OVERVIEW: 2017 marks the 75th year of the Alaska Highway. To celebrate that accomplishment, in July of 2017 a group of aged adventurers from all over the United States, in three groups, comprising no small amount of unconventional character, will tackle that famous highway.
It will not be a full-fledged, high-speed, air-conditioned affair often seen along the thousand-plus mile corridor these days. Instead, we’ll be driving old jeeps, our beloved vintage jeeps, some made in the 1940s, some in the 1950s, and a few from the 1960s. Our speeds may be slow (limited to 50 mph), but our hearts are big and our intents pure.
We aren’t going to cure cancer, help veterans, save children, or defeat terrorism. We are doing this for ourselves and our extended jeeperhood. We are doing it together.
When some are hungry, others will feed them. When a jeep breaks down (which likely will happen), others will be there for support. When someone is upset and cries … okay, we’ll probably send that person home … But, that aside, we will aide the others!
In a time that feels divisive, we jeepers come from all walks of life. Some are richer, some poorer. Some are conservative, some liberal. Some own dogs, others own cats. But, we have jeeps and friendship in common. We hope to share our goodwill with other travelers as well as our Canadian brethren, especially since Canadians will be celebrating Canada’s 150th year of confederation in 2017.
For those that can’t join us, we hope to bring you along, through regular trip reports on this site, on eWillys, and on Facebook. For those that want to donate to the cause, we welcome it. Should we raise more than we spend, we will donate it to a worthy jeep-related event.
There will be three groups of jeeps heading north: one from the East Coast, led by Bill Reiss, one from the Midwest, led by Scott Gilbert, and one from the West Coast, led by David Eilers. All three groups will merge together at Dawson’s Creek, British Columbia, Canada, in late July before heading north to Alaska.
From Dawson’s Creek, the group will be traveling between 40 and 50mph and staying in the following cities:
From Fairbanks the group will diverge, with a few heading north, others heading south (to Anchorage) and still others returning home almost immediately.
These rules are meant to set expectations for the trip. We will keep this list as short as possible.
- PARTICIPATION: Participation is by invitation only, but we welcome inquiries. Our goal is to have a diverse set of jeeps and people.
- $200 FEE: Each jeep owner participating in the trip will pay a non-refundable $200 fee. It’s primary goal is to assure participation. For that they’ll get to have free dinners at group events in Dawson Creek and Fairbanks and a t-shirt and help with other group expenses that will come up.
- NO DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE: No drinking while driving and no drinking past midnight the night before the next day’s drive (we simply want to insure driver’s are sober in the morning). No driving under the influence of recreational drugs (cannibas is legal in both Alaska and Washington State) and no transportation of such drugs across the border (or you’ll be holding up all of us). No illegal drugs at all.
- RESPECT: We expect participants to be respectful to other participants and non-participants. Bad behavior reflects badly on all of us.
- TRAVEL SPEED: We plan to travel at 50mph max, because some jeeps don’t handle the faster speeds. We have been warned that semi-trucks and other passenger vehicles will be passing us, which will cause rocks to be kicked up at us. If you are concerned about nicks in your paint or windshield, then you might want to reconsider the trip. We also recommend eye-wear and/or full motorcycle helmets for those driving in open jeeps.
- AFTER FAIRBANKS: The Alaska Highway ends in Fairbanks. After that, people are free to go their own directions. Some folks plan to drive north toward Barrow, some plan to drive south to Anchorage, and some may turn around and head back south.