Norman returns to Alaska, Sylvia stays in Minnesota

Alaska Highway sign at Dawson Creek

Entering the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek.

Friday, November 2, 1979—Sylvia doesn’t want to go to Alaska for the winter so she will stay in Minneapolis with Nadia’s family.

Saturday, November 3, 1979—deer season opened as I left for Alaska. I got up the road about a hundred miles and the tongue on the trailer broke at Thief River Falls. Every place was closed except one implement dealer. He had no one there to weld it, but he let me do the welding. I drove back to the farm in Cass County and slept for 12 hours.

Sunday November 4, 1979—got up well rested and got a better trailer tongue, (better metal and stronger). I left at noon, drove 435 miles (some ice on the road), got to Brandon Manitoba and slept in the truck on the seat.

Monday November 5, 1979—started out before daylight and had a flat tire on the trailer about noon. Saw a flock of swans and one of honkers near Defoe Saskatchewan. The tongue in that trailer gave more trouble. (I had loaned that trailer out one time, and this person that borrowed it had pulled a heavy load over a curb in town and tweaked the axel. It was never quite right after that.) I jury-rigged up the tongue and got going again, made it to Lloydminster a little after 9:00 p.m. (Minnesota time). Got a room in a motel there and got a good rest.

Tuesday November 6, 1979—got up at 6:30 and went downtown, gassed up and serviced the truck, headed for Edmonton. Lots of fog and light snow. Bought a few groceries in Edmonton and I had two more ruined tires on the trailer. I’ve got to stop and switch out a lot of spare tires and wheels. Every time one of them goes bad, it takes time to stop, jack it up and get another wheel and tire on. Bought more tires and had them mounted as spares for this doggone trailer. The trees are all white from an ice storm here around Edmonton. I reached Dawson Creek at 8:35 p.m. and got a room. It’s too cold to sleep in the cab of the truck and I can sleep better in a bed, so that’s what I did.

Wednesday November 7, 1979—I left at 7:30, saw a cow and a calf moose just outside Fort Nelson. There’s lots of dust on the road here. I always think of the air cleaner on the pickup when I have to drive in dusty places. I’ll have to watch the air filter in case it needs to be changed. Reached Watson Lake at 12:15 a.m. November 8th.

Thursday, November 8, 1979—left Watson at 7:05 a.m. Saw a moose right away on the highway. It’s quite warm here, and more dust. It makes my sinus run and throat sore. Stopped at High Country Safaris (Ed Dolhan) for an hour—more dust there. Visited with them and then went on toward the Alaska border. I was out about 60 miles past Ed’s and I stopped and slept for a while, then went on to customs. From there I went to Tok and slept a little and ate.

Friday, November 9, 1979—about 4:00 a.m. I left Tok and got to Nelchina just before the sun came up. It’s great to be here. As I was driving down the road, I felt like I was going home. I really like Alaska. Unloaded the pickup and then went to a birthday party for Dan Billman. Met lots of new people, had a good time and got home late. The folks in the neighborhood all gather for this sort of thing and everyone always has a good time.

Saturday, November 10, 1979—left late and hauled in some wood with the snowmobile for me and for the shop at the Nelchina station. Then Henry and I went out making a trapline. Saw signs of fur—moose and caribou. Went to bed early.

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