Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts


Day 70 - August 14, 2001 - We stopped for gas this morning at a combination gas station, convenience store, and coffee shop. As soon as we pulled up, truckers and other customers started pouring out to look at the cars. One of the clerks was particularly interested and kept coming back with questions and to take pictures. When we were about to leave, we heard her talking with some burly guy about the cars. "You think they'll never make it? They've already been!" Even though we all have car signs showing the trip dates and we are clearly headed south, we are still asked daily if we really think we will make it to Alaska.

Remember when I was telling you how cold we all were in Alaska? Well, we're back in Texas now and it is hot! We left Garden City, Kansas, this morning and it was in the low 80's, reasonably cool and comfortable. We crossed over into the Panhandle of Oklahoma and it was in the high 80's. When we drove into Texas, a bank sign indicated that it was 92. Ross says that it doesn't get that hot in England; he isn't sure what that would translate to in Celsius. Their thermometers don't go that high.

We fought a powerful headwind all day and moved much more slowly than we had hoped to travel. It took us nearly five hours to go the first 110 miles, way too slow for the 262 miles we planned to drive today. The Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles are in the high plains and the winds are notorious. As the day went along though, we drove out of both the high wind and the heat. It is really pretty pleasant tonight.

For the first hundred miles (Kansas and Oklahoma), the land was level as a table. You could see for miles in any direction. Where it was irrigated and cultivated, it was green and healthy-looking. Where it wasn't, it was gray or brown, with sage or dirt covering the ground. This portion of Texas, though, has a lot more character. Hills, bluffs, draws and dry stream beds make for a more interesting drive. There were some small towns, some with 1000-2000 people, some with less than 100. But, just like in Alaska, we wondered about the hardships of living in such isolation. As much as possible, we are avoiding the cities so it is possible that Ross and Bruce will leave America thinking that nobody actually lives here.

Ross's car broke a timer spring but, otherwise, we've had no trouble. (Please excuse me as I say a quiet "Horray!" ) We hope to make it home by Thursday evening so that means another two days of hard driving. We plan on 235 miles to Stephensville tomorrow and then 170 more on Thursday into Bryan.

Speaking of home, we were all excited when we crossed the state line into Texas. Even Bruce and Ross shared our enthusiasm to be "home". We may be hundreds of miles from Bryan and have several more hard days to get there, but being back in Texas brings a sense of relief like we felt when we crossed the border back into Montana. We've had a wonderful trip and seen some wonderful places but this is home.

814a - We left Garden City this morning without stopping for gas, assuming that there would be a station fairly soon. It was nearly 40 miles before we found a gas station and, when Ross filled his 9-gallon tank, it took 9.09 gallons! Thus far, Ben has been the only one to run out of gas and Ross would be very embarrassed to join him in that category. He wants all his friends in England to notice the price he paid for the gasoline - $1.39/gallon. In England, gas costs approximately $6/gallon.


814b - More flat prairie or grazing land all the way to the Kansas border and across the panhandle of Oklahoma. It was flat, flat, flat. Very few trees, few buildings, little to break up the scene all the way to the horizon. (Lots of 18-wheelers, though, to break up the monotony.)


814c - There is a song by a Texas singer with the line, "and the road goes on forever . . ." He may be from here. The road undulates in front of us but never varies in its southern direction. Bruce has marveled at the idea of one road, going for hundreds of miles in basically a straight line.


814d - This photo is for our friend Bruce Campbell of Anchorage. The coupe has made it to Texas; you can assume that we won't be calling you to make good on the warranty any more.


814e - We're not in Kansas anymore. A quick stop at the Texas border to welcome Bruce to Texas and to cheer for the fact that we had made it from Texas to Alaska and back again.


814f - The landscape begins to change a little from the flat-as-a-pancake stuff we've been passing through to some hills and draws. One series of hills turned out to be a little steeper than we had anticipated and Jennifer fell behind in the coupe. When we realized we'd lost her and slowed down for her, she saw us and asked what was wrong. We told her we weren't sure if she would make the hill. She laughed and radioed back, "I made it up Rabbit Ears Pass; I can make it up that little hill!"


814g - A very typical Texas scene. The windmills draw water for the cattle out on the range. It requires no electricity and, in this windy country, keeps the cattle alive during the long hot summers. The water is drawn from a well which may have water even though the surface streams and ponds are dry.


814h - We passed field after field of cotton growing, much of it blooming now. This is a little later than cotton blooms at home because of the later arrival of spring here, but it is green and healthy and in perfect rows. We grow a lot of cotton in Texas. Think of us the next ime you put on a cotton shirt.


814i - To water these vast fields requires a much more effective system than a simple irrigation canal. We have seen these systems all over the west. Long arms pivot from a central point, supported at intervals by wheels that cut a circular path through the crops. Water sprays from the horizontal pipes (you can see it in this photo) and this particular field is green instead of brown. I find it amazing that it works as well as it does because most of the places we've seen it used are much less level than here.


814j - Ginger drives off into the sunset. (Actually, she is heading south rather than west but why let the facts interfere with a good story?)

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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