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April 17, 1981 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-04-17
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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Page 14-Friday, April 17481-The Michigan DoiT

w

-9

The Akan Doily-Friday, Al

Alaska .

0 0

W

(Continued from Page 4)
spell, that little Honda passed me
again-the passengers must have taken
a break while I passed them. And once
again, it showered my truck with
gravel.
About an hour later I saw the Honda
on the side of the road with its owner
jacking up the rear end. They had a flat
tire after driving only 100 miles.
Sometimes there were unexpected
pleasantries along this highway. I was
driving past Laird River Hot Springs in
BritishColumbia when I noticed several
semis parked in front of it. It seemed in-
teresting, so I stopped.
I walked down to the springs and en-
countered a group of people. They were
in various stages of getting into the
steaming water. Most of the bathers_
were traveling back from Alaska. They

THERE ARE sheer drops a few inches from the side of the road along the
Alaskan Highway. Picuted above are the Canadian Rockies, Yukon
Territory.

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had tried to live out there but did not
find the life to their liking.
A couple from Whitehorse in the
Yukon Territory was moving to Van-
couver, British Columbia to find a more
active society. The truckers were just
s'topping at one of their favorite rest
spots.
A woman there told me she moved to
Alaska after reading a romanticized
version of life there. While in Alaska
she read The Grapes of Wrath by John
Steinbeck. I met her as she was heading
back to New York to pick grapes with
migrant workers.
Most of the Alaskan Highway
travelers I encountered were leaving
the state. They were either coming
back from vacations or had become
disenchanted with life there.
Two such travelers camped near me
in Squango Lake Park. They both had
lived in Willow, Alaska for a year. Both
had worked odd jobs, usually tending
bar at one of the two bars in the spar-
sely-settled town. Both were em-
barrassed about moving back home.
Their masculinity had taken a bruising
because they couldn't handle Alaska's
ruggedness. May people had the same
attitude at Laird River Hot Springs.
The trip to Fairbanks ended with no
catastrophes. The side mirror was
smashed when a lumber truck
whooshed past me, and there was a
small nick out of the windshield from
the Alaskan Highway gravel.
The road had ended; but my
memories of the awe-inspiring scenery
through Canada would always be
present. The patience I was forced to
learn on this trip would stay with me,
too.Q
Dig...
(Continued from Page 6)
and sweaty t-shirts; but we were in
England and the English don't go
without their tea.
If you weren't on tea duty, there was
no reason to stick around the hut at lun-
chtime. A small hotel and pub down the
road became a more affable
spot-for a spot more than tea.
The owner was agreeable and eager
for our business-as long as we sat on
folding chairs. We weren't allowed to
soil the upholstery, use the bathrooms
for clean-up, or stand in the lobby.
Getting cleaned up each night before
dinner was an experience. Tub
availablility was on a first come first
serve basis and modesty unheard of.
By the end of my two-week stay, I
was overworked, overtired, overfed,
and depressed because I was going
home. No one -wanted to leave. If given
the opportunity, we would have given
up clean living altogether and set up
camp at the site.
What was at firsta tedious and dirty
job was now history revealed. And even
though the project was nearly four
decades along, we were only just
beginning to decipher and translate the
secrets of the land.Q
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to Cancun, Puerto Juarez, Isla I

LEE SPENDS TWO weeks in the Yucatan Peninsula traveling
Uxmal, Campeche, Palenque, Progreso, and Chitzen-Itza.

TRAVELIN
Make BIVOUAC Your First S

Onit
By LEE FLEMING
ourist card and birth certifi-
T cate clutched in hand, I ap-
proached the Mexican immi-
fration desk five hours ,after
leaving a snowbound Manhattan. My
friend, Nancy, and I had landed in Can-
cun, in the Yucatan Peninsula, home of
the famous "air-conditioned" sands
and the most expensive resort in
Mexico.
We didn't hang around Cancun long
enough to find out what air-conditioned
sand is; we headed straight for Puerto
Juarez and the ferry to Isla
Mujeres-Island of Women.
THERE ARE TWO tales told about
the origin of the island's name. One
version says pirates stashed their
women on this island as they went off to
earn their living. The other, and true
version according to historians, states
that when the Spanish landed here in
their quest for gold, they found statues

a-
[he Gringo
,' i uahua
L Los Mochis
Monterrey
" La Paz Mazatta Saltiilfo
'cas.

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of fertility goddesses from one end of
the island to the other.
Isla Mujeres is about five miles long
and a half-mile wide, with a small
Mayan ruin at one end and A resort
hotel built on a lagoon at the other.
We explored the village the first af-
ternoon. Since it is an island in a resort
area, it had quite a few shops selling
things for tourists: Tortoise-shell
jewelry, black coral, art work, as well
as having several shops with the
ubiquitous sign "ropas tipicas,"
meaning typical clothes of the Yucatan
Peninsula.
WE SAMPLED Mexican beer at the
hotel bar that night, which turned out to
Continued on Page 15
Lee Fleming is a graduate student
at Columbia University and a free-
lance writer.
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