The beginnings of the plan to go North to Alaska
For several years The Orphan had a boss named Masterful Masterson who was the Director of Engine Programs -- which was a part of The Mighty Boeing.
Eventually Masterful Masterson tired of this difficult Director job and began to squirm for ways to escape, so he slyly conceived a plan to escape and emigrate to the Land of International Business. This cunning plan required conning The Orphan into believing that the hateful Director of Engine Programs job was
really a glorious job.
The budding Giant of Industry – who at that time was not yet the maximum Giant of Industry – in cahoots with Guileful Gissing (sometimes called Brutal Bruce) and Slinger Thornton -- aided Masterful Masterson in this nefarious plot to deceive The Orphan.
These connivers believed the deception of The Orphan to be for the good of The Mighty Boeing. Masterful Masterson knew that the deception was good for him! And as for the welfare of The Orphan, the part of The Mighty Boeing that was The Land Of Assassins continued its motto:
“…If they die, they die…”
Masterful Masterson’s Plan succeeded. Masterful Masterson escaped while snickering with glee.
The Orphan was forthwith chained to the Director seat with his hands manacled to the oars of the slave galley named Engine Programs. The first task from the budding Giant of Industry was to decide that he wanted to water ski behind the Engine Programs slave galley. This frantic pace continued for seven years.
(Stories of The Orphan’s adventures in Engine Management and Engine Programs will be chronicled in The Little Orphan Granny and The Mighty Boeing Company.)
In the meantime Masterful Masterson continued to pretend to act proud of The Orphan’s promotion to Director of Engine Programs, but secretly must have felt great shame for tricking the naïve and innocent Orphan.
While congratulating The Orphan, Masterful Masterson continued the con job by distracting The Orphan with a plan to visit Awesome Alaska that had the flavor of atonement – while actually Masterful Masterson was secretly fulfilling one of his own heart’s desires. Masterful Masterson was not highly skilled in the
art of atonement.
The Orphan was just then beginning to realize the true depths of horror of a job where one was authorized (and even required) to act as an Officer of The Mighty Boeing Company by their Board and was expected to do good for all of The Mighty Boeing rather for the personal gain of a nefarious few – mostly members
of The Land of Assassins.
Soon after the trickery and before the full realization hit The Orphan, Masterful Masterson, with his eyes downcast and with a secret-looking innocent smile, came to The Orphan with a new con and said,
“…Granny, let’s celebrate my escape and your promotion by taking several weeks to drive my Ford Bronco North to Alaska for an adventure. Oh, by the way, I have also invited my son, Mike. If necessary, you may bring your pseudo-nephew Jimmy along…”
The Orphan said,
“…Hell-of-a-plan! Now let’s talk about your trickery in siphoning my innocent butt into what I am beginning to see is a horrible job…”
But Masterful Masterson said,
“…I am in a hurry now and must go pack for the trip and it is a good job and you will be able to handle it and we will have time to talk on the Trans-Canada Highway but not in front of the kids…”
Departing, growing beards, camping, snoring and Wilfred Lee
The quartet quickly departed Seattle and headed north listening to tapes that played “North to Alaska” followed by “On the Road Again.”
Masterful Masterson’s son, Massive Mike, had to bid a temporary “…adios…” to his current Sarah. The Orphan, Masterful Masterson and PLO Jimmy – The Orphan’s pseudo-nephew --were granted temporary parole by their keepers, such as wives, parents and aunties.
The quartet crossed the US-Canada border at Sumas, State of Taxes -- unaware that PLO Jimmy was an undocumented alien from Hispanic Honduras -- and in high spirits headed east on the Trans-Canada Highway to Hope, BC, where they turned north through the gorgeous Fraser River Canyon.
It was only there that the quartet really believed that the adventure was happening.
They decided to stop shaving and grow long thick beards. PLO Jimmy also attempted to grow a beard but abandoned the plan after a growth of only four sparse hairs.
