Friday, August 16, 2013

Anxiously awaiting

Had some teaser pictures sent to me today. Our Ranger Rover is sitting at the TSC lot awaiting its trip to be loaded onto the sealift. 
This is the last time it will feel grass under its tires :( Or enjoy tree's, and highways. As of now it is estimated that the sealift will sail on September 5th. With about a 3 week journey before it arrives here. It will arrive just it time for winter to be under way. My husband picked up our spare key today from the dealer.. 
So close and yet so far away! Could really use it today with all the running around getting paperwork done for it. Working on a custom license plate for it. Unfortunately the waiting time is 6-8 months for it to arrive! In the mean time, I get to have some fun picking out a custom plate.

Monday, August 12, 2013

First I will give some background to what is about to become our newest adventure. We live in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Iqaluit, for those that do not know is the capital of Nunavut and is about 2,088 KM from the next largest city, Ottawa Ontario. (or 1,295 miles) Some facts about this place we call home, quoted from wikipedia:

Iqaluit (InuktitutᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦIPA: /iqɑluit/) is the territorial capital and the largest community of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Until 1987, it was called Frobisher Bay, a name that is still occasionally used. Iqaluit is located on the south coast of Baffin Island at the head of Frobisher Bay

Iqaluit was founded as an American military base back in 1942. It has continued to grow and prosper into the bustling 'city' it is today. Iqaluit  is the Inuktitut name meaning "place of (many) fish". Primarily Arctic Char, a salmon like fish that enjoys fresh, and salt water.

 Iqaluit has a typically Arctic climate, although it is well outside the Arctic Circle. The city has cold winters and short summers that are too cool to permit the growth of trees. Although it is north of the tree line there are still shrubs that are classed, locally, as trees. Average monthly temperatures are below freezing for eight months of the year. Iqaluit averages just over 400 mm (16 in) of precipitation annually, much wetter than many other localities in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, with the summer being the wettest season.

Iqaluit has the distinction of being the smallest Canadian capital in terms of population and the only capital that is not connected to other settlements by a highway. Located on an island remote from the Canadian highway system, Iqaluit is generally only accessible by aircraft and, subject to ice conditions, by boat.

This brings us up to the fun part. Being 'frozen' most of the year we only get to see open ocean for a few months of the year. Normally late June up to October weather permitting! During this short time we get cargo boats that bring up everything that the city needs to get through the year , until the next boat! 'Sealift" time is very busy. We have the unique vantage point from the deck of our house, we can watch the sealift cargo being unloaded. Anything and everything is brought up (pretty much ) via these cargo ships. Food, housing materials, furniture, and vehicles! 

In June , a mere few months ago, my husband and I left Iqaluit to venture forth and enjoy vacation in the 'South'. To most people that means Jamaica, or the Dominican. However when you live in Nunavut, that means anywhere south of where you live, on this part of the arctic, it most always means Ottawa, Ontario. This particular trip out we had a goal in mind, to find us an adequate vehicle that could meet our everyday needs and that my husband could have some fun with... Boys never grow up, their age just goes up! We had done much research and thinking over what would be getting. First of all our environment isn't very friendly. 8 months of winter means our needs are pretty specialized. Our road conditions are pretty terrible at best. The plus side is that in winter the ice fills in the pot holes. And when I say ice, I'm not using that word lightly at all. The unique climate here makes for some very interesting conditions for pedestrians and drivers alike. Snow here is very dry and packed, it becomes a hard layer on every road, sidewalk, driveway and parking lot. Essentially everything is slippery as a skating rink. Over time it becomes slick and more smooth via weather and traffic. Below is a picture of our what our roads are like in January.
Blizzards, not the fun ice cream treat, but the mess that we get. Luckily in the 4 years I have lived here we have not had any multiple day blizzards. Thankfully just the day long storms. Another community, Baker Lake, farther west of here, had a 4 day long blizzard this year. The community had to declare a state of emergency. The potential always exists and everyone is prepared for the time when and if we get that. The blizzards here are quite something and until you have experienced one, you haven't seen winter! The winds of 80-110 km/hour combined with falling snow and blowing snow, makes for a great storm. I love seeing mother nature in her best. :) The cold is usually what ends up being the biggest fear. With a temperature of -49 Celsius, add to that the windchill which makes it feel like -62 Celsius (That isn't a typo) you had better be at home safe and sound. I give that example as that is the coldest I have personally experienced here. When you breathe, the moisture in your breath freezes in your nose and throat. It actually hurts to breathe. Safety is your first concern when you absolutely have to be outside in this kind of weather. Visibility will be zero, and you will have to drive or walk (Why did you walk?!) through snow drifts that blend into the whiteness. 

All of these conditions played a factor in our car decision. Ultimately we did not choose a car, even though Iqaluit does have plenty of those! We decided to narrow our search to something far more capable, a SUV or truck. Height matters, and AWD or four wheel drive is necessity. We also decided that it is somehow cruel and torturous to buy a brand new vehicle to subject it to our conditions. We opted for used. Not only did this open up way more for options, it makes the most sense to not buy a new vehicle for here. We have no licensed dealers, warranty work just doesn't make sense. Who is going to fly our SUV out to do a oil change? My husband is mechanically inclined and has opted to be just the man for the job. So the hunt was on. Hours upon hours were spent between both of us researching. The high Jeep population had lead me to think that was our best plan. We both spent much time noting what SUV's were already in town to get an idea of what worked. Some vehicles, in particular newer model SUV's seemed to not be faring so well from the arctic life. Next to buying a tank, my husband wasn't satisfied with anything in town. I had, as I thought, made my decision. 

Months later when June finally arrived and after a swift visit to Yellowknife, NWT, we finally arrived in Ottawa. Quite the trip! We had our budget and began to visit dealers, and quickly found that Jeep was eliminated. My husband never did like the idea, I was dead set on a Jeep... However when I saw that the price and quality of a new or used Jeep was mediocre at best, I quickly changed my mind. I became very disappointed... Why is such a common place vehicle so darn expensive? Our search continued.... Sorry Hummer, you are out. No way Ford, it isn't happening... etc etc... After a few days of this I was starting to think we would never find our SUV ... My husband brought up one of his picks... I was really iffy on it... So I caved and finally agreed to a test drive. Couple hours later and much signing of paperwork, and now we are the owners of a 2006 Ranger Rover supercharged.