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Turn signal catches fire

May 5, 2015

Edith River 1

From Wikipedia:

The Alaska Highway (also known as the Alaskan Highway, Alaska-Canadian Highway, or ALCAN Highway) was constructed during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska through Canada. It begins at the junction with several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon. Completed in 1942 at a length of approximately 2,700 kilometres (1,700 mi), as of 2012 it is 2,232 km (1,387 mi) long. The difference in distance is due to constant reconstruction of the highway, which has rerouted and straightened out numerous sections. The highway was opened to the public in 1948. Legendary over many decades for being a rough, challenging drive, the highway is now paved over its entire length.

Motor oil stinks. I spent 3 or 4 days working on the blown engine and installing its replacement for the 3rd time without a shower. The mechanics finally checked it and said it was good. We had a better van than when we started.
We had paid our dues to the road god! It was June and the days were long. I dried my tears. Yes.
Edmonton 1) huge city 2)apparently no underclass 3) had a wonderful grassy camping park with a shower and staying there was cheap.
We set out from E. the next day. Starting the VW meant flipping a light switch to complete a circuit, then touching a button to fire the starter motor. It was an old car! Oh, I had tried installing other switches, toggles, doorbell buttons, but they always burned out. Couldn’t handle the amperage of the 12V battery. The car had originally been a 6V, but I converted it. As well as I could, that is, which meant things sometimes burst into flame. A turn signal burst into flame when I pulled off the road at Liaird hot springs. Clara, age 12, noticed the fire. I simply blew it out like a birthday candle. Everyone else was asleep or staring out a window.
The surprising thing: the road north from Edmonton was long. Days long. We took turns driving and napping in the back where a piece of plywood covered our supplies: tools, clothing, camping gear. Some foam mattresses and sleeping bags on top.
After a day or two the starter wouldn’t work so we had to push the van and let out the clutch. Once when almost to Alaska I woke to cursing and crying. Our son Bob was trying to push the van out of a gas station while Penny let out the clutch. I helped Bob as we pushed forward a couple of dozen yards, then back. Then Penny threw the all important light switch to connect the ignition.

64 VW

After a week of driving, give or take a few days, we stopped along the highway hundreds of miles from anywhere and we all scrambled out to examine the tundra. Big lumps of sod and grass and low plants. In the far chilly distance the horizon had snowy rocky mountains!


Later at a bridge across the Edith River we left the highway, drove along the bank of the river and camp wherever we wanted. The kids took off all their clothes and waded into the water, ice cold. The weather looked clear, cool and without mosquitoes. This was an adventure! A bit scary!

I felt like a real hippie at last and I wasn’t even 40!

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