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The Hurtin' Prev - Part 3 of Craftsbury TD Bank Eastern Cup
By:  Kyle Power   (2011/12/28)

The XC Ottawa crew who traveled to Craftsbury just before Christmas would all agree that it was a great weekend, made up of some solid race performances, good relaxation, good food and good laughs. At about 2:30pm when we were pulling out of the Craftsbury Outdoor Centre we couldn't have really asked for much of a better weekend.

A happy Peter who we stuffed into the bowels of the Prev for the journey back to Ottawa.

*Prev - Lee's 93 Toyota Previa Van (The star of this article)

The drive was going really well. We enjoyed some great views, and caught an awesome sunset over these mountains.

Another great scenic shot on a bridge. Driving through these north-eastern states always seem to be entertaining to me. I am more of small winding road traveler anyways.

Soon after this picture, the post race tiredness started to set in hard. While our driver, Lee, was hopped up on liters among liters of coffee, I felt comfortable to lay my eyes to rest.

I may have been just dozing off when a "new" sound yelped through the Prev's chassis. The keyword here is new. For those of you who know the Prev, you understand how you can start to hear us driving by the P9 parking lot, from the P10 parking lot. She's a noisy one, I tell ya'.

The mutual instinct at first was, "ignorance is bliss". And Lee, quickly turns up the music to ignore the new shudder.
Needless to say, I think we can all predict where this is going. And no, the new sound didn't magically disappear but instead it got worse. It wasn't long before we endured a few loud bangs and pops, and decided to pull over on Candlelight Road.

As soon as we were stationary the smell and smoke was pouring into the Van, so we quickly evacuated through all three of the emergency exits. Once outside we quickly looked for signs of fire or burning dragging parts of the Van that we thought might have been causing the racket. Lee (with a limited "grease monkey" background), took a look under and diagnosed some big Transmission issues, with lots of smoke pouring out of that area. He asked me to take a look, and sure enough I thought to myself "she's gone by', she's gone". So it was pretty apparent that we had a melted transmission or something along those lines.

This was where I was sure Lee was going to have a dramatic breakdown. He loves the Prev with all of his heart. But to much amazement, he remained composed and proudly whipped out his gold member CAA card. You da man!

It took a lengthy battle on the phone between CAA and AAA through various Call Centres around the world before we finally found out where exactly Candlelight Road was on Highway 11 in upstate NY and a tow truck could come find us.

The remaining Prev riders were our co-pilot Craig and next picture below we have, Vesta.

It was evident to all of us that we were in for a long night and all we could do was be patient, relaxed and have a few laughs while were at it. Neither one of us were real motor mechanics by any means so we didn't really feel comfortable firing the Prev's engine back up just yet. It got kind of cold, so most of us started layering the Craft underwear on etc etc. That led to the created conversation of a potential for a totally new product line of Craft underwear with an "interesting" target market. And that's all I am allowed to say. Other funny conversations included who we may eat first. Yeah, yeah, its cliche but don't knock it until your on the side of the road in upstate New York and all you can think about is, "was that horrible horror movie, filmed here?" Back to who we would eat first. Craig was quickly nominated by Peter, but then we turned the tables on him saying that we would eat him because we are skiers and prefer "lean" meat.

Vesta ready for anything with her fancy 70 luminescent headlamp!

So, it was an interesting time we were having in the van and despite what was to come, the spirits remained pretty high. It didn't seem like a long 2 hours before the first tow truck arrived and it was time to get down to business.

The first tow truck from AAA backing in to load the Prev.

Peter and Lee anxiously watching on so we can get on our way.

This was also when we met our new good friend J.J. He was straight up from Jersey but apparently he fell in love with a girl somewhere in upstate New York, oh some odd years ago, and been towin' ever since. He was a great guy, friendly and was glad to help us any way he could. My favorite J.J. quote was, "You ain't hurtin' it, because it's already HURT" (as we were dragging the non-rotating wheels up the flat bed).

It wasn't before long and J.J completed his swift "three" point hook up of the van. This was where things got interesting. 1 Single cab tow truck and 6 people total. This meant that a few of us got to ride in the Van on the flat bed facing backwards down the road. It felt pretty weird, and there was some serious swaying going on up there but luckily we found ways to cope with it... And oh yeah, we found out it was okay to run the engine so we had heat again!
Above is Peter in the driver seat facing trailing traffic. He was pretty happy that he finally got to drive. Lee rode in the tow truck and got to know J.J a little better.

A picture just for the record. Note the odometer. No jinx's intended.

This next part I am going to call phase 3. Aka, operation get across the border. #skiacrosstheborder?

The gist of this part of the story goes something like this... J.J left us at the drop. The drop was a gas station in a American Native Reservation in the Massena border area. There we waited for CAA to come across the border to pick us. The too many people, not enough seats in tow truck was still an issue, so two of us cabbed across the border. People stowed in a van on a flat bed going across the border didn't seem wise. The border guards were quite nice to both the traveling cab and tow truck and apparently they had quite the chuckle at the hurtin' Prev. In Cornwall, we switched to the 3rd and final tow truck who was scheduled for night shift. He was also a good guy and let us all squeeze into the "roomy" tow truck for the ride in to Ottawa. This avoided two people being trapped in Cornwall waiting for a 6am bus. I liked how this tow truck driver referred to Cross Country skiing as "that country - cross stuff" and he gave us mad props for being able to stand up on skinny skis. We tried our best to make it worth his while.

The above picture breaks my heart a little even. Looking from the outside in, is a very disappointed Lee. I can only imagine how hard this must of been for him and my condolences go out to him at this hard time. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Lee, for sharing his love of the Prev with me. Somehow, over the last couple years I have manged to earn a relatively permanent shot gun / dj role, to and from the Park. And, as I always say, "Ride together, die together - bad boys for life".

To keep time in perspective, this was taken about 2:00am in the morning and we left Craftsbury at 2:30pm for the 5-6hr drive. Here we have Lee helping the last tow truck driver make the final push of the van in to Japan Auto, Ottawa, ON.

For some the night was close to over, for others not so much. We then cabbed home to pick up Vesta's car and go drop everyone off and collect all the gear from the Prev.

I'm not going to lie at this point I was tired of overcoming obstacles on our journey home. But what's one more. We conveniently left the house key in the Van, so I had to break in to our house through the basement window. I think the 3 hard ski races made the slip through a little easier.

It was a long night but everyone eventually made it to work the next morning, or caught their train home or wrote their last final exam during the day.

The moral of the story is.... That skiers are good at being faced with adversity, which allowed us to overcome this adventure so smoothly. We see it all time through each training session and/or race. It's our nature.
As well, if your going to get stuck on the side of the road in upstate NY it doesn't hurt to have CAA and great group of friends!

"1 melted transmission, 3 tow trucks, 2 cabs, 2 countries, 5 people... An adventure worth sharing."

Also in case your wondering. The Prev remains at Japan Auto for the Christmas Holidays. Hopefully Lee, will hit us with an update soon. For now.. Long live the Prev, long live the Prev!
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