Jackpot at Keno
Box 469, Dawson City, Yukon, Canada Y0B 1G0
Let me start by giving you a little background history as to my
affliction for machinery and old iron. I was born in 1951 and was
raised by my grandparents on a small farm in Nicomen Island near
Mission City, British Columbia, Canada. My grandpa had been using a
good horse named Jennie for all the work on the farm. One day, I
knew there was something up as we (Grandpa and me) were getting
ready to go to town and it wasn’t even Sunday. We arrived at
the John Deere dealership in Mission City.
There sat Grandpa’s brand new shiny John Deere tractor. It
was huge and beautiful. The salesman gave me a tractor just like
Grandpa’s, only smaller. I even got a plow and cultivator with
it. Now I could really help Grandma in her vegetable and flower
garden. I have loved new and old machinery ever since. Now to track
down Grandpa’s John Deere, or my John Deere, is on the top of
the list of ‘things to do.’
Since 1978, I have been placer mining in the Klondike Gold
Fields, near Dawson City, Yukon. I have a small operation, work
mostly alone and manage to get by. Placer mining is so much like
farming. We have a very short operating season, about one hundred
days, from thaw until freeze up. I am at the mercy of Mother Nature
and the ever-fluctuating gold price. In the beginning of July 2000,
I was visiting Winston Lajambe, who runs Woodwards Machine Shop in
Dawson City, to get a part machined for my mine. Winston had
recently returned from a visit to Keno City and was showing me some
pictures he had taken, digital and on his computer. Hold it! Go
back! A Mietz and Weiss hot bulb oil engine!
I have an 18 HP and need one more critical part, the injector.
This one on the computer was smaller than mine, a 4 HP, and it
appeared that the injector was missing also. I got a printout of it
anyway and took it home. A few days later I was looking at it more
closely and, yahoo!, the injector had been unscrewed from the
cylinder and bent over to one side, still attached to the fuel
line. The next day, my friend Jessica and I were off to Keno City,
about 150 miles from Dawson City. Mike Mancini, at the Keno City
Mining Museum, met us and showed us the 4 HP Mietz & Weiss.
There was more than one Mietz & Weiss there. There was a 12 HP
and an 18 HP, both missing the part I needed. We drew up a
borrow/lending contract and took the 4 HP injector back to Dawson
City. Winston is making me a larger version of the 4 HP injector to
fit my 18 HP. I like Winston’s attitude, ‘If it’s been
made before, it can be made again.’
I want to thank the following people who have helped to get my
18 HP Mietz & Weiss closer to a ‘start up party.’ Mike
Mancini and crew at the Keno Mining Museum; Mike McArthur and Don
Monroe for their invaluable information and operating/parts lists
for my Mietz & Weiss; and Winston Lajambe for his machining
expertise. I should add that Jessica and I stayed in Keno for a few
days. Keno City and surrounding area is beautiful. Full of history,
old iron, and great people. We loved it. Mike Mancini also makes
the best pizzas and grub, anywhere, at his Keno City Snack Bar!
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