany didnt want to send any of their guys into the mountains after dark. Andat the moment the sun was setting. So they either came now or not till the next day.I had to make a decision. I told her that they cant come now because we dont havea truck to anchor the trailer. So it will have to be the next day.I then remembered Cara Moser was just 2 hours east of us. So I gave her a call.She said she would see what she could do with finding a truck. We waited somemore. Cara called us back and said that a friend of hers could come pick us up andwe could stay at the boarding stable where she keeps her gelding Skuggi. YAY!I called the Roadside A back, waited on hold, gave my info and location, andfinally got in touch with the girl I was talking to.(she was way more helpful thanthe first girl by the way) She said she would call me back when she got a hold ofthe tow company.Waited some more. It seemed like there were semis whizzing by us every 5seconds.Then she called back and said that they would come and they would coordinate itso that the guy would arrive at the same time as Cara and her friend. Finally thingsare going right! So then we had a 2 hour wait for everyone to arrive. The tow guy
came and hooked onto the truck and towed the truck and trailer into the parkinglot. We then unloaded Bragur. Strange surroundings, barricades around the snowpiles, semis roaring past but he kept his cool and was an angel. The tow guy thenunhooked the trailer, towed my truck away and Caras friend hooked up her truckto the trailer. We then took some time to load Bragur. Understandably he was nottoo keen to go back in the trailer. But once he was persuaded with treats and thetow truck guy talking to him man to man, he went in and we started heading backto Cochrane. It was 1am and we were tired. We arrived at Caras stable, preparedthe stalls, unloaded the horses, unbandaged there legs, got them food and water andthen crawled into the living quarters of the horse trailer and collapsed. We didnteven bother with pajamas.The next morning we fed the horses and then went for breakfast and made a gameplan. The truck was being towed to my mechanic in High River. And we currentlydidnt have another truck to use to go to Vernon. So since the horses had been inthe trailer for so long we decided to make two trips back home(Bragur on the firsttrip and the mares on the second trip) unload the horses and give them a day torest. That would also give us some time to either find another truck to use or getmy truck fixed.It took us the whole day to move all four horses back to the farm as Caras stablewas 3 hours north of my farm. On one of the trips I decided to take Kyles truckand test it with the horse trailer. We didnt want to use it because the last time Ipulled the horse trailer with it, it over heated. We thought it could have beenbecause of the weather front we had on at the time but we werent sure. But alsobecause Kyle figured that the transmission wouldnt hold up through themountains. Sure enough on the return trip with the horse trailer from Cochrane itstarted making weird noises when we went up steep hills. No thanks.We unloaded the mares, Maria went home and after feeding and looking aftereveryone, I went in the house and crashed. The mechanic was suppose to call methat night when my truck was fixed but he didnt. We couldnt find another truck toborrow either. Things looked bleak.To Be Continued...