The quartet continued driving north toward the beginning of The Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. When the driving day was done, they sometimes camped at nice campgrounds in Canada’s Provincial Parks and sometimes along the highway beside streams.
They brought two tents – one for The Orphan and PLO Jimmy and one for Masterful Masterson and Massive Mike. During the first night of camping, The Orphan noticed that Massive Mike disappeared early into his tent. When The Orphan queried Masterful Masterson as to this peculiarity, he was told,
“…Mike says I snore and keep him awake so he goes to bed to make sure he is asleep long before I go to the tent…”
Masterful Masterson had researched places in British Columbia where the art of “fly-fishing” was practiced and had made reservations at a Bed and Breakfast for the quartet. After several more days of driving and camping, the quartet arrived at the remote Bed and Breakfast where a Canadian fly-fishing guide named
“Wilfred Lee” was for hire to take innocents to wet places to practice catch-and-release fly-fishing.
This catch-and-release fly-fishing seemed to The Orphan a foolish thing to do since it required wading up to one’s butt in icy water for an activity that seemed designed to annoy the fish and only give them sore mouths -- but Masterful Masterson loved it. The fish did not enjoy it – but seemed glad to re-enter
the icy water after fighting with Masterful Masterson.
So the dutiful Orphan waded and sloshed with Masterful Masterson and flung floating fly-fishing line at every ripple he saw. Fly-fishing was not the favorite sport of The Orphan. The Orphan had many hobbies, including running marathons, but fly-fishing was not among them.
(To understand The Orphan’s chronic aversions to fishing poles read Chapter Eleven of The Early Adventures. To further understand how The Orphan really felt about fishing, read
Chapter Fifteen of The Early Adventures to comprehend that while The Orphan was growing up The Daddy dragged The Orphan along on nearly
a million of his fishing trips and The Orphan had fished enough to last his entire life.)
After a couple of days with Wilfred Lee, the quartet readied to continue North to Alaska on The Alaska Highway, and not wanting to backtrack, asked Wilfred Lee if there was a route forward and upward. Wilfred Lee in his Canadian accent said,
“…Sure is – just drive north till you come to a road going left and then turn left and go over a bridge and keep going until you find The Alaska Highway…”
The reader may not be able to believe that this quartet of neophytes actually went as Wilfred Lee said and that they found their way to The Alaska Highway. They drove through the roughest, wildest area imaginable in this part of British Columbia -- while encountering many Grizzly Bears, Elk and Moose.
Even with the snoring protection the quartet did not camp in this area!
And their beards continued to grow as they continued their journey through the wilderness, North to Alaska.
Longer beards, Dawson City, Diamond Tooth Gertie’s, Gambling and Wild and Wicked Women
On this North to Alaska trip The Orphan was armed with his Winchester Model 1894 Lever Action 30-30 Carbine which had been grudgingly given entry approval by the Snotty Canadian Border Patrol at the Sumas, State of Taxes, US-Canada border since it was a “…long gun…” – but only after
extensive searching and searching for a rule to thwart The Orphan.
The Canadian Snots had not, however, told The Orphan that the approval was only valid on a main highway unless a formal rifle permit was purchased from a “…Game-playing Warden…”
On one of the camping nights under a sky of a billion stars beside a beautiful stream while toasting themselves beside a campfire, a Game-playing Warden visited the campsite of the quartet to assure the quartet was not playing with game – and upon espying The Winchester, said,
“…If you have no permit for that rifle weapon, I am authorized to confiscate it…”
After The Orphan related to the Game-playing Warden the filthy trick that the Border Patrol Snots had played on him, the Game-playing Warden said,
“… If you go immediately to the next town to the trading post and get a rifle permit, I will not notice the weapon until you return – wait, wait, don’t forget to take the rifle…”
This Game-playing Warden was not a Canadian Snot and, after inspecting the permit and admiring the Winchester and finding the quartet innocent of playing with any game said,
“…OK, time to relax – do you have another of those beers…”
The quartet continued on The Alaska Highway past Fort Nelson and Watson Lake toward Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory – always starting the new day listening to “North to Alaska” followed by “On the Road Again.”
