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. 


  1. I'm glad you are both safe and you managed to get the car fixed! Thank goodness you didn't lose the brakes on those curvy roads, like you said!

  2. what an adventure! and you guys were very fortunate in all your endeavors. love it! add these memories to the books. xo yelle

  3. Oh my! You all are truly blessed. It really could have been so much worse! I am glad that you all made it safely. And even in a bad time, you still managed to capture it beautifully.

  4. Oh wow. That sucks T_T But at least you guys lived to tell the tale!

  5. Scary!!! Glad you made it home ok! Nice car! :)

  6. I adore your blog! The photos are gorgeous and so the content. If only my boyfriend would be able to travel with me. x


  7. I have just found your blog... very nice writen storrys and very nice pictures. Always great to find "new" interresting blogs! Traveling Norway and Sweden we had some problems with our car as well... broken radiator. That stinks! All the best for you two!

  8. Car trouble! It happens to us all. Glad you made it home ok. Love the blog.:-)

  9. What an experience! I'm glad God worked everything out for you guys! I think these kind of experiences always make you bond with the person that you're going through it with. I just discovered your blog and I love it! Please feel free to visit my travel blog.