Savage Pete

When Vancouver hosted the Olympics, students at UBC got a two week reading break since the school arena was hosting some of the hockey. Many students took advantage of the double long break to head off on adventures. Myself and three friends bought an old car for $500 and took off for Mexico. As climbers, we had to head pretty far south to escape the February cold.

The car had a few things wrong off the bat, the transmission was sticky in 2nd and reverse, and the muffler had a little hole.

“Peter” quickly became his name as we switched off driving shifts through Washington and Oregon. Night shifts meant an endless marathon of Savage LoveCast’s, keeping the driver awake. Between this constant background working it’s way into our dreams, and the ever increasing roar of the car as the muffler rusted away more and more, “Peter” soon earned the monicer “Savage Peter”.

At some point on the 54 hour drive, probably after turning east towards Texas, we couldn’t get it to reverse out of a parking stall, and had to push him out in neutral. After that we just never put him in a position that needed backing up. 2nd also pretty much gave up, or at least I gave up on 2nd and would jump from 1st to 3rd at 10 km an hour.

Potrero Chico outside of small town Hidalgo near Monterey was incredible climbing and is highly suggested to anyone climbing in Mexico. So is Red Rocks, Nevada outside of Las Vegas where we stopped for a few days on the way back, but weren’t able to climb much due to rain. This picture of Pete is from after a slow morning unable to climb:

Yes, those racing stripes are duct tape.

Pete got us back to Canada no problem, despite border police and homeland security searching him three times, and took us on a few other small adventures in the weeks after. He helped me move apartments in Vancouver too actually, which was fortunate timing to actually own a car.

Ultimately we sold Pete… for $500. The guy even liked the racing stripes.

In a recent twist, one of my fellow adventurers, Dan, found out a friend of his knew the fellow who had bought Pete, and learned the story of his demise. Apparently after two years, muffler falling right off, and several more trips including one to San Francisco and back, the transmission finally gave up.

As Dan put it: “When the wrecker came to collect him, it took a half hour for him – this a man who collects junked cars for a living – to get it in reverse and on to the truck. I guess he just didn’t want to go.”

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