Car Trouble

Friday, August 22, 2014

Guys! In case you missed it, we recently got home from backpacking in South America for 3 weeks. Planned to have a bunch of posts ready for the blog while we were away, but that didn't happen. So I'm going to pick up right where we left off with our camping trip through Banff. 

Two days into our camping trip, Yuriy started noticing that something was not right with the brakes on Helga. He didn't seem too worried, so I wasn't too worried. You know how it goes. We were driving through a curvy, remote stretch of road in the mountains and debating whether to pull over for the night or press on and make it closer to Banff. We happened to pass a sign that said "hot springs" and were being indecisive about whether to pull over and check it out or not. We ended up passing the entrance, debating what to do, and then pulling a u-turn to go check it out. As we pulled into the hot springs, our breaks completely stopped working! By the grace of God, we were only going about 10 miles per hour on a dirt road and were able to stop with the emergency brake. I don't want to think about what could have happened if the brakes went out on that curvy highway! Luckily, the hot springs we were stuck at had wifi, a pay phone, and a campground we could stay the night at. It could have been much worse.

The next morning we got towed 200 miles to Canmore. The limit for free towing with our AAA plan (which we just signed up for, specifically for this car) is 200, so again, God was watching out for us. It would have cost us a fortune otherwise. Turns out all the shops in Canmore were booked full for weeks, nobody had parts for our rare car, Yuriy wasn't able to fix it, after driving a few hours to get brake pads and attempting to change them in a parking lot, so we had to get the car to Calgary, a major city. 

Long story short, we had a rental car for a week while our Helga was being worked on. There were more problems than initially suspected (no surprise there) and we had to pay a buttload for parts and service, which is more expensive in Canada. This ordeal cost us quite a bit of time and stress, so we ended up cutting out Yellowstone from the end of our trip (we'll save it for another time). We were just overjoyed to get our car back on the last day before the shops closed for the long Canada Day weekend, so we didn't have to drive the rental car home!

In the end, I think this experience was a good learning and bonding experience. We always wondered how it's possible that nothing ever goes wrong on our trips, when people around us have some crazy experiences. Will never say that again. Yuriy was pretty stressed, even if he hid it well, and he said the sweetest thing to me... He said he didn't realize how much he needed me when things go wrong. At the end of the day, just being together and having someone to hug makes everything better! 

- Julia

Poor Helga did her best.
The Canadian Rockies... not a good place to be without brakes. 

Seattle to Banff

Friday, July 11, 2014

We had been looking forward to an epic camping road trip for so long, and it was what kept me alive during finals, knowing that there were good things ahead (like sleep and campfire food and long drives through the mountains). It was a frantic few days of catching up on work and errands before leaving for two weeks, but there's nothing like the feeling of finally being packed and pulling onto the highway with a tank full of gas.

We got a pretty late start on our first day, so we camped at Larabee State Park, not far from Seattle. The next day, we met up with friends in Vancouver for breakfast, then coffee, and lunch (phew!), and continued our drive. Talking about the trip got us even more excited. 

Out of Vancouver, we took Highway 1, which would eventually get us to Banff, our first destination. At the beginning of a road trip, we always stop way too much for photos, not knowing how much amazing scenery lies ahead. That was exactly the case. Every mountain view and motel sign and country cafe looked amazing. We happened upon a flea market on the side of the highway, and did some browsing through antiques. We made it to Kamloops and did some grocery shopping to fill up our coolers and get us hungry. By the time we got to Kamloops, it was dark, and we needed to find a place to sleep. Instead of driving out to a campground, we found a random place in the foothills outside of Kamloops popped up our rooftop tent. It was pretty spectacular to wake up in the morning and realize what a beautiful place we had chosen to park in the dark.

The next day we had breakfast in town and continued our drive. We raced a brightly colored train along the highway, jealous of the train's views along the banks of a river and through rocky mountain tunnels. At some point we got hungry, and made lunch and a fire near a lake. Life slows down when your home is your car and you have no appointments to make. You can even make a fire during lunch.

That evening, our car's brakes went out. And just a couple days into our trip, the adventure got a lot crazier. But I'll save that for another post. 

- Julia

We found a random spot in the foothills outside of Kamloops to park for the night.
Not expecting this scenery in the morning!

Currently: Camping In the Mountains

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Hey guys, we are currently on an amazing two week camping road trip through Canada and the Northwest United States. We can't wait to share some photos and more about our adventures (the good and the bad...  like the brakes going out on our car in the middle of the mountains). We're excited to have the following partners on board, who love the outdoors as much as we do: FilsonMoment LensUp KnรถrthMollyjoggerBlack AnchorFaribault Woolen Mill Co, and Stanley.

If you're on Instagram, we have been posting tons of photos along the way. You can follow Yuriy here and Julia here, or search the hashtag #YandJoutdoors. 

Thanks for all your suggestions for our South America trip next month! We are still in the early stages of planning and haven't bought tickets yet, but are planning to fly into Lima. Keep the suggestions coming. :) 

- Yuriy + Julia

Colorado - Utah Roadtrip

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

From Colorado we crossed the border into Utah and went straight to the famous Arches National Park. We spent the day exploring the park in the heat, along with families carrying fanny packs, camelbacks of water, and handfuls of whiny kids begging mom to take them back to the hotel pool to swim. We were here on a Saturday in July. 

Towards sunset we hiked up to the Delicate Arch and spent the remaining hours of daylight admiring the phenomenal view in every direction. A full moon shone so brightly, that it lit our walk back to the car and cast shadows on the ground. We thought the Delicate Arch was probably overrated and not worth the hike with all the tourists, but it was incredible... definitely one of our highlights of the day.

Today we are packing up to go on a crazy 2-week camping trip! We're going to try and share the trip here on the blog as we go along.

- Julia

P.S. Who's been to South America? Where would you go if you had a month and had never been before?