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, August 20, 2012

The Yellow Dragon - Part One

About the first things my parent's bought when we moved to St. John in 1955, was a Jeep. They got the 1948 CJ2 at Tropical Motors on St. Thomas and had it barged over to St. John.
This is the earliest picture I have of the 
Yellow Dragon, taken about 1957.

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

We drove that jeep everywhere.

One time, like a lot of people, we went out to Coral Bay for the Labor Day celebrations. When it was time to leave we started up the road out of Coral Bay which is a long, continuous incline that rises from sea level to 1100 feet at Mamey Peak. We didn't get very far before 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 the engine sputtered and died.  Several time we made the attempt but each time we stalled out. In the process, however, we discovered if the engine was pointed down hill it started and everything was fine. It was only if the engine was pointing 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 the jeep, craning his neck over his shoulder. And the roads were dirt and rutted back then. 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 tank and made its way through the lines is mystery.

Dad on the Allstate at the end of a long hard day of work.

When the road out to East End was finally bulldozed through, we decided to make a day of it. Dad led the way on his Sears Allstate motorcycle and Mom drove the Dragon. Erva and I hung on! Ours were the first vehicles over the new road.

Here's a video of what some of the road looks like today. Just imagine was it was like some 50 years ago, freshly bulldozed. What a roller coaster!

Next Monday, a more adventures with The Yellow Dragon.

Do you name your cars? As a kid, did your family car have a name? Any family-car memories?


  1. Loved that you included the video to go along with the story. What beautiful views! I also loved hearing about the Yellow Dragon and your adventures with it. I love to give cars a name. :) Looking forward to part 2.

  2. The Yellow Dragon - what a great name! And I love the image of your dad backing it up every hill.

  3. Fun story great video. Finally one where they are driving on the correct side of the road.

    Every video or movie I see takes me a few minutes to acclimate to those folks driving on the right. Just life in the left lane.

    I have got to get myself over to St. John.

  4. I'm chuckling at the image of that Yellow Dragon backing all the way home! And a cockroach was the culprit. Great story, Bish. Another tale for that memoir, right?

  5. We had a big old Chryslar we called the yellow boat. I hated that car but it was big enough to take us all to church in.

  6. What a great name for a car. I've never named any of mine, but I did enjoy fast cars in my youth ... loved the freedom wheels gave, and the rush that speed gives.

    I expect the cockroach was dead, but I wouldn't be surprised if the thing crawled away after being freed from the fuel line.

  7. Love the name! We never named our cars, and maybe we should have.

  8. We had a VW Bus. It didn't have a name, but I called it the gutless wonder.

  9. A cockroach?? Really? Ewww. That's an amazing story!

  10. Model Ts used to have to routinely back up steep hills because the fuel pump wasn't strong enough.

    Our car, a white 1987 Chevy Caprice that deserves to be owned by a shade tree mechanic, and isn't, is named Moby. Moby Dent, the Great White Car. Unlike most cars, Moby is male. And he hates idling. If you sit at a light or in stop-and-go traffic too long, or feed him too little gas when parking, he's likely to say "to heck with it; I'm too old for this," and just stop.

  11. love this storY! My first car was a chevy and I put a Muggle Vehicle sticker on the back, so I called it Muggie. My current car is a black civic and I call it Sirius. As you can tell, I'm a big POtter fan:)

  12. Those CJ jeeps are such fun! Great story, Bish.

    When I was a teen, my parents bought a VW bug that I ended up driving. Somehow it ended up with the name Otto (think Auto). No names for cars since then, though.

  13. This brought me great memories. Years ago, friends of ours were caretakers at a Girl Scout camp. They had the use of a Korean War jeep that we took everywhere! It had no issues climbing hills,or the rock, or the tree stumps.

    I can't imagine driving that road when it was new! Whew!


Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!