They are now working! Working great! Got that old (1990) van working and rolling and doing what old vans are supposed to do. Sal and guests (plus dog) went on a ‘touristy’ drive around the island yesterday (all dirt/logging roads). Had a great time. It’s a Toyota, all-wheel drive van, under 185,000 kms, good tires, mechanically sound, everything working well and even the air conditioning blew cool!
I am 73. Sal a few years younger. If Sal or I drive that van as much as anyone else does their car on this island, we will be challenged to put on 1000kms a year. A more realistic estimate is 250 – 300 kms a year, maybe less. The old Toyota (already 31 years old) is reputed to go, on average, close to 500,000 kms before joining the old jalopies at the junk yard. Do the math: that puppy should run for over 300 years!
Realistically, neither it nor I will last 300 years. In fact, I am sorta counting on just 15 more (if I am lucky). The point of all this? Even tho Sal will last closer to 30 years (she comes from a great gene pool) that truck will see her out and the next generation after us……seriously, it will not have hit 200K kms before I leave this mortal coil and it, as the bard might say, “will have no doubt about it’s being”. ‘To be or not to be?’, is not a question for an old Toyota.
It’s a JDM Previa, the precursor to the now ubiquitous Toyota Sienna, the ‘family van’. 1990 was the first year they were ever made and then it was repeated as launched for a number of years until the last one rolled out in 1997. Right-hand drive. Automatic.
Our island is approximately 17 miles long, tip to tip, but the road system does not go all the way. As the raven flies, the main-track goes maybe 12 or 13 miles down the middle (North-South) and the secondary road, (off the Y intersection at the old Maple) goes for maybe half of that again in another direction (NE- SW). There are little overgrown pathways that spin off the two main roads but they don’t go far – usually nowhere (they were just ‘access-to-trees’ roads). I suppose that If I spent the day driving every passable road that actually went anywhere, going out and coming back, I might accumulate 50 miles tops. A typical ‘trip’ would be eight miles out and eight miles back (see a friend, visit, etc). And we might do that once every three months. It will be hard to put on the miles.
“Why bother?” Well, there is always a reason to go somewhere on the island and, while walking is OK for most of our contacts to be reached, walking back in inclement weather or at night is prohibitive. Cougar-prohibitive. Plus we are always carrying something. Always. Plus we are getting older. Vehicles on the island are necessary but not used often. In fact, for the most part, all the traffic happens on Friday.
Friday is when the food-delivery-boat arrives and people are now trundling down to the dock in the early afternoon in old, rolling, rust-buckets to get their order and, usually, a neighbour’s or two or even three others. Given that the old logging roads are barely two vehicles wide, we can get a bit of a traffic jam on Fridays but there is never any road rage. Traffic jams are social occasions out here.
We are not quite as sanguine about the community docks, however. Our most critical dock on the neighbouring island (car-park) holds only six vessels 18 feet and smaller. We tie-up twelve vessels by rafting up two deep or even, maybe 15 small vessels if a few are willing to climb over two boats to get to the dock. Dock space is at a premium and, when you arrive, the pressure is on. “Why?” Because no one goes there unless they are embarking on some kind of longer drive-the-car type mission. Most such sorties involve catching the ferry an hour away. To arrive at the dock with no place to tie up throws the mission’s plans off track.
There are maybe 250 people in the general area on average spread over 250 square miles and 5 separate islands (all OTG). That translates into maybe 60 or so separate vehicles. Maybe 80 households? Our parking lot is jammed. But dock space for only six vessels is where the real bottle-neck is. We need a bigger community dock.
Anyway, we have wheels on one island, wheels on another and two boats to go get to them. And, in keeping with the logic, there is no road anywhere near my house (water access only). Weird!