The quartet did not wish to camp every night – occasionally showers and such were desirable on a trip with four people in a Bronco – so occasionally the quartet sought Inns, Hotels or Motels.
In the far North, there were not always Inns. Sometimes when there were Inns they were closed early and would not reopen -- as the owners were Canadian and had no care for “Yankees” (or anything else, it sometimes appeared).
So as the quartet went even farther north through the wilds toward the Yukon Territory they sometimes had to camp on the shoulders of highways – once in a heavy downpour.
(The Bell would have roared his now famous cry – “…FRAZE! FRAZE! I AM NOT HAVING ANY FUN AT ALL…!!” as chronicled in The Orphan and Pepe le Bell Ski The Matterhorn in The Later Adventures.)
After leaving Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, they departed The Alaska Highway to drive the North Klondike Highway to Dawson City.
After the many miles of camping and passing closed Canadian Inns, it was a pleasant break to drive into the frontier town of Dawson City and find a hotel – with a bar. The Orphan and Masterful Masterson took a hot bath followed by a hot shower, then decided to relax in a civilized manner with a libation or several
while seeking adventure.
Dawson City, Yukon Territory, had no minimum drinking age. Diamond Tooth Gertie’s in Dawson City also had no minimum age for gambling or other activities. Diamond Tooth Gertie’s had roulette wheels, crap tables and such (as can be seen in many western movies). Diamond Tooth Gertie’s even had chorus girls doing
the western version of the “can-can” and other things.
So Massive Mike and PLO Jimmy, after donning fine attire, had gone away from the suspected stodginess of “…the old folks…” to Diamond Tooth Gertie’s to have a few adventures of their own.
While relaxing in The Downtown Hotel, Masterful Masterson and The Orphan were accosted – somewhat -- by two aspiring Wild and Wicked Women – although they appeared to have had little previous wild and wicked experience and were just reacting to being “…away from home…”
Masterful Masterson and The Orphan bought the Wild and Wicked Woman libations – several libations, in fact – while also having several libations themselves.
The younger of the two Wild and Wicked Women expressed a desire to go to work for The Mighty Boeing Company maybe even under The Orphan -- so Masterful Masterson and The Orphan offered her a job. (The following Christmas, The Orphan received a Christmas card from the job seeker – but there was never a job
A curious phenomenon occurred later that evening.
Checking in to determine why they were not being checked on, PLO Jimmy and Massive Mike came on the now very happy quartet of “…the old folks…” and the Wild and Wicked women – who were suggesting it might be wise to go to the rooms for adventures (which rooms wasn’t yet clear).
The two lads simultaneously cried,
“…Dad! Tio! What are you guys doing – you guys had better come along with us to Diamond Tooth Gertie's…”
When The Orphan and Masterful Masterson demurred, the two lads stayed and stuck with them like glue for the remainder of the evening – apparently to protect virtues or something -- until the Wild and Wicked Women reeled away to their own “lonely” beds. Interesting races are children.
It was another night in Dawson City at The Downtown Hotel that The Orphan and Masterful Masterson were informed of a ritual required to pass from the tenderfoot stage to the seasoned veteran (“Alaska Sourdough”) stage. The ritual was to drink a glass of ethanol named “The Sourtoe Cocktail” in which was immersed
“The Toe.” After both members of the duo had consumed an entire glass of The Sourtoe Cocktail, there was revelry and the award of a certificate.
The Orphan was told the history of The Sourtoe Cocktail and of the original owner of The Toe. But The Sourtoe Cocktail and the toeless cocktails following apparently assassinated those particular brain cells. It is also possible that the human brain has a skillful ability to work denial.
The now somewhat refreshed and very clean quartet departed Dawson City driving the Top of the World Highway west to the Yukon-Alaska border toward Tok, Alaska. The quartet drove through another rough, wild area -- while again encountering many Grizzly Bears, Elk and Moose. And again, in spite of the snoring
asset, the quartet did not camp in this area!
