the mountains were dreamy, a shroud of fog in the early morning light. snow up on the peaks, but roads clear ahead. a calm cat getting used to the journey. passing through one zone into the next, the soft aridity in sicamous, salmon arm, chase. then driving into kamloops. oh kamloops, i did not expect this from you. we made it over the kicking horse and rogers pass just fine, but kamloops, it whooped our ass. shortly before reaching the top of the summit into kamloops i noticed the water thermostat heading into hot zone. i was explicitly told by jim – the bus mechanic who came by to take a look at my cruise control before i left – that i should not let my water temperature get over 207 degrees. apparently these buses like to hover between 200-207 as their normal operating temperature, but trouble starts if you let it go even one degree higher. so i pulled off the highway into a canadian tire parking lot. i let the bus idle for a bit with the fan on (one of my mistakes, i forgot to turn the fan on til the end b/c the previous hills had been a breeze) and opened up the hood to make sure the fan was working. fan looked good, coolant looked good. i went to take a pee and on my way back a man with a ball cap and bushy grey beard asked me about my bus. i told him all was good except it was getting into the dangerous range for water temperature. well he asked to look at my engine and i said sure. he checked out the fan belt and then looked at my radiator and said oh, you need to clean your radiator. i took a look and sure enough it was filthy. who’da thunk – a dirty radiator. perhaps this is obvious to many of you out there, but it just never occurred to me to clean the radiator – to make the connection of stuffed up cooling fins equals no air circulation equals no help to the poor coolant trying to do a good job keeping the engine happy. oops. i have been too used to newer cleaner vehicles in these last years. i am INCREDIBLY indebted to the kind kamloops man with the bushy grey beard and little red mazda truck for being there at that moment and taking the time to help me out. after bestowing his kindness upon me he directed me to the rv wash on the other side of the highway. kamloops is a hilly town folks. the road to canadian tire was a hill, the canadian tire parking lot was a hill, the shell station lot was a hill. i parked above the rv bay waiting for my turn and put the ebrake on while i rooted around in the back for some change. that was nerve-wracking. i kept expecting to roll down into the truck below me when my back was turned. thankfully the ebrake was good. this was my first time in an rv wash, and i don’t know if this was a one off or not, but you sure get A LOT of water for 2$. not like the piddly amount you get in a regular coin-op. i spent the majority of 2$ rinsing the rad off from various angles while at the same time trying not to damage it. i took a look at it after and that barely did anything so i took a toothbrush to it and spent another 2$ rinsing off all of the gunk.
the drive out of kamloops was great and i am hoping the problem is solved, i had the fan on the whole time after leaving and the water didn’t even get close to danger zone. i drove to merritt (a really cute little town) for the night and am staying in a campground with a bathroom and grass and trees. i decided to forgo the walmart lot in favour of comfort while i am sick. oh yeah, did i mention? i am sick, got a head cold. the drop in elevation after kamloops was extra odious, the pressure build up in my ears was awful and nothing was popping it. but now – fall is happening outside. a shower of leaves tinkling down onto the roof. i am in the pink chair by the door and the view from my windows is lovely, low mountains and trees. i am happy to be here.