September 15th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
The car in question

A hectic day… but I’ll come to that.  The night was great, Val inside her new bag, + me double-bagged.  And then the morning passed pleasantly enough, lying in the sun, collecting a few cones, reading, writing post-cards.  In the afternoon, we’d planned to go to town to do  a few things, then out to lake to take a bath.  However… Val noticed someone taking a look at the car, a policeman.  I rushed over, + just in time.  He’d radioed for someone to come + tow it away, + was able to cancel that.  Someone had complained about it being on the road, so I had to move it.  And that was that. 

He was just about to drive away, when he said, “Oh, I’d better take your name.”  And from there it all came out – the fact that it wasn’t licensed or registered, the bills of sale, being in Canada.  He wasn’t happy.  He called out some customs people, but there was no offence in that respect.  Then, of course, he wanted to see my insurance.  I lied, said that it was insured, + then made a pretence of looking for it.  He still wasn’t happy.  Eventually, he told me I couldn’t drive the car in Canada, must find my insurance, purchase a Temporary Operator’s Permit, + drive straight to the USA.  Ho hum.  Also, get it off the road.

I did the first, went back to Val, +, against his instructions, drove to town.  Purchased the TOP with no trouble at all, then went to see the policeman.  Still no insurance, of course, so he still wasn’t happy.  But, washed his hands of me, told me to drive straight out of Canada, gave me a lecture.  Patronising c***. 

Dropped Val home, packed a few things, then off, 90 miles to the border, took me a little over 2 hours.  Gave them the same story about needing to register the car – they were much friendlier, found out where + when I had to get the car checked (oh dear) + let me through.  Nearest place I could get the car done was a place called Okanogan.  There I bought 3 tyres – $120 worth.  Then drove to a place called Omak (4 miles) to see a movie.  Saw “Wizards”, an appalling sub-sub-Tolkien animation, along with “Dragonslayer” – much better, but still only average.  Then drove to a local camp-site – deserted, so far as I could tell, and slept in the car.

 Oh dear, oh dear.  Lots to comment on: our dreadful disregard of the rules, especially regarding insurance, which really can have serious consequences.  My rudeness towards the policeman, who was really only doing his job, and was, in the circumstances, remarkably tolerant.  Even so, we continued to ignore his instructions, and stayed on to complete our stint of apple-picking… with the car, now safely stowed out of sight on the farm (though we still used it to go to town.)  Just as well we never encountered our policeman friend, when things could have turned very nasty.

First night apart from Val since we’d left England.

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