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Post Alaska Or Rust Item: FCA Brazil’s Video of Hugo Vidal

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features, videos

<– Day 21 – Saturday May 19th: Mr. Infamous (Alaska Or Rust Presentation)

UPDATE: I’m still sick so no updates. We made it back to Pasco, where we will stay a few days before heading back to Seattle to help with Dad. In the meantime, Luciano updated the video of Hugo below by adding English subtitles for the Portuguese. Enjoy!

Original post November 14, 2018: On Sunday this video debuted at the Premiere Auto Show in Brazil at the Auto Show’s Jeep Booth. It features our good friend and co-Alaska participant Hugo Vidal. It’s mostly in Portuguese, but some is in English. You’ll see both my wife and I appearing in several clips. The title refers to Hugo as the First Citizen of Jeep Nation. Kudos to Luciano Falconi for his great videography.

 

Hugo also recently published a book on his trip, written in both English and Portuguese. http://www.ewillys.com/…/26/hugo-vidal-has-published-his-b…/

<– Day 21 – Saturday May 19th: Mr. Infamous (Alaska Or Rust Presentation)

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Hugo Vidal Has Published His Book

• CATEGORIES: Books, Features

UPDATE: Here’s the contact information for Hugo’s book if you are interested in purchasing a copy. Hugo’s son Fernando is handling the books and has copies on hand at his place in Florida:

Fernando Vidal: 386-898-2217 or by email op.pineapple.book@gmail.com:
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Original Post September 17, 2018: 

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The book was larger than I expected. It was a pleasure for me to read.

Hugo Vidal, that 85 year old intrepid traveler from Brazil (and founder of AVM) has published his book. I received a copy last week and tore right through it. It’s written in both Portuguese and English. Since Ann and I traveled with Hugo and his son Fernando last year for four weeks, I knew most of the stories he included in his book. But, there were a few new ones and some fuller explanations on others. It’s also full of photos, some I hadn’t seen.

Most of the book centers on the 1956/1957 trip. But, there’s a little bit at the end about the 2017 Alaska Or Rust adventure. And on that, I have a minor quibble. Hugo remembers me contacting him about joining us on the trip. Actually, it was Hugo who contacted me. His eagerness was infectious, as this email extract, the second email he wrote me, underscores:

“…. Since we only heard about the Alaska or Rust caravan yesterday, my son and I rushed to try and find a way of joining in. But I understand now that participation is closed. Even though we don´t even have a vehicle yet, if there is a chance for a place in the waiting list we will somehow purchase, lease, borrow or steal one….”

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Hugo dressed as a Dutch Maiden while on their jeep trip. You’ll have to read the book to learn why.

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On the left is Hugo’s restored CJ-3B. On the right was the 3B for the trip. Note the custom bed extender on the back.

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Ann took this photo of Hugo and Fernando, I believe in Jasper National Park in Canada.

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From left to right we have Charles Downey, Hugo Vidal, and Jan Stekly.

 

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Post Trip Items: Interview with Hugo Vidal

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features

<– Day 22: Aug 11, Patterson Ends His Alaska Journey | Post Trip Items: Alaska Or Rust Article in Dispatcher Magazine –>

Here’s the interview the CBC Yukon did with Hugo Vidal on August 1st in Whitehorse, Yukon, which was also the night of his 84th birthday. It recounts his trip through Whitehorse in 1955.

I was sitting with Hugo when he did the interview. Unfortunately, during parts of the interview, Around the 4:42 mark he asks “have I told you the little poem” well that was him turning to me (away from the microphone). I was thinking at the time, NO … keep talking to the interviewer!!

<– Day 22: Aug 11, Patterson Ends His Alaska Journey | Post Trip Items: Alaska Or Rust Article in Dispatcher Magazine –>

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Day 12: Aug 1, Feliz Aniversario Hugo Vidal

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features

<– Day 11: July 31st, Bison, Bears, and (no) Breakdowns | Day 13: Aug 2, Perma-Grins Despite Melting Permafrost –>

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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, we met up again in Whitehorse.

