Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Yellow Dragon Tale for Labor Day and Being Thankful

Island Idylls: Stories of growing up in the Virgin Islands.
In honor of Labor Day, this is a re-post (with some editing) from 2012.
About the first thing my parent's bought when we moved to St. John in 1955, was a Jeep. They got a 1948 CJ2 at Tropical Motors on St. Thomas and had it barged over to St. John.
The earliest picture of the Yellow 
Dragon, taken about 1957.

We called it The Yellow Dragon because Dad painted it a flashy yellow-orange and because it was indestructible.

We drove that jeep everywhere and it hauled everything from rocks to our boat. Once Dad even used The Yellow Dragon to rescue a bulldozer that had slipped off it's track!

Read about THAT adventure HERE.
 L to R: My sister, Erva, me, Dad, Nana (Dad's mom) Mom
and Pa's shadow. taken about 1960
Dad putting a new body on The Yellow Dragon, about 1960.
The Yellow Dragon hauling our boat, the F.D.O.
(which stood for Father's Day Off.)

Like a lot of people, we went to Coral Bay for the Labor Day Celebrations, which included donkey races, cricket matches, and lots of food. It was an all day excursion. One: because the roads were dirt and rocky and it took so long to drive there. 2: When we got there it was time to party, picnic, visit with people we didn't get to see very often, and go for a swim.

When it was time to leave we started up the road out of Coral Bay, which is a long, serpentine incline of approximately two miles, that rises from sea level to 1147 feet. We hadn't gotten far when The Yellow Dragon began to sputter and choke and eventually stalled out. We knew we had enough gas, so after coasting down hill Dad tried again. The beast started right up and off we went. Again, as soon as the way got steep, the engine sputtered and died. Several time we made the attempt, but each time we stalled out. In the process, however, Dad discovered if the engine was pointed down hill it started and everything was fine. It was only then the engine pointed up hill that it coughed and choked.

Something was obviously wrong with the fuel line.

To solve the problem Dad decided to back up hill. This helped push fuel from the gas tank (under the driver's seat) into the engine. All the way out of Coral Bay and up every hill we came to, he backed up the jeep. Whenever we came to a level place or a down hill stretch, he turned the jeep around. It was long, hard way to drive, craning his neck over his shoulder. A labor of love to get his family home.

Dad, being an ace mechanic (among other things) took the fuel system apart. Finally he found the cause of the blockage after he blew out all the lines. It was a cockroach! How it got in the tank and made its way through the lines remains a mystery.

Being Thankful
Today I'm thankful for all the people I've seen out and about
 buying up items to help with the Harvey disaster relief.

What are you thankful for? Ever taken a ride in a REAL Jeep? Do you name your vehicles? If so, please share! 


  1. Hi Bish - yes so many need help at this time. Lovely story of your father and the Yellow Dragon - and the FDO (great name!) ... and a cockroach - well if it had lived it'd have a few stories to tell. Happy Labour day - cheers Hilary

  2. Your dad sounds like an amazing man – much as my dad was, but then I think all little girls think that. My dad used to strip down car engines or any other engine come to that, all with no training of any sort. Our dads were brilliant! What on earth was that cockroach thinking?
    I’m thankful for all the times my dad got my car started and all the times he followed me to work to make sure I got there through the snow/rain/floods/ice – before turning around and going back to his work and then doing it again at the end of the day. I’ve no idea why he didn’t just drive me to work, but I think he wanted me to learn how to handle any situation.
    There used to be an old jeep on the farm when I was growing up, and in fact, I learnt to drive in it. All my cars are called Henry – I’ve no idea why!

  3. This is a great story! And now I am seriously wondering how that poor bug got in there :) I can't imagine backing up all that way.

  4. We had a real jeep too ! and we love it ! but my dad not name his cars but he loved all cars he had :)
    we die about a year ago, this post make me think in him again.
    Im thanksful by all good years with my Dad and family.
    your dad sounds amazing !

  5. I love the name. It was perfect. And I've had a couple of real Jeeps in my life. One was my mom's , and to this day I don't understand how or why she bought it. It really wasn't her style at all. The second one mine, but that's a long story and comes with tales. Loved reading your post about your holiday games and The Yellow Dragon.

  6. Dads are great, we had a Volkswagen Variant that ran like a dream until one day our neighbours one - also a VW Variant went on fire! Turned out to be the fuel lines were all plastic and had melted in the heat, isn't that amazing but your cockroach is the winning story. You were lucky you had a dab engineer like Scotty nearby to save the Yellow Dragon! hehe.

  7. Those old jeeps were solid and easy to work on--the cockroach in the gas line is amazing, but I'm sure it wasn't where he wanted to be!

  8. Sometimes our cars are like the horses of cowboy days, loyal and irrepressible. Thanks for popping by my blog. Hugs and help to the folks in Harvey's wake.

  9. Backing up like that probably never would have occurred to me. How ingenious.


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!