Midway between Dawson City, Yukon Territory, and Tok, Alaska, was the Canada-US border. This border check station was so far into the wilderness that there was only a generator for power and radios for communication. People were rotated in and out by helicopters, which also brought their supplies.
At this border check station, the team faced a major crisis.
PLO Jimmy had neglected to bring the paperwork that made this nephew-in-law of The Orphan from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, legal in the USA. PLO Jimmy was denied entrance by a female border patroless.
The Orphan said to the female border patroless,
“…Well, Masterson, Masterson and Frazier are all legal and we are going on to Alaska and we are making you a gift of Jimmy Massu and if you have time in about two or three weeks, let me know what you have done with him…”
This offer of PLO Jimmy to the US border people initiated a conference that included a supervisor-type on the radio – who finally said – unaware that the quartet could hear every word,
“…Christ, how can he be too stupid to know he has to have papers to get back in the USA. Well, scare the shit out of him and let him in…”
The trio dragged PLO Jimmy away to the vehicle with their hands over his mouth since he was about to protest such insulting talk.
The again intact quartet entered Awesome Alaska and the USA and resumed their journey on the Taylor Highway to Tok and rejoined The Alaska Highway.
Growing longer beards, Tok, Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Haines, The Grizzly and Leg Wrestling Women
The first stop in Awesome Alaska was at a trading post in Tok to get licenses and such for playing in Awesome Alaska.
Each query was met with the same response of:
“…Anywhere you want, this is Alaska…” whether it was “…Where can I shoot my Winchester…where can we camp…where can we fish…?”
The quartet decided they liked Awesome Alaska. The census said that a total of 500,000 people lived in Alaska. The quartet only saw a few of them.
After target shooting, fly-fishing and tent-camping their way down the Glenn Highway, the quartet arrived at Anchorage, where they rested for a while. The beards of The Orphan and Masterful Masterson continued to grow.
The Orphan and Masterful Masterson visited numerous bars and libation places in Anchorage – even some in a marina area. After leaving one of the bars where there were many men having a gay old time, The Orphan and Masterful Masterson were musing as to the absence of any female Alaskans. It was later explained to
the duo why the men in this particular bar were having a gay time.
The Orphan and Masterful Masterson were not yet as sophisticated as they would eventually be.
The quartet then departed Anchorage and went north to see the Mountain named McKinley in Denali National Park – but like Mt. Rainier in The State of Taxes, the quartet had to take its cloud-covered existence on faith.
The quartet did see a family of Grizzly Bears -- a Mama with two Baby Cubs-- wending their ways together on the mountain slopes – but not too close.
After Denali, the quartet continued north to Fairbanks and then turned southeast, back on The Alaska Highway, to the US-Yukon border near Beaver Creek. At this border the Canadian border guard did not even look up from his comic book – but just waved the Ford Bronco through with only a slowdown – not even a
Just before Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, the quartet turned south on the Haines Highway toward British Columbia and on to the southeast panhandle of Alaska. Haines, Alaska, was at the end of the Haines Highway and was where the Alaska Marine Highway System Ferry loaded people and vehicles headed south along the
inside passage waterway.
At the Canada-US border on the way, The Orphan and Masterful Masterson were wary of again having to offer PLO Jimmy to the USA. However, this time a USA border guard, who was reading the same comic book that the Canadian border guard had been reading, asked without looking up,
“…Do all of you guys have USA driver’s licenses… good, good…go ahead…”
Thus was the illegal alien successfully smuggled back into the USA.
Haines, Alaska, provided more frontier experiences.
There was a saloon lounge with a snaggle-toothed female bartender who was as “rough-as-a-cob.” The lounge had a sign on the wall that said,
“…There will be no more paper-making products shipped from Alaska. In the future, please wipe your ass on a Spotted Owl…”
And there were other rude sayings.
