Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003


Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts



Day 71 - August 15, 2001 - Remember all the nice things I was saying yesterday about how excited I was to be home to Texas? Well, today it was 108 F where we were so I want to modify that statement. It is really hot here! Really really hot! We are glad to welcome Bruce to Texas but we don't usually invite people to visit us in August. We were supposed to arrive at home today but we added the extra day in Colorado, remember? Well, we wish we were still enjoying the cool air on the Arkansas River. We only have 180 more miles to go after today and we will all be enjoying the air conditioning of our home in Bryan.

Our drive today was for 235 miles, stretching from the Panhandle of Texas (Childress) to a little southwest of Fort Worth (Stephenville) and the predominant thing we will remember about this day is the heat. We passed a lot of ranches where the cows were all clustered under the one or two trees in their pasture. Only the horses were foolish enough to be out. The horses and us, of course. There is no air conditioning in the Model T's and the wind was hot and strong. Modern cars are generally aerodynamic so the wind sweeps over them easily. You may notice a strong cross wind but not much else. In a T, everything is boxy and square. The lines are vertical and flat instead of sloped and curving like a newer car so the wind hits us hard, like a wall. Even with the windows open, it can physically rock the car. It wasn't as strong today as yesterday but still a factor in our speed. Ross and Bruce commented that, in England where the wind comes from the North Sea, the wind is cool even on hot days. Here, it is like a furnace. The land is flat, either agricultural or grazing, and dotted with oil wells (if we had only a few of those, we could possibly pay for this trip!). I didn't take many landscape pictures today.

We seem to be developing a problem with Ross's car that we've been watching all day. The wheel bearing in the rear axle, the same one that broke 100 miles south of Prudhoe Bay, is acting up. If it fails, he could find himself sitting on the ground. We've been babying it, covering it with oil to keep it lubricated and stopping more frequently to check it. We could replace the axle by taking out the differential again but that would keep us from getting home tomorrow. This has been the most consistently well performing car on the tour and Ross wants to arrive at home on his own tires. Whatever happens, we are not leaving a car behind at this point. We will all go home together.

815a - Ross and Bruce are always out ahead of the rest of us each morning and they spend the time checking the cars. We start every morning by checking the oil, the water in the radiator, oiling the bearings, checking out the tires. . . The generator in the coupe has stopped working (a Model T generator) and they were trying to find the problem when we came out this morning. The car runs without the generator but the lack of battery power means Jennifer doesn't have lights. It also means that she cranks the car rather than uses the starter. That's how it is with Model T's. They may not run well but they nearly always run.


815b - The railroad played a big factor in the settlement of Texas and still cuts through most of the small towns in our path. This is a coal train, running empty this morning, and barreling down the track.


815c - If the picture is clear enough, you can read that the sign says "Hardeman County". This West Texas county was named for two of Ben's ancestors who were active in the Texas Revolution. The town of Quanah was named for Quanah Parker, the son of an Indian chief and a white woman who was kidnapped as a child. Years later, she and her children were "rescued" and brought back against her will to her relatives. She grieved for her husband and lost children and died shortly after of a broken heart. Quanah grew up in both worlds (although not really at home in either world) and, when he became chief, reached an agreement with the United States that brought peace to his people.


815d - Ross discovered that there was a problem with the wheel bearing when we stopped in Quanah. You would be amazed at how quickly he can pull that wheel off and pack grease around the bearing. This is the parking lot of a convenience store. He checked it at lunch at a Dairy Queen, in the shade cast by downtown buildings on Main Street in a small town, and under a tree at a roadside picnic area. So far, it is still running and we hope to keep it that way.


815e - This is oil country. Hundreds of these pump jacks are running (and hundreds more are not) bringing up oil from the vast pools underlying this area of Texas. If you are surprised to see the pump and not the oil well derrick that you've seen in the movies, you are not alone. The derrick is used when drilling; once the well is underway, the derrick is moved and the pump put in its place. Many of these pumps have been in operation for fifty years or more, serviced and kept operational but still pumping oil from the same pool.


815f - This is one of those interesting things you see on the road. This pipe is big enough that we could have driven the T's through it and the guy is carrying it on the road. You can be sure we moved over and gave him lots of room when he passed us.


815g - A message from Ross for his friends at the Bosch plant in England, "Carry on, Mates!"


815h - A message from Jennifer to Ross's friends at the Bosch plant in England, "How much will y'all give me to hold him under?"

Note: We have a number of photographs that were taken with 35mm cameras that we were unable to use on the web during our tour because the photos need to be scanned. Within a short time after we return home we will scan the better photos and post them on the appropriate days. We will mark the days to which we add new photographs by placing a red asterisk next to the date. (August 16, 2001 * )

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