Across Canada in a farmhouse: Still in Revelstoke

Yes, you’re reading our progress report correctly. We’ve basically made no progress in terms of mileage, and here’s why: B.C.’s winding mountain roads raised some concerns among motorists. Our little Massey just isn’t rolling quickly enough for some peoples’ liking. And so, after a chat with a very nice RCMP officer, which turned into an extended exchange with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), we were sidelined.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Within moments of us posting a Facebook entry about our troubles, the social media rep for ICBC contacted us to find out more. We were quickly shunted along to other ICBC officials who have been working with the Ministry of Transportation to “find a solution.”

At this point let me just remind readers about our monumental efforts to operate safely and within the law all along. We’ve covered some 6,000 kilometres over seven months; our “house” is splattered with lights, reflective tape, and a slow-moving vehicle sign; we’ve rolled on some of the narrowest and heavily traveled roads in the country; we’ve even received random Facebook messages from people telling us how courteous we are on the roads. In short, we’ve come a long, long way very safely.

Back to British Columbia. ICBC decided to issue us a TOP (temporary operational permit) for our time in the province. Everything looked like it would work out until the RCMP decided that we are not a safe enough vehicle for their roads, or for their motorists, to deal with.

The RCMP’s solution is that we provide our own pilot vehicle for the remainder of the journey. We don’t happen to have a car in B.C., and we simply cannot afford — especially after sinking so much of our money into this project — to provide ourselves with one. The other “solution” offered is a flatbed — also costly.

As you can well imagine, we are in a frustrating position. We absolutely understand and acknowledge the need for safety on the roads, and we want to do everything we can to provide that to motorists. That is why we have gone above and beyond in terms of signage, flashers, etc. From Ste-Catherine Street in Montreal, to Bloor Street in Toronto, up to Lake Louise and safely through Rogers Pass, we’ve not been a part of, nor provoked, one car accident, mishap, fender bender, or even a near miss.

For now, we are unable to move from our location in Revelstoke, B.C. We’ll be sure to keep our readers updated as to our progress — we may be on a flight home to Ontario sooner than later. Stay tuned!

— John Varty and his fiancee Molly Daley are driving across Canada in an effort to speak to farmers about the issues that concern them, and to bring those concerns to urbanites. They’re doing it in an unusual fashion — towing a “farmhouse” behind a Massey Ferguson 1660 — and will post periodic reports here of their trek across the Prairies.

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