Alaska Or Rust Trip Research Archives

To Top

Day 5: July 25, From Earthly Mountains to the Plains of Vulcan

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

<– Day 4: July 24th, Surviving the Border  | Day 6: July 26, Almost to Dawson Creek –>


Alan and Sandi from Chilliwack signed the jeep today in Fernie, Canada. Alan was born in Fernie.

Today was supposed to be a short trip; instead, we travelled to Spock’s homeward, Vulcan. Who knew Patterson could take us into neighboring galaxies?? …. (See yesterday’s post here)


We started a beautiful morning in the ski town of Fernie. Our search for a bank led us to the downtown area, which had some wonderful little shops. At the Fernie Meat Market we found a 3rd generation butcher whose grandfather started the shop in 1926. Ann bought some pepperoni and some smoked garlic sausage (both non-beef and gluten free) that was amazing!


At another shop Ann found an interesting set of Moose-like horns that are a coat or towel hanger. Of course, she asked me to pose with them on my head. After the photo, I approached Fernando and Hugo in their jeep and they were laughing at me. It turns out that in certain parts of South America hold antlers to one’s head suggests a certain liberal approach to sexuality. They suggested that I never do that down there. Duly noted!!! (That wife of mine is always getting me in trouble!)


After Fernie, we started our trek east. The maps suggested that we would climb up and over Crows Nest pass. The climb was anticlimactic, as it didn’t seem too high, but it was still a pretty drive.




Continue reading

To Top

Day 4: July 24th, Surviving the Border

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

<– Day 3: July 23, Alaska Updates | Day 5: July 25, From Earthly Mountains to the Plains of Vulcan –>


Hugo and I in front of their jeep in Fernie, Canada, our place of rest for the evening.

The four of us (me, Ann, Hugo, and Fernando) had a beautiful drive from Pasco to Fernie, Canada today. (See yesterday’s trip update here)2017-07-24-pasco-fernie-map

Hugo and Fernando arrived promptly at 8:30am. Ann and I weren’t quite ready, but we were close. As we finished up, the father-son team applied the banner to Patterson. About 9:30am, we left, headed for Canada.


Ready to leave.

The trip went smoothly; Patterson’s front hubs stayed cool, which was a big relief. Neither Hugo nor Fernando had driven the route we’d planned, so they were quite surprised when we dropped onto the bridge that crosses Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Ponderay) in northern Idaho. It’s a dramatic scene, with beautiful blue water surrounded by mountains. Team Pineapple loved it.


This picture doesn’t quite do the scene justice, but it does show how the bridge crosses the late into Sandpoint, Idaho.


After Sandpoint, we wound our way towards the border. That’s when things got more interesting. Communicating via walkie-talkies, we all agreed that Hugo and Fernando (having non-American passports and ETAs) might have trouble getting through the border. If so, I assured them we’d wait.

2017-07-24-canadaBut no. They breezed through. Instead, it was me that border patrol was most interested in grilling. Perhaps it was my Canada shirt? I don’t know, but it went something like this:

Female Customs Official (FCO): Where are you from?
Me: Washington State.
FCO: Where are you going?
Me: We are going to Alaska.
FCO: Sir, what is in the box?
At that question, I turn my head to look back to see what box she was asking about …
FCO, again: Siirrrr, WHAT is in the box?
Me: I mumbled someting as I continue to wonder which box she means. (I was truly afraid something was moving in the box and it might get me!!
FCO: Sir, I cannot hear you when you are not looking at me … What is in the box?
Me: A box of t-shirts. We’d planned to give them away.
FCO: Are you planning to take them to Alaska and give them away?
Me: Well yeah, but also to Canadians along the way.
FCO: Are you holding some kind of event, sir?
Me (suspecting this wasn’t going well): Not really, it’s just a group of friends getting together to drive to Alaska.
FCO: So, your business is giving these away and holding an event?
Me: No, we don’t have a business, nor do we have an event. It’s just a group of friends trying to do something nice.

By this time, I’m pretty sure the FCO thought I was an idiot. Or, at least she made me feel like one. Finally she said:

FCO: Canada treats gifts like sales. You can not just give things away. You need to take these to Alaska and give them away there if you want to do that.
Me: Umm, okay. We were just trying to do something nice…
FCO (showing no break in formality and handing us back our passports): You can go now.

I can’t help but wonder how this goes for Santa. I mean, does customs point out that HE can’t give gifts to Canadian children?

As I puzzled over the answer to the Santa question, we began our drive northeast toward Fernie, Canada, where we’d booked rooms. It was a lovely drive through the mountains and along rivers.

We arrived around 7pm, then found some tasty dinner at a local Bistro. It was a great first day!


Fernie, Canada


Tomorrow we will see the Starship Enterprise!

Other Updates:

1 Joe, Emily, Merlin, and Britt reached Hillsboro, North Dakota, today. On the way they met a new friend:

2017-07-24-merlin-joe-3rdjeep1 2017-07-24-merlin-joe-3rdjeep2

Here they are all ready to hunker down for the evening:

2017-07-24-merlin-britt-joe-emily-camp 2017-07-24-merlin-britt-joe-emily-camp2

2. Scott, Bob and Rick reached Canada today. Scott’s looking determined!


3. Jim Fowler is slowly catching Scott:


4. Who knows where Bill was? I think he was busy taking pictures.


5. Marty’s jeep looks ready for the road:



6. Rob’s got a new custom lock box on the back. That news saddened me, because I’m very tempted by that ARB cooler.

2017-07-24-aluminum-lock-box1 2017-07-24-aluminum-lock-box2


That’s all for now!

