Sam Chapman

The Day We Were Almost Orphaned

Dad was driving the Winnebago from Eielson AFB to Seward, Alaska in the early 1970s.  Dad wanted to secure a campsite at a campground on the north side of Kenai Lake to come back to later in the day.  Se he dropped my brother, Matt, and me there to set up a tent.
The rest of the family headed south for Seward.  There was a small area behind and to the left of the driver’s seat of the Winnebago that our youngest brother, John, frequently stood in to watch the world go by.  As Dad drove along the Seward Highway with Kenai lake to the right and steep mountains rising to the left John asked a question.
“Why are the tires bumping together?”  John was looking at the back of the vehicle through the driver’s side mirror.  Dad took a look and quickly pulled over on the shoulder of the highway.  As he inspected the dual tires at the back left side of the camper he noticed that 7 of the 8 log nuts had sheared off.  If John had not spotted that, the tires could have come off and the family could have rolled into the very deep lake and may never have been found.  That was the day Matt and I were almost orphaned.
Dad sent our oldest brother Joe hitch hiking back to the campsite where Matt and I were.  Dad hitched a ride to Seward where there was an Army recreation camp.  Dad arranged for the Winnebago to be towed to Seward, where the vehicle was looked over by Army mechanics.  Needless to say, Matt and I were pretty surprised when Joe jumped out of a VW Bug and told us what happened.  Not fully comprehending what almost happened, Matt and I went to the lake and fished until it was time to go to sleep.
The following day Dad picked us all up and took us to Seward.  With the Winnebago in the shop, Dad had an Army recreational fishing boat take us out on Resurrection Bay.  We caught numerous sea bass and Barbie caught a nasty looking Ling Cod.  It had some amazingly sharp looking teeth.
When the day was done we got back into the fixed up Winnebago and headed home.  Dad was relieved that things worked out.  Mom recovered from her state of panic and the kids remembered another awesome Alaskan adventure.


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Sam Chapman.
Published on on 09/27/2010.


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