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The group split for most of Tuesday. Ann and I and Fernando and Hugo took off earlier than the others for a special birthday event for Hugo. Before we left, we stopped at Watson Lake’s sign forest, which I thought was just a few hundred signs. In fact, 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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Ann took this Facebook Live video as we were driving away from the Sign Forest (before everyone else arrived). You can see just how large it is:

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Sept/Oct 1955 Willys News

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: .

Here’s another of my favorite issues of Willys News, as it includes a photo of our good friend Hugo Vidal as he and his two traveling companions (only Charles and Hugo are shown in the pic waving good bye) were about to depart Philadelphia in their trusty CJ-3B for their drive to Alaska.

Also in this issue is an image showing some of the brochures available to dealers. There are two new brochures added since the January 1955 Willys News showed these brochures: 1) The Willys Utility Wagon Brochure and 2) the introductory 1956 DJ-3A Brochure (not available to dealers until 1956).

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1955 July/August Willys News

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features • TAGS: .

This Willys News issue was memorable for me because when Hugo Vidal was visiting our home from Brazil in 2017, prior to the Alaska trip, I shared some of the Willys News issues with him. He thoroughly enjoyed looking through them because he recognized some of the sales people. When he saw Hickman Price’s photo on the front page, he said, “Oh him, I remember”. That is when I realized that the history I’d collected was a history he’d experienced!

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Day 21 – Saturday May 19th: Mr. Infamous

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features • TAGS: .

2017 ALASKA OR RUST TRIP MENU:
<– Post Trip Items: Alaska Or Rust!! 2107 …. The Book –> | Post Alaska Or Rust Item: FCA Brazil’s Video of Hugo Vidal –>

2018 EAST COAST TRIP MENU
<– Day 20 – Friday May 18th: Reunion Day 1 | Day 22 – Sunday May 20th: Hittin’ The Road –>

UPDATE: This almost-one-year anniversary was the final event of the Alaska Or Rust Crew.

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About half the Alaska Or Rust Crew. There were drinks and plenty of laughs on Saturday night.

Day 21: Saturday started at 5am and went to 1am Sunday morning. It was great to meet so many fans of my wife (I think she’s more popular than I am) and, of course, fans of eWillys. I appreciate everyone’s support, including the purchase of the shirts, books, stickers and posters. I nearly sold out of everything, so that helped cushion Day 1’s purse theft. Much appreciated! Here are some photos that Ann took (as I had no time):

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Post Trip Items: Alaska Or Rust Article in Dispatcher Magazine

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features, Magazine

<– Post Trip Items: Interview with Hugo Vidal | Post Trip Items: German Documentary w/ Alaska Or Rust Folks –>

The Fall 2017 issue of Dispatcher Magazine arrived in my mailbox yesterday. Kevin and Bill put together a great article on the Alaska Trip.

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<– Post Trip Items: Interview with Hugo Vidal | Post Trip Items: German Documentary w/ Alaska Or Rust Folks –>

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Early Warn Brochures

• CATEGORIES: Advertising & Brochures, Features

I missed out on these early Warn brochures that sold on eBay. There were two hubcap brochures, also known as “summer hubs”. The third brochure (in yellow) touts the Automatic Warn Hub. According to Hugo Vidal, Warn Industries and Hugo’s company AVM had all kinds of trouble with the Automatic hub, so it was discontinued (possibly in favor of the Warn Lockomatic hub?).
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Day 13: Aug 2, Perma-Grins Despite Melting Permafrost

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features

<– Day 12: Aug 1, Feliz Aniversario Hugo Vidal | Day 14: Aug 3, The Journey Nears its End –>

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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 we 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. Also, many thanks to Stephen and his employer The Department of Tourism & Culture who 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, I went down to check on our jeeps and found a pylon in the back of Patterson. I found that amusing. What I didn’t find amusing was that the case of flavored waters I had in the back of Patterson was still there. Why the heck won’t someone steal those flavored waters? They were bought accidentally by my lovely wife and neither of us found them palatable. I’ve left them in the back of Patterson for days, but I’ve had no takers … literally, no one will take them from us!!

