I was fed up with the darkness that is Alaska. I was fed up with the cold. I wanted to move south. My hubby was missing his family as well and the Alaskan economy was in a temporary decline. The decision was made to move to Oregon. I was 3 months pregnant when we began planning. (Hint: important detail for later)
We started to build our modern day covered wagon. Scrounging plywood and paint, scraps of carpet and hardware we built a brown wooden camper on to the yellow truck. Knowing that we would be traveling through rugged country we took out the rear window and connected the cab of the truck to the new interior. Each of us crawled through to make certain we fit. Now if there were any bears or mosquitoes along the Alcan we could get into the truck to sleep without exposing ourselves to the hazards.
After packing the back of the truck up taller than the top of the closed tailgate, we laid our bedding out on top of our worldly goods. Selling everything else we headed off on our adventure. The truck was sitting way down on the shocks, as we drove down the Alaskan Canadian highway. I had never been camping in my life other than military exercises. So I figured, no sweat! (cue maniacal laughter here)
We began our journey pleasantly enough, with the second night stopping at a place called Eagle Creek wayside. Sitting in the truck we heard a low pitched hum. Looking at each other we sat quietly and listened as the sound began to grow into a thunderous drone. Alaskan Mosquitoes! These weren’t just any tundra blood thirsty vampires, they were Canadian cross breeds! Here is where our planning and preparation would pay off.
Deciding to skip a hot meal and have snacks we started to crawl in the back. Hubby crawled back through first and then I passed our oldest child through the opening. Now it was my turn. I started to enter the portal. “Uh ohhh.” I mumbled. “Whats wrong honey?” my man asked. “Ummm, I no longer fit through the opening!(It had taken three months to prepare for our trip) What are we gonna do?” The outside hum increased slightly in volume. I looked nervously out the window.
“Well you’ve got no choice. Jump out the door, slam it shut and run around to the back. I’ll be there and open the door. Just don’t let any of those blood suckers in!” Did I hear gigling sounds mixed in with the hum?
I sat very close to the passenger side door with my face pressed up against the window, waiting for a break in the swarm. At last my opportunity came. In one swift movement, (which was a marvelous thing to behold at six months pregnant) I leaped from the truck, ran around back and dived into the camper. Slam! went the camper door.
We sat quietly, breathing heavy and trying to hear if any of them had gotten in. We breathed a sigh of relief.
Outside the angered blood suckers bombarded our truck dive-bombing into it repeatedly. The truck rocked back and forth and we feared these mutated creatures would have can openers in their mouth parts and begin hacking our truck to pieces. We lay under our covers, back to back guarding each other.
Just as we were about to drift off we heard that dreaded high pitched hum INSIDE the truck! “DANG, honey you let one in!” grumped hubby. “Don’t blame me! You made the hole to small! You knew I’d get bigger! I can’t help it if you didn’t plan right!” I complained. “DUCK!” I yelped. We both dove under the covers. Oh mercy, we’d never get any sleep now.
Totally under the blankets, we knew we’d have to come up for air sooner or later. I could hear her zinging around inside our camper, licking her chops and rubbing those little insect legs together in anticipation. I grabbed a straw and tried sucking air from under the covers like a snorkeler. I fell asleep and nearly suffocated. I think she had stuffed a piece of paper into the straw. These were HUGE mosquitoes!
At 5 am the next morning we repeated the process, with me making a marathon dash to the front cab. We escaped this time with only a few welts. Going hungry till we came to the next town, we scratched. Here we recovered, doctoring our wounds and scraping dead mosquito bodies the size of small dragons off the sides of our truck. The place was renamed by us. Mosquito Creek Wayside.
After this event we figured the rest of the trip would be a peice of cake. (cue maniacle laughter again)