Wednesday Aug 2nd: Perma-Grins Despite Melting Permafrost

Wednesday Aug 2nd: Perma-Grins Despite Melting Permafrost

A few folks (Tom, left, and Jim and Ron, right) from the Alaska Or Rust crew spotted this passed out guy near our Whitehorse hotel. Now he’s kind of famous. This photo is one of my favorites from the trip.

Yesterday the crew travelled from beautiful Whitehorse to the tiny gas-motel-stop of Beavercreek, just at the edge of the Alaska border.


Yesterday morning the Vidals and FCA’s cinematographer split off from the group and, thanks to Stephen Reynolds, enjoyed a plane ride over the mountains. Moreover, Stephen and his employer Tourism Yukon  paid for the Convoy team’s meal Tuesday night. So a big hearty thank you for making Hugo’s party even more special! On top of that, Stephen is an awesome guy!

After the Vidals left, David went down to check on his jeeps and found a pylon in the back of Patterson. You might notice the water bottles in the back, too. They are flavored waters that taste terrible, but no one seems to want to steal them.

Maybe there’s a hint here … that Patterson is a hazard to be avoided???

With Hugo and Fernando on their own, the rest of the group hit the road at 8am, making it as far as the onramp to the Alaska Highway, before pulling off to do some patching. Andreas needed his exhaust patched again, Joe needed a part rewelded to his trailer, but most of all Bill had some cracks in his trailer arms at the elbow. Had they broke, it could have been a bad situation!

Always-Prepared-Marty and Miracle-Don pulled out the battery-powered portable welder and some flat steel. Then, with the help of several others, set out to create metal patches to reinforce both sides.



2017-08-02-fixing-trailer4As they worked away, the crew encountered their second rude Canadian of the trip. The guy was upset that the group was sitting on a side road. He was all in a kerfluffle because we had parked on the government’s property (which made no sense since most public roads are owned by the Canadian government??). Rob explained to him that the group was fixing some problems and needed a little time to get going again, but that didn’t soothe the guy at all. Oh well, can’t please everyone.

Repairs were rapidly made and the Convoy Crew hit the road again, but soon found themselves ground to a halt once more, this time by road construction. It seemed like it took a full moon cycle to leave the mud and gravel, but eventually it was over and smooth roads and fast speeds were the norm once more.

The sign read 50KPH, but we were going 0KPH

Once again Bill, in his CJ-5 and teardrop trailer, led the pack. He was put there because his jeep was enjoying the Alaska Highway so much that it lingered on the uphills, slowly savoring each climb.2017-08-02-alaska-highway4 2017-08-02-alaska-highway2 2017-08-02-alaska-highway8


The women assembled to take a photo as the guys went to the bathroom.

After arriving at Haines Junction for gas a couple folks went inside to pay. They reported that the radio was playing inside and who should they hear on the radio? It was the voice of one Hugo Vidal from Tuesday evening’s interview in Whitehorse. Hugo just seems to be everywhere!

While others got gas, David secured another signature, this time from a family from Juneau. Patterson is a great excuse for meeting people.


Back on the highway, the convoy wound through beautiful, dramatically valleys. These equalled anything seen in Banff or Jasper, but with the added benefit of almost no tourists.

The crew drove until reaching the Thachäl Dhäl Visitor Centre at the south end of Destruction Bay. There, they had lunch. The setting was georgeous. Marty and Don took full advantage of the view. The bugs weren’t even all that bad. The first pic shows what the drive looked like just before entering the visitor center:


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Perhaps an hour passed before the Convoy Crew loaded up and left. The road along the lake yielded one stunning view after another. Soon, the Vidals caught the team, making the convoy complete again.

The group had been warned that after Destruction Bay the Alaska Highway’s quality degrades (see this Scientific American note on the road damage caused to the Alaska Highway by melting permafrost). As promised, the bumps and dips became more frequent. There were also more sections of construction. Calling those areas the Alaska Mudway seemd more accurate.

Ann and David were surprised by an unusual sculpture garden along the highway (perhaps memorial is more accurate), so they braked to a stop to take some photos. It was a pleasant, welcoming place with seats and sculptures.

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One last break was made at a peaceful little rest stop.

2017-08-02-restop1There, Rob asked Hugo to join him in his jeep. He didn’t have to ask twice. As Hugo put it, now I get to ride in a real jeep! Both Hugo and Rob had perms-grins the entire drive, despite the permafrost-damaged roads.


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The crew’s arrival in Beavercreek likely doubled the population of the border town gas stop. The place has a large RV and motel, but not much more other than Bettie’s Buckshot restaurant (at least that David saw).


The crew leaves early this morning on the last leg of their official Alaska Or Rust journey. They have one stop planned in Delta Junction.

On Friday at noon the crew will be having a meetup at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum in Fairbanks from noon-2pm. If you are in the Fairbanks area, please join them! There *might* also be a meetup on Friday evening in Fairbanks, but that has no been finalized. Please check this website or the Alaska or Rust Facebook page for more information this evening as we finalize it.


5 thoughts on “Wednesday Aug 2nd: Perma-Grins Despite Melting Permafrost

  1. Keep the updates coming! I am living through you all vicariously! Be safe and have a blast!!!

  2. Post a photo of that 2nd Rude Canuck, would you, please?!!

    I’ll go find them and ask them, nicely, not to be so rude to our travelling guests!!

    GO convoy!

  3. Great trip good to hear you made it. The caravan was getting thing together at Dawson Creek’s sign forest when I saw you a few at the campground the night before. Wanted to join with my 48 CJ2A but could never of keeped up top end is about 45 MPH it’s restored frame off all original. Anyways good to see you.

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