We got up this morning, did our picnic breakfast in the room routine, loaded the car, and fired it up - but only for a moment. As I was backing out, the engine died - and wouldn't start in spite of my various attempts. Eventually we called CAA and an attempt at a boost led to the same result. The tow truck driver got on the phone with the one guy in town who was up to dealing with VWs and hoisted the car for the trip to the garage.
We hung out at the garage waiting for the mechanic to turn up from his lunch and watched him go through the diagnosis routine. I was pleased to see his approach to the problem - methodical and appropriate for VWs. In his search he discovered that the pin in the ignition coil to which the distributor cable was attached had corroded so badly that there was no solid connection to the cable. It was no wonder that the engine couldn't start: no spark!
After checking with his supplier the mechanic announced that the nearest replacement was in Calgary and that it would likely arrive by courier tomorrow noon.
So we are now set up in a Comfort Inn with a selection of key items from the van and a new plan for our trip. If the replacement arrives as anticipated and the problem is fixed early enough we will aim to reach Calgary tomorrow night. This sets back our plans for Calgary, Kelowna, Penticton, and Vancouver. Instead of holding my webinar for Grad-Pro skills in Calgary, it will be in Swift Current tomorrow. Hopefully the car will be ready by the time my webinar is completed.
As we have discovered on our previous trips, traveling by Westfalia is always an adventure. It's also a lesson in small towns - the major delays are most often related to retrieving parts from across the country. It means that our travel plans must always include a buffer for recovery time in a motel somewhere along the route.