The first cook out on the Alaska Highway
''Lets have a cook out tonight. We can get the grill out and cook some steaks. I will make some baked potatoes in the oven and we can have a nice meal out of doors on the picnic table.''
Wonderful idea. We stopped for the nite and set up camp. The camp sight was the last one available and it was on a hill. I mean a real hill. It took all the blocks I had to get the front of the coach up to level. When you jack up the front of the coach you raise the steps at the door also. Our steps were at least eighteen inches from the ground to the bottom step. I warned Willa about this and made a mental note of the same. I slid a picnic table over to the side of the coach and finally found enough flat rocks to get one end of the table level. I unrolled the awning and got out the grill. Willa went inside and started preparations for everything as I hooked the hose to the propane tank under the coach. I checked the bad place in the hose that I had repaired a few years ago. It seemed fine because I put some spit on the tape over the break to check for leaks. No leaks. As I went to set up the grill I noticed that the round plastic control handle on the front of the regulator was cracked. I assumed it had slid around in the compartment and smashed against the wall. It was made of plastic and it had numbers on it so you could regulate the gas supply and regulate the heat of the grill. I sat the grill on the table and reached for my match. I lit the match and stuck it thru the bottom hole in the grill and turned the plastic knob to start the gas to the grill. When I turned the knob it split in half and fell on the table. Hummmmmmmmmm ……. I reached in my tool compartment and found my long nose vise grips. There was a small stem sticking out where the plastic handle had been attached so I clicked the vise grips on stem and turned it. The grill lit almost instantly. I decided it was the best idea to leave the vise grips on the little stem so I could regulate the fire in the grill. The greatest problem was that the weight of the vise grips kept turning the grill up too high. To resolve this I found a small sardine can and put it under the handle of the vise grips and that solved the problem. Willa had marinated the steaks and they were ready for the grill so I stepped to the door to get the meat for the fire. As I stepped for the door I got my foot tangled in the gas hose and I accidentally jerked the grill sideways on the picnic table. In doing so the left back leg got caught in the crack between the boards on the picnic table. This broke the leg off flush with the bottom of the grill. It also disturbed the vice grips and they flipped over and fell on the ground under the table. Fire shot out of the top of the grill because it was now turned wide open. To my amazement the broken plastic knob was also the limiter concerning the amount of gas going to the grill. Without the plastic knob you could turn the grill up very high. Much higher than intended. I squatted down and crawled under the table looking for the vise grips. In doing so I put my knee in a pile of dog poop someone had not cleaned up. I said ‘’shux’’ .I found the vise grips, crawled out from under the table, locked the vise grips on the stem and turned the gas back down. Now the grill would rock on the three legs that were still attached to the grill. I looked around and found a small Van Camps Pork and Bean can that was almost the perfect height to go under the back of the grill to replace the broken off leg. I adjusted the fire again and slid my sardine can under the handle of the vise grips. Everything was fine. I got the steaks from Willa and put on the grill to cook. I lowered the lid to speed the cooking. When I lowered the lid I noticed it was sitting kinda off center of the grill. I looked at the back of the grill and noticed one of the hinges on the top of the grill was cracked and just dangling. I found a piece of barbwire and twisted it around the broken hinge. This seemed to fix the lid but when you opened the lid instead of stopping in the vertical position like it should, it flopped all the way down on the table. I found a piece of a wood to lean the grill lid against when I wanted to leave it open. I was very careful with this since we wanted steaks and this was the only grill we had. I eased the steaks on the grill and carefully closed the lid. It should be mentioned here that the handle on the lid has long been gone from the front of the lid. There is one quarter inch bolt with a string around it that is used for a handle to open the lid of the grill.
Ahhhhhhhhh the wonderful smell of steaks on a propane fire. I decided that the steaks would cook better if I had a beer in one hand while I tended the steaks on the grill.
‘’Willa, would you bring me a beer please.’’
Things kinda went down hill from here on.
First….. As I reached for the door I stumbled on the high step. I fell sideways and bumped into the picnic table. This caused the table legs to slide off the rocks that I was using to level the table. In doing so things started happening in slow motion.
Two… When the picnic table legs dropped off piles of rocks the table slumped down and the grill slid sideways. In doing so the grill hopped off the Van Camp Pork and Bean can making the grill slump sideways causing the vise grips to fall off the sardine can. This caused the vise grips to fall and turn the gas wide open and fire shot out the sides of the grill. This also caused the vise grips to pop off the stem on the gas regulator valve. The vise grips fell back under the table again.
Three… In a panic I grabbed the string on the grill lid and yanked the lid open causing it to completely break off the grill. Fire shot up about three feet. Our steaks were turning to charcoal and my awning over the grill was turning brown from the heat from the flames. In a panic I tried to turn off the gas using my fingers. No way.
The awning was starting to get really hot and I knew I had to do something quick or we would be in real trouble. I grabbed my spatula and tossed the burning steaks out in the road. I grabbed the lid and set it back on the grill. This caused the flames to go sideways instead of straight up. I looked around for something to throw on the awning to keep it from catching fire. All I could find was a bottle of Worcester Sauce. I ripped off the cap and tried to fling the sauce on the now melting awning.
By some mericle Willa popped open the door with a beer in her hand she was bringing me. I grabbed it and cracked the tab and shook the can. It worked well in putting out the now scorching awning. When the beer stopped spurting out of the can I scrambled under the picnic table to find the vise grips. I put my other knee in the dog poop again. I got the vise grips on the regulator valve and turned off the gas
‘’What the heck are you doing out here?’’ ‘’Where are our steaks?’’ ‘’Are you trying to set the awning on fire?’’ ‘’Why do you have dog poop on your clothes?’’ Willa asked.
My response was not what she wanted to hear and can not be printed here but I can assure you she was not pleased. She simply slammed the door in a huff.
‘’I’m fixing me a B.L.T. you can fend for yourself’’……..
I scraped all the dog poop I could off my jeans and put away my grill as best I could. I saved the cans so we could use the grill again in the future.
An hour later I went inside there was a can of cold beans and a spoon on the table. There was also a note explaining that she had gone to bed to read and did not want to be disturbed…………….
I ate the beans and watched some French television and slept on the sofa……..
The adventure continues.... on the road to Alaska
Seajay the sailor man..........
ps. If these get too long or too boring just tell me and I will stop posting. They are actually based on facts and events along the Alaska highway... They are embellished to a point but never the less based on happenings..