As The Orphan and Masterful Masterson had libations, a group of Eskimo women got into a scuffle and two of them immediately simultaneously challenged each other to a “leg-wrestling” contest.
The Orphan has yet to see the equal of the sight of a full-sized woman being flung a far distance by another woman’s leg – several times in fact since the “flungee” kept insisting that she “…was not ready…”. Even more frightening was watching the two leg wrestlers get into a violent slapping, hair pulling and
screaming contest after leaving the saloon.
The Orphan decided then and there that he would continue to pursue only civilized women.
Dogs were discouraged from being on the premises. The quartet watched a dog that was pretending to be asleep worm himself -- using only his toenails – for the twenty feet from the door to where his owner was sitting on a barstool. When the “rough-as-a-cob” female bartender rasped,
“…Wade, is that god-damned dog in here again…?”
The dog, still pretending to be asleep and still using only his toenails, slowly rotated himself around and wormed back to the door.
While the lads did other things, Masterful Masterson and The Orphan decided to take a hike on the nearby Chilkat Peninsula for no really good reason. As they asked for directions, the “rough-as-a-cob” female bartender rasped,
“…Over there, but there’s been bears reported there so you need a Band-Aid can with some rocks to rattle so you won’t slip up on ‘em and surprise ‘em…”
The Orphan remembered the lesson he had learned while a child in Mississippi about the double risks of making rattling noises (read Chapter Three of The Early Adventures) so he suggested to Masterful Masterson that they
just go quietly.
Off went the duo to where they saw a worn faded sign that said,
The brave bearded duo was determined to see the Chilkat Peninsula and the sign was worn -- so on they blithely went.
After about a mile a smell enveloped the duo that was much like that of a heavily-used Mississippi outhouse that had never been limed. There was growling somewhat like the snoring of Masterful Masterson (or like the snoring attributed to The Orphan -- but never substantiated -- by PLO Jimmy and Massive Mike) plus
a mighty shaking of the bushes and a glimpse of brown fur.
The duo backed away from the smell and the growling and shaking until quiet returned.
The Orphan said,
“…Joe, let’s just see if we can slip around him…”
As the Orphan started forward, the smell, growls and bush-shaking started again. The Orphan was roughly grabbed by the back of his shirt collar and dragged backwards firmly and rapidly and for quite some distance. Masterful Masterson yelled,
“…WE ARE GOING TO GO BACK NOW AND FORTHWITH…!”
The Orphan and Masterful Masterson covered the distance back to the vehicle in one-third the time they had taken getting to the bear, all the while beating on trees with sticks and talking loudly.
Once, at a later time after returning to The Mighty Boeing, The Orphan overheard Masterful Masterson comment as he told the Grizzly Bear Story to an awed audience,
“…And so help me, Frazier was going to try to negotiate with that bear…”
The adventure was over. The quartet and the vehicle were loaded on the Alaska Marine Highway System Ferry at Haines and cruised to the City of Bellingham in the State of Taxes, from which they drove home.
During the trip The Orphan and Masterful Masterson never talked about the horrors of The Director of Engine Programs job. It is possible that the conference with the Grizzly Bear had an influence.
The Orphan returned home with a full beautiful snow-white beard. The Orphan decided to keep this wonderful white beard forever and was looking forward to awing his new department with this glorious foliage.
Alas, even before The Orphan could return to work at The Mighty Boeing, he was compelled for another reason to shave the beard, leaving snow-white skin on his chin under the tanned forehead. The clean-shaven Orphan attended the funeral of The Daddy – which was not a sad thing because The Orphan knew that The
Daddy died with no regrets – as The Daddy had always grabbed every nettle firmly.
But the beard was never to be re-grown. The tan faded.
The next time The Orphan encountered Masterful Masterson was at the Mighty Boeing, where Masterful Masterson was also clean-shaven. No reason or excuse was ever offered or given by Masterful Masterson.
Thus ended the adventures of The Orphan and Masterful Masterson in Awesome Alaska.