Having had a wonderful time in Mont Tremblant, we savored every last moment of the fresh, mountain air, leaving our campsite just 5 minutes before the required 1pm check out.
"No worries," April said, "It's only 80 miles to Montreal."
Foreshadowing suggests that saying such a thing was probably a mistake.
As rain began to fall and swarms of bugs descended upon us, we got out to assess the damage. And when we say we... we mean Mark. Remember, there were swarms of bugs. But soon Mark yanked open the driver's side door and told April that she needed to get out and help PDQ (Pretty Damn Quick).
Spotting not only bugs, but also poison ivy on her side of the truck, April came scrambling over the center console like Bo Duke across the hood of General Lee. Mark swelled with pride as his amazing bride confronted one of her biggest fears... the outdoors. Not only was she super brave, she was super helpful. Weird.
The dynamic duo quickly confronted the very real possibility that Jayco was about to slide further into the gully and land on her side… taking the truck and us with her. We also confronted the probability that if we did try to drive out of the gully and up the hill and its crazy sharp turn, we may only save Jayco and F350 in pieces, as it would surely break almost everything (axles, pin box, our spirits, etc...) in the process.
Aside from the damage to the truck bed, everything else appeared to be intact. We know this because Mark spent the better part of the St-Hubert stop inspecting stress points for damage: axles, wheels, tires, pin box, hitch. He even got up on the roof to see if the trees branches that we "nudged" had caused any damage to the roof, or if the roof seal had been damaged when the front cap of the fifth wheel collided with the upper part of the truck bed. Thankfully, all was well.
It was then that the phone rang. Problems at Decibels Audiology. A recent lightning strike had fried… well… let’s just say everything computer related to avoid describing it all. Mark’s IT buddies and our very own Michael Ellis were working tirelessly to put Humpty Dumpty back together again… to no avail. Things were bad. Really bad. We discussed Mark flying home from Montreal for a few days to fix this clucking mess. Ugh. This did not feel like vacation.
"I'm sure it's fine. What does he even mean... a balloon?" April tried to diffuse as they reached a bridge with absolutely no bailout points.
"Maybe he means an actual balloon? He is Canadian. Do you see a balloon back there?” Mark asked April as she stuck her head out the window.
She didn’t see anything, but it wouldn’t have mattered if she had. They were now stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, in a construction zone, on a bridge, in one of the largest cities in Canada. In the rain. Nobody was getting out to check anything. The Gambler came on the radio.
Head Canadian: “It is very tricky to park in this site you have tonight, no? You will need our eyes, no? We all watch. You drive, no? Can you do it?”
An hour later, we were finally parked. And while you would think this would be the time that Mark could finally relax... and wash all of those soiled cargo pants... you have probably forgotten that our business had been in the midst of a technology meltdown this entire time. Mark quickly shook the hands of the Canadian Posse, hooked up the camper, and got on a three hour conference call with Michael. Together, they plugged and unplugged and booted and rebooted and installed and uninstalled many things. Kids wailed in the background, April was admonished by Michael for stirring dinner too loudly and interrupting his speakerphone focus. Tensions were high... but Super Mark once again got it done. Somewhere around 11pm, Decibels Audiology was up and running again.
You would assume that now Mark could finally kick back and relax. Au Contraire.
It was time to replace bubble tire with the spare. Kids in bed, we brought in all the slide outs and readied the camper for the tire change. No matter what we did, however, we couldn't get bad tire off the ground. Enter yet another friendly and knowledgeable Canadian... this one with an extra jack. Bingo.
The man, in his late seventies, spoke mostly French, and had been watching us from an open window in his camper. At an hour when anyone with any sense should have been in bed, this cool cat strolled out of camper, rustled through his perfectly organized tool box, and produced a specialized jack for this very occasion. Then, he came over to tell us what was up.
The best part about needing someone's help who doesn't speak your language? No time for a lot of extra words. As April went inside to leave the men to their tire changing, she giggled at the basic communication and the quick progress the two were making.
"No, no, not ok."
As they worked, the man repeatedly retreated to his trailer. Obviously watching Mark's every move, he would then repeatedly come back over to offer more advice. Each time he'd say "Ok! You've got this!" A few minutes later, he'd be back. Sometime after midnight, April heard the two calculating tire pressure. She took this as a sign that all was well and went to bed. Somewhere in the night, Mark joined her.
Morning brought sunshine and a much more obvious view of what we'd be dealing with. That's one big bubble! Yikes!
Yes, that's right. It's the size of a baseball.
Quick thinking by Mark allowed Max to burn off some of his energy by pushing our garbage to the dumpster on a campground-provided engine-less lawnmower. Canada, man... Canada.