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Day 23: Aug 11, Patterson Ends His Alaska Journey

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features
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Patterson, put to bed.

We were a little slow getting going, but eventually we got back on the road.

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This kindly Canadian waved us goodbye from Prince George.

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Upon leaving Prince George, we headed south, straight for the fires; and, it showed.

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We were driving south in hopes we could see the Frasier Valley (Hugo’s wish), but the relentless fires in BC drove us West at highway 24, a normally scenic backroad made a mess due to the traffic diversion coupled with road work. It made the short detour a very long one. When we finally reached the end of highway 24, we were greeted with a long, steep downhill drive that required I shift down to 2nd. Patterson was pushing us pretty good down that hill, the first time I’d felt that the entire trip.

At Hwy 5 we turned south toward Kamloops, then ran into stop and go traffic. We also picked up just enough cell reception to text. About then I received a text from Marty. We began texting back and forth about the fact that we were stuck in a traffic jam. It turns out we were only about fifteen minutes apart. Throughout this trip this group just found ways to run into each other.

Since the four of them planned to stop in Abbotsford, we stuck with our plan to reach Renton as soon as we could. What we didn’t expect were the mountains between Kelowna and Abbotsford. There were multiple climbs and multiple drops, larger than any others we’d experience anywhere else in the trip (the exception being the steep drop earlier in the day at the end of highway 24 .. it was steep, but not as long). It was the first time I felt our Grand Cherokee struggle a little as we pulled Patterson. It was relief when we left those mountains behind!
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It was also a relief when we arrived at the Sumas border and found a short line to cross into the US. We went through first. Fortunately, they didn’t ask where all our t-shirts went! Though our crossing was easy, the customs discovered that folks at the Alaska border hadn’t stamped Hugo’s passport, which meant they had to go inside and explain why. Inside, they asked when Hugo was flying out of the country. Fernando told them the correct date, but Hugo got confused and said a different date. This caused some confusion. Ann and I waited about twenty minutes before we saw their jeep approach us.

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In Sumas, the Vidals removed their stickers and gave them to me.

After that, we began our two hour drive to Renton, arriving in the dark. The next morning, we put Patterson away, effectively ending his trip. He might have only driven a small portion of the highway, but it was a blast while we were doing it. It worked out better that way in the end, as I could drive while Ann took video and snapped pictures.

EPILOGUE

On Saturday morning we unpacked quickly, carefully washing Patterson in the process. The ol’ DJ-3A needed a gentle wash before being put away. We plan to preserve all the signatures with a clear coat.

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2017-08-12-patterson4 2017-08-12-patterson5 2017-08-12-patterson6 2017-08-12-patterson7 2017-08-12-patterson8 2017-08-12-patterson9While Patterson’s journey was over, we still had some traveling to do. At noon, Hugo and Fernando dropped their rented jeep off at Seatac airport, then piled in our jeep (which had been cleaned up earlier in the morning .. it was a bit messy after three weeks on the road) and made a short drive to Pasco. On Sunday the 13th we drove them down to Rupert, Idaho, where Fernando had a van he’d purchased waiting for him.

Upon completion of the purchase, we said our final words to our venerable, trustworthy, happy-go-lucky traveling partners and new-found friends. Rather than goodbyes, Hugo summed it up perfectly in Portugese “Ate Logo”, which means “until next time”. We couldn’t agree more.

At that point, we drove back to Twin Falls, spent the night, then drove home. Hugo and Fernando hit the road once more, driving cross country, bound for Florida, in a newly purchased vintage van.

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Our last photo together. What a wonderful three weeks it was!

From all of us, thanks for following our trip:

PS. Yes, Hugo and Fernando made it to Florida in just four days. How many people can say they’ve driven with one of their parents from Alaska to Florida and, better yet, still liked them afterwards? Hugo has since flown off for Brazil. I hope I have even half the energy and enthusiasm he has at his age!!

 

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