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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 elbows. Had they broke, he could have lost the trailer!

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, we encountered our second rude Canadian of the trip. The guy was upset that we had pulled off the highway and were sitting on a side road. He was all in a kerfluffle over the fact that we had parked on the government’s property (which made no sense since I would imagine most public roads are owned by the Canadian government??). We explained we were broken down and needed a little time to get going again, but that didn’t soothe him at all. Oh well, can’t please everyone. Continue reading

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Day 11: July 31st, Bison, Bears, and (no) Breakdowns

• CATEGORIES: Alaska Or Rust Trip, Features

<– Day 10: July 30th, Cruising the Alaska Highway | Day 12: Aug 1, Feliz Aniversario Hugo Vidal –>

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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 ahead that lingered over the pass we were approaching.

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We drove from Fort Nelson to Watson Lake

We were only a few minutes outside of Fort Nelson when we 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,” I asked.

“I was supposed to let Monicque know when were leaving the city.”

Monicque, this is our apology to you! Fortunately, she’s a professional and was ready for our exit.

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A slight drizzle started, then turned to full rain as we climbed up the pass. The speed dropped and road tightened into a snaking mountian road, climbing until we were surrounded by mist.

2017-07-31-mystWhen we summited, we took a break. Those that had Pacific Northwest Four Wheel Drive Association hoodie-sweatshirts lined up for a photo in the rain.

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PNW4WDA Hoodie wearers. It was a cold day on the summit.

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UPDATE: Operation Pineapple — the 1955 44,000 Mile Trip

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images, Old Images Jeeping, Old News Articles

UPDATE: The world can be such an amazing place sometimes. Last night we got to spend time with Hugo Vidal and his son Fernando. Hugo’s memories of his 1955 trip are very clear, enough so that he’s writing a book about the adventure. His book begins with Operation Pineapple and will end with Alaska Or Rust. 

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Hugo was enjoying looking through the Willys News periodicals from the mid 1950s. He recognized some of people in them.

Originally posted June 23, 2015: The CJ-3B page does a good job covering the history of Operation Pineapple, a 1955 trip by three Sao Paulo Boy Scouts: Hugo Vidal, Charles Downey, and Jan Stekly. You can read everything about it here: http://cj3b.info/Finds/FindsPineapple.html. The Allpar site has additional information and a later photo of Hugo: http://www.allpar.com/racing/road-rally/operation-pineapple.html

Adding to those links, I have found a couple additional photos and more information about the trip. The first photo was published in the September 1955 issue of Willys News:

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Note the missing tire on the spare rim. Hugo says they went through eleven tires. During their trip they had no mechanical issues.

California’s Lodi News-Sentinel published a story about the last leg of their trip on January 18, 1956.

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Fourteen Jeep Adventures 1940s-1960s

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

I’ve been compiling a list of jeep adventures. These are just some that I’ve documented. There’s  few more to add to the list, but this is good for starters. If you know of others, let me know.

