By Dave S. Clark
We did it!
The L. Hansen’s Forwarding Canada 5000 Rally Against Alzheimer’s was a major success, mostly due to the fact we actually made it all the way from Edmonton to Vancouver to Halifax in the 48-year-old Volvo Amazon that we rebuilt in the months leading up to the trip.
We were also successful in raising between $11,000 and $12,000 (still waiting on confirmation) for Alzheimer’s Societies across Canada, which we’re extremely proud of. You can also still donate by visiting www.Canada5000.ca.
We started the road trip on June 10, making our way from Edmonton to Vancouver… or that was the plan anyway.
We had a wheel bearing seize on us late that night between Kamloops and Merritt and the bearing ended up fusing with the spindle from the heat. After sitting on the side of the Coquihalla in the dark for nearly three hours, we were finally picked up and brought to safety. Thirty hours later, (10 hours behind schedule) we were on our way out to Vancouver to ceremoniously dip the wheels in the Pacific then push on to Kelowna.
The next day we trekked on to Calgary, but at that point our transmission started to fail on us and, with some great help, we swapped in a new-to-us-but-still-old gearbox before heading out to Regina. We had a comedy of other mechanical errors – our rear brake shoes falling off as we got off a rough logging road in Ontario, our distributor shaking loose and messing up our timing near Longview, Alberta, our fuel filter getting clogged with rust from the gas tank in rural New Brunswick, our windshield wiper switch breaking in the rain while we rallied through the CFB Gagetown tank range and our throttle linkage coming apart while on one of the best roads of the entire rally in the BC interior.
We had some really good luck too. I hit a big rock halfway across Santa Rosa Road, also known as the Cascade Highway, a treacherous 40-mile stretch of narrow, rocky road (I hesitate to call it a road and it’s certainly not a highway) which climbs up a mountain with no guard rails and no signs of life anywhere. The rock bounced off our muffler, denting it severely, then hit our fuel tank also denting it, but luckily not puncturing it. If we had punctured it, I’m sure we’d still be sitting there waiting for help. I literally had nightmares about that road for a week after I got home!
Since I’ve been back, I’ve been furiously writing about everything that happened to us and mixing our experiences in with the great stories that I’ve been told by the original drivers in the rally. I’ve been interviewing every driver and co-driver that I can get a hold of, which has been very entertaining and enlightening. So stay tuned. I know I haven’t given you many details on how the rally went, but I’ve got lots of great stories to tell and they’ll be coming soon!
It was the experience of a lifetime, with many ups and downs. At times it was frustrating, exhausting and daunting. But it was incredibly rewarding and an amazing adventure. Taking the side roads and secondary highways across our beautiful country is something that every Canadian should have the opportunity to do, albeit in more time than we gave ourselves. By the time we made it to Halifax, some 9,000 KMs later (which I can’t confirm because our odometer/speedometer failed while we were still in BC) I felt that was over too fast. Amazingly, after 11 days of driving between 12 and 18 hours a day, I felt like I wanted to go further.
This rally wouldn’t have been possible without the generous help from all of our sponsors, L. Hansen’s Forwarding, Subway, ipd The Volvo Specialists, Volvo of Edmonton, Storm Telematics, Xemodex Technologies, Ztherapy and URstore.
My dream to do this crazy road trip also wouldn’t have become reality without some great friends and family who came through for Dave and I when we needed them.
A huge thanks to:
Tom Chichak of So Much Win Racing
Aaron Nerenberg of Carstar Express
Randy from Historic Restorations