Ever say yes to something and then wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into? That’s us pretty much for the first three years after starting Ice Decor. But we were so thrilled every time someone called us requesting an ice sculpture we would say yes before knowing whether we could pull it off.
So imagine how thrilled we were to get a request for a six foot ice bar, two large art deco bottle holders and a huge bonfire all made out of ice. The event was a provincial Liberal Party social in Penticton. Back in those days we didn’t own a delivery van big enough to handle that much ice so we added a hitch to our mini van and borrowed a covered trailer
from friends of ours to pull behind us.
Also back in those days, we didn’t know how much ice really weighed in those large amounts. Do you hear the beginnings of a learning curve? It all fit in the trailer but the mini van was almost scraping on the ground when we were all loaded up. And to complicate matters we were in the dead of winter and it was snowing… all the way up the Coquihalla. It’s one of the only times that highway resembled the TV show “Highway to Hell”.
We tried to reach a friend with a pick up but couldn’t get through. So with nothing left to do we headed out. It was okay once we got onto the highway out of Langley but the further along we went the worse it snowed. To this day, whenever I travel up towards the snow shed just before the Coquihalla summit I recall that harrowing journey. We were down to first gear crawling up that snow packed hill hardly daring to breathe. Every time I gave the mini van a little more gas the front wheels wanted to slip and spin out. We were inching past semi trucks stalled at the side of the road. Once they stalled on the ice and snow pack there was no starting again without sliding back down the mountain and jack knifing. Valerie and I took turns breathing all the way up that hill.
We made it over the mountain and all the way to Penticton in time to deliver our precious cargo on time. But the experience ranks as one of the scariest deliveries we’ve ever made.
More stories to come from #theicemen!