Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003


Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts



Day 57 - August 1, 2001 - We started out early for our drive into Jasper National Park. What a beautiful place! If you ever have the chance to come to Canada, be sure to plan a visit to Banff and Jasper National Parks. The mountains, lakes, and streams are stunning and rise almost vertically from the roadway. The road, a good two-lane paved road through both parks, is in the valley between the peaks. The passes are well-designed, high and steep but no hairpin curves and a passing lane. There are only a few places where the road even goes high so it isn't frightening and intimidating as mountain driving can often be. We discussed the differences between this park and Denali. This one has one primary road through the park, you can see all the beauty and go further by hiking or backpacking if you want to. Anyone, no matter than their physical or financial condition, can enjoy this park. Mt. McKinley, the primary focal point of Denali National Park, is isolated to only those who can hike back into it or can afford the $75/person to ride the bus. (Of course, if the weather is good, you can see McKinley from the Parks Highway but you are miles away.)

We stopped in the morning to see the Athabasca Falls, a thundering gorge with walkways that allow you to stand near the edge and feel the power. We ate lunch in the parking lot and drew a crowd. They were fascinated by the cookers, of course, and by the cars themselves. We were asked over and over if we really thought we'd make it to Alaska!

While we were stopped at the Falls, Ben mentioned to Ross and Bruce that he had heard a strange sound the last few miles. They fiddled with it and we went on but the sound became worse. Finally, we pulled off into a little picnic area and started checking it out. They checked this and that but couldn't find the cause. We discussed going on but they decided to take one more look at the engine. With Ross revving the engine, there was a loud, ominous sound and Ross immediately turned it off. We had broken the crankshaft. Now, this isn't a 75 year old Ford crankshaft (those were still running in the other cars). This was an $1100 newly designed crankshaft from New Zealand that Ben had installed to ensure that we wouldn't have to worry about the crankshaft. What do you do when you break a crankshaft in the middle of Jasper National Park? You call AAA, of course. Amazingly, they sent a wrecker from Banff (the direction we were going) who came and found Ben in the middle of the park.

Ben and Jennifer stayed with the Fordor and the rest of us set off for Banff, a long drive with night coming. It was a beautiful drive, with a number of mountain passes, and we still had light until around 10:00 pm. Fortunately, there wasn't a lot of traffic after dark (there is probably a reason for that) and we drove on into the night. We stopped for gas and a break at Lake Louise and were surprised when the wrecker with the T pulled up in the same station. Jennifer and Lucky rode on in the T with Bruce and Nancy rode with Ben in the wrecker. The owner of the motel came down and opened up so we could get our keys at 1:30 and the others arrived at 2:00 am. We talked them through town to the motel with the walkie-talkies. We all went to bed with the thought that we would decide what to do in the morning.


801a - As soon as you enter Jasper National Park, you are in the mountains. The water is that gray-green glacial water we saw in Alaska since many of the mountains here have glaciers in the peaks.


801b - The road runs low so you are in the middle of mountains on both sides and the sight is almost overwhelming. They are so huge and rise so quickly from the valley to tremendous heights.


801c - The snowcaps and glaciers are hidden in the clouds that hang over the mountains.


801d - The wooden walkways bring you within feet of the rushing water as it falls over the gorge. If you look closely, you can see the T's on the other side of the river.


801e - A more distant view shows the mountains behind the river. The Athabasca Falls are breathtaking to see and very accessible to anyone able to walk. One fascinating feature of these falls is the abandoned channels that the falls used to take until a weaker spot changed the direction of the flow. Again, you can see the T's in the distance.


801f - This is a popular spot so we planned to eat our lunch on the running boards. We drew a crowd.


801g - Another beautiful scene in Jasper. It is hard not to take pictures of everything you see.


801h - We saw a large herd of mountain goats grazing along the highway. Over to the side, we saw this mountain goat family coming to the buffet.


801i - The mother and her baby enjoyed a cool drink from the roadside. When she finished, she walked away but the baby stayed to continue drinking. Suddenly, the baby realized she was gone and bounced after her, bleating "Mom, I'm not finished yet!"


801j- Stopped at the picnic area, Ross and Ben investigate the noise under the hood.


801k - The view from under the car. The crack in the crankshaft is horribly obvious in the smooth casting. Fortunately, the crack occurred while testing in a parking area and not on the mountain pass we were getting ready to go over. Otherwise, the entire engine could have been destroyed.


801l - The rainbow glows over the Fordor as Ben waits for the wrecker from AAA.


801m - Canadian geese enjoy the sunshine along the Athabasca River.


801n - The Fordor on the wrecker. It took the driver three hours to get to Ben from Banff and he was no timid driver. After driving for eight weeks at 25-30 mph, it was unsettling to be rocketing over the mountains at 115 km/hr. (about 80 mph). It took the T's about six hours to drive from here into Banff.


801o - The three T's still on the road take a brief break on the road to Banff. This was a pretty stop and gave us the chance to regroup after a long hill climb. Ross, Ginger, Bruce, Nancy, and Taylor the dog all drove in the T's while Ben and Jennifer waited for the wrecker.

For Further Information Contact:

Ben or Nancy Hardeman
Texas T Parts
1820 Gray Stone Drive
Bryan, Texas 77807
Tel: 979-361-0271
e-mail: or

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