In just a few days we’ll be loading our little Toyota Yaris onto a freight truck and shipping it to Whitehorse to have a new driver’s side front door installed. It’s not that the car can’t be driven to the city in the summer. I made two trips with it during the last half of April and it performed just fine, but I have to be somewhere else with our truck and trailer that week so it has to go alone.
This adventure began last November when I came out of the Dawson City General Store carrying grocery bags and found an embarrassed young man standing beside my car with his insurance papers in his hand. I was parallel parked in front of the old CIBC building on Front Street and he had been angle parked in front of the store.
There was a lot of sun glare on the street that afternoon, which I knew because I had just taken a picture of it in all its lens-flared glory. When he backed up in his pick-up to turn, he didn’t see me. We were both lucky the door was all that got broken.
I was also fortunate to be dealing with an honest man. Lots of people drive away from that sort of an accident. He did not.
Oddly enough, all the moving parts still worked. The auto-key locked and unlocked the door; the window lowered and raised; the door latched properly. What it lacked was a tight fit, which produced a lot of road noise and a terrific draft. Those last two problems were alleviated by the burly owner of Endurance Mechanical, who bent the door more or less back into shape against the fulcrum of his own body, but it was still not fit to make a long drive in.
There was too much of a draft for the highway in winter, not that we’ve ever driven it out of town on winter roads anyway. The narrow wheel base won’t let us follow in the tracks that other vehicles make once the snow and hard pack sets in. We have a 4×4 truck for long hauls in the winter.
The insurance company gave us no trouble over the damage, but the claims agents we were dealing with in Calgary and Toronto could not seem to understand how far we live from the place where the repairs had to be done, how long that drive is, what it would cost to make the two visits (appraisal and then the work), and why we just don’t drive that car out of town very much in the winter.
Many letters went back and forth as I outlined matters of temperature, road conditions, wind chill factors relative to driving at 90 km/hr when it’s below -20°C outside and your door doesn’t fit well enough to keep the heat in the car and the cold out.
Either they eventually believed me, or I wore them down. They checked monthly to see if there were any developments, but I told them it would be April before we got the appraisal and, as it turned out, the best date we could set up after that was the last week in May.
Then, when it’s water-tight, I can finally wash the poor thing.