Adventure Research Archives

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1952 Story About Boy Scout Trip in a Willys Truck

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

Scott shared a link to this 1952 story about eleven Boy Scouts who drove for 73 days across the country and back in a single Willys truck. It’s worth a read:

http://www.oldwillysforum.com/forum/showthread.php?13083-5000-miles-73-days-11-Boy-Scouts-1-Jeep-Truck

Here’s how the story begins: “In the summer of 1952 I was one of 11 Boy Scouts from Glen Ridge who joined Troop 3 Scoutmaster George Gimbel on a 73-day cross-country adventure. The trip took in 22states and two Canadian provinces. Nineteen fifty-two was years before the construction of the Interstate Highway System, so all of our travel was via state and local roads. We saw the country up-close. We camped out every night in national parks, state forests, and Boy Scout camps.”

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A 2013 10,000+ Mile Trek in a 1950 Wagon

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .
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Dan & Jean’s 1950 Willys-Overland Jeep Station Wagon

I was doing some research on a Willys Overland site in downtown Denver when I stumbled upon a blog from 2013 about Jean and Dan. They rebuilt a 1950 Wagon they called Jenny, then traveled 10,300 miles through 15 states to visit 12 western National Parks over 63 days.

This link summarizes the trip, with the latest posts at the top: http://www.ati-engineers.com/blog.
there are lots of pics and videos.

This link summarizes the build: http://www.ati-engineers.com/willys-trek-2013/history-of-our-jeep.html

This example video highlights a drive across Hoover Dam, with music playing and the engine chugging happily:

 
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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.
 
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Brazilian Couple Touring the Globe in a Wagon

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .
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Linho & Vanessa on the Alaskan Highway.

Brazilian married couple Linho Bergamin and Vanessa Zandona Sartori are touring the world in their modified wagon. They plan to travel across five continents over several years. They began their journey in Brazil and have already gone a long ways.

After traveling to Prudoe Bay last month, they made their way south on the Alaskan highway, drove through Canada, and are currently in Toledo, Ohio. From there, they will head to Niagara Falls. According to Vanessa’s Facebook page, they will be in the United States until December, then they will ship the jeep to Africa and continue their trip.

Here is the official Facebook page for the trip. It includes still photos and videos: https://www.facebook.com/avoltaaomundo/?pnref=story

I’ve assembled the following maps based on photos they’ve posted on Facebook and a small map they have there as well.

Map 1 of the trip, from Brazil to Colombia:

trip-part-1

Map 2 of the trip, from Panama to Prudoe Bay, Alaska:

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1946 Jeep Trip to South America

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

This article appeared in the October 8, 1946, issue of the Southeastern Missourian. Mr. and Mrs. Irwin Kenyans, Mrs. Katherine McGregor Wallis and her daughter Miss Trinket, planned to travel all the way to Tierra Del Fuego in a CJ-2A. I could only find one article and one photo, partly shown below. You can see the full version of the image at Getty.

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Caption: Katherine MacGregor with Friends Before South American Trip To South America In A Jeep. Chicago, Illinois: Putting the finishing touches on their jeep before they leave for a year’s trip in South America are (left to right): Mrs. Katherine MacGregor Wallis, Mrs. Anne Knehans, Irwin Knehans, and Miss Iranket Wallis of Quito, Ecuador. Trip To South America In A Jeep. Chicago, Illinois: Putting the finishing touches on their jeep before they leave for a year’s trip in South America are (left to right): Mrs. Katherine MacGregor Wallis, Mrs. Anne Knehans, Irwin Knehans, and Miss Iranket Wallis of Quito, Ecuador.

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Twenty Year Old Girl Jeeps Through South America

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A story from the September 20, 1962, issue of the Toledo Blade (and a similar story on the 10th as well) shares the tale of Lou-Bette Herrick’s three month trip through South America. The Richmond Virginia native entered into the adventure after responding to an advertisement placed by Hilary Dunstervile for a companion to drive back to her native country of Venezuela. I did a little research on both women, but didn’t find any updated information on them. It doesn’t say what kind of jeep they used, but there is a reference in the article to camping out in the jeep, so it might have been a wagon.

1962-09-10-toledo-blade-herrick-south-america-adventure1 1962-09-10-toledo-blade-herrick-south-america-adventure2 Continue reading

 
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Jeep to Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota

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

From the 1950s until 1968 visitors to the Black Hills of South Dakota could purchase tickets for a ride in a jeep to Harney Peak.  The ride would take visitors up to the CCC built lookout at the top of the peak, the tallest point in the United States east of the Rockies (visitors could also hike or ascend via horseback).  You can view various pictures of and from the lookout here. Erosion due to the jeep trail ended the trips by jeep.  The area around the peak was also turned into a wilderness area (and one could argue given the road how that might happen, but that’s another a debate for another time), so no vehicles are allowed anymore.

Black Hills National Forest: Harney Peak and the Historic Fire … – Page 51

This picture was taken at Sylvan Lake. They employed both flatties and CJ-5s. Custer State Park – Page 104

Gerald sent these digital versions of this postcard to me a couple years ago.  You can also buy it here.