After centuries of planning, or maybe it just feels that way, the first intrepid jeepers are on their way. Scott Gilbert, Rick Pacholski, and Bob Christy are leaving Cincinnati, Ohio, in Scott’s wagon, bound for Paris, Illinois, where Russ lives and operates a machine shop. Russ Lawton and his passenger Tom Ogle will be leaving in a few days.
Meanwhile, Bill Reiss is about ready to leave Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in his newly restored dually CJ-5. He will meet up with Jim Fowler and his passenger Kevin in Ottawa in a few days.
Merlin and Brittany will be leaving from Maryland soon as well, now that his tow rig has a new tranny (these things have to come at the worst time!). Accompanying them will be Joe and Emily in Joe’s modified CJ-3B.
Hugo and Fernando Vidal are flying out of Florida late tonight and will be arriving in Portland early Saturday morning. They’ll be driving up to Seattle to pick up their Wrangler (thanks to Jeep Brazil’s parent company FCA) and then driving to meet David and Ann in Pasco. They plan to leave on the 24th.
Scott, Bob, and Rick left Cincinnati today bound for Madison, WI. They made it to Crawfordsville, IN, where they stopped in at Midwest Willys for some repairs.
It seems we are all working out some Gremlins. Jim Fowler is dealing with some brake issues on his jeep. Bill Reiss needs to get his carb running correctly. And, David Eilers struggled with some tight hub bearings.
Merlin finally solved his transmission problem. He’s ready to go!
David Eilers successfully pulled Patterson from Seattle to Pasco, Washington. Normally, the drive takes just over three hours. However, he took the scenic, slow route, with some stops along the way to adjust his front wheel bearings. Apparently, he tightened them too tight (He says he thought he had left some play).
About 10 minutes into his journey he pulled over and felt both front hubs. They didn’t feel hot. Then, he got stuck in stop-and-go traffic for about an hour heading eastbound on I90 (for those that know the area … from Tiger Mountain on Highway 18 all the way to the first big curve on I90 east of North Bend).
He climbed the pass, pulled off at Snoqualmie, and felt the hubs. They were hot to the touch. He loosened the bolts, let them cool, and had some delicious BBQ at Webbs. Everything he and his wife had tried — pulled pork, brisket, sausage, potatoes, coleslaw and corner bread — have been excellent and surprisingly affordable!
They were still feeling hot by the time he reached Indian John Hill east of Cle Elum. So, he readjusted them again. About that time, a father and his sons walked up and asked about the jeep, so he had them sign the right fender.
After Ellensburg, he took the Ellensburg-Selah Canyon Road and stopped to feel the hubs again. Loosening the bolt wasn’t working, so he retrieved his tools and worked on the driver’s hub.
It wasn’t easy, but he finally got it to give. The second hub (passenger side) was more difficult and, after breaking and older torque wrench (it was already in bad shape) he decided to leave the nut a little loose AND try some rougher back roads. It took several hours at 30-40 mph, but finally the bearing was pushed out a little. After that, he was able to up my speed to 60 mph without any heat buildup.
He made it back to Pasco about midnight feeling victorious! Now, he can take a couple days to refine a few things before he, Ann, Fernando, and Hugo leave for Alaska on the 24th!
David & Ann Eilers have been adding signatures to Patterson, including a couple female LDS missionaries. They were very excited to sign it. Hugo and Fernando Vidal finished up their Operation Pineapple stickers. They are great! David, Ann, Hugo and Fernando head off this morning bound for Fernie, BC, Canada. Hugo and Fernando at work:
Scott Gilbert, Bob Christy, and Rick Pacholski reached Barnesville, Minnesota, where they will stay at Chris McKay’s. Last report is the wagon is finally running dependably. Saturday night they spend the night at Joe DeYoung’s place in Madison, Wisconsin, where they wrenched the night away (a big shout out to him). The night before Scott was forced to stop at Harry & Jo Sheets of Midwest Willys in Indiana, where they also had to work all night. Another big shout out to them as well. It takes a village to power a wagon.
Jim Fowler is about four hours behind Scott, motoring away in his CJ-2A. He lost his speedometer, but he’s got an app to keep track of his speed.
Jim’s Camping setup:
David, Ann, Hugo, and Fernando had a beautiful drive from Pasco to Fernie, Canada today.
Hugo and Fernando arrived promptly at 8:30am. Ann and Dave weren’t quite ready, but they were close. As they finished up, the father-son team applied the AlaskaOrRust.com banner to Patterson. At 9:30am, they left for Canada.
Neither Hugo nor Fernando had driven the planned route up US95, so they were quite surprised when we dropped onto the long bridge that crosses Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Ponderay) in northern Idaho. It’s a dramatic scene, with beautiful blue water surrounded by mountains. Team Pineapple loved it.
After a slight hiccup at the border (David didn’t know he couldn’t handout t-shirts to random Canadians), he was allowed to cross into Canada.
1 Joe, Emily, Merlin, and Brittany reached Hillsboro, North Dakota, today. On the way they met a new friend:
Here they are all ready to hunker down for the evening:
2. Scott, Bob and Rick reached Canada today. Scott’s looking determined!
3. Jim Fowler and Kevin are slowly catching Bill Reiss:
4. Who knows where Bill was? I think he was busy taking pictures.
5. Marty’s jeep looks ready for the road:
6. Rob’s got a new custom lock box on the back. That news saddened me, because I’m very tempted by that ARB cooler.