Updated: Jul 17
Why is it that us silly humans let burnout creep up on us, hit a wall of responsibility, then realize that what we really need is to just get away for a bit? Maybe that’s why we get our two weeks of vacation pay every year, or from week to week we get to hear yet another smug face telling you all about their life-changing social media cleanse they did (just to go back to posting thirst traps 48 hours later). What about us as humans makes it so hard to realize when we just need a break sometimes?
If you are an avid reader of my blog posts and Facebook updates you know that one of my “COVID-cures” has been a simple pastime that my wife, Rebecca, and I affectionately refer to as ‘softroading’. We hop in our Tiguan, pick a random gravel road and then drive until we find a good view or cannot drive any further. As the endless barrage of Zoom video calls continued on and work began to get extremely busy for me again, it did not take long for me to realize that I had a one-way ticket to burnout and if I didn’t address it ASAP it was not going to end well. Without wasting any time, we picked a weekend, called my parents-in-law and booked a weekend away at their cabin in Sunshine Valley. Riding the high of our last softroading adventure, I began to ask myself if I would enjoy exploring British Columbia’s expansive backcountry more if I was behind the wheel of something a little bit more tailored to broken surfaces. Like an answer to a prayer, Vancouver Velocity Cars (like always) was there and had the perfect selection of JDM off-roaders for me to pick from. My choice was a lifted Toyota Hilux Surf SUV (think our 4Runner) with some awesome 33” tires mounted a set of questionably ugly wheels. Right off the bat, this rig struck me with two pros, and two cons; the former being the all-terrain tires and suspension lift, the latter being the odd wheels and the gas engine. I drove the Hilux home from Velocity, loaded up everything we needed for the weekend and headed off to Sunshine Valley without ever looking back.
Immediately I was dumbfounded by just how efficient the 2.7L four-cylinder was. It may not have ever wowed me with its performance figures, but it certainly blew my mind when I realized just how little fuel it used to take me on my journey. The Hilux is an excellent chameleon, it looked as much at home on a trail as it did parked in front of the cabin or cruising around downtown Hope looking for a coffee shop. We arrived at the cabin and our weekend of perfectly balancing relaxing downtime and exciting adventure began. The first evening there as I sat in front of the fire in silence, looking out the window at the simple right-hand drive metal box with wheels that got me there I was once again reminded why I am a car enthusiast. I love what cars represent; the seasons in our lives as they change, the purposes we need them to serve, the unique opportunities that they can provide, and the rich culture that is right at our fingertips to be immersed in. The automobile is the vessel for all of these things. Anyways, that’s enough fluffy talk, back to the adventure.
Saturday morning began bright and early with a drive from Sunshine Valley (where it ironically rained for nearly the entire trip) to the sun-kissed hills just north of Hope. Rebecca and I decided it was time for us to cross the Ladner Creek Trestle hike off our bucket list, and due to poor signage and some confusing locations for the trailhead on Google maps, it ended up being slightly more difficult than expected. Despite the setbacks, and having to scale up the side of a mountain for a kilometre just to be greeted by the “actual” trail, we pushed on and found the trestle. Rebecca, who has been skydiving twice in her life and loved it, immediately realized that she was scared of heights, but that did not stop her from scooting onto the metal frame of the old bridge and letting me point my camera at her. After some photos, we headed back (on the correct trail this time) and got back to the Hilux. It bounced down the dilapidated gravel road with ease and got us back to the cabin in no time, which gave us lots of opportunities to relax before we went on our next adventure the following day.
Our goal for the Sunday was as simple as could be; drive down the Crowsnest Highway into Manning Park, hop onto the old Copper Creek FSR and drive until we found a good view. The Hilux did not disappoint one bit as it zipped along the highway in its comfortable and efficient fashion, then once we pointed our tires at the service road, it ate up the gravel and puddles like they were not even there to begin with. As the path continued the condition of the trail began to degrade more and more, but the mighty Hilux raised no concerns whatsoever. After about an hour of climbing the hillside, Rebecca and I were greeted with one of the most excellent views I’ve ever witnessed. This served as not only a perfect way to end our adventure but a solid reminder of why we are so blessed to call British Columbia our home.
So in conclusion here are my takeaways; if you feel burned out do something about it. Appreciate the people around you and appreciate the purpose that cars serve in your life. Find an adventure, whatever it is, and pursue it. And oh yeah, if you want an offroader from Japan, call Velocity cars, they’ve got your back.
-Alexander Turnbull, Team 604