Tammy and Danny Godbey pose by the Arctic Circle sign as they pause for a break during their Alaska travels with Mike and Judy Akers. (Photo from http://www.ckmarc.com/alaskatrip)
Mike and Judy Akers and Tammy and Danny Godbey arrived on their cross-country adventure to Alaska last weekend driving their Model A's (read the OCW article about their journey). The couples departed from their homes in Kentucky on June 2 and have averaged about 300 miles per day. Their slow-motion excursion has led them through Yellowstone and Glacier national parks, the Canadian Rockies and finally to Alaska on Saturday, then on to the Arctic Circle on Wednesday. Below are excerpts from some of their most recent blog entries.
June 19 (Danny & Tammy)
We’ve been very pleased on how our A’s have performed in the mountains. We top off the radiator each morning with a quart of water and there have been no overheating issues. Some of the mountains require driving in second gear but the overdrive second gear or fourth gear is well suited to the grades giving adequate climbing power but not racing of the engine.
We noticed what might be vapor lock when stopping the cars for a short while and then attempting to restart – not sure whether it’s the elevation, the added alcohol content of the gasoline or the extra heat caused by mountain climbing.
We fashioned a heat shield for the gas line out of aluminum foil from Judy’s kitchenette held in place by floral wire. If that doesn’t fix it, Mike suggests adding a little diesel fuel to the gas mix.
June 20 (Danny & Tammy)
We crossed the Alaska state line on Saturday afternoon and even though the scenery was similar to the Yukon, there was an immediate feeling that something was different and in some strange way - we were home!....You could take away all the modern cars and RV’s, and our grimy little Fords and campers on the horrible roads would appear to be a scene straight out the movie “The Grapes of Wrath”. On entering Alaska, the excitement of reaching a milestone and the accompanying sense of thankfulness to have driven so far and finally be on Alaska soil was almost overwhelming!
The Model A's were coated with mud following 300 miles of dirt, dust,
mud, rocks, potholes, and craters enroute to the Arctic Circle, as
evidenced by the Akers' car, shown here with Mike behind the wheel.
(Photo from http://www.ckmarc.com/alaskatrip)
June 21, 2010 (Danny & Tammy)
Today is June 21st, the summer solstice, the longest day of the year and the day we drove to the Arctic Circle where on this date the sun does not set. We left our Fairbanks campground at 6:30am and arrived at our destination at 4:00pm. In between were some of the nastiest roads we have ever encountered! Our A Models look like the “mud run” winners at the local county fair. It was over 300 miles of dirt, dust, mud, rocks, potholes, and craters. Mountains with seven degree grades with names like “Twister” and “Roller Coaster” forced us to use second gear a lot. What we thought would be an eleven hour round trip turned into an eighteen hour adventure. The scariest part of the trip was rolling into the only gas stop on fumes and finding out that they were out of gas. We did not have enough fuel to go back or go on. There were about a dozen people there that had been stranded since early that morning. Thankfully the gas truck soon arrived and we were on the road again. The gas station was selling “We’ve been to the Arctic Circle” bumper stickers for $5 but we figured anyone who looked at our cars could figure out where we had been. Tomorrow we plan to explore Fairbanks a little more before heading further west.
June 22 (Mike & Judy)
... I have a milepost [guide] across my lap, radio in my hand, pen in the other hand and my eyes on the milepost looking for the next gas station. Gas stations are scarce and we have to keep our tanks full. ... We found this great museum called the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum last night of antique cars and vintage clothing. We got there just before closing and we had it all to ourselves. We had some fun taking pictures with one of the cars and vintage clothing.
-Judy & Mike
June 23 (Danny & Tammy)
We have experienced our first casualty due to a rock that managed to catch Mike’s driver’s side headlight lens almost exactly in the center. He kept the glass in place with good old duct tape until we got to the campsite. Fortunately, we have a replacement lens with us! We are early in the trip with a lot of rough road conditions ahead so we needed to engineer a type of protective covering. The law requires running headlights on during daylight hours in many areas. We purchased clear vinyl floor mats from the local Walmart and cut lens sized ovals to cover the headlights. The protective covers were secured with duct tape and packing tape. We will let you know how it works out down the road!
The Akers and Godbeys have kept an online blog, which can be viewed, along with numerous photos, at http://www.ckmarc.com/alaskatrip.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MODEL A's:
- Ford: 1928-1931 Standard Statistics Download
- Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1805-1942, 3rd Edition
- Best of Old Cars Prewar CD
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