Friday August 4th: You Want to do What?

At the Arctic Circle: Pictured left to right bottom row: Joe’s CJ-3B, Joe, Emily, Bill, Cowboy, Russ, Don, and Jim’s CJ-2A. Picture left to right top: Jim, Marty, and Don.

This is the full and final update related to Alaska Or Rust trip. Our collective objective was to drive as a group from Dawson Creek, BC, to Fairbanks, Alaska.

In the late afternoon of Thursday August 3rd, the group finally arrived in Fairbanks, tired. When we went to check in, there was some confusion, but we got everything corrected. Afterwards, we all went out to have some great barbecue at Big Daddy’s BBQ in downtown Fairbanks. We’d been on the road since early morning, so pretty much everyone was tired.

While awaiting the delivery of our meals, Joe got the idea that we all should drive to the Arctic Circle starting at 3am or so on the morning of August 4th. He calculated the trip would take six hours and that they’d be back before our 11:00am meet-up at the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. Essentially, they’d be driving on only a couple hours sleep on a muddy, gravel road.

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The drive to the Arctic Circle sign. It’s a mostly gravel and mud road with few pullouts and a lot of big rig trucks. It’s a 194 miles north of Fairbanks.

After some discussion, others decided they wanted to go, too. This led to more discussion on when they should leave. Eventually, the group decided to leave around 2am. David told them to have a good time, but also that they should be back by 11am, because they’d all agreed to attend a museum event.

“Oh yeah, we’ll be back in time,” They promised. At one point Cowboy asked David if he’d be mad at them if they didn’t show up in time. He told him that of course he’d be mad. He’d floated the idea of the meet-n-greet by them before having Rick make the arrangements and everyone agreed it would be fun. But, he also told Cowboy that he’d get over it. He appreciated their sense of spirit; he just wanted them to abide by what they agreed and that was to attend the meet that they’d worked to arrange.

To make a long story short, 11am rolled around and they weren’t back. Those left in Fairbanks rolled over the to the museum. When we arrived we learned there were already folks there who wanted to meet us. Noon rolled around and they weren’t back. 1pm came and went and they weren’t there. Finally, about 1:20pm, they appeared at the parking lot. Here are some pics of their journey:

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On the way north.
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Sixty miles to go.
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The Arctic Circle drive is dirty business. Bill’s face it peaking out over his rolled down window.
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Marty at the Yukon River crossing.

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Thursday August 3rd: Reaching Alaska

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The mosquitoes are REALLY big up here.

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

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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.

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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.

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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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Final Days of Alaska Or Rust Still to Come

Alaska Or Rust officially ended on Friday night, August 4th. The crew celebrated with a couple events in Fairbanks. Posts covering the trip from Beavercreek to Fairbanks AND our final day in Fairbanks will be uploaded over the next couple of days. So please stayed tuned as David Eilers, who had authored the posts you’ve read thus far on this site, catches up from exhaustion!

A quick update: it is Saturday morning, August 5th. Some of the crew have already flown out of Fairbanks. Others are turning back from here for home. Several folks plan to drive up to Dawson City, before heading home. Those crew members will likely document their journey on their Facebook accounts.

A few of us (David, Ann, Fernando, and Hugo) will head to Anchorage, before heading to Seattle. Those latter four’s journey home from Fairbanks can be followed on eWillys.com.

The 22 people who constituted the Alaska Or Rust crew bonded in a way only adventure and adversity can. To a person, we are all ready to tackle another adventure together. Hopefully timing, money, and everything else will coalesce some day into something else. Until then, we will all savor the shared experiences and our new friendships. And, we wish them safe travels on their return journey.

 

Wednesday Aug 2nd: Perma-Grins Despite Melting Permafrost

Wednesday Aug 2nd: Perma-Grins Despite Melting Permafrost

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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