By Mark Kimmich
Revelstoke, British Columbia — September 18, 2012 — One towing company went out of their way—a total of about 18 hours out of their way—to help an Ontario couple complete a tractor journey nearly two years in the making early last week.
“They were awesome peopled and [John Varty] has taken this upon himself,” explains Robert Smith, owner of Classic Towing Company in Revelstoke. “This whole thing is a real big deal.”
Varty, a former McMaster University professor and his partner, Molly Daley, have been travelling across the country for portions of the last two years. They’ve been travelling by tractor to help raise awareness about the difficulties faced by Canadian farmers. They are also working on a documentary on the same subject.
Smith received a call from a customer and family friend who let him know about the couple’s journey – and the trouble that they had upon being stopped by the RCMP just outside Revelstoke.
“A friend emailed me the CTV newscast and he asked if there was anything that I could do to help,” says Smith.
The CTV newscast explained that while the couple had kept to the shoulder in their journey across the country, and they were doing so in B.C., the RCMP insisted that they hire an escort to warn motorists of their approach. To complicate matters, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia required the couple to purchase an extra permit for the tractor.
“The frustrating thing,” says Smith “is that he had gotten through all of the tough driving, through the mountains and through Golden, and then he got [to Revelstoke] and ran into problems.”
“This tractor is totally licensable. I have a similar tractor that is licensed. There was no reason that they didn’t give him a permit. I felt that it was very unfair what they were doing to him.”
So Smith put a call into Varty to offer help.
“John phoned me Monday and I immediately got a good feeling from him,” says Smith. “He told me what had happened and about the trouble that he was having. He asked me when I could be ready. I said ‘How about tomorrow at 9 a.m.?’”
Varty came the following day with the tractor and the trailer that he was hauling.
“The trailer was basically a porch on wheels.”
Smith put the tractor on a bed and made some modifications to the trailer, and they proceeded to Vancouver.
“I had one flat about 25 km east of Kamloops, other than that, there were no issues at all,” says Smith happily. “John and Molly rode with us, we stopped and got a bite to eat in Hope. They are great people.”
“All we did was a small piece at the end to make sure that they got to where they needed to be,” says Smith. “It was a solution. He was at the point of giving up.”
The cause that Varty is attempting to raise awareness for is one that is close to Smith’s heart, but that isn’t the only reason that he decided to help Varty in his journey.
“What the public doesn’t know is that there are a lot of issues with farming right now. It is a big, big, deal,” says Smith, with clear passion. “But the reason that we did it is because we could and because Revelstoke is a small community. That is how people in Revelstoke do things.”
“I like to think Revelstoke—that is other people in Revelstoke—would do the same thing if they had the means. I think that they would.”
For more information on John and Molly’s trip, please visit tractorcanada.com.