Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003


Monday, August 13, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts



Day 69 - August 13, 2001 - Day 69! We want to know the address of the website where they are taking bets on whether we actually make it back to Texas! Somebody somewhere must be setting odds.

We left Canon City early this morning since we had a long drive today, over 260 miles. We are on the final run for home and the countryside is hot and flat. We figure we can go a little further than when we were climbing mountains every day. The mountains ended with the area around Canon City and, as Ben promised, everything else was flat (or nearly so). The traffic was heavier than we expected (not too many roads going cross-country, I guess) but the first 50-70 miles was four lane. Then, it dropped back to two lane and we were dodging cars again.

My brother-in-law, Roy Russell, had told us to be sure to stop in Rocky Ford, Colorado, a great fruit-growing area. We pulled into a nice-looking fruit market called Smith's Corner for a few cantaloupe and wound up staying almost two hours. Greg Smith, the owner, is a Model T man himself and just happened to have a few T parts in the back of his antique shop next door. The guys followed him around to his garage at the back of the building and found floor-to-ceiling auto parts and accessories. Not all were Model T parts but he had enough to make our group happy. Now what are the odds that we would pick the one fruit market in a town brimming with fruit markets where the owner knew what a trembler coil was?

The drive into Kansas was long and tiresome. The country has a stark kind of beauty but, once again, we were in a very remote area, with miles between communities and only one road connecting everything in a long, straight line. At one point, Ben and I saw something on the road ahead which we thought was an animal. We finally realized that it was a car, miles ahead, that we could see because the road was so flat and straight. There was an occasional farmhouse, surrounded with gigantic old trees, and everything else was totally flat. (Are you getting the idea that it is really FLAT here?)

We arrived at our motel in Garden City, Kansas, around 8:45 pm. We didn't realize that we were going to have a time change (finally back on Texas time) and that, combined with the stop at the fruit market, made us later than we would otherwise have been. Ben hopes for an early start in the morning and, if all goes well, we'll be in Texas by tomorrow night. We are only 100 miles from the Texas border but we hope to spend the night in Childress, Texas, another 250 mile drive.

P.S. Ben asked me to mention that we have additional photos taken by Jennifer and Ross on their conventional cameras that we could not use because we don't have a scanner on this trip. If you are interested, we will be adding some of those, probably as an addendum, after we return home.

813a - After we left the mountain area, the land flattened out into rolling grazing land. We drove east, beyond the rumbling traffic of Interstate 25, to the rumbling traffic of Highway 50. (I'm kidding; it was heavy but it was NOTHING like I-25.) This is what you expect the American West to be: cattle grazing, grassy prairie, mountains in the distance. Pretty country.


813b - Don't you love to see a field where the crops are growing in perfect lines? The cornfields, not just this one but every one we saw, had the most perfectly straight lines in the rows. Even when the corn was tall and had filled in, you could still see the pattern. How do they do that? Ross says that in England, the rows are evenly spaced like they are here but they follow the curvature of the land. If the field has a squiggly edge, the crop is planted in an evenly spaced squiggly line. In America, I think we are much more likely to make the land conform to a straight line.


813c - An innocent fruit stand, that's what we expected when we stopped at Smith's Corner. Ben carries fresh peaches and cantaloupes picked this morning. A gentleman from the community had followed us to the market and asked if we'd be willing to be interviewed by the local newspaper. I told him yes but that we didn't have a lot of time, we had a lot of ground to cover and my husband was in a rush. The reporter came and went long before we ever got out of there!


813e - Ross Lilleker installs the new coils into the coupe. He was cleaning the old coils when Greg Smith, owner of the fruit stand walked up and asked if he was interested in looking at some he had in his garage. In America, these are often referred to as ignition coils. In use, the top plate "trembles". Thus, the name.


813d - Our finds: Jennifer holds an electric horn. Ben has a wonderful brass side light from an early brass T. Ginger has an oil can (Lord knows, we can use another oil can) and some original Ford T Model keys. Ross holds the trembler coils. Greg was good enough to let him test them so he knew he was buying good ones (he has a bunch of bad ones already). Bruce is not in this picture because we couldn't get him out of the garage.


813f - Greg Smith, Bruce Lilleker, and Ben Hardeman discuss the perils of the tour.


813g - I love the sign on this truck! I know; it has nothing to do with Model T's or the tour. But have you ever seen so many onions?


813h - Welcome to Kansas! This is the first time Ben has ever driven a Model T in Kansas. We came this way specifically to allow us to cross over into Kansas so we could add that state to our list (and to avoid driving through Amarillo, TX, in the T's). We are crossing the state line and just look at how flat it is.


813i - This is a feedlot, one of many along the way. The cloud you see in the picture is not fog or dust; it is methane gas from so many cows being together in one place. The smell is enough to encourage you to become a vegetarian. I was scared to death that our motel would be downwind.


813j - A close-up view of a feedlot. I imagine if you live here, this smells and looks like money. But, if you are driving around in an open car, it is pretty awful.


813k - You can see for miles in any direction here. Literally, that isn't an exaggeration. Hard to imagine that just two days ago, we were driving over 13,000 foot peaks.

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

Go to Texas T Parts Home Page

Back to Alaska Tour Information Page