  1. Bantam BRC in 1940: The earliest documented trip occurred September 29th, 1940. That was the day the very first jeep—the original Bantam BRC constructed in only 49 days—was driven 270 miles from Butler, Pennsylvania, to the testing ground in Holabird, Maryland. It was an amazing accomplishment given the newly designed vehicle had been barely assembled, let alone tested.
  2. Wolf Blint in 1945: Near the end of World War II, Wolff Blint escaped fighting on the eastern front by driving across Europe to Paris. He documented his story in his memoir, By Jeep To Freedom. The book is out of print and difficult to find.
  3. Soldier and Bride Return from Europe circa 1945: An unconfirmed event, the story unfolds with a U.S. soldier marrying a woman in Europe following WWII. Somehow, he is able to secure a jeep. Together, the pair drive to a port in France or Germany, have the jeep shipped to America, and then drive the remainder of the route to the man’s hometown in Illinois.
  4. Ben Carlin in 1948-1958: In 1948, Australian Ben Carlin began a trek around the world by heading east over the Atlantic Ocean in a modified 1943 Ford GPA (a jeep made to float over water) named ‘Half-Safe’. Over the succeeding ten years, Ben and Half-Safe traveled 50,000 miles over a period of ten years. His exploits filled three books, each book covering his voyage in different ways. Half-Safe can be seen in action in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-Gqi-RlbO0
  5. Helen & Frank Schreider in 1954-1955. Helen & Frank Schreider first jeep ended in a failed attempt to cross Panama in a Willys wagon when their jeep was beat to death as they drove across a long train trestle. For their 1954-55 attempt, they purchased and customized a Ford GPA, naming it La Tortuga. Starting in Alaska, the pair traveled all the way to South America. Subsequently, they wrote a book called 20,000 Miles South: A Pan American Adventure in a Seagoing Jeep From the Arctic (A nearly identical version is published under the name La Tortuga). They also filmed some of their trip and toured the United States giving lectures about their experiences.
  6. Three Boy Scouts Travel 44,000 Miles in 1955: Dubbed Operation Pineapple, three Sao Paulo Boy Scouts—Hugo Vidal, Charles Downey, and Jan Stekly—drove from South America to Alaska and back as part of their effort to attend the 8th World Scout Jamboree in Canada. The CJ-3B Page has an excellent overview of their trip.
  7. Dorothy Rogers & Louise Ostberg in 1955-1956: Dorothy and Louise were two college professors from New York who met while traveling in Europe. They successfully circumvented Africa in a jeep wagon. Dorothy later wrote a book about their adventure called Jeopardy and a Jeep.
  8. Joe Ceurvorst in 1956: Joe wrote a book called Africa in a Jeep about driving around the northern part of the African continent.
  9. Roy Follows and Noel Dudgeon in 1958: Joe and Roy were two Colonial Police officers fighting Chinese Communists near the end of the Malayan Emergency. Ready to head home, the pair bought a Willys MB in February of 1958, then begin a long journey home full of obstacles, broken parts, encounters with unfriendlies and more. Their tale from Singapore to the United Kingdom unfolds in their book about the trip: The First Overland: Four Wheels and Frontier.
  10. Jack & Doreen Shakespeare in 1958: Jack and Doreen drove their early wagon from Australia to England. Lucky for us, they filmed their trip. You can relive their adventures on youtube.
  11. Helen and Frank Schreider in 1960: Ready to his the road again, Helen and Frank rebuild a second Ford GPA that they use to float the Ganges River in India. Their five month 1960 India adventure from the mouth of the Ganges to its source filled forty-two pages of the October, 1960, issue of National Geographic.
  12. Helen and Frank Schreider in 1960-1961: On the heels of their India trip, the Schrieders, again with National Geographic support, tackled the breadth of Indonesia, a 17,000 island archipelago, going to places and completing a trip that few, if anyone, has replicated. Their 4,000 mile trip lasted a year. Their ability to shuttle between islands and over land took them to places no vehicles had gone. Helen and Frank wrote two subsequent articles for National Geographic (May 1961 & August 1962) and a second book, the Drums of Tonkin: An Adventure In Indonesia. They went on to work regularly for National Geographic, though their jeeping days ended.
  13. Harold Stephens in the mid-1960s: Harold drove around the world in a CJ-5 and Toyota Landcruiser. He wrote about his experience in Who Needs a Road? Harold went on to become a travel author.
  14. Dorothy Rogers & Louise Ostberg in the mid-1960s: In the late 1950s, Willys Motors introduced two Forward Control jeep trucks called the FC-150 & FC-170s. Dorthy and Louise thought the latter would make a great vehicle to tour the world. So, they bought one and set off on their second major jeep trip. Dorothy later wrote about their experiences in Highways Across the Horizon.