Monday 10 June 2024

Adventures With Our Old Utility Trailer

            I mentioned yesterday, about how instrumental our old utility trailer had been to our lives and how its usefulness was over and I was disassembling it so I could take the pieces to the dump.  Above you can see the skeleton of the old trailer.

            Here is the story of us entering Canada with the trailer full of our possessions when we immigrated:.

            We were dreading the border crossing into Canada, since we didn’t really know what expect, crossing with all of our possessions, but I handed my official immigrant forms to the Canada Custom Officer, and a list of all of the possessions we were bringing into Canada, and waited.  He gave a cursory look to the list, then peaked under the tarp on the trailer to see what was there.  He nodded his head and seemed okay with everything.   

                 I was secretly giving myself a sigh of relief, when the Canadian Custom Agent asked, “What about the trailer?”

                My heart sank, “The trailer, I forgot all about putting the trailer on the list.”  I explained about how my father gave it to me and answered all of the questions he had, and he said, “Okay” and then waved us on, across the border.

            We then gave a genuine sigh of relief as headed toward Fort St. James, BC, but we still had a few things to worry about.  Since we didn’t really have a home in Canada and had been living in a small camping trailer in the lumber mill camp where I was teaching, we had been depending upon the school district’s promised that a new full-sized mobile home would be there as a teacherage for the upcoming school year, but we hadn’t received any conformation that that had actually happened, and that there was a mobile home in camp waiting for us.   If it wasn’t, what were we going to do with all of the possessions we had just brought into Canada.  It included a lot of big items,  like furniture.  We would have no place to put it.

        I was relieved when I called the school district office and it was confirmed that the mobile home had been moved into camp, so all we had to do was to get all our possessions up to the camp, which had no road into the place. 

                The only way to do that was by train.  I contacted BC Rail, and made arrangement for a flatbed train car to carry our utility trailer from Fort St. James up to the Silvacan Resources camp on Takla Lake.

            This being done, I drove over to the train yard, and had a flatbed rail car moved to the loading ramp, then carefully backed the trailer up onto the flatbed.  I then had the job of securing the trailer to the flatbed.  I did that using metal cables which I had purchased.  I also blocked the wheels to prevent the utility trailer from rolling back an forth on its train ride.

            The train wasn’t scheduled to leave until the following day, and we were paranoid about leaving all of our worldly possessions just sitting there unguarded, in the empty train yard overnight, so we decided that we would spend the night sleeping in the Scout, which I parked beside the flatbed train car holding  our trailer, to keep an eye on it.

                We spent a pretty miserable night trying to sleep in the car, while at the same time watching for nothing, and by the time the sun began to come up, we were both feeling horrible, but with the daylight, some railroad workers appeared, and so we felt we could safely drive into town for some breakfast and last minute preparations before we returned to the railroad, and climbed onto the passenger car on the train for our trip into camp.

                The train finally left at 1:00 in the afternoon.  We, and all of our possessions, gently and slowly rocked our way back and forth, wondering what the new teacher age would be like, and thinking about all the preparations that would need to be done for the upcoming school year.

                In the passenger car there were about 10 other people, mostly Native who were making the trip, and after a bit of small talk, we settled in, lulled by the motion and click-clacking of the wheels on the track, nodded off and then suddenly jerking back to consciousness, for the next 10 hours, as forests, rivers, and lakes slid across the window.

            Upon arriving at camp at 11:00 at night, we hung around until we were sure that the flatbed carrying our trailer, was going to be transferred to the siding, then we slowly headed to the camp office, where we got the keys to the new teacherage, and let ourselves in. 

                The mobile home had the water hooked up, but not the electricity or heat, and since our bed and bedding were still on our trailer, we just ended up sleeping on the green shag carpet on the living room floor of our brand new home.

            The photo below shows the teacherage, a brand new mobile home.

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