At the same time, I see a yellow glowing pulsating orb directly ahead. I continue forward, it seems, as if in slow motion. Am I heading into the twilight zone?
continued from "Haines Junction"
September 03, 2012 - Upon leaving Haines Junction, I am on a very long stretch of road that, luckily, has few road construction areas and destructive loose gravel zones.
Oncoming is a convoy of motor homes. I count over twenty five large RV’s as they go by. Passing me, most of the RV drivers wave at the car and me. I then remembered all the RV rental agents we had called in Anchorage to try to rent a "one way" to Haines. They all told us the same thing, the rentals they had were only available to drive up to Anchorage this time of year from Haines. They had all been driven one way to Haines and left by travelers earlier in the summer. These were probably hired crews returning the RVs back north to home base in Anchorage.
The road continues to follow the Old Dalton Gold Rush Trail. There are remnants of old cabins and crude mining operations along the way. Soon another bluish colored high mountain lake comes into view. The road winds alongside the shoreline of Lake Dezadeash, Yukon Territory. The view suddenly pulls me into a flashback. I immediately pull over and stop to gaze and remember.
1969 - Central Highlands of Viet Nam
There is a beautiful volcanic mountaintop lake called Bien Ho (Lake of Tears). A couple of my Special Forces medic friends and I have gone out to visit a local Montagnard (mountain yard) village north of Pleiku. We would do this periodically to help with the locals medical needs and give out candy to the smiling kids. Montagnards were the true colorful native people of the area, as well as being awesome fighting allies of the US.
As we are heading back to base we stop our medical 4x4 truck (meat wagon) at Bien Ho Lake to watch the sunset. The area is beautiful and has been quiet for months from any enemy activity. While watching the sun go down over the lake, we see a non Montagnard but Vietnamese in camouflaged fatigues appear from the short bushes on our left. Immediately another one appears on our right. "Enemy scouts! Tunnels!" we all say at the same time, as well as several expletives. With the hair standing up on the back of our necks and weapons on the fire position, we quickly reverse in full retreat.
Swinging the truck around, we point the nose toward base camp and go as fast as the bouncing dirt road will allow. Knowing we can’t outrun a bullet or RPG round, I grab the truck’s radio microphone to let the fortified forward position know we are "coming in hot" and not to shoot us. We also let them know there could be bad JuJu coming up our six (rear action).
Reaching the camp gate, one of the perimeter guards stops us and walks toward us smiling. He asked as he’s walking, "You guys high? There ain’t no bad guys around here for miles." As the last word exits his lips, an incoming mortar round blows down the gun tower next to us. We crash the meat wagon through the front gate barricade and head for our fortified bunker near the field hospital. Sapper suicide bombers run through the perimeter defenses behind us detonating and destroying themselves and anything else around them. It is hard to stop these dedicated enemy soldiers. Not only are they highly motivated to kill us but also high on every type of dope you can imagine. Bullets have little effect stopping their end game. Hence, the non-derogatory respected name we have given them of "Super Gooks".
I snap back to real time. "Damn!" I am sitting in the Corvette staring at the remote lake. I look in my rear view mirror at myself to make sure I am still an old fart and not a teenager. Taking several deep breaths, I start the Corvette.
Pulling back onto the Yukon highway, I continue on toward the US and Canadian border several miles ahead. The road is vacant of cars. Patches of light fog are now appearing along the road and over the mountains. After just experiencing my last flashback, I wonder if something surreal is about to happen. The fog begins to thicken on the road. Slowing the Corvette I turn on the headlights. I have forgotten the 1964 Corvette has headlights that have to rotate from inside the body to out with a hidden dash switch. I feel for it and hold the switch up as the lights now begin to roll up to the open and on position.
At the same time, I see a yellow glowing pulsating orb directly ahead. I continue forward, it seems, as if in slow motion. Am I heading into the twilight zone? The yellow glowing orb now becomes a lighted sign that reads, Prepare to Stop! US Customs Border Station!
"Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll,
that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness"