Alaska 

Days 24 - September 3, 2009

Miles Traveled:

Notable Stops: Left Terrace, British Columbia, Arrived in Vanderhoof, British Columbia

Daily High:

Daily Low:

Notable Weather: Mostly sunny, warm enough to knit while driving and pleasant

Jess’ Voice: Woke up with a bit of a voice, lost it completely until about mid-day when it came back then started loosing it again in the evening

 

Last Night After We Went to Bed in Terrace

 

Last night after we went to bed (in Terrace) it began raining. It even lightning and thundered. Before the lightning and thunder set in, Matt decided to take a picture of our campsite at night. To protect the camera while doing this, Matt used the Alaska umbrella that the lady in the Fairbanks Taco Bell gave us.

 

The rain was not too heavy and it did not last all night. When we woke up in the morning the Speedster was mostly dry and there was a big hole in the clouds above us (a sucker hole as the guy in Haines called it).

 

Leaving Terrace

 

When we woke up we just packed the few things we took out of the trailer and pulled out of the Ferry Island Park. I was happy to discover I had a little bit of a voice again.

 

Before we left town we stopped at WalMart for cough drops and breakfast at McDonalds. (I sure love that Egg McMuffin Breakfast Number 1 with a Carmel Ice Coffee.)

 

The Speedster Starts Hesitating and Magic Tea Brings Jess’ Voice Back

 

After we’d been driving for a while the Speedster started hesitating under a load. Matt pulled over into the first turn out he found. The turnout happened to be a rest stop. There was a new truck with a new Teardrop trailer hooked up to it, parked at the rest stop already.

 

While commenting on how cool the new Teardrop across the parking lot was, Matt jumped out of the Speedster and immediately pulled the hood off to figure out what was wrong with the car. I immediately got to work too. I opened the side door of our Teardrop and plugged in the iPod and Garmin GPS watch because the batteries were about dead. 

 

Only a few short moments after Matt and I went to work on our tasks a guy (probably only a few years older than Matt and me) immerged from the new Teardrop trailer and asked something. With my ears still ringing from the slightly muffled roar of the Speedster engine I stood up to hear the guy.

 

He looked over at Matt and me. I was pretty sure he asked, “Model T?” while he was motioning like he was drinking tea.

 

We’ve been asked what type of car we are driving in all sorts of ways. I was impressed that his first guess was a Model T. I thought it was cute that he was motioning like he was drinking tea.

 

I responded, in my whisper of a voice, “Yep, it’s a Model T,” while also shaking my head yes.

 

I was pretty sure he asked again, “Model T?” So I responded in the same fashion as before because it is not at all uncommon for people to ask the same question about the car repeatedly.

 

Matt also responded, “It’s a Model T.”

 

I expected more questions to follow but our affirmations seemed to satisfy the guy because He disappeared back into his Teardrop.

 

After Matt and I answered many questions from numerous other people who pulled into the rest area to take pictures of the Speedster and Teardrop the guy reappeared holding two cups of tea.

 

The guy explained, “This is black tea.”

 

It turns out what he was really asking when we got there was, “Want tea?”

 

“Thank you, thank you,” both Matt and I responded.

 

I chuckled a bit at my misunderstanding of the guy’s question and explained in my whisper of a voice, “I thought you were guessing what type of car we were driving. I’m sorry. Thank you so much for the tea.” He smiled and asked a few questions about the car.

 

Matt inquired where the guy was from and he responded, “Quebec.”

 

I felt like a silly for thinking that he must be interested in our car because everyone else is and completely misunderstanding that he was being friendly and offering us a hot drink of tea.

 

Matt and I both had a gut feeling this was a very nice guy who was not offering us tea to hurt us but was offering us tea to be friendly. So, both Matt and I broke a variation of a fundamental rule all good parents teach their children (don’t accept candy from a stranger) by accepting tea from a stranger. We each took a sip of tea.

 

It was not sweetened but it was not bitter either (because it was properly brewed). It was good. We both took more sips. Before I knew it, my voice was back. I could speak at a regular decibel and I was not coughing as much. Matt called it Magic Tea because of the immediate transformation in my voice.

