— Spiritual Van Life Story | Part 8 —
There Is No Such Thing As Coincidence
The journey began, and we enjoyed our road trip from the first moment. Heading for the west-coast area, we had the opportunity to stop at friends of Jens – except for a few occasions where we spent the night somewhere else. Since he had already crossed this part of Canada on his bicycle, he seemed to know a couple of guys in every town along the road.
He could connect to people that well because of his passion for skateboarding. All his friends who welcomed us to their places treated us with love and hospitality. It seems like skateboarders still maintain a codex of brotherhood among their kind in Canada.
Jens was either found on his skateboard or under our vehicle fixing issues in all these different towns like Salmo or Rossland. Even though he put a lot of effort into preparing the camper for the long ride, many new problems popped up quickly. First, we had issues with our batteries because of a regulator that had to be replaced.
Then Jens noticed that the differential of the rear truck was “sweating,” which meant that oil was leaking from it. It took Jens two days to repair that issue. On our next part over some steep mountain pass, the fuel pump showed insufficiencies, ending with another stop at Lordco, a shop chain for car replacement parts. Lordco delivered a brand-new fuel pump for less than 50 Canadian dollars. That was surprisingly pretty affordable.
When we arrived in Osoyoos, close to the US border, our ’78 Ford 250 finally worked as it should, apart from squeaking noises from the bearings on the right front wheel. Nothing to worry thou. Jens would fix that along the way to Oregon. So it was time to cross the border to get to the US.
The Border Fail
Two days ago, we tried to enter the States. I tried because we did not manage to get over it. We expected to be on a special watch list as two Germans in a weird-looking camper with Canadian car plates. Of course, they picked our car for close inspection and found something they did not like. They detected Jens’ weed grinder with tiny bits of green plant parts.
I guess we had been too naïve to think that even though cannabis is more or less legal on both sides of the border, having a device like this on board might not be a problem. It is a problem, and they made a big issue. Since Jens claimed the grinder as his possession, he is no longer welcome in the US.
After almost 4 hours in this cold ass waiting room, we were sent back to Canada. Before that, customs took Jens’s fingerprints, and he was interviewed. The Canadians searched our camper for another two hours – just in case the Americans missed something. That was not the most delightful time of our trip so far. Without being too disappointed, we accepted this radical change in our plans. Since Jens had already traveled the US west coast, he was more eager to see Mexico and Central America in general.
So we decided that Jens would remain in Canada for another month while I drove the camper through the US alone. When I arrive at the southern border of the US, he will take a direct flight to Tijuana, where we should meet up again.
We met another young German fellow on the same evening of our rejection. I guess he was slightly irritated that we did not show any signs of disappointment. We considered this unforeseen chain of events a challenge, not a misfortune, from the first moment. It is a process, and only, in the end, might we be able to judge whether this rejection was good or bad. No question – It is a drastic intervention in our plans, but you have to go with whatever flow comes along. Being flexible is very important, and maintaining a positive attitude is crucial.
Leap Of Faith
This trip on my own through the US is a particular challenge since I am more of a computer geek without too much ambition for physical troubleshooting. For Jens, this is also a leap of faith. He put so much time and effort into our mobile home, which he needs to remain in my hands for over a month. We don’t know what this is good for, but we will certainly figure it out.
Jens repacked the wheel bearings for the last two days so that they won’t make any weird noises anymore. He did the best of his abilities to hand me over a vehicle that would manage to take me to Mexico without any trouble. Today we will split off, and hopefully, my next travel blog entry will be sent from US soil.