Wednesday 2 January 2019

Diary 1978:Surprises at Home

Continued from yesterday:

When we woke up in the back of the car, we noticed that ice had formed from our breath, on our sleeping bags.  The temperature was a cold -20F.  Amazingly, our car started first time, but the engine accelerator must have been frozen, because it stuck and I couldn't change the engine speed.  I couldn't get it to reduce speed, so finally ended up turning the engine off.  Of course, then when I tried to restart the car, it refused to cooperate.  Luckily we were in the restaurant/gas station parking lot, so we weren't far away from help.  
The water level in the car battery was low, so we filled that, and the gas station guy helped me jump started the car.  We filled the tank with gasoline, and headed west on Hwy. 16 toward home, even though the accelerator was still sticking.  As we made our way to McBride, eventually the accelerator loosened up and started to work properly.  
Even though it was such a cold day, I had to make a stop at Mt. Robson because the view was so spectacular, and I had to take a photo of the brilliantly-lit mountain towering against the deep blue sky and shadowed foreground (above).
The cold weather front we had been driving through extended over McBride.  We were of course somewhat worried, having just bought our place in the fall and never before leaving it in the dead of winter.  We wondered about leaving our mainly wood stove-heated house, with a few electric space heaters, unattended during our trip down to Indiana, but hoped for the best.
An hour after our Mt. Robson stop, we got to our house and discovered that “hoping for the best” didn't really work very well—our house had frozen-up during our absence.  I had left a trickle of water running in the bathtub, and the drain under the house must have frozen because the bathtub was filled to the very top, with a solid block of ice.  The toilet tank had also frozen and its ceramic lid had cracked.  We had no water.
Depressed, we trudged through the snow over to Kjell and Celine's, our neighbor's place.  We discovered that they also, had frozen up and had no water.  While we were away they had been collecting our mail, so while everyone was commiserating about our water, I sorted through our mail and amongst our letters, was one from Harrowsmith Magazine.  It contained some much needed good news—it congratulated me for being chosen the Grand Prize winner in their first photo contest with my close-up photo of a toad.  I had won myself a Nikon camera.
Neither Kjell, and Celine, nor Joan, and I hadn't eaten any breakfast, and I don't remember the details, but somehow we all ended up over at Vince's house. Vince lived in town and had water, so we joined him for a group breakfast. 
I spent the afternoon stoking our wood stove, and rigging up some space heaters in the crawl space under the house, in an effort to get our water running again..  Kjell was a school teacher so later in the day we were able to fill up some water containers and to take a showers at the high school.

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