Sunday July 30th: Cruising the Alaska Highway

Sunday July 30th: Cruising the Alaska Highway

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.


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.

All prepared to lead the caravan.
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.


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.

Staged and ready for the bridge.

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Sunday July 23: Alaska Updates


Lots of updates on members:

  1. David & Ann Eilers have been adding signatures to Patterson, including a couple female LDS missionaries. They were very excited to sign it.
    2017-07-22-lds-signaturesHugo 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:
    2017-07-23-hugo-fernando-stickers4 2017-07-23-hugo-fernando-stickers1
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
    2017-07-23-jim-fowlerJim’s Camping setup:

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Vintage Jeep Enthusiasts to Drive the Entire Alaska Highway
in ‘Willys’ Jeeps Over Five Day, 1,500 Mile Adventure —

PASCO, WASHINGTON– February 03, 2017– This July, to celebrate its 75th anniversary, a group of travelers from across the United States and Canada will drive the entire Alaska Highway in vintage Jeeps. The trip, dubbed ‘Alaska Or Rust,’ will span five days and cover the nearly 1,500 miles between the famed highway’s start in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and the end at Fairbank, Alaska.

“Honestly, we’re taking this trip purely for the adventure and comradery of doing so,” said David Eilers, publisher of and one of the trip’s primary organizers. “This group shares a passion for old Jeeps and a common desire for adventure. If we can spread some goodwill from the US through Canada, and into Alaska, then that’s a successful trip.”

The group will launch as three separate caravans: 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. On their way to Dawson Creek, each caravan will make scheduled stops where additional travelers can join. Upon arrival at the highway’s entrance, the three groups will merge and convoy together throughout the whole of the Alaska Highway.

“The beauty of this trip is that it isn’t the high-speed, air-conditioned affair that’s become so common on the Alaska Highway,” said Bill Reiss, another of the trip’s organizers. “We’re driving our old, beloved Jeeps—models from the 40s, 50s and 60s—and by doing so, we’re paying homage to the rugged and beautiful story of both the Jeep brand and the Alaska Highway. It’s an adventure for us and a tribute to some incredible history.”

The ‘Alaska or Rust’ caravan has already attracted attention from sponsors like Jp Magazine, a favorite periodical of vintage Jeep lovers, which will send a contributor, Traci Clark, to document the journey. Two sponsors have already joined the effort, Allied Jeeps and Overland Diesel. Additional sponsors will be announced shortly.

Fans are encouraged to join the adventure by following the group’s Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, which will update as connectivity allows. Additionally, a daily trip recap will be posted on organizer Dave Eilers’ trade publication,

To join the trip, learn more or sponsor a portion of the journey, visit

About the Alaskan Highway:

The Alaska Highway was constructed during World War II for the purpose of connecting the contiguous United States to Alaska across Canada. It begins at the junction with several Canadian highways in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and runs to Delta Junction, Alaska, via Whitehorse, Yukon. Completed in 1942 at a length of nearly 1,500 miles long, the highway was opened to the public in 1948. Legendary for being a rough, challenging drive, the highway proved perfect for showing off the capabilities of early military Jeeps.

Media Contact:

David Eilers: 831-325-9616;;

Roberto Flores, Artist Extrordinaire

Roberto Flores, Artist Extrordinaire

4nieveAll the art on the site was created by jeep enthusiast and master artist Roberto Flores, who lives and works in Spain. One of Roberto’s favorite topics to illustrate is jeeps, partly because he owns the CJ-3B to the right.

Roberto’s drawings and doodles, known for their accurate, yet whimsical depiction of jeeps and their owners, has won him wide acclaim among jeep lovers world-wide. His work is featured on many jeeps sites as well.

All the participants in this year’s 2017 Alaska or Rust event appreciate his above-and-beyond contribution to our effort. We return the favor with a plug for him. If you want a unique piece of artwork, he’s more than willing to tackle your project. Contact him at

Alaska Or Rust Convoy

Alaska Or Rust Convoy



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. Final routes will be chosen, soon. Groups will be limited to about ten per unit. The trip is expected to last between three and four weeks, depending on the route and whether participants want to drive or fly back.


These rules are meant to set expectations for the trip. We will keep this list as short as possible.

  1. PARTICIPATION: Participation is by invitation only, but we welcome inquiries. Our goal is to have a diverse set of jeeps and people.
  2. $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.
  3. 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.
  4. RESPECT: We expect participants to be respectful to other participants and non-participants. Bad behavior reflects badly on all of us.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.