BC Hydro to the Rescue - Grampies Go Valencia to Paris: Spring 2024 - CycleBlaze

January 29, 2024

BC Hydro to the Rescue

Getting ready to leave on a cycle trip, to be sure, involves a lot of physically piling up your gear, or even (eventually) tidying up the house. But a shocking share of the preparations are what we used to call paperwork. That includes reserving air flights and places to stay, developing and downloading tracks, and scanning and printing maps. Not to mention emailing everyone  on this end to say you are leaving, or at the destinations, to say you are coming. 

So it was, having already piled up lots of gear, that we were sitting at the  desktop computer, probably developing tracks for crossing the Pyrenees to get to the Atlantic coast of France. The desk lamp may have flickered occasionally, but sometimes you can think it's just your own blinking. But then the computer began to spontaneously shut down. Ever patient, we just started it back up. After all, it's almost fifteen years old, running Windows 7.

Some time later, things heated up (or cooled down) when half the lights in the house went out.  This had also happened a bit before in past days or weeks, but the condition had always quickly righted itself. This time I grabbed my multimeter and went to test my theory that what was happening was that one phase of the two phase house power was going out. The power came back before I could test that, but then it went out again, and back in. That was it, I phoned the electric company - BC Hydro - though it was midnight (and Dodie had long ago given up and gone to bed).  I had been worried that the problem was in our rather complex house wiring, but Hydro said wait we'll check, and then came quickly back with the news that they could see it was their fault. They said they would wake up the repair crew and send them out. "Now, in the night, in the rain?" I asked. "We don't fool around with this stuff", was the reply.

Quite soon thereafter a huge truck appeared in front of the house. Bright lights, screaming diesel engine, a large bucket arm, and three crew. 

I forgot to get a picture of BC Hydro in the night, but next day I found them down the road. Hopefully they have been home for a nap.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Sue PriceGlad they came so quickly!!!
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Sue PriceWe were also glad - live electric wires is not something to fool around with.
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2 months ago

They jumped off the truck and shone a light on the transformer. "Oh,oh" they exclaimed, or maybe the language was more colourful. A while later one of the crew came along, carrying the wire shown below. "This came off in our hands. Lucky it did not cause a fire" was his casual assessment.

It did last 35 years!
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The wire, of course, carried one phase of the house power. It had lasted the 35 years since we built the house. "We put in extra thick wires now", said the man. "It should last 35 years". I ruefully (or with relief) thought that it was very unlikely that I would be around to check on his claim.

Meanwhile, back at trip planning headquarters, planning resumed the next day. But if I have the sequence right, the computer continued to shut down. Perhaps it was still traumatized by the episode with BC Hydro? With little time to spare, we were not prepared to take chances. So we cracked open the piggy bank, jumped into the electric car, and with scads of Canadian currency in our jeans, set off for Staples to quickly buy our way out of difficulty. Those with computer experience, or experience with Staples, probably are guessing what comes next. For the others, tune in to the next post, for the rest of the story.

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Comment on this entry Comment 3
Kelly IniguezI'm happy we did not have an exciting ending to the wiring piece of the story!
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Kelly IniguezMany kinds of excitement are vastly overrated.
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2 months ago
Karen PoretBut not having any power isn’t overrated! As I type this, we are in the midst of a storm here in northern CA, with flashlights standing by…just in case…
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2 months ago