Alaska or Bust! — Busted!

Friday, 22 May 2009.  I woke to find that the hotel’s front desk had not set the alarm for me.  It was a good thing that I took my thyroid med at five o’clock in the morning.  This meant I can go directly down for breakfast and some coffee which I desperately needed.  I returned to the room and did some e-mail.  I need to put around a few more minutes and then I will get on the road hopefully with my jury rigged car.  I have a room booked in Fort Nelson tonight. 

After getting some gas on the way up the highway at continued north along the Alcan.  As with yesterday the British Columbian tourist office doesn’t seem too concerned with keeping the Alcan posted properly.  I did find a few of the Mileposts and enjoy the scenery while a tooled up the highway at about 80 km an hour.  I did stop on several occasions to take some photos and just enjoy a leisurely drive. 

The sun was out, the temperature was nice and traffic was very light.  I couldn’t have asked for more. 

I stopped off at Sasquatch Crossing and had lunch.  I had a phone jack with a couple of the people who work there and a couple who were up in the area looking to buy some land.  After a very filling turkey sandwich I headed on up the highway.  Others making much better time than I expected as there were few mileposts or signposts relating to the Alcan highway. 

I had stopped for gas at a small service station maybe 200 or 150 km out of Fort Nelson.  On empty stretches I do like to see my gas gauge up to the top.  It was shortly after this I glanced down and noticed that according to the fuel gauge I had no gas whatsoever in the tank.  This, obviously, is not a good thing.  As the low gas alarm did not go off, and the car was running just fine, I felt that the fuel gauge had suffered a malfunction.  This was the second electrical malfunction in as many days.  I decided then and there that Fort Nelson would be the end of the drive up the Alcan.  I was within shouting distance of civilization in Fort Nelson as Dawson Creek was only 500 km back down the road. 

I decided that I would head back to the US and do the portion of my planned trip that I had planned to do after I got back from Alaska.  Moreover, once I am in the states, I can get my car repaired if need be under warranty.  It seems that my warranty is not really good in Canada.  A Saturn dealership will fix the car but I will have to pay for it and get my money back from Saturn.  And one wonders why GM is having such a hard time when they treat their customers so poorly. 

I would be needing a regular service visit to a Saturn dealership in about 2000 miles.  Thus, and may well be taking my Saturn back to the dealer where I bought it for service.  While the sales department did not endear themselves to me, the service department seemed to be first-rate.  If need be, I should be able to crash was Barb while the car is getting repaired.  However I will probably just keep the car going until I get it back to Saturn in Albany. 

As I was closing in on Fort Nelson, all of a sudden the gas gauge sprang back life.  It showed me that I had three quarters of a tank of gas which is about what I expected.  However, this sort of thing leaves me quite nervous.  Yes, it worked for a little while but what about tomorrow or the next day.  I’ll be driving through a lot of very open country.  Having a third electrical malfunction in the middle of nowhere will be a very bad thing.  So “Alaska or Bust” is busted. 

I’m in a fairly comfortable room at the Fort Nelson Hotel and will shortly sack out so I can hit the road quite early tomorrow morning.  I have a long way to drive. 

C’est la vie!  La Vie!


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