Sunday, April 21, 2013

Flat Tires and Gelato: An Adventure in Downtown Vancouver

Some time ago, Kevin and I were invited to a Gelato 101 class at Bella Gelateria in downtown Vancouver. James was offering classes and kindly offered up one to me and a bunch of friends, which made me drool with anticipation.

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Strawberry gelato from Bella Gelateria

I first heard of Bella Gelateria last year from Alexis, my go-to for all the fantastic food places downtown. Then I visited once last year after a visit with Anne, who demanded that I visit it for her because she could no longer eat gelato and desperately wanted to. I couldn't wait to actually go and learn how gelato was made, as if it were my own personal episode of How It's Made.

Vancouver is a good hour and a half drive from Chilliwack. In order to get to the class on time and not get caught in rush hour traffic, we had to leave early. We'll catch dinner downtown with Alexis, I thought. Kev hasn't experienced a lot of great restaurants, and it would be wonderful to take him to Gyoza King


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Alexis is my source for all things downtown. Plus she's just awesome. (photo by Tracey Rossignol)

Soon we were zipping down the freeway in my new little Toyota Yaris. When we moved to Chilliwack, we traded in my car and because our garage is so tiny, another Corolla wouldn't do.

"Ooo, I like this one." I ran my hand over a bright greenish blue little Yaris. It's an automatic, which I've always wanted. It's tiny, which works for the city. For the first time in 20 years, I finally picked out the EXACT car I wanted, without having to think about John and what kind of car he wanted (which, is usually quite a bit different). This car is all mine, and I LOVE it.

Driving in Vancouver is interesting. There's a lot more traffic, and the construction on the freeway around Burnaby can make things a little confusing. I'm the kind of girl who is perpetually lost (hence the name Scatteredmom), and finding my way around can be a challenge. There is always a map in my car and in our move I lost my cell phone charger, so I didn't have a cell phone with me either.

We arrived in downtown Vancouver, made a few wrong turns, pulled a few U-turns, and finally found our destination. Early, even! Hooray! There's always a sense of relief when I finally park the car, victorious, at our destination. I don't know why, but something was niggling at me while I drove. I'm not an intuitive driver; unlike John or Kevin who can just listen to an engine and diagnose the issue. I'm pretty clueless. However this time, something felt a little weird.

We got out of the car and as I put money in the parking meter, I could see exactly what the problem was.

The front passenger side tire was flat. Not completely flat, but flat enough that the car couldn't be driven anywhere else, much less home on the freeway. We weren't going anywhere.

Have you ever had a flat tire? I haven't. I don't know the first thing about changing a flat tire. Especially at 5 pm on Robson St. in downtown Vancouver when we're just going to dinner, then a gelato class at 7pm. Kev and I collectively cursed all the construction happening near our home, and the screw that found it's way into my tire. Were we stranded? John is in Sechelt during the week. Would we have to bunk with Alexis? Neither of us were prepared for that. I also can't just leave my car downtown and risk getting towed.

Fortunately Toyota has a service that you can get with a new car where for a year or up to a particular milage, you get roadside assistance that includes (hooray!) changing a flat tire. We were saved!

Or, I think. I was still super anxious. Parking is only two hours. Will I get towed? Alexis assured me that no, I'd be okay. This is her turf. Her neighborhood. She knows more than I do. We left the car, gorged on sushi, and then literally ran to Bella Gelateria. (Alexis would call it walking-however now, when we need to be fast, I'll call it "Alexis walking" and he knows I mean basically jogging)

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Kevin and I enjoying our gelato class. You'd never know we were wondering if we'd get home. (photo by Tracey Rossignol)

After the class where we made and stuffed ourselves full of gelato, we waddled back to the car and phoned Toyota. It was cold. Dark. Downtown.

And we waited for the tow truck.

Finally, around 11:30 pm the guy arrived. I've never really had my car towed before, or tires changed. He hooked up the car and whipped around the corner with it, then put it in all sorts of crazy tippy positions while Kevin and I collectively freaked out.

My car! My new car! Be gentle! It's my baby! Don't scratch it!  (totally lame, I know)

Within 15 minutes I was good to go with a temporary tire on, and advice to take the long way back to Chilliwack. Not the freeway, the guy advised, but winding through all the back ways to get out to Chilliwack since I couldn't go fast enough to safely be on the freeway.

Of course, I promptly got lost trying to find the right highway and we ended up out at the airport because, why not? It took us awhile longer, but we finally pulled into the driveway at 1:30 am-tired, cranky, and grateful to finally have an end to the evening. I think Kevin nearly kissed the driveway.

Note to self: Learn how to change a tire, and always take my cell phone. You never know when you'll need it.

(This post was not sponsored in any way by Toyota or Bella Gelateria. All opinions are my own. )

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