Tues Aug 1: Feliz Aniversario Hugo Vidal

Tues Aug 1: Feliz Aniversario Hugo Vidal

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Alaska Or Rust jeeps parked in front of Watson Lake’s Sign Forest. The sign forest was a pleasant surprise.

Yesterday the group split, with the Eilers and Vidals leaving Watson Lake early for a special event. Eventually, they met up again in Whitehorse.

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The group split for most of Tuesday. Ann, David, Fernando and Hugo took off earlier than the others for a special birthday event for Hugo. Before they left, they stopped at Watson Lake’s sign forest. One count places the number of signs at 75,000!! It truly is a forest of signs. It’s so big, that the convoy crew told me they spent almost an hour there. Here is a mix of photos from there.

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Monday July 31st: Bison, Bears, and (no) Breakdowns

Monday July 31st: Bison, Bears, and (no) Breakdowns

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Happy 84th Birthday today Hugo! (Aug 1)

Today we drove from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake, a distrance of 326 miles. Partly overcast as we left the city, we could see some dark clouds on the horizon, lingering over the pass we had to climb.

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We drove from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake.

The group was only a few minutes outside of Fort Nelson when David and Ann spotted photographer Monicque Jacobs, who took pictures at Dalex Auto Service’s event on Sunday evening. That’s when Ann shouted, “Oh crap!”

“What’s the matter,” David asked.

“I was supposed to let Monicque know when we were leaving the city…..,” … oops!

Monicque, this is David & Ann’s apology to you! Fortunately, Monicque is a professional and was ready for the group to exit.

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A slight drizzle started, then turned to full rain as they climbed up the nearby pass. The speed dropped and road tightened into a snaking mountian road, climbing until they were surrounded by mist.

2017-07-31-mystWhen they summited, they took a break. Those that had Pacific Northwest Four Wheel Drive Association hoodie-sweatshirts lined up for a photo in the rain.

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PNW4WDA Hoodie wearers. It was a cold day on the summit.

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Sunday July 30th: Cruising the Alaska Highway

Sunday July 30th: Cruising the Alaska Highway

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A great group shot out front of Todd & Diana Penney’s business Dalex Auto Services. We really appreciate their hospitality! Todd is seen to the far left.

After months of planning, yesterday we finally got our chance to drive the Alaska Highway! Our stop for the evening would be in Fort Nelson, BC.

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Yesterday morning was filled by a sense of excitement for the trip to begin. It was the first day of our five day trek to Alaska. We’d planned to leave at 8am, so hustle and bustle was prevalent early.

David drove to the gas station right after waking. Having never filled up Patterson’s custom stainless steel tank, he had no idea how much it would take. But, after having to run into the store to pay for gas several times because he’d misjudged how much would fit into the tank, he returned to the hotel and staged the DJ, ready to lead the group north. Spoiler alert … up to this point, Patterson had started dependably for the past month.

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All prepared to lead the caravan.
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Emily and Joe ready to tackle the Alaska Highway

Naturally, when the big moment came and we were ready to take a quick tour of the local roundabout where his wife Ann was positioned to do a Facebook Live event, he turned the key and …. Patterson wouldn’t start. Joe, quickly recognizing that he was having a problem, gave him a quick push.

Now that he was rolling and, once Merlin also was pushed started (Mortimer and Patterson were in a groove), they drove a short distance, rounded the roundabout and waved at Ann as she streamed them live for everyone to see! Except, there was another slight hiccup. Facebook wasn’t full cooperating, so their FB live was a bust. No matter, they had fun with their little parade.

Their first stop for the day was at the Kiskatinaw wooden bridge, a part of the original (or early) Alaska Highway.

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They stopped just short of the bridge so Ann could ready her camera and Luis, Andreas’ son, could prep his drone. David agreed to wait a few minutes (no cell service) before dramatically entering the bridge.

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Staged and ready for the bridge.

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Sat July 29th @ Dawson Creek

Sat July 29th @ Dawson Creek

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Most everyone arrive on Friday afternoon, but a few hearty souls rolled into Dawson Creek after midnight. On Saturday it was awesome to wake up and see all the jeeps around the motel.

We spent much of Saturday swapping stories. Much of the action was out front of the motel. That in turn caused locals to drop by, say hello and share their own jeeps stories.

Four of those that stopped by were local police. They were very enthusiastic about the trip, so much so, that we had them sign jeeps and pose for photos.

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We had Hugo pose with the officers.

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They also shared some patches, cut off of their outfits.2017-07-29-dawsoncreek-police3 2017-07-29-dawsoncreek-police4

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Friday July 28th: Most Everyone is Here

As of midnight, we still await the arrival of Merlin & Britt and Andreas Gruson, Marcello, and Dario. Everyone else arrived today, exhausted. So, we had a small celebration and got to know everyone. It’s my (David Eilers) 5th anniversary, so this post is brief.

We can’t wait to start! Only 1300 miles before we reach Fairbanks!

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Marty, Rob, Ron, Don arriving at Dawson Creek
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Bill arrived at Dawson Creek
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Tom, Russ, Jim and David (seated) arrived at Dawson Creek.
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Hugo meeting Jim.
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Fernando and Hugo saving David’s butt cuz he hasn’t had time to look at his carb.
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A well deserved beer after fixing David’s carb.
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Most of the group, exhausted form their days of travel.