So I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the town of Hope isn’t a huge fan of my driving there.  Earlier this winter I put Max’s Tahoe in the ditch.  Over solstice weekend my truck had no problem with a drunken rally (with Jeffé shot gunning everything in site) up Palmer Creek before bogging down in the morning and needing to be rescued the following monday.  And last night I think I blew my transmission while Jeffe and I were on our way to fish Six Mile Creek.  I’ll have more information later.  Anyway…

Maxs Tahoe in the ditch along the Hope road

Max's Tahoe in the ditch along the Hope road

I was in Michigan the previous week and was really looking forward to some mountains and fishing upon my return.  For most of the week I’ve been a slower moving then a sloth, and gleefully got nothing accomplished.   Jeffé and I had been discussing fishing all week, and eventually we settled on cruising towards Hope to fish a little hole on 6 Mile I’d been shown the year before by Dirty Zach and Don.

Ever seen the short film C’etait un Rendezvous?  Well Claude Lelouche’s POV film of his Formula One driving friend racing across an eerily abandoned Paris on easter morning at some point in the 70s has always inspired me to do something similar.  And having a potential scenic equal to a cross Paris cruise in the Seward Highway but lacking the Ferrari, I decided to film my truck (recently named Don Pablo by Max and Jeffé) making the voyage and simply speed the whole thing up.  The results (seen below) failed to match Lelouche’s lofty standards.

Anyway, after the camera ran out of juice and we’d made our way over Turnagain Pass and were approaching the Hope road Don Pablo started randomly downshifting.  We limped our way down the road, hoping Don Pablo would recover after the brief rest he’d get while Jeffé and I fished.

Six Mile Creek Fishing Hole

Six Mile Creek Fishing Hole

Last year, when Don and Dirty Zach brought Kiwi James and I to the hole on Six Mile shown above we had excellent fishing, for pinks.  At one point Don caught 17 on 20 casts.  And although catching Pinks is at best mid grade, while there I saw some locals catch two beautiful plump Silvers, which is what I was hoping for upon arrival.

another pink...hooked in the hump

another pink...hooked in the hump

The fishing was average, lots of Pinks, (both Jeffé and I would have caught our limits within 30 minutes if we hadn’t been tossing them back) and an extremely good time, but none of the tasty fish we’d been hoping for.  When we began driving up the hill back to the road Don Pablo was initially doing quite well, before we hit the final steep section.  As i crossed the halfway point of the last steep section It felt like I completely lost my transmission and despite increasing the pressure on the pedal and listening to Don Pablo rev ever louder we began descending the hill backwards.   After 2 further attempts Jeffé and I finally decided our only hope was to see if reverse was still functioning and attempt the whole thing backwards.  After a dodgy turnaround and Jeffé getting in place to line me up, I punched the peddle and began flying up the hill backwards, hoping Don Pablo would keep with it and we’d at least have the option of leaving her stranded on the side of the road rather then a small two track leading to an above average fishing hole. Don Pablo did remarkably well in reverse, and for a brief moment I was more concerned with running Jeffé over then I the state of Don Pablo’s gear box.

Once back on the road I popped Don Pablo into drive an away we went.  That is, until the first moderately sized hill when the violent shifting and lack of power returned.  But, as I began considering both a long hitch hike home or the possibility or driving over the pass in reverse, Don Pablo jumped into 3rd and seemed plenty happy to be there.  From that point on the drive home became very interesting.  

Above is a brief clip from the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix.  I remember watching this race at our family’s cottage as a kid.  Halfway through the race Michael Schumacher’s Benetton Renault became stuck in 5th gear, but instead of an early retirement Schumacher continued to push the stricken car and through some sort of wizardry claim 2nd place.  I was amazed at the time, and at some point as Don Pablo continued onward, I realized I was having my own F1 moment, only at a much slower pace, and began relishing nursing poor Don Pablo homeward.  Cresting the pass and reaching the point of having either flat or descending roads all the way back to Anchorage was treated by Jeffé and I as a great victory, and although I may not be graced with Don Pablo’s presence much longer, I will forever be thankful he didn’t leave us stranded out in the woods the way Officer Willis had the month before.