<– Day 3: July 23, Alaska Updates | Day 5: July 25, From Earthly Mountains to the Plains of Vulcan –>

To Top

Day 3: July 23, Alaska Updates

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

<– Day 2: Patterson Arrives in Pasco | Day 4: July 24th, Surviving the Border –>

Ann, myself, Hugo and Fernando are starting our trip today. Below is our route to Dawson Creek. I don’t know what kind of connectivity we’ll have, but hopefully in the evening we’ll have some so I can publish updates. I also don’t know how much time I’ll have to do updates, but I’ll do my best to keep them coming throughout the trip. Finally, my email responses may suffer some, so please be patient!


Lots of updates on members:

  1. Hugo and Fernando finished up their Operation Pineapple stickers. They are great! We head off this morning bound for Fernie, BC, Canada. We’ve been adding signatures to Patterson, including a couple female LDS missionaries who randomly stopped by the house. They were very excited to sign Patterson.
    2017-07-22-lds-signaturesHugo 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:

Continue reading

To Top

Day 2: Patterson Arrives in Pasco

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

<– Day 1: July 21, Alaska Or Rust Has Begun | Day 3: July 23,  Alaska Updates  –>

UPDATE: To clarify this post, I’d been spending several weeks getting Patterson ready for the trip. Like everyone else, I had to deal with last minute issues, like my front hubs getting too warm. Here’s my efforts to pull our 1956 DJ-3A from Seattle to Pasco, Washington, where we would officially start our leg of the trip with Brazilians Hugo and Fernando Vidal.

Original Post July 22, 2017: Well, folks, we are one step closer to Alaska; I successfully pulled Patterson over to Pasco yesterday. Normally, the drive takes just over three hours. However, I took the scenic, slow route, with some stops along the way to adjust my front wheel bearings. Apparently, I tightened them too tight (I thought I had left some play, but I guess not enough). I suspected this when I finished installing them on Friday, which is why I made a decision to bring along my hub puller.

About 10 minutes into my journey I pulled over and felt both front hubs. They didn’t feel hot. Then, I got stuck in stop-and-go traffic for about an hour heading eastbound on I90 (for those that know the area … from Tiger Mountain on Highway 18 all the way to the first big curve on I90 east of North Bend).


Traffic was awful!

I climbed the pass on Interstate 90, then pulled off at Snoqualmie and felt the hubs. They were hot to the touch. So, I loosened the bolts, let them cool, and had some delicious BBQ at Webbs. We’ve eaten there twice and everything that we’ve tried — pulled pork, brisket, sausage, potatoes, coleslaw and corner bread — have been excellent and surprisingly affordable!

2017-07-21-snoqualmie-passThere are worse places to hangout and eat.


Everything was delicious!

The hubs were still feeling hot by the time I reached Indian John Hill east of Cle Elum. So, I readjusted them again. About that time, a father and his sons walked up and asked about the jeep, so I had them sign the right fender.

After Ellensburg, I took the Ellensburg-Selah Canyon Road (not sure what the name is offhand) and stopped to feel the hubs again. Loosening the bolt wasn’t working, so I retrieved my tools and worked on the driver’s hub.


Nice evening and view for working on the hubs. This passenger side hub was particularly difficult.

It wasn’t easy, but I finally got one stubborn hub to give. The second hub (passenger side) was more difficult and, after breaking an older torque wrench (it was already in bad shape) I decided to leave the nut a little loose AND try some rougher back roads. It took several hours at 30-40 mph, but finally the bearing was pushed out a little. After that, I was able to up my speed to 60 mph without any heat buildup.

I made it back to Pasco about midnight feeling victorious!

<– Day 1: July 21, Alaska Or Rust Has Begun | Day 3: July 23,  Alaska Updates  –>

To Top

Day 1: Alaska Or Rust Has Begun!

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Day 2: July 22, Patterson Arrives in Pasco –>

UPDATE: The following series of posts details the Alaska Or Rust crew’s adventures (view crew and jeeps here), starting with our separate trips to Dawson Creek, BC, Canada, the official start of the Alaska Or Rust adventure (see overview and why we did the trip here).

There were 11 jeeps and 25 people that headed to the starting line. Our goal was for everyone to meet in Dawson Creek on July 27th, 2017. 


After centuries of planning, or maybe it just feels that way, the first intrepid jeepers are on their way. Scott Gilbert, Rick Pacholski, and Bob Christy are leaving Cincinnati, Ohio, in Scott’s wagon, bound for Paris, Illinois.

Meanwhile, Bill Reiss is about ready to leave Pennsylvania in his updated former Dually Trencher CJ-5 and custom trailer.:

bill-reiss-cj5-top2 bill-reiss-cj5-top1

Merlin and Britt will be leaving soon in their WWII Willys MB, now that his tow rig has a new tranny (these things have to come at the worst time!), along with Joe and Emily in their CJ-3B.

Hugo and Fernando Vidal are flying out late tonight and will be arriving in Portland early Saturday morning. They’ll be driving up to Seattle to pick up their Wrangler (thanks to Jeep’s parent company FCA) and then driving to meet us in Pasco. We plan to leave on the 24th. However, the western fires in British Columbia have led to change our route north slightly.

Day 2 – July 22, Patterson Arrives in Pasco –>