This beauty here is Cherry Tom; our wheels and our house for the Summer to come.
For those without extensive knowledge of 90’s American pickup trucks, Cherry is a Ford Ranger with an attached camping canopy. We bought her just a few days after landing in Vancouver and have been getting her ready for an epic trip across Canada, taking in as many beautiful spots as we can. With all national parks free to enter this 150th anniversary year we reckon we will be spoilt for choice.
How did we manage to do this?
British Columbia may be an odd place for Europeans to begin a trip, but the province allows foreigners to register a vehicle quite easily. There’s a decent market in converted vehicles, mostly it seems being passed on by foreigners just leaving to those just arriving. When we arrived we were actually looking for some sort of van, but a good price and an enjoyable test drive convinced us this little truck would be a great vehicle for us. Getting the paperwork done was easy – we went down to an insurance broker (all offer the mandatory government insurance) with the former owner, signed some papers and paid almost what the vehicle cost again for 6 months insurance. We used the address of the AirBnB we stayed at (apparently any address will do in BC including hotels) attached new plates on and drove away with Cherry and a whole host of random stuff left in the back.
What have we done with her so far?
A mechanics check was the most important first stop – thankfully due to work done around a year ago she passed all the important checks with flying colours meaning we could complete our purchase with confidence.
An afternoon spent scrubbing every inch of the canopy to make our new home more homely was next, followed by a trip to Canadian Tire and Home Depot to buy some essentials.
We sawed the two large wooden panels at the back into two pieces and carpeted around each of the 4 pieces we created. We also used knives to hack out the old sealant round the camper shell windows and replaced it with new sealant.
Next we took a trip up to a scrapyard to grab an instrument cluster which after some painstaking wrench-work we were able to swap out with the one in our truck fixing nearly all of the instruments (sadly the petrol gauge remains a problem so we need to keep a close eye on how far we’ve gone and a jerry of fuel in the back).
Our planed future work include sanding and repainting a couple of rust spots on the tailgate and a scratch on the front. We’re also going to really up the luxury of out house with some LED lights in the back, and when we find a good one replace the crooked front bumper. Perhaps if our mechanical skills develop further we’ll have a go at fixing the petrol gauge again and correct the wonkiness which is apparently typical of Ford trucks from this era.
Where have we been with Cherry Tom so far?
Our first trip in our homely truck has been to Whistler, the home of the world famous ski resort. You may think, odd choice in the middle of the summer, but skiing wasn’t the reason why we chose to go to Whistler. Before setting off to Canada, I met up with my friend Harriet, who suggested David and I try to do all Parkruns in Canada. There are currently nine, with the tenth opening in August in Victoria. The idea really struck our fancy and we fully intend to complete the challenge over the upcoming months. So far we completed two: the Vancouver Parkrun and (yes you guessed it) the Whistler Parkrun. When we learnt after our first Canadian Park Run that Whistler was about to launch it’s own Parkrun we couldn’t miss the opportunity to be there for the grand opening.
The Vancouver Parkrun takes you along the river arch. The run is flat and involves running 250m in one direction, then turn back, run past the start point and carry on for 1.5km, then turn back, again run past the start point to the first turning and then race to the finish line at the start point. Comparatively, the Whistler Parkrun route is more interesting, as it meanders through a forest and round a lake, but also more challenging as the route undulates up and down the hills.
Okanagan Park Run – you’re next!