R&R: Racoons & Radiators

August 14, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

The plans were set and the early morning rise was offset by the anticipation of a fun day together. We had a wedding consultation scheduled out on the coast. Then plans to hang out and find a place for great sunset pictures before heading home. 

Arriving at the clients house feeling prepared. We discussed our passion with two potential and recently engaged clients. Easy flowing conversation set everyone at ease and before we knew it a couple hours had slipped by. In the midst of the back and forth they brightly invited us to go see where they wanted to be married. 

Packing up and starting the fifteen minute drive. Jen was a chatter box of excitement telling me "We got this!" and "I do think we are going to shoot this wedding. I feel it, I feel it, I feel it..." my slightly exasperated response, "OK, OK already" . I was less than convinced and remained quietly optimistic that... OK I was pretty certain it wasn't going to happen. 

As we drove into the narrow road of Green's Point both of our jaws dropped and immediately understood why they would want to get married here. It was the kind of location we have dreamed of photographing like all those big time magazine photographers. Then my insides tightened because I REALLY didn't want to lose this one. They were a great looking couple in a dream location and I could already see the magazine submissions and now I was nervous and babbling like a school boy headed for ice cream.

We surveyed, talked details, suggested times, located sunset direction and gleefully realized the sun would set between the lighthouse and them on their wedding evening. Then discussing "First Look" choreography and in the midst of that they just asked when they could pay the Save-The-Date deposit. I stopped mid sentence and in a daze heard "Yeah we have decided we are definitely going to go with you guys."

Trying to mask the surge of happiness we glanced at each other and did our best to be casual and not give in to the overwhelming urge to fist pump and punch the sky. "Soooooo... What do you think about an engagement shoot on the fishing boat your family operates? A sunrise or sunset or..." Blair's eyes lit up and he said "That would be great! Do you want to see the boat?" Ummmm let me think "YES!!!" And we were off... 

Jen's eyes were glowing with overwhelming excitement as we toured the boat and discussed shots and possibilities. When they mentioned we would probably see a whale and or seal she almost melted on the spot. I was excited but she confessed as we climbed back into the car her butterflies all fluttering and she almost cried... ok so she did cry. Wiping tears with joy. 

But we weren't done as we paused in Saint George to get a shot we have wanted for some time of the Gorge...

A hearty meal of scallops and clams and a pause for some fantastic sunset shots and we were on our way incessantly chatting about ideas and plans.

Rolling happily along with the cruise set to keep us under the speed limit. The flurry of movement caught my eyes on the edge of the darkness. Hitting the brakes hard and evading before a loud whump and the sickening sound of what felt like the underside of the car being torn apart. Soon followed by the flashing warning lights and the nauseating sweet smell of coolant/steam. Pulling over to see coolant dripping everywhere and the front end looks like we hit a deer and not two racoons. This is when I wish for my truck or big SUV. 

Through a cascading jumble of thoughts, options, questions and phone calls came the sense that it would be better to wait till morning to figure where to have it towed. And it was comfortable, it is August and I have slept many nights in a car. We started settling in and discovered that in the interest of having a car that wasn't cluttered with unnecessary things I had removed the typical neck pillows and the posing blankets that usually travel with us. Still undaunted we dropped into a fitful sleep. Finally at 3:00 am we determined that it was too cold in the car to sleep. After several calls it was determined that no towing services were available where we were at. 

Finally a little after 4:00 I had the idea to see if I could drive slowly enough to keep the oil temperature down I could at least get the car into the range of being towed. Also if the car was running I reasoned we would have some heat, not remembering till later that heater core draws it's heat from the coolant which we had none. So at a pedestrian 15mph we started towards Saint John. This wasn't so bad we thought as we periodically stopped to let the engine cool. Once in the city though we realized the dealership was across the bridge and the shoulders of the road were very narrow. And Monday morning traffic was picking up, whizzing by us as we, with hazards blinking rolled along at our snail like pace. After several "Oh no, here we go." moments we crept into the dealership. 

They inspected the damage, while we frantically attempted to get our insurance company on the phone. Finally a live "Canada expert" talked with me and explained the difficulties. "Could I get the car across the border?" There were no adjusters in Canada and may take upwards of 3 weeks to get a contracted one to look at my car and on and on the difficulties mounted. Forty five minutes later I resolutely marched into the dealership to discover that the parts list for my car was right at $1800. Plus the labor would push it well over $3000. Not an amount I was prepared to pay and then hassle with my insurance company for reimbursement. Could they just put in a new radiator and repair the supports enough to get me back across the border? Sure they could and with such kindness we were buoyed and felt like we had a plan in place. Could they shuttle us to a restaurant to get some breakfast while we arranged for a rental? Certainly, Off we went. 

During breakfast Monday morning, finding a rental car proved futile except some extremely expensive ones. I declared we should get a motel. After all the service agents felt confident they could get the radiator in the morning and we would be on our way by Tuesday evening. Then we discovered that oddly enough the Hotel rates were all escalated to unbelievable rates and selling out fast. We secured one at a rate that left me fuming and muttering about price gouging but it was within walking distance so we walked in. Jen was feeling the pain of her heels that she had elected to wear to breakfast and leave her flat boots in the car. I was voted the one to walk a couple miles to get the rest of what meager things we had in the car and get the cameras. I made it back to the hotel a little worn out but ready to go get a later supper and see what tomorrow would bring. 

Tuesday morning at breakfast downstairs I checked on rental cars and to my dismay not a single car was available for any price. We learned the culprits were two cruise ship in the harbor that had released 6000+ tourists, spending money all willy nilly and stranding us. Another couple phone call let us know that the part had definitely not arrived on the morning truck and it would be at least another day. 

"YES!!" I loudly exclaimed and with relief I clicked the "BOOK NOW" button. I had located a suite at the Hampton for less than what we paid at the now booked out Best Western and it was just up the hill, an easy walk that kept us close to the dealership. I was a genius and wondered why I had never used Expedia before or even considered a career in a field I clearly had unparalleled skill in. We stepped out to merrily work and discuss business strategies while waiting for the appropriate time to check in. Puzzlement came over me while sitting at a late lunch when the Hampton emailed me and inquired when I would be checking in and I realized I had booked the Hampton B&B almost 30 miles away and there were now no motel rooms to be had. Maybe I wasn't destined to be the next great travel agent after all despite my recent bragging and swaggering around. Inquiries revealed we were a $40 cab ride from our accommodations. 

Accepting our fate we obligingly paid the fare and were pleasantly rewarded with a lovely and peaceful place for the night. A delightful walk amongst the lovely duck and beaver ponds, we later discovered were sewer treatment ponds but Jen was undaunted as she merrily clicked away and we discussed the beautiful rising moon and the really nice and clean little town of Hampton, NB. What a nice evening because tomorrow we would, of course, be on our way and this adventure would be over... right?

Breakfast Wednesday morning was fine affair of crystal and perfectly prepared breakfast by an obviously skilled cook. The view on three sides of a well manicured back yard was devoid of the frequented and hoped for deer but the scampering squirrels and the pleasant surroundings and new friend were company enough. We packed our stuff and checked out to go next door to the Tim Hortons and await the afternoon bus to go pick up our car and head for home. Only to learn that no the part hadn't arrived but the service agent would assist us in acquiring a car. We resignedly called the B&B and secured a room for another night and the car is still nonexistent... I sit here typing away with yet again the faith that tomorrow I will once again have back my battle scarred wheels to hit the road and catch up on the shoots that we have been rescheduling... Maybe, hopefully, possibly... Here's hoping.  


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