Greeted with white painted cinderblock walls, a tawdry old polyester bedcover, sagging ceiling tiles and a stuffy stale aroma, walking into our vintage 10'x12' accommodations for the night I was immediately struck by the uniqueness of our situation. We we staying overnight in a cheap roadside motel in a foreign country, carrying our passports and a wad of cash, waiting to rendezvous with Tony, our dealer (whom we've never actually met) to buy some expensive parts imported from Australia for our truck that we could not get on our own in the states. Something about this situation seemed mighty shady, like an exaggerated trope directly from a low budget movie.
The reality is, we have made a short 6 hour drive North, crossing the border in to Canada to the lovely town of Cranbrook to pick up some long-awaited parts for Walter. We are working with Tony and his company called Fuso Offroad. He is the North American Importer of specialty Expedition Vehicle parts from Australian Adventure Vehicles and has a great reputation in the expedition overlanding world. Since it was "so close" we decided to make a little adventure out of it on Sherry's days off rather that just pay for shipping.
Admittedly, it has been a simple trip so far but it was nice to justify dusting off our passports and making the basic arrangements for international travel. We both agreed that crossing the border into Canada provided just enough "new" to reawaken our senses and to keep us alert to unfamiliar things. It allowed us to imagine how travelling into countries with vastly different cultural norms will keep us in a child-like sense of wonder as we strain to understand the world around us.
With our appetites for international travel whetted, we spent the day wide-eyed and awestruck with the beauty of the drive along Hwy 93 through the southernmost part of the Canadian Rockies. Once we crossed the border just above Whitefish, MT our time was not rushed, so we afforded a little time to explore a few backroads dreaming as the wandering vagabonds we pine to be.
With big smiles and light hearts, we spent the afternoon discovering little hidden lakes, old historical sites, epic scenery, cultural insights and charming rural valleys.
Slow travel is good medicine.
After checking into our simple accommodations for the evening (except for the sagging ceiling tiles, the motel is not nearly as bad as I made it out to be earlier for dramatic effect) we spent the evening in downtown Cranbrook enjoying great beer and an even greater live 4-piece jazz concert at the Heid Out and Fisher Peak Brewery.
Tomorrow with will meet up with Tony who has been super helpful finding what we need for Walter. We will pick up a new front Bullbar and new front and rear suspension upgrades. I'm especially excited about the suspension upgrades as they will fundamentally change the driving experience of our former work truck. I've been hesitant to make any final commitment on the truck design until these suspension upgrades were installed because it will certainly change the truck's overall height and stance, affecting both function and aesthetics.
So, rest assured, all is above-board. Despite our strange circumstances, there's no elicit international scandals happening here. You wont see us on tomorrow's news (at least not for this innocent quest!) It's just one more crazy step we are taking to make our overlanding dream a reality.