The Shovelnose Creek Chronicles

Participants: The Lims (Edward, William), Sean the cyclist, Me
Destination for the day: Shovelnose Creek which involves a long drive up the Squamish Valley road out of cell service, onto a dirt road, then up a steep logging road to hopefully snow.
First off we hit snow and put on our chains around 10AM at 900m elevation. Ten or so minutes later some fumigation coming out of the engine. Shortly after the fumigation we gunned it up a hill and the revs went up but the car didn’t get any go, so rummaged around and reversed / neutraled back down to a flatter section and noticed black drips coming out of the engine. The smelly black drips was our transmission fluid so after giving the car around 15 minutes to cool down we decided that there’s a dip stick for the transmission so we should check the fluid. The dip stick smoked  when we took it out and showed no fluid whatsoever. Any kind of load on the engine to get it somewhere flatter and less in the way was very stinky and drippy and really not confidence inspiring at all so we left it on the side of the road, chocked all the tires, and mentally prepared ourselves for the big hike down what we just drove up.
Luckily not very far down at all we ran into someone who drove up from Vancouver to try out his car and he offered to give William and Sean a lift down to cell service to call Sean’s dad to bring us up his 4wdhc vehicle and automatic transmission fluid so we could get a lift back and fill it up.
Edward and I hiked down the road and ate lunch and then eventually once we made it back to the more main road got picked up by some people who were also up here just trying out their car. We all regrouped at the Canadian Tire in Squamish after getting back into cell reception and doing some liaising. Sean’s dad wrapped up his bike ride and was on his way up, and we were stocked up big time on ATF and engine oil. We had lots of time to sit in Starbucks and read about how the first generation Honda Pilot’s cool the ATF and engine coolant in the same radiator which cracks and mixes them. Then you have to pay ~$4000 to rebuild the transmission and fix the cooling system.
Sean’s dad showed up and gave us a lift all the way back to the Pilot, and as it was getting dark we filled it up with ATF and some more engine oil for good measure and after a little hesitation it drove just like it had a brand new $4000 transmission put in it. We had the Sean squad following us down just in case anything else went wrong, which it did after we drove down the gnarly logging road and onto the dirt road where we somehow managed to totally slice one of our tires open.
No worries we had a spare, but when William changed from the summer tires to the winter tires he didn’t actually put the special lug nut removal key in the car, so we were going to drive back to cell reception then get the Lim’s mom to drive up with it. We did that and shortly later got a call from the Lim’s dad that he actually put it in the ash tray so look in there. We drove back to the car and found it there, swapped out the tire in no time with the space saver spare (not full size like advertised!) After maybe a kilometre or so and after Sean and his dad took off since they were tired of rescuing us our spare exploded too. Luckily it was near some of the only houses in like 15 km so we knocked on someone’s door and asked to use his phone to call up momma bear to bring us one or two spares.
We hung out at this guys place for around an hour and a half talking about ski stories, then the Lim’s mom somehow managed to find us, we swapped out the wheel and were back to running. William and Heather drove the prius-mobile back to Vancouver, while Edward and I drove back to my place in Squamish to make some food which was a little bit suspenseful but overall uneventful.
- Exploded transmission
- Got various lifts back to Squamish
- Sean’s dad drove up and drove us back to the car with the exploded transmission
- Filled it up and ran like we just put a new $4000 transmission in it
- Flat tire, couldn’t change it due to no lug nut key
- Drove back to cell service to get info on where the lug nut key was
- Swapped out tire
- Exploded spare
- Called up mom to bring more wheels in the Prius from stranger’s house
- Chatted about local mountains for a long time, planned a couple new ski trips
- Swapped out tire again
- Will now bring fluids and funnels in the car for future trips.
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