Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Ambulance Riddle solved by Cindy @ MOONFLY 13 !!

Yes I bought a (decommissioned) ambulance to pull my trailer. Cindy must have read a lot of my posts as she was right on the money.
Two others, Rick Dorr, and Chinle at “Spotted Dog Ranch” were 98% close. George and Jeri weren’t so wrong either as the owner (me) was actually guest at the motel.
How did I get to Red Deer for the deal?


I drove the JEEP over and traded it off against the ambulance with some money in between.

Now why an ambulance? Well, I know the 1t. Chevy vans as reliable and equipped with a strong engine. Since we already have one on the island it makes sense to buy a vehicle I have already basic knowledge of. And a decommissioned ambulance is cheaper to buy than a full passenger van.  Our little JEEP PATRIOT was never able to pull the 7,500lbs heavy trailer, even though it actually had a hitch receiver. 

Of course, ambulances have no tow package so I partially spent the day yesterday by waiting in a shop to get the hitch and a brake controller mounted. This outfit, which is located in Red Deer,AB calls itself  “Hitch Warehouse” and it was recommended by the local GM-dealer, which I thought was a mighty good advice. When I got to the “Hitch-guys” it turned out they were booked to the hilt. However, the owner was easily persuaded to squeeze me in, if I could be there at 7:45am next morning. And that’s what I did. I was out of there shortly after 11.00am and used the rest of the day to get insurance and registration. The raised roof inspires me to turn it into a camper van. (Chinle had the right hunch there) That would be just perfect for the small overnight side trips we so often have thought of, but which have not been done, due to the big rig.

I was also pleasantly surprised when I noticed that the Chevy seems to have tons of spunk, in spite its over 300,000kms on the odometer. In fact the acceleration outperforms our island van by far, even though the engine is the same 6l gas engine.
Could it be that the ambulance has a “souped-up” engine?
So what about driving an ambulance-look vehicle?
Well, on the road from Red Deer to Banff I have already noticed a slight deference from other drivers. Some simply drive all the way to the right when the van pops up in their rear-view mirror, others are leaving me the right of way at an intersection. Of course, all the red lights are disconnected, so there can’t be any unintended use of it.

My trailer needs to get to a dump station and that will be my task today. While I was driving towards Banff yesterday, it was pouring down and vision limited to a minimum. This morning it’s a horse with a different colour. It’s white, white white outside. We got easily 4” of snow. Looking at the calendar I realize it’s May 03. Is spring ever coming?

Sorry no pictures today. Maybe I plot some in later.
Thanks again for keeping me company.


  1. It sounds like we were all right! The ambulance might make it much easier to get through traffic if everyone is going to get out of your way. You may never want to paint it.

  2. If anyone asks at the campgrounds, tell them you have a bunch of patients in the ambulance (and trailer) and need the best camping spot so they can recover quickly.

    I think you should install a siren - you can use it when the state troopers (RCMP) get in your way. And if you ever get sick or hurt, you can just drive yourself to the hospital and save a lot of cash.

  3. Love the idea of a siren! And yup, keep it red! My Dad was a volunteer fireman for years & he had a siren on the car we drove as teenagers. Let's just say we had a LOT of fun with that. Unfortunately I think it's illegal now.

  4. Thanks Peter, I have been reading your blog for several years - ever since I first found it on Al's sidebar. You take some beautiful photography and I'm glad you and Bea are able to share your adventures. Maybe someday I will cash in my ticket on Campobello Island - in the meantime I'll just continue to ride along on your blog. Safe Travels ! Cindy in Dayton

  5. Well it sure beats buying a used hearse :)

  6. Now you can at least move your trailer yourself, good choice.

  7. Well Cindy,you need to take Peter up on that Campobello offer,it's a beautiful place.Like it so much we've been back three times!Peter you might want to check out this link for some great ideas on fixing up that ambulance,looks like it will be a fun project.

  8. I'm sure you will get plenty of 'looks'. Sounds like fun to me!! Can't wait to see the pics!

  9. Congrats on the purchase of the ambulance. That looks like a perfect vehicle to pull your trailer.

  10. I think that's a GREAT idea! You can bet it was well taken care of, too. One wouldn't want an ambulance to stop halfway to the hospital because of engine failure. I hope you get many, many miles from it. Enjoy! :)


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