 

When Matt and I were done with our tea the guy returned to get his cups back. Matt and I thanked him again. I was so happy to have my voice back that I told the guy that his tea brought my voice back. The poor guy probably already thought we were crazy. I’m sure my explaining how his tea brought my voice back just added to his thoughts. I’m glad I misunderstood the guy because I would have kindly declined the tea. Then who knows when my voice would have come back. 

 

Around the time the guy and his party were ready to leave, Matt finished putting all new spark plugs in the Speedster.

 

Matt reported that a couple of the plugs were in need of being replaced so he replaced them.

 

Lunch and Don’t Touch An Other Person’s Car

 

We made a few other stops before lunch to put more gas in the car and go potty. Finally, in…I don’t remember which town we stopped for lunch at A&W.

 

Before we even got our helmets off, a couple guys approached us with many questions about the car. We never mind talking about the car. So we finished removing our helmets and delayed lunch to answer the questions.

 

The guy who told us he is a mechanic was very interested in every detail of the car. He was so interested he touched the brake rods of our mechanical brakes as he told us that our brakes are leaking fluid. Then he straddled the tongue of the trailer while asking Matt questions about the car. I felt like he was invading my 18 inches by doing this. However, Matt didn’t ask him to stop, so I said nothing.

 

Matt and I eventually went into A&W and ate lunch. When we returned to the parking lot after lunch Matt was VERY upset to see someone wiped the license plate of the Speedster clean. All the mud, road grime, oil and axel grease that was caked on the license plate was like a badge of courage for Matt. And someone ripped it off and threw away Matt’s badge of courage.

 

Matt exclaimed, “We drove over 2,000 miles to get all that on the license plate! We aren’t going to drive those 2,000 miles again and we don’t have any more dirt roads on the trip! I wanted a picture of how filthy the back of the car was going to be by the end of the trip. Now I can’t get that picture!”

 

I am pretty sure the person who wiped the license plate clean meant no harm and thought s/he was helping us. But, s/he still broke car etiquette rule number one, “Look but don’t touch unless given permission.”

 

To the credit of everyone else we’ve encountered, people in general up here seem to greatly respect the property of others or at least the privacy of others to the point that they ask before taking a picture of the car. I am still blown away by that level of respect and politeness of most everyone we’ve run into.

 

Stop in Fraser Lake or Press on to Vanderhoof

 

After lunch Matt and I began growing tired. At one point I feel sleep. Then, in Fraser Lake, Matt pulled over at a gas station. Once parked, he immediately leaned back in the driver’s seat and fell asleep. It was obvious that he was beat.

 

After we both rested a bit and inquired about the nearest RV Park, we decided to press on to Vanderhoof.

 

We are staying at Dave’s RV Park tonight. It is very clean and tidy. In fact, it is the most clean tidy RV Park I’ve ever seen. I’m glad we decided to come to Vanderhoof. This is another RV Park I highly recommend anyone stay at. It is also for sale right now so if you want to own a clean tidy RV Park, look up Dave’s RV Park in Vanderhoof, British Columbia. J

 

After setting up our site for the night we decided this was a good place to try to dry out the Teardrop from the rainstorm back in Skagway. We washed and dried our bedding, pulled the carpet out and set it up in the large laundry room here at Dave’s. We even turned the little fan in the Teardrop on to dry the foam on the floor of the trailer.

 

Misc

 

We continue to receive and appreciate photos of us on our journey from fellow travelers.

 

Today, my voice lasted clear until this evening. Tomorrow morning we’re going to buy tea. That was way more effective than anything else I’ve tried so far.

 

As I’m writing this the lady who runs the RV Park came in and offered me some packets of EmergenC to help with my voice. Everyone’s hospitality is so overwhelming. I feel like I’m not very good at accepting it because I’m not used to such treatment (except from Matt) at every literal turn in the road.

 

Tomorrow we should make it to Williams Lake. That “Sucker Hole” in the clouds followed us all day today. I hope it follows us the rest of the trip. If it needs to fill in I’m fine with it doing so after we go to bed.

Speedster, Teardrop and Matt in the Campground in Terrace, British Columbia  The New Truck and New Teardrop at the Rest Stop
Speedster, Teardrop, Matt and the Crowd at the Rest Stop Matt Repairing the Speedster at the Rest Stop
Matt Repairing the Speedster at the Rest Stop
Alaska 2009

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