September 4th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Val and Hank

Up this morning at around 8, an hour better than yesterday.  Hank had coffee + we had granola, banana + milk for breakfast – delicious.  Then off.  Made good miles today, tho’ it was rather tedious, just sitting up front in the cab, as we tootled along.  However, it was getting on for 12, when Hank stopped for coffee.  When he did so, Val made some sandwiches, which he joined us for.  We also bought some food to cook that evening – sausages this time.  Then on the road again at 1 or so, + making steady time again in the afternoon, with just a couple of breaks when the camper started to blow oil, + Hank got out to fix things as best he could.

At 6 in the evening, we stopped + cooked a meal – once again I thought it was excellent, I only hope Hank agreed.  Then Hank got out to fix the lights, + Val + I read + wrote, listening to Hank’s portable 8-track, which he’d managed to get working.  He’d played us one dreadful country + western tape – nearly all his tapes were the same – but we did find a Flying Burrito Bros tape, and let that one run thro’ a few times.  At 9 o’clock Hank finished + came back in, but decided not to bother to carry on that night, so we talked for a while, then all turned in for an early night (tho’ I did stay up to finish a letter to Bruce + Hil.)

Hank was a good guy, tho’ not the sort of person I would normally get to know or like.  One of the advantages of hitch-hiking – meeting different people.  He was about 40, and, of course, had an ex-wife, divorced in 77, + 3 boys, who I’m sure he missed a lot.  I would think he was generally quite lonely.  He had a lot of money, had been earning a high wage in Valdez, but was now moving down to Florida for the winter with virtually everything he possessed – just for something to do, by the sound of things.  He was quiet, tho’ certainly not unintelligent.  Conformed pretty much to the cowboy image – brusque (never saying thanks), chauvinist.  He was an excellent mechanic, + very well-equipped – masses of tools, +, in the back of his pick-up, a welder, a chain-saw, + a motor-bike.

Not sure where the chauvinism comment came from, as he was always the perfect gentleman with Val; maybe it came across in a comment about his ex-wife, but I have no actual evidence.  Certainly a nice man, however, digging us out of a metaphorical hole, and then some.

Bruce and Hil, by the way, were old friends of mine from college days, now living the ex-pat life teaching English in Doha.

  1. Stephen Petershoare

    Were hoping you would be able to stop at Laird Hot Springs, but I think you have already passed it – it’s about 2 1/2 hrs south of Watson Lake on Hwy 97
    A very nice natural hot springs/river with the ability to sit in the stream of hot water and take in the beauty of nature around you

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