The Great Beater Challenge: Day 1, Part 2 – Rain, Rain, and a Hotel with Character


After our minor roadside repairs on Day 1 Part 1 we were ready to hit the road again. Although we were still technically in the mountains, thankfully we had more flat sections to navigate. A ferry ride and several more scavenger hunt items lay ahead. We also were considering changing our camping plans due to the continued rain.


This Canadian market Monarch was spotted in Jaffray, BC. One of the few cars remaining in a parking lot after what looked like a rainy show and shine earlier in the day.


This Buick Eight was a real stunner.


A Hot Rod and a hood-less Chevy.


Fall colors were definitely out at Little Fairy creek.


We next made our way to Creston, BC which is home to many of these fruit outlets. Cherries and apples are the main fruits grown in the area. Creston is very close (only 10km or 6 miles) from the US border.


It is also home to two grain elevators which are a rapidly disappearing sight from western Canada. Most Canadians are probably most familiar with Creston as the brewing home of Kokanee beer.


The rain picked up and the road got curvier. We had a ferry to catch on our way to Nelson. The good thing about a very slow car with low handling limits is you can pin the throttle around the curves to feel like a race car driver all without breaking the speed limit.


We made time to stop at the Glass House which is constructed from half a million embalming bottles. The owner was a funeral director and intended to make it into the family home. It proved too popular with passing tourists and was converted to a roadside attraction.


Unfortunately we missed their operating hours and had to make do with a quick external viewing.


It just would not be a proper road trip without seeing a Cadillac with hood mounted bull horns.


My custom license plate was made of simple paper and the rain was definitely not agreeing with it. The plate underneath came with the car and I suspect was the original from 1983. On another note the clock had stopped working. I had to add a bit of oil as well but consumption and leakage seemed very reasonable given the state of the engine when I bought it.


We managed to catch the Subaru team who had trouble with their clutch cable. Like all extended stops I popped the hood to disconnect the battery to prevent it running down while waiting due to the electrical draw related to my alternator fix (bodge). When I closed the hood I noticed my car and the rain had conspired to paint a rainbow on the ground. My apologies British Columbia! At the time I was incorrectly assuming it was a bit of oil and nothing to worry over.


After a half an hour wait and trading road stories with the Subaru team the ferry came in. The sweeper truck caught up as well. He got to perform his first repair of the rally when he taped up one of the Subaru team member’s failing shoe.


Naturally the ‘Dodegy Aries’ was given the prime spot up front. Or maybe crew just wanted it off as quickly as possible. Either way we took to the water and it felt like the fastest my car had traveled all day.


My son and I did the Kate and Leo pose from the Titanic movie at the front of the ship to earn 75 challenge points. We both agreed the photo evidence would be destroyed after the judging. Night falls rapidly in the mountains and by the time we departed the ferry I had to turn on the lights giving my alternator fix its first real load and test. Oddly the clock came back to life.


The Aries continued to chug along slowly into the night. The lack of daylight meant we lost out on a few scavenger hunt items. The rain became torrential and camping that night was not looking to be an appealing option. Rod’s wife Tiffany managed to book us into a hotel that claimed to be near our destination of Castlegar. It was also suspiciously cheap.


We grabbed a quick bite to eat in Nelson, BC. Due to a lousy defroster in the Civic we were separated for a bit. I was not worried as they would easily be able to catch up. I had driven almost to Castlegar before we discovered that the hotel booking site’s definition of near Castlegar was an hour drive away … in the opposite direction. Rod and family raced to book us in before the hotel staff left for the night. As we neared the Aries overheated up the long winding grade. We sat for ten to fifteen minutes at the side of the letting the rainy night air cool the engine down. We had no cell phone reception but thankfully that did the trick as we were able to slowly climb the rest of the hill to the hotel.


This photo is from the following morning but we were booked in at the Hotel Ymir in the small town of Ymir (pronounced “why-mur”), BC. The hotel was built in 1896 and is one of the oldest still in use buildings in the area. Behind you can see the Ymir Palace Inn which was also built in 1896 and is operating as a bed and breakfast. Plenty of accommodation for a town of only 200-300 residents. Ymir was a classic gold rush town when gold and silver was found there in the late 1800s. Most of its building and dwelling date from then until the 1920s.


They must have known beaters were coming as a battery charger was placed in the entrance room. Thankfully my alternator fix was holding quite nicely.


Paintings covered every bit of wall space. Statues, antique furniture of all descriptions was crammed into common rooms. The story we heard was that the hotel was bought and renovated as a place hold the owner’s large art collection. Apparently people travel long distances to view it. More info on the hotel’s website.

Seeing is believing so I shot this short video as well.


Reading material included a huge number of old National Geographic magazines. Most were from the 1970s to the 1990s but I did note an issue that dated back to 1946. Above is a General Tire ad from that issue.


The yard was as jam-packed with artifacts as the inside. A large number of garden gnomes and other similar decorations were scattered about. While totally unplanned the slightly crazy Ymir Hotel turned out to be absolutely perfect for a road trip such as this.

Photo credit -

The next day would bring the Salmo-Creston highway which featured a long and steep grades. It was constructed in the 1960s as shorter route than the ferry crossing we had just completed. The highway is one of Canada’s highest altitude highway that is open year round and is a test for any car’s cooling system never mind one bought for three hundred dollars. Stay tuned for the next installment.

The whole series:
CC Road Trip: The Great Beater Challenge, Part 1 – Vehicle Selection
CC Road Trip: The Great Beater Challenge, Part 2 – 1983 Dodge Aries Purchased
CC Road Trip: The Great Beater Challenge, Part 3 – Vehicle Preparation
The Great Beater Challenge: Day 1, Part 1 – Off To A Slow Start
The Great Beater Challenge: Day 1, Part 2 – Rain, Rain, and a Hotel with Character
The Great Beater Challenge: Day 2, Part 1 – The Big Climb
The Great Beater Challenge: Day 2, Part 2– Finale