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1955 Trip from Fairbanks to Argentina

• CATEGORIES: Features, Magazine • TAGS: .

(Today’s only post)

Last night I scanned an article from the February 1955 issue of Kaiser Willys News and prepared it for this morning. But then I made the mistake of doing a google search on Pedro Rocasalvo, the twenty-six-year-old from Argentina mentioned in the article. Down the rabbit hole I went ….

It turns out that the article below barely skimmed the surface of the adventure.  First of all, Pedro Rocasalvo was not traveling solo. He was traveling with his brother, Carlos. They started around 1946 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on bikes. It took them 27 months to reach Los Angeles (and here). From there, they continued to Fairbanks on their bikes, making it in July of 1948.

As best as I understand, they were given a hero’s welcome and a jeep by the mayor of Fairbanks. Once they began their trip south, they picked up a dancer, Celita Dextre, who spoke Spanish and English. By September 1948, they’d reached Bismarck, North Dakota.

Along their journey, the three took color film and several hundred slides. Pedro was supposed to be working on a book, too, but I can’t find any evidence it was published (most likely was published in Argentina).

Maybe Hugo Vidal can help out with this research …. there will be updates to this story!

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7 Comments on “1955 Trip from Fairbanks to Argentina

  1. John S Dilsaver

    I hope we can find out more about the bike trip and the jeep trip, it’s fascinating. I’ve done some bike touring, Buenos Aires to Fairbanks is wonderful!

  2. David Eilers Post author

    I’ve written Hugo about it. I’m hoping he can learn something since he’s in Brazil.

  3. megan

    Carlos Rocasalvo is still alive. He still resides in the united states. Its interesting to me that this article is so recent as i was looking for a an article that was published years go. Carlos Rocasalvo is my childrens grandfather It truly is an amazing story especailly when he tells its himself!

  4. David Eilers Post author

    Hi Megan,

    Thanks for your note! I would be very interested in speaking with Carlos, perhaps even writing an article about his adventure. One of the things I do with eWillys is document the stories of people who have traveled the world by jeep. I only recently stumbled across a reference to Carlos’ trip, which is why this article is so recently. I tried to learn more about trip and had some friends in Brazil searching for more info, but no one found anything.

    This past summer I led a group of vintage jeepers to Alaska. See http://www.alaskaorrust.com. With us was 84 year old Hugo Vidal, a Brazilian who first went to Alaska in a CJ-3B in 1955/56. To accompany him on his return trip to Alaska this summer was a great privelidge! My wife and I got to know him very well and we have become good friends. You can read a short article on Hugo’s trip here: http://www.deilers.com/2017-hugo-whitehorse-newspaper-article.jpg

    Feel free to email me at d@ewillys.com with contact information for Carlos if he’s interested in speaking with or writing me. Or, even forwarding the old article you were hoping to find would be of interest.

    Thanks so much,

    – Dave

  5. Mayra walther

    Hi i just wanna let everybody know that Carlos is my father. He still with us , but sadly my uncle Pedro pass in April 2019. My dad is 93 years old now and still stronge. With little problems that come with age.

  6. David Eilers Post author

    Hi Mayra,

    I’d love to get photos or scans of those newspapers and share them with readers. I didn’t have much luck when searching for any online. If that’s something you can do, feel free to email me at d@deilers.com … Sorry to hear about Pedro’s passing.

    Thanks!!

    – Dave

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