Bringing Home Our Volvo C303 (Part: the third & final)

Ryan and Shawn managed to cross the entirety of Manitoba while I slept in the back-seat cage (newly dubbed the “passenger isolation unit”). I took the wheel early in the morning and drove into the pre-dawn light until I realized I was hallucinating the mountains on the horizon. I developed a new appreciation for Shawn’s double-shift in the night.

With Ryan back at the wheel it’s not long before we coasted to the roadside dead empty again. Apparently, pushing the C303 to 100kph for hours on end reduces our range to 200km per tank. The c303 discourages speed in many ways. (Mostly fuel and noise)

After a quick splash on the roadside we jumped back into the cab to find one of our batteries was dead. Again, we were prepared. In fact, it’s charging our jump start box that killed the truck’s batteries in the first place. Did I mention we have no idea how 24 Volt systems work? Ryan attached the leads from our spare battery, triggering a shower of sparks… Ryan disconnects the leads. We have no idea how 24 volt systems work.

After some deliberation on exactly how things should be connected, and a quick search for the fire extinguisher, we make a second attempt. This does start the truck, but also fries the jump start pack. Because, of course it does!

Saskatchewan temperatures were the warmest yet and our spirits were following them up! This meant it was time for the Volvo to suck up another great big chunk of crud. Another Fuel strainulator break by the roadside. This time we completely deleted the original filter and moved our lawnmower filter in front of the housing to protect the pressure regulator.

Ryan also takes this opportunity to readjust the driver-side window squirter by hanging out the door, in the most awkward way possible, despite the fact we are parked. Go figure, we have been awake for two days and things are getting weird.

Ten minutes down the road we get pulled over by the fuzz for speeding… Actually, it was just a curious cop who ran the Quebec plates. Questions were asked, insurance was provided, all was well. Onwards to Calgary where showers and glorious sleep awaited us at Shawn’s sister-in law’s.

We made one stop during this leg to try and locate a vibration that began around at +90kph. Unable to discover the cause at the roadside, we decided to reduce our max speed to 85-90kph.

We awoke in Calgary to a balmy +9C. Perfect conditions to check the drive-line fluids, replace all the door locks (which we couldn’t lock), and notice that the fuel regulator had dropped into the bottom of the glass bowl. Meh, fuel regulation is overrated. We’ll just drive faster?.

Next stop Banff and Lake Louise. I was looking forward to the scenic leg of the adventure.

Scenic is putting it lightly. I spent the day shooting GoPro footage and marveling at our gorgeous slice of the world. (watch for the cinematic video on our social media channels.

Lake Louise is cold and frozen but hey; that’s ideal for a ski resort. Once again, our thrifty side got the better of us and we ended up in Deer Lodge; an experience that can’t be described or recommended. The odor and décor were both unique to say the least. But hey, at least it was scalding hot in the closet we rented.

I will give Deer Lodge credit for one thing: The antique showers are only slightly less powerful than standing under Niagra Falls.

We decided to head home south, through Cranbrook, and then along the US border. If you ever have the chance, do the same. The scenery is amazing, Raduim is otherworldly, and I saw my first Bighorn sheep. Clearly the sheep is not a guarantee for everyone, but Bighorns are now my favorite sheep.

We were almost home, so naturally it was time to swap out another fuel filter in the frozen darkness. I think we are getting quicker but the tank seems to be just as full of shmoo as ever. Shortly after this repair I fell asleep in the passenger isolation unit. Ryan tipped me out of the truck, at home, around 2am on Tuesday morning.

Aaand that’s how you go from Quebec to BC, during December, in a 40 year old Volvo, in roughly 6 days, and 1 pair of undies… Kidding!