Today I awoke to a beautiful rising sun filling the sky with its hints of blue, orange and purple. The warmth of it’s glow slowly removing the frost on Ansel’s windows as I carefully unpacked the trunk in hopes of doing a better packing job the second time around. When you’re going to be alone for 21-days in a subarctic area, you need to pack a lot of extra items. It’s impressive how much I have fit in such a small space. Outside of the enormous amount of camera gear, I have a large hockey-sized duffle bag filled with all my winter clothing, a large bin with food, some minimal camping gear, winter sleeping bag, wool blanket and various survival safety items. It’s never a bad idea too be prepared. I rather have it and not use it then need it and not have it.
Speaking of being prepared, I would like to take a moment and thank everyone that helped me to get Ansel up to snuff for the trip. In the last two weeks before my trip I had my heater vents stop functioning; not the best when you are going into a subarctic environment. Scott and the boys at Uptown Eccles helped me figure out the issue, which ended up being a simple vacuum leak, only requiring a replacement plastic vacuum reservoir and took me about 2 hours to fix. After completing that I had properly function vents to help keep me warm on the drive. Yahoo! The boys at Uptown Eccles are reliable and committed to quality customer service. Whenever I need to get my vehicle fixed, outside of my limited knowledge of self-repair, they are my first and only stop. They have never pressured me into unneeded work and the rates are affordable. I was taught by an early age that you get what you pay for and Uptown Eccles definitely lives up to that adage. If you’re in the Dundas area and need quality service drop by Uptown Eccles, you won’t be disappointed.
While preparing Ansel, it was time for some regular maintenance, which meant changing all the fluids. Jamie Marr at 4WheelParts in Burlington got me setup with all the Lucas products needed. Due to the nature of the Jeep, it takes a good day to change everything; engine oil, transmission fluid, transfer case and both differentials. It didn’t stop there, as I needed to replace a couple items, that thankfully Jaime was able to have in stock within a couple days. The neighbors watched as I crawled, creeped, and slung myself under the Jeep for a few days checking all the bolts, nooks and crannies. It was in the final week when I noticed my springs had sagged over the last three years and with all the weight would cause Ansel to bottom out. One quick call to 4WheelParts and Jaime had ordered some 1” spring spacers and new extended bump stops. Originally it was going to take 2 or 3 weeks, but Jaime did a great job of getting them in a couple days so that I would be able to fix it in time. Jaime has been providing me exceptional service from the first day I walked in his store. At 4WheelParts they have everything you’ll need plus the ability to order anything quickly, since they have locations all over North America. Prices are more then fair and the service is spectacular. Check them online at 4WheelParts.com
Ansel wouldn’t have been rolling without the service and help from the guys at Kal Tire in Cambridge. Most notably are Matthew and David, two of the shops sales reps. They got me hooked up with a set of Pro Comp Xtreme AT tires back in September. I have to admit that these tires are amazing and probably the best I have ever used. They are aggressive enough for anything I would throw Ansel’s way but they are also quiet and offer excellent wet weather control. Pro Comp lists the tires with an 80,000km tread wear warranty, which by my calculations of current wear, will be possible. Prior to leaving I had the guys at Kal Tire rotate the tires as part of the in-house warranty service covers free lifetime balancing, free rotations and free flat repairs. This warranty coverage is offered at all Kal Tire locations across Canada; BONUS! One hour after dropping off Ansel at the shop, Matthew walked over to me to discuss what they have serviced. Not only did they rotate and rebalance my tires, they also checked every bolt, fluid and overall condition of the vehicle, completely free of charge! I was even giving a checklist of everything with notes regarding condition of my brakes. This was service I wasn’t expecting but definitely appreciated. Matthew and David at Kal Tire have earned a customer for life due to their exceptional customer service. Thanks boys!
I cannot end there, as I have to give thanks to everyone else behind the scenes. I’m talking about my family and friends who all stand behind my choice of profession. Without them and their continued support I wouldn’t be where I am today. Sarah, my significant other, has been the most supportive and I couldn’t have done any of this without her. She has always pushed me to be my best; thank you dear for being my motivation! I had several helping hands with preparing; both from Sarah’s father Paul and my good friend Brett. Without them, I would have spent twice the amount of time fixing Ansel. The rest of my friends have been very supportive in hearing about the adventure and excited to see the photos. Thank you everyone, you know who you are, you are truly all amazing friends.
Well my writing for today needs to end here. Today I’m not driving, just sorting, photographing the landscape and recollecting my thoughts for the long 9-hour drive tomorrow.
Thank you for your time and for following,
Sean P. Carson, B.F.A.