We made it home, barely. The hill in Bridal Falls was steep enough to get us started so we were feeling pretty good despite the first overcast day of our trip. However, the van mysteriously stalled a couple of minutes later. After this our jump-starting technique no longer worked either. Time to call the autoclub. We managed to start up after a boast only to die 400 metres down the road, thankfully, just before gettting on the highway. I managed to run back and get the tow truck driver before he left. It turns out that we do need minimal power to run our van in order to keep our solenoid valves open. Having never heard of solenoid valves I can honestly say that it was only through our ignorance that we had the odacity to drive 600 kilometres with no alternator belt.
It all worked out though. Les took the kids to Dino Town while I had the van towed into Chilliwack. After Canadian Tire gave the battery a free charge, I picked up the rest of the family and drove home. We left the van running while we unloaded the kids and 10 days worth of camping gear and then dropped the vehicle off at a nearby shop. It wasn't the ideal end to a great trip but it could have been far worse and a lot less memorable.