Justa Minute, Alaska
moose   IN A LITTLE
In a little snug log cabin by the N. C. Company
There's a Siwash gal awaitin', and I know she waits for me.
I can smell the bacon fryin' and the Siwash dogs they wail,
Come you back you young Chechako o'er the Dawson City Trail.

I'm tired of slow old 'Frisco and conventionalities,
The things they call society make my blood fairly freeze.
Oh, I've danced with debutantes and they think I love them well,
But I'd rather be in Dawson with my dark brown Siwash gal.

Don't tell me that champagne compares with Siwash hootchinoo.
Don't tell me that roast turkey outflavors caribou,
Or a little hunk of moosemeat cooked by Circle City Sal,
For she's my dark brown Klootchman, she's my hiyu skookum gal.
Take me somewhere north of Whitehorse where the heat is like the cold,
Where the whiskey sometimes freezes and it then in chunks is sold.
Where the northern lights are gleaming, it is there I long to be,
In a little snug log cabin by the N. C. Company.
-- author unknown 

The year 1947 saw the opening of the Alcan Highway to so-called tourist traffic. Three Clarion College students and a friend decided to attempt the trip from Pittsburgh, PA to Fairbanks, Alaska. Pooling resources, a 1938 ¾-ton Chevrolet panel truck was bought for $200. It had been used heavily throughout the war for milk delivery and was in terrible shape. All repairs except for a cylinder and ring job was done by 'the crew'.

In the late afternoon of June 12 we headed west. The vehicle was christened "The First National" because we had put so much money into it. We had three blowouts in the first two days!
Although we had a lean-to tent, we slept mostly in the back of the truck. We drove in shifts, two driving and two sleeping. On the second evening we camped at Beverly Beach on the shores of Lake Michigan. We heated water in a small wash tub, drew lots for the order of bathing, and maybe the last to use the water was more godly than cleanly.


Rescued a little porker from the highway

In Iowa a Florida trailer asked us if we had any women with us. We didn't at the time!--Typical chow: fried Spam, canned tomatoes, canned beans and bread.
barn Bought a half gallon of raw milk from a farmer at a price of 25¢,--Attended church in Sioux Falls,--Hung a sign on back of truck. It read,


We were the first visitors to view Mt. Rushmore illuminated by a 5 A.M. sunrise one morning. The Black Hills were judged to be very pretty.

Camped overnight in the Big Horn National Forest. fish As we got up and started to make breakfast, a neighboring camper gave us 8 big fresh brook trout. Rolled in cracker crumbs and fried in leftover ham grease, ­­­­­this is livin'.
cash Through Great Falls to the Sweetgrass-Coutts International Boundary. There the Canadian border guards asked our destination. When it was revealed that Seward's Folly was our goal, we were asked to declare our financial resources. Emptying our wallets, we were short of the required amount. Then we remembered some travelers checks. Those additions brought us close but still monetarily shy. After an embarrassing silence, one guard nodded to the other and said, "Oh, they're Americans, they'll make it."---and passed us through customs.

In High River, Alberta, a loaf of bread cost 10¢ and four dozen oranges were 75¢.--Days much longer as we travel further north.--Into the provincial capital of Edmonton for repairs and an Alcan permit. Then on through Athabaska, Grande Prairie and into Dawson Creek, British Columbia, the "Gateway to Alaska". Saw a soccer game. Mosquitoes. Now from Mile Post "0" we head out on the Alcan Highway.




Billy Campbell, Lew Clayton & Red Petersen

Bob Stumpf and Lew Clayton at Mile Post "0" of the Alcan Highway

The sturdy truck passed an official inspection at Blueberry after rolling 3412 miles from Pittsburgh. Mosquitoes are still terrible. Rigged net to fight off mosquitoes until chow was over.

Informality and friendliness were watchwords on this road. The very few drivers making the trip had varying speeds and rest stop times so that we all leap-frogged each other and got to know our fellow-travelers. Tex and his wife would pass us, wave and say hello. A bus driver, with only a couple passengers, stopped and shot the bull for a while. Very friendly world except for the mosquitoes.

Gardner Creek-Fort Nelson-beautiful opal blue Summit Lake-Racing River-Mount Mike Mitch-Muncho Lake-Teslin (why boys leave home).
Sighted first freight and passenger train in the Yukon Territory just before chugging into Whitehorse. Filled up on 45¢ per gallon gas. Milk is 50¢ a quart, but none available.-Camped at Mile Post 1027.-Lake Kluane, then through Canadian customs at Snag.



Red Peterson and Bob Stumpf checking out wooden sidewalks of Whitehorse
After 14 days , The First National with its high-spirited occupants pulls into the village of Tok Junction in the Territory of Alaska. We clear customs the next morning and sign up as truck drivers and laborers with the Alaska Road Commission. woodsriver
Bob Stumpf, Red Petersen & Lew Clayton

Volunteering for a temporary chore, I ended up as a cook's flunky in a road construction camp called "12-mile".

"12-mile Camp"

chefThe road is being constructed from Slana-Tok on the Alcan north to Chicken towards the Yukon River.( The completed route is now called the Taylor Highway.) This job pays $1.15 per hour plus room and board minus $2 a day for board. The cook is an old-timer named Andy Allen who mostly was a baker in Northwest lumber camps in the states. I did general kitchen work such as waiting on two dozen ravenous men of the road crew, opened cans, ground meat, pearl-dived, peeled potatoes, etc. Food was tops and there was plenty of it. Lots of baked stuff. Couldn't have done better on the "outside" for $2.

Gag photo of Bob Stumpf. I believe we used kerosene for cooking.

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