Day 3

Dad digs the MGB out of underground parking early on, wisely not wanting to be in the garage when eighty definitely-not-green machines sputter to life in clouds of improperly combusted hydrocarbons. He parks the MGB outside, we huddle up to listen to today’s driving instructions, and we return to the car to find a puddle of fuel beneath it. Oh you cantankerous b… ahem. Oh you naughty car.

As it turns out, one of the carb floats sank and jammed, but it’s Fram to the rescue once more. Deft hands zip open the offending part, button it together, tweak the blend to deal with our overrich mixture, and the ‘B purrs like a stroked kitten. We join in the convoy.

What follows next is an odd blend of the instantaneous future, and the echoes of the past. We’re headed West to Lillooet, and then down the Duffy Lake road to Whistler, our ending point; I lived in Whistler in first grade, and I remember riding down this very road when it was dust and gravel. I remember sliding down the back hill of our house with my brother, remember my dog running away the day we moved. I look over at my Dad, his hands on that thin 1960s steering wheel, and I know he’s running through his own set of memories.

We hit Whistler just after noon, rolling in to Nicklaus North to join the rapidly filling parking lot. The sight of so much classic sheet metal in one place draws a crowd, but the drivers are mostly inside, filling up on lunch and sharing stories from the road.

We’ve got a little ways yet to go still, so it’s back in the ‘B and on down the Trans-Canada. Traffic’s busy on a Sunday evening, but we cruise steadily, the MGB’s engine turning at high revs thanks to its four-speed gearbox and short gearing.

After more than two hours of constant din, we reach our off-ramp, and at the foot of the hill where my parents live, I pull the car over, knock her into neutral, set the handbrake, and reach for the seatbelt. “Why don’t you take her up the hill? Close the circle, Dad.”

“It feels like a long time since Friday,” he says, setting off up the windy, tree-lined road. We’ve got the windows down, and the air is charged with the freshness of a spring evening.

My little golden-haired daughter waits for me at the end of this road. My mother is there too, and my brother and his wife, visiting from the city. Then it’ll be back into Vancouver to pick up my wife, the next member of our family kicking up a storm beneath her navel.

But for now, there’s a few more minutes left for just me and Dad. One more memory to be folded into the metalwork of this tiny car, one more glittering, momentary ripple in the ever-moving river of time.

My father downshifts for the last corner, brings the revs up. Together, we drive home.

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