Canada & Alaska

Michele & Stephen's trip in 2012

Gearing Up

Over the last few weeks MAN's gearbox has started to make unpleasant noises and we are now waiting around Edmonton for parts to be shipped out from Germany.

To get here we have been avoiding the Trans-Canada highway as far as possible by staying north. La Ronge in Saskatchewan is probably best known for the Robertson's Trading Post which sells everything from bear traps and home-spun philosophy...

... to very odd sausages.

It remains one of the few functioning Trading Posts in Canada that still buys pelts over the counter (beaver, skunk, wolf etc).

In the La Ronge campground we met several members of the Saskatoon Canoe Club who suggested we visit Stanley Mission to watch a canoe race. We did and they duly won. Canoeing is a very serious business in Canada.

Almost every shop we have come across in Canada has accepted credit cards (so far not one shop has checked my signature against the back of the card). However cheques are a very different mater.

Are these elk?

Out of the big cities it seems you can drive just about anything on the roads. In the prairies, where the roads are straight and wide and there are very few obstructions you see parking lots full of show houses. Presumably when you have selected the one you want, you just have it delivered.

In a smaller car it would be very tempting to undertake?

The Western Development Museum in Saskatoon was well worth a full day. Highly recommended.

Whilst we were in Saskatoon there was a weekend festival (of some sort) with fire dancers and ...

... fireworks (very good).

By the time we reached Saskatoon there was no doubt that Man had a serious gearbox problem and it wasn't getting any better.

Man has a six speed gearbox made by ZF (ZF Friedrichshafen AG) and for the last 1000 km it has been getting noisier and noisier. Unfortunately MAN has no service arrangements in North America, however an e-mail to MAN in the UK produced an immediate response explaining that the main agent for ZF (The Gear Centre) was in Edmonton.

The particular gearbox used in Man is not common in Canada and although The Gear Centre could rebuild the gearbox or get new one from ZF in Europe in the end I have ordered one and a new clutch from my MAN garage in Nothampton, UK. If everybody does what they say they will do we should be on our way in about a week!

In the mean time we can drive in 5th without noises, so we are pottering around Edmonton waiting.

Elk Island park was a good place to spend a few days. We saw no elks but ...

... it was difficult to miss the bison!

Edmonton is famous for its mall (it was the worlds largest until 2004).

Its mall is famous for its water park rather than the shops.