Archive for July, 2012

Adventures of a Mad Bomber – Trouble!

July 13, 2012

Map of the Yukon

Driving to Northpole Alaska in a really old car like the ’67 Dodge Dart Walter and Andrew were asking for trouble. Little were they prepared for the trouble they were getting into which was not related to the age of the car. It is cold and dark and Andrew and Walter just woke up and are now driving from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake.

Gassed up and with Bombers secured we head North. The fuel gauge has stopped working, but the WD40 has settled down the speedo. More rags are stuffed into the dash to stop drafts. Our Mad Bomber gloves are too hot in the car, so we wear socks on our hands.

WatsonlakeWatson Lake Highlights

Andrew stops the car on numerous occasions, allowing precious warm air to leave the car. He is listening to more annoying sounds. Eventually he is convinced the wheel bearings are dry but is satisfied that no wheel will come off – today. Sigh… We stop for lunch and Andrew finds some grease at a gas station to stuff into the bearings and we add $10 of really expensive gas just to be polite, and to be safe. Andrew is happy again. From our calculations we cannot make Watson Lake with our fuel, but expect to stop at the first reasonably priced service station. Alas, we see no more gas-stations after lunch. The closed ones we pass have seriously high prices too! Eventually we slow down to 45 mph hoping to extend our range. It gets dark at 4pm and we fear getting stranded in bear territory. Still no gas stations and the fuel gauge still broken, we have no idea how far we can go, but estimate Watson Lake to be out of range…. 

The car runs out of gas just as the road descends into Watson Lake past a magnificent collection of stolen signs. It is pitch dark and 8pm. The town is deserted as we coast in quietly and pull into a car park in front of a shop without even needing to push the car. It just rolled into town, a miracle! We thank our lucky stars as we plug the car into the extension lead conveniently hanging out the shop window right there. In such cold weather it is imperative to plug in the oil and water heaters overnight so as not to freeze the car. 

We nibble at our supplies and get out the sleeping bags. Within an hour Andrew is sprawled out asleep on the front bench and I crash on the back seat. Geez it is cold in the car. No bears, so I get out on the road again.
In the morning I scrape the remains of my foam sleeping mat off the road and run over to the gas station not far away. The staff were amazed we’d run out of fuel there. They assumed we’d left the car running at night for warmth. I return to Andrew with a  jerrycan full of fuel and 2 hot cups of coffee.

Andrew is up, looking a little perturbed. He tells me he just dealt with an angry shop owner who advised him that plugging in the car with the oil and water heaters costs about $5 per night and we had stolen from him. Our story of having run out of gas was not plausible to him either. Andrew had offered $5 but the man was so upset he did not want money. We pour the gas in the tank, drive to the gas station and fill up. We get the thermos filed with hot coffee and buy some groceries. As Andrew drives out of Watson Lake I prepare sandwiches for  an in-flight breakfast.  It is still dark as we head out of town. That was a warm welcome to the Yukon!

Whitehorse here we come!