Thursday August 3rd: Reaching Alaska

Thursday August 3rd: Reaching Alaska

The mosquitoes are REALLY big up here.

On Thursday August 3rd we crosse into Canada, bound for Fairbanks.


Some of the team decided to go camp, while others stayed at the Beavercreek Motel and RV Park. It’s rustic. It was the FCA videographer’s last day with us, so he got some last minute coverage, including a long sequence that had us driving away into the distance while a drone followed us.

I was also interviewed to give my thoughts on the trip and Hugo.


Following the filming, we left for the border and to hunt down the campers. The early morning sunrise was very pretty, making for a good photo. The roads were the roughest we’d seen. Melting permafrost portions of the road pretty rough. Various sections were under construction.


A welcome sign gave us our first glimpse of the US. First the campers went past the sign, then the remainder did.


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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. Continue reading

Tues Aug 1: Feliz Aniversario Hugo Vidal

Tues Aug 1: Feliz Aniversario Hugo Vidal

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.


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.

2017-08-01-marty-signforest4 2017-08-01-brittany-jeeps5 2017-08-01-brittany-jeeps6

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

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

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.

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.


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.

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

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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