Day 13 of our trip was a very special one for many people around the world as Spain conquered the Netherlands in the World Cup final. Toby, Andy and Pambo had woken up early to bear witness to this spectacle, and so it was just Nik, Clemens and myself standing guard over the RV and SRZero while the rest of the team were in a local Boston Pizza restaurant watching the match. Rather inconveniently, this is when the RV park decided to turf us out as they had allowed us to stay there for free, and were now full and hence needed us to leave.
So we enacted a full speed evacuation plan, despite still being mostly undressed, and ended up with Nik sitting in a t-shirt and boxers following the RV in the SRZero. It was comfort driving at its finest! So, off this dishevelled convoy went, following Toby’s directions to the closest Boston Pizza and one which we had passed the night before. After pulling on some trousers, I entered the restaurant and asked the hostess if she had seen a bunch of 3 rowdy football supporters with English accents. She hadn’t, it transpired, and a quick sweep of the restaurant confirmed this. After calling them and ascertaining that they were in fact at a different Boston Pizza, apparently due to momentary confusion over the difference between left and right, we turned back in the opposite direction and raced across to get them.
With Claudio and Greg catching us up later on the motorbike, and with RGE now reunited, we decided to head off to our last stop before Vancouver; Clinton. Now, you may or may not have seen a picture of the RV we had rented for this first stretch of the Pan-American Highway; it’s huge. Had we been in Africa or Asia, elephants would look like little chihuahuas in comparison, and it has the mechanical equivalent of a heart attack upon taking on any gradient at a speed above 55mph. So, after arranging a rendezvous point at an RV park in Clinton, we sent the speedy SRZero off ahead and the RV lumbered along in the rear along the lengthy and undulating road.
Aside from the RV overheating at the top of a rather steep hill, I’m afraid nothing eventful happened at all. The Canadian roads were just too nice and the car was working too well for anything major to happen, and it was after a good 5 hours of driving that we pulled into the beautiful little village of Clinton. By this time, the support vehicle and the SRZero were well out of radio range, and we in the RV now attempted to find the campground where we were to stay. But after 2 minutes of driving, and the southern boundary of the village getting further and further behind us, there was no sign of the RV park. We also knew that the SRZero and its occupants must be running low on energy, so we were anxious to get back to them ASAP so charging/eating could commence!
It was clear that the RV was heading back out into the wilderness and that the RV park must be behind us. So after a quick 3 point turn, which in the RV entails someone getting out to ensure that its gargantuan bottom doesn’t flatten the odd passing car, we headed back towards town. On the subject of bottoms, we noticed a beautiful, curvaceous white and green one poking through the trees a few hundred metres down the road. Yes, it was the SRZero and it was currently sitting in the entrance of the elusive RV park. As it turned out, they had only just arrived and the RV may have actually been ahead of them. Apparently, the SRZero crew had taken a lengthy toilet break somewhere, and the RV had unknowingly passed them by. Anyway, reunited once more, we booked ourselves into the park, having a chat with the very friendly proprietor at the same time, and set the car up for a charge.
With stomachs on the verge of catastrophic implosion, the next port of call was the only restaurant which appeared to be still open (it was a Sunday night after all). We burst in through the door, and the conversation goes roughly as follows:
Team: “Food! We need it now! Are you still serving?”
Owner: “Sorry, the kitchen has just closed, eh.”
Owner: “I could serve you some readymade pizzas though, eh”.
The team’s eyes light up in anticipation, much like a dog shifts his ears forward when expecting a treat…
Owner: “But I don’t have the pizzas; I only have the oven, eh.”
Decisive action was immediately taken. “Where’s the nearest convenience store?!” we asked. We were told it was just down the road, but we had better run as it was closing imminently. Run was all we did, and seconds later we were outside the convenience store, to be greeted by a closed grille and an aged man of Asian origin locking up. Upon explanation of how utterly starving we were, he duly opened up and we pounced upon the frozen pizza section. After purchasing said pizzas and other supplies (a.k.a. Pringles and iced tea) we went back to the restaurant where the owner happily agreed to cook the pizzas we had bought, for no extra cost; yet another example of the unbelievable kindness we have been shown along the entire length of our trip.
As a side point, you may have noticed from the above transcriptions, as well as others from Canadian lands, that many of the native’s sentenced end in “eh” pronounced like the word “a”. It is a common nuance across Canadian English, and it’s quite endearing! I’ve started using it myself on occasion, eh.
And so it was with beer in hand, pizza in mouth, and pool cue in the other hand, that we happily passed the Sunday night away in this beautiful log cabin restaurant as the stuffed moose, deer and caribou heads stared down upon us.