Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003


Thursday, August 16, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts



Day 72 - August 16, 2001 - This is our last day of the tour, assuming we make it home without something stopping us. We are concerned about the bearing on Ross's wheel which is the most serious problem. Each of the other cars has something not quite right. The Fordor is running very rough, missing and misfiring frequently. The pick-up is misfiring, although not as frequently as the Fordor. The coupe hasn't had a generator for days and the mag isn't working either. We have been worried that the battery will go down. But we are all running and on our own wheels. We only have 180 miles to go to be back at our home in Bryan. We all want to get there but are reluctant for the tour to end. It has been a challenge, more than we ever anticipated, and we have become very dependent on each other during this time.

The drive turned out to be uneventful. Hot, dry, through some tiny towns suffering from economic depression, to the green belt that is Bryan, Texas. We kept rolling, eating lunch at the same place we stopped for gas. We didn't stop to check anything. If it was rolling, it was holding together. If we took it apart to check it, it might not go back together again. When we turned off onto the highway that would lead us to our home in Bryan, Ben radioed Ross that we only had 7-1/2 more miles. Ross replied that he could drag it that far! We passed the factory that Ben used to own and several of our friends came out to wave. It was exciting and I was surprised to find tears in my eyes.

When we pulled into our street, we backed the cars into place for pictures, just as we had done when we left ten weeks and two days earlier. Some of the people and cars who left with us then aren't with us today. One person and one car that didn't leave from Bryan are with us now. We all look a little scruffy. The cars are pretty dirty. We were all happy that we made it all the way home, just as we had set out to do. We smiled for the photos and hugged each other and expressed our amazement that we had made it. I walked through my house, touching and exclaiming over everything: my couch, my bed, my bathroom, my air conditioning!

We hadn't been home long when Ross drove his car into the shop and started disassembling it. The bearing had disintegrated and the axle was badly damaged. It is a wonder he wasn't sitting on the ground somewhere. We have new axles and new bearings so it will be fixed. We have an air conditioned shop to fix it in. And we have time to fix it. We plan to be here for a few days (we are still on schedule).

It is hard to know how to end this journal so, if you will bear with me, I will probably add another day or two with thoughts and memories of the trip. This has been the most challenging thing any of us has ever done, a test of both us and the cars. We met, and were befriended by, some unbelievable people, total strangers to us who cared for us and helped us and watched over us. We saw country unlike any we have ever seen, some beautiful and some harsh, some open and some overwhelming. We have seen America at 30 miles per hour, in cars that attract attention everywhere we went. We have talked with children and bikers and store clerks and vacationers, all of whom are amazed at what we were doing. We have held up traffic in 14 states and 3 provinces and only had four people actually be ugly to us. With all the breakdowns and trouble that we had, we still had people emailing us saying, "I wish I could be with you. We want to go with you next time."

Would we do it again? Probably not to Alaska again. Probably not 72 days again. But some place else? Maybe.


816a - This part is Texas is still agricultural but has some of the larger cities in the state. Had we stayed on the route we were taking, we would have driven through Wichita Falls and on into Fort Worth and Dallas. We have gone that way many times in our modern car and the traffic is awful and the road is always under construction. We didn't want to take the T's that way so we cut off down through the countryside. We passed through many small towns and past a lot of ranches. We saw a lot of cattle.


816b - As I mentioned on another day, the cattle are smarter than the people. People are out working in the sun (or driving it in) but they find shade whenever possible. If there are fifty trees in a pasture, the cattle will spread out under the trees. If there is only one tree, they will all huddle very close to each other, under that one tree.


816c - Another typical Texas scene. Historically, hay was baled in rectangular bales. Newer equipment rolls it up into large round bales that dot nearly every field. It makes for a pretty pasture and the hay actually holds up better.


816d - Bryan/College Station is the home of Texas A&M University (whoop!) and this barn along our route shows this farmer's loyalties. Ben is an Aggie, Nancy's daughter Tricia is an Aggie, and Ginger hopes to be one within the next year. Jennifer attends the University of Texas (the Aggie's arch rival) in Austin.


816e - A lunch and gas stop in Marlin, TX, attracted the attention of these three young boys. They really liked the old cars and wanted to know where you could buy a car like this and where we had been. We let them climb into the car and they were ready to drive - future Model T'ers, I think.


816f - The Brazos River at Waco. We are 90 miles from home when we cross this river. The Brazos starts in north Texas and runs through the state. On its way, it passes through our county so crossing this river made us feel like we were almost home.


816g - Bruce has been looking for "proper trees" the entire time he has been with us. These are along the West By-pass to Bryan, within a few miles of our home.


816h - Home at last! We lined up in much the same order as we had the day we left, filled with excitement at the successful completion of the Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure.


816i - We had hardly been home long enough to unload the suitcases when Ross started tearing into his roadster. He had driven two days on this questionable axle and bearing and wanted to see what he had.


816j - Within 30 minutes, the differential was in pieces on the floor. We had some friends coming over to welcome us home and we figured this would be more interesting for them to see than any old photographs. And it was.


816k - The damaged axle. Note the heavily worn place along the shaft. He was probably losing metal with every rotation.


816l - A group of 25 to 30 of our friends came by to welcome us home tonight. Many of them knew us but didn't really know the girls (and, of course, didn't know Ross and Bruce) until they read about them on the trip. Now they feel like they've known them for years. One local club member, David Janssen brought a printout of the entire journal and we were amazed at the size. It filled a 2-inch notebook! We have been so surprised at the interest people have shown in our adventure and have been pleased, touched, and sometimes amused by the letters sent supporting our efforts.

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

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