Breakdown in No Man’s Land

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Hello dear friends,

I wanted to be sure of what I write to you, so I had to keep my hands still a day and wait. Now I can reassure you: I have not been arrested, even kidnapped, did not go to sleep. My GPS is not out of battery power. But still something is out of order.

After passing Canadian border crossing towards USA, Hudo suddenly began to smoke. Many thoughts shot through my head, I had just had an oil change done in Morden, about 50 km before. I had Canadian dollars and trust the mechanics in Canada more than the Americans, who do not dare work on Hudo, for fear of liability. We rolled out of Canada, white smoke rising and the engine stops. I rolled onto the shoulder and that was it.

While I was busy working on the car a US customs agent arrived. She brought me 2 buckets of water, then came a second policewoman, then a policeman. They asked me to return to the checkout building and wanted to call AAA or a towing service. I definitely needed to leave my current location. Which direction to take? I prefer to return to Canada. The mechanics there were more reliable. So I had to negotiate with Canadian customs. 3 US officials pushed me back 100m to Canadian territory, under a roof, where the GPS not longer worked (no satellite).

So I stood there and did not dare to start, because water was running out front and back. Here’s where my virutal co-pilot came into play, Svend, who found me a few weeks ago in Vancouver, at the Indian Niinu, and proceeded to take care of me all thru my days in Canada, suggesting routes, lodging, restaurants and sites. It was great, just what I had hoped for in a co-pilot!

But back to the border. Svend organised a tow truck within an hour which took me 2 km to Emerson for 120 USD. The shop was still open at 10 pm, because Rob always works monday nights. It was pretty clear that the head gasket must be broken. Under Hudo was „mayonnaise“, the oil and water mixture well known to me. Rob said, no problem, my father knows about it. The next morning, Father Frank was there and you could tell he knows old cars. We both made phone calls until we has found the gaskets at Carl Weber in Massachusetts for an acceptable price. Then we unscrewed the cylinder heads and shocked by the damage. All cylinder full of water. Good thing I had brought the cylinder head from the old engine we changed in Ferntree Gully, Australia. Frank is very excited that I have something like this in my luggage. He told it to every visitor, because in the meantime it has become widely known among the 670 inhabitants of Emerson that there’s an old woman here traveling around the world.

At 5 pm it is dead silent here. No car, no one, nothing, so lonely I was not in my life. Scary. No other guest at the motel, no tourist at the campsite. But Hudo is in the garage behind door no.1. I can see him through a window slit. Now we wait for tomorrow for Fedex and maybe I can continue. I have again lost 3 days and will miss a few appointments I’ve made. I will not schedule any more appointments because I can not rely on Hudo. But he surprises me again and again. Why did he stop right between the two countries? Doesn’t he want to go back to the USA, to his homeland?

I read on my calendar:

„Enjoy the seasons,

they may be low tide or flood;

life is like tides,

times are bad,

then good again.“

Tomorrow is a new day, we will grab it cheerfully, then everything will be fine.

All the best,

Heidi

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