Ford F-100 Across Canada, Part 2: Osoyoos to Calgary
First day with the Ford F-100 proves to be an incredibly rewarding experience full of enlightenment, danger, and new friends.
Following our first country music-filled adventure, we wake up, we get coffee, food, and gas, then bam! Here I am standing in front of the truck on a dirt road with the JF Customs shop behind us. We immediately jump in and I start to drive. Don has the camera and I find myself trying to drive something that is pretty alien to me. I have driven a bunch of different gas-powered things, but this Ford F-100 is new to me. Using the gear shift feels like rowing a boat. I put it in reverse when trying to reach third. There is no power steering or power brakes. Whatever.
It’s 1:30 p.m., time to go. It’s off to Penticton first, with Don chasing me in the rental. Then it’s on to Kelowna, heading for Calgary.
I have to learn how this truck drives, how fast four drum brakes will stop a 3,400-pound vehicle, and other things about the F-100. Third gear is right next to reverse, so look out. The old dudes we see hate to hear us grind out the wrong gear at an intersection. All you can do is take all that knowledge you have gathered from driving different vehicles, freak out a little bit, and then do it. But you drive knowing you will learn how and that it’s going to get better regardless of how spooky it is at first. This heightened awareness keeps you safe.
This 1968 Ford F-100 truck, which we’ve officially and affectionately dubbed “Truck,” is a billy goat in the mountains. It’s me who’s a little shaky. At one point, Truck stalls at the top of a pass with an 18-wheeler right on the back bumper. Luckily, there’s a nearby place to roll off and restart it. It’s close and Don gets really quiet afterward. Maybe it’s the altitude. It’s more likely that I had messed with the idle adjustment because it idled really high after it was on the highway for a few hours.
The mountains are beautiful. There are a ton of descriptions of them, but nothing is really going to show them to you but taking yourself there. Run through valleys and climb over ridges blasted through the granite. Use caution. Use your mirrors to look at those mountains as much as your windshield. The guardrails around every corner are beat to hell, so when it gets dark, we stop at a motel in Golden for the night. Don’t drive the mountains in the dark if you don’t have to. It’s dangerous. We saw proof of that all over the side of the road.
When we get into Calgary, we go to see Perry, who we met in the Ford Truck Enthusiasts forums. Perry has been driving across Canada since the 1970s in all kinds of truck. He currently has a 1978 Ford F-250 with a dump bed as his daily driver.
Perry also has a couple of projects out back. He looks over Truck with me and shows me a bunch of stuff I need to know. Biggest lesson is that Truck doesn’t like to go over 60 to 65 mph. It’s not hard to hear; the engine starts to scream at about 70 mph. Thank you, Perry. You woke me up to how this F-100 works and showed me I can do lots of it myself.