With winter nearing and temperatures getting lower, we headed down from British Columbia to the US, after doing a test drive on the way out to make sure that everything was working right. It all felt good, sounded good and we were on the road again. A few hours later we would find that we were not yet done with technical difficulties.
About and hour from Vernon, BC, the truck aka The Ram, started to choke, as it had done on our way up to Prince George through the steep mountain roads. Dylan had cleaned the filter back in Prince George, which seemed to have solved the problem. We couldn’t continue on and parked the trailer on the side of the road in the small town of Enderby, BC. Dylan unhooked the hitch, so he could take The Ram to the auto shop. I stayed back with our dogs, Osita and Tila. It was mid afternoon. Ten minutes after he left, he called to say that the truck would not make it to Vernon and he needed to be towed. I went to the gas station on the corner to get a lead on a nearby towing service. I called and had Dylan on the call to get his coordinates. He got towed to Vernon, barely making it before the auto shop closed; luckily, with enough time to have them diagnose the issue. They discovered a faulty fuel pump. The truck was still not drivable, but Dylan slowly inched it to the auto parts store nearby. He got the new fuel pump, got under the truck and replaced it, right in front of the store. Fortunately, he didn’t need to leave the truck and stay in Vernon for the night. The Ram was back on the road and Dylan made it back to the trailer that same night. I had dinner ready. We settled in for the night and later watched a movie.
The next day, we were on the road to the US border. At the border, our dog Tila did his thing, barking at the officers through the window, while Osita was calm in the back seat. After they did a quick search of the trailer, they only confiscated the organic peppers we had in the fridge. There’s a ban on citrus fruits and vegetables. It felt good being back on US soil.
The landscape in BC is gorgeous, and continued as scenic throughout North America, from the mountains, to the plains, along rivers and canyons. All was well, and we were almost to our destination. After a stop for a night in Coeur D’Alene and only an hour from Sandpoint, Idaho, we felt an extreme vibration coming from under the truck and it could barely move. Dylan managed to slowly drive it to the gas station and park the trailer. He got under the truck and discovered a broken driveshaft! It was a Sunday and everything was closed. Our host, Luke Webster, was nearby and came to see us with his family. We couldn’t get anyone to come out on a Sunday. So, we camped in our trailer for the night at this newly built gas station that was actually very well designed with a tasteful market. Monday came and Dylan left with the tow truck back to Coeur D’Alene. The part would not come till Tuesday, meaning we would spend yet another night at the gas station. Our address for the two days would be Conoco gas station. By this point we were becoming resilient to the interminable issues we were having with the truck. No matter where we were, we were at home with good internet service, home cooked meals and a great bed.
With the driveshaft fixed, we were on our way to meet Luke at The Grooming Network in Sandpoint. Luke owns a number of grooming businesses among other ventures. The Grooming Network includes Classic Shaving where Dylan sells his Sage Blades razors. We got a tour of the headquarters and met the team. Their new space is a huge man cave filled with all that is needed for a well groomed beard and shave.
Dylan and I continued on to Luke’s acreage where we parked the Gypsy Caravan and met the entire Webster family. The children had been waiting with excitement after having met them briefly at the Conoco gas station with Luke a couple of days earlier. His wife Amber and her sister Brandy were waiting for us with a delicious meal. We got a bit organized at our trailer and sat for dinner with them and their six beautiful children. It was great to meet Luke and his family. It makes working with Luke more familial. Dylan prefers to work with people and companies on a more personal level. We both do. That’s why we carry collections handcrafted by those we know and love.
It was wonderful to see them make it seem so easy to care for a family of six children, three adults and their dog Prime. They have an organic vegetable garden and chicken coop. Everyday we had yummy food with organic veggies from their garden. Their eldest has a small business selling organic eggs from his happy hens. We bought some eggs from him for our dogs. He also makes his own videos and trailers with his siblings, including some really clever and funny ones featuring beard.com. He’s already learning the ropes of entrepreneurship. All the children are home schooled by mom and auntie, who had a successful day care for many years. They are pros! It’s amazing to see them juggle the many chores and classes with the children. A couple of days a week, they go to the office where they have a classroom set up, so they can be close to dad. We were impressed by the fluidity and togetherness of the Webster family. I love family. It is always heartwarming to spend time with our friends and their families, when we are away from ours.
A lot of people we know home school their children. I have observed that home schooled children are more advanced than those that attend regular schools. All the Webster children are advanced for their age, with their eldest, who’s only 8, already reading at an 11th grade level. I enjoyed making art and playing with them all. They are such a delight and full of love.
While in Sandpoint, we went to the beautiful downtown area to check out the independent boutiques and galleries. We found out that one of my favorite actors and independent thinkers, Viggo Mortensen, has a gallery in town, which we’ll visit next time we are in Sandpoint. We stopped by 14X Boutique & Studio, owned by Kimberly Stoddard. Kimberly is a designer and business owner who makes really cool Pendleton jackets under her brand www.campfirecouture.com. The store is a mix of retail in the front and work studio in the back. The interior design is modern rustic with recycled pallet wood on the walls and dividers, giving way to the back studio, which is visible from the store area. It is a treat for customers to have the ability to see into the creative spaces of the artists. 14X features Kimberly’s designs among other lines by other local designers. We enjoyed shopping and eating at Winter Ridge Natural Foods Market where we stocked up on all our favorite organic produce and products for the road ahead.
A couple of days into our visit, Dylan noticed the clutch was having issues. Not again! He took The Ram to the auto shop and found out the clutch needed to be replaced. Luckily, it would only take a day to do and was scheduled for the weekend. This allowed us to visit with the family a little longer, which we all enjoyed.
There’s a waterfall near their house that we walked to with the dogs and Dylan hiked the dogs daily at their land. I am not an early riser, so I missed the morning walks. But I took our pups for walks while Dylan was at work with Luke and company.
Our time in Sandpoint was a treat, meeting new friends and checking out a new place that will become part of our route as we travel and create across the rich North American continent.