Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003

Friday, July 6, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts


Day 31 - July 6, 2001 - We got up in the rain again today but stayed in Skagway until 10:00 am to do some sightseeing. Skagway is a pretty little town consisting of a main street and a few cross streets and the entire town is a historic district. Most of the buildings have had restoration to their 1890's appearance when this was the jumping off point for the Alaska gold rush. Thousands of people, including some women, landed here and then loaded with their gear, climbed the "golden stairway" of the Chilkoot Pass or the not as high but even steeper White River Pass to get into Canada and over to Dawson City where gold had been discovered. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police set up a check point at the top of the pass and required each prospector to have nearly 1000 pounds of gear and food before they could enter Canada. They had to make that climb 30-40 times to get everything up to the top before they could move on. This is a difficult climb in a car over paved roads; these people climbed it on foot, frequently in the snow, loaded with everything they could carry. There is a famous photograph, reproduced in part on the Alaska license plates, showing a line of men trudging up that mountion in the snow and there isn't six two feet of space between them for as far as you can see.

Once we had all reached the top, we gathered at the Customs Office at the Canadian border. Fortunately, they don't require you to bring in 1000 pounds of goods anymore - we've got these T's loaded about as much as they can carry as it is! The rest of the drive passed through some pretty country and by some beautiful lakes but that was our only serious climb for the day. After a long day, we arrived at Carmacks, Yukon Territory, a stopover place for the miners on the way to Dawson City and not much more than that now for modern travellers. The Hotel Carmacks was pretty basic and had a really low-class bar attached. We all went to bed concerned about the drunken native americans who were standing around outside the bar and were pretty taken with our cars. We hoped that the lack of darkness would serve as protection and went to bed.



706a - Skagway is a charming town and we spent a little more time there than we should have for the drive we had to make. Here the T's are lined up across the street from the historic hotel we stayed in.


706b - The view from the climb was spectacular, even in the rain, but Ben and Nancy got an even better look when their Fordor stalled on one portion of the climb. Ross and Steve came back but we told Ken and Jennifer not to stop. The climb was too steep for them to risk not being able to get going again. An adjustment to the carburetor and the low bands got us back on the road again and we very slowing climbed our way up to the top. We didn't have any more trouble and were awfully glad to see that summit sign. The pass is less than 3500 feet but starts at sea level and, as I mentioned, is REALLY steep. And the sign in the background warns drivers not to stop because of landslides.


706c - The view from the windshield. The cars only have a windshield wiper on the driver's side and that is manually opererated (Ben has to physically swipe it across the window). The rain was cold with a strong wind. Our car has windows but the others only have side curtains so it can be uncomfortable. None of the cars have heaters.


706d - The Canadian side of the mountain is more of a plateau and we passed numerous crystal clear lakes in front of snow-covered mountains. The day was so cloudy that it is hard for a picture to capture how beautiful the scenery actually was. You can see a low clowd in front of the mountain to the left.


706e - This is really isolated country: few towns, very rugged landscape, icy water. Most of the people on the road were other vacationers like us, except they were in giant motor homes or pulling a big 5th wheel trailer and we were toodling along in our Model T's. This beautiful inlet is about mid-way between the top of the mountain out of Skagway and our destination at Carmacks.


706f - Ben and Nancy Hardeman entering the Yukon Territory. Do we look cold? It was almost 100 in Texas on the day we drove this road. Hard to imagine it being so warm at home when we were so cold.


706g - We stopped for gas at the Braeburn Lodge, (world famous for their giant cinnamon buns!) about 2/3 of the way between Whitehorse and Carmacks. A man came rushing over and asked to interview us for his radio show and we spent about 30 minutes talking with Roy Goose of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio Canada. This is their National Public Radio and he hosts a show called Northwind out of Inuvik, Northwest Territories. He interviewed Ben and Ross and taped the sounds of the T's starting up. Inuvik, for those of you without a Canadian map, is pretty much the top of the world, less than 1800 miles from the North Pole. Roy is a native, born and raised in Inuvik (but educated in Washington, DC) and he was wearing shorts and a tee shirt while we were all so cold. We have seen a lot of that - for people who live here, this was a beautiful summer day.


706h - This picture was taken at 11:30 pm as the sun was finally going down over the Yukon River in Carmacks. It rose again about 1:00 and was a bright as day around 2:00 am. Photograph by Ginger Hardeman.


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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