Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003


Thursday, July 26, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts



Day 51 - July 26, 2001 - This was the perfect Model T day! This is the kind of day we planned the tour for, the trip of a lifetime in only one day. We saw two bears. We saw a moose, standing on the road. We saw waterfalls and rushing streams and the beginning of the Canadian Rockies. The sky was blue, the weather was warm, the road was practically empty. It was fantastic! (Word of warning: lots of pictures to follow!)

We left Watson Lake around 8:30 am, heading for Muncho Lake, British Columbia. The Alaska Highway weaves back and forth between Yukon Territory and British Columbia about 7 times and, finally, turns south into British Columbia. We had some pretty dusty road construction for part of the morning and a little bit of rain right after. But, for the most part, the road was dry and paved. You always hear about the Alcan Highway and how rough it is but we have found it to be a fine road and there wasn't much traffic on it today. We passed by the twisted remains of a huge culvert east of Watson Lake (the largest culvert in the world, built in 1998) that washed out in June, shutting down the Alaska Highway for several days. We went through on a detour but you could see some big lawsuits in the making.

We stopped for lunch at a place called Coal River where Jennifer fixed a delicious lunch of Tuna Helper on the manifold cooker. A important point for those of you who have asked, a manifold cooker won't work on a modern car. Pasta burns easily so we cooked and ate in the same place, instead of putting it on and letting it cook while we drove. You would be surprised how good Tuna Helper can be when you have a river running beside your table (the runningboards of the cars).

As we drove along after lunch, Ben spotted a bear. This was a black bear (not a grizzly) and she was strolling along eating berries from the bushes along the roadside. We didn't go check to see if they were wild strawberries like we had seen that morning or something else. Once again, we were surprised at the apparent lack of concern the bear had for us and for the cars. She was cautious and watched us briefly to decide if we were foolish enough to challenge her and then went back to eating. She walked along parallel to the cars from one end to the other. Pretty amazing. Later that same day, Joyce and Ken spotted a grizzly and the Lillekers and the Hardeman girls all got a brief look at it before it dashed off into the woods.

About 30 miles outside of Muncho Lake, there is Liard River Hot Springs Regional Park. Ben remembered stopping there in 1987 so we all went in to check it out. Jennifer, Ginger, and Ross all floated in the very warm water but the rest of us just swatted mosquitoes. I've never seen a hot springs before and will be a little better prepared next time we visit one. When our young drivers were properly cooked, we set out for the final part of the drive to Munch Lake. We hadn't gone too far when we rounded a curve and a young moose was standing in the road. We have seen a few moose but always in the water. Moose have v-e-r-y long legs with knobby knees. He was curious about us but not frightened until a modern car swung out and around him and scared him off the road.

It was in that last 30 miles that the drive opened up and, topping a rise, we could see our first glimpse of the Canadian Rockies. Every curve we rounded, every hill we topped, revealed another wonderful view. By the time we reached Muncho Lake and saw the lovely place we were spending the night, we couldn't do anything but change our schedule and stay another day. We were scheduled to drive to Ft. Nelson on Friday and stay two nights so we just swapped it around and decided to stay here two nights instead. We won't be off schedule in the long run and we will spend our free day in a much prettier place.


726a - I had to start with this picture, even though it was taken near the end of the day, just to be sure you got to see it. What a fabulous picture! What a fabulous day! The car closest to us belongs to Ross Lilleker and his father Bruce is riding with him. Bruce arrived just in time for the perfect day.


726b - This isn't a very good photograph because the light meter focused on the sunlight but I wanted you to see the place where we had breakfast. This is a roadhouse, the Iron Creek Lodge, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, where we had a wonderful breakfast cooked to order and sat on this screened porch overlooking the river. This is what we came for. (And, if you're interested, the place is for sale.)


726c - This is the Liard River, one of the rivers-that-run-into-rivers that make it to the Arctic Ocean. It is really as green as it looks, not with algae but with staining from the copper in the soil around it.


726d - One more of the series of mountains that are always in our view. You can see for miles in this photo and not a McDonalds or Wal-Mart in sight. (Which only goes to show that you can't ALWAYS find a Wal-Mart when you want one.)


726e - We've gotten several emails about "Ben's new ride" but, in actual fact, it has become Taylor's new ride as Jennifer has quickly adapted to the pleasures of riding in a car with windows.


726f - The photographer way up there is Ben, trying to get a good shot of the T's lined up in front of the river across from him. Which only goes to show how far (and how high) a good photographer will go to get a picture. He probably climbed 30-40 feet for this perch.


726g - Unfortunately, even the best photographers sometimes misjudge the value of the shot. While it was a great view of the river from way up there, he was too far away to get the shot he wanted.


726h - We've been asked for a picture of the manifold cooker in place. It actually hooks over the manifold and the heat from the engine cooks the food. In this case, we ran the cars in place until the pasta was done.


726i - Here, Ross has removed the lid from the cooker and is stirring the pasta. Just like any stove, some are hotter than others and we've found that the food cooks faster on Ross's engine than on the one in the pick-up truck. Jennifer may need to write a cookbook when we are through.


726j - I guess you would call this one Ben's bear since he spotted it first. I can't tell you how cute these guys are; they look just like the teddy bears you see in the store. It is hard to believe when seeing these docile-looking animals that they could shred you with one swipe.


726k - Here, the bear takes a little more cautious look at these guys getting out of these funny-sounding cars and taking pictures. Maybe she's wishing she had brought her camera; her friends will never believe what she saw today.


726l - She decided we're not so interesting after all and moves on towards the woods. Fortunately, Ben and Ross decided not to try for a closer shot.


726m - This picture is just to show you that Nancy is learning to drive the Model T coupe. You can't see her but she is inside the car, gripping the wheel. The sign is a warning to watch for buffalo on the road, not the sort of thing you see at home, is it?


726n - Jennifer and Ginger enjoy the hot springs at Liard River. Actually, the hot springs were really hot so no one stayed in for any length of time.


726o - The walk back to get my bathing suit would be like running a gauntlet of mosquitoes (the boardwalk was raised above a wetlands) so I just stuck my feet in the water.


726p - This is Nancy's moose. We came around a corner and the moose was just standing in the middle of the road. I was scrambling for my camera when a car zoomed around us and frightened him. Do you remember the TV program, Northern Exposure? Does he look like that moose?


726q - As we got closer to the Canadian Rockies, the streams got more turbulent. They do rafting on some portion of this river, getting out of the water near here.


726r - Another beautiful scene. If you look carefully in the distance, you can see the T's passing on the curve ahead. Every corner had another beautiful sight.


726s - The Canadian Rockies and the Texas to Alaska Adventure - perfect!


726t - This is Muncho Lake. Can you see why we decided to spend another night here? Our schedule doesn't usually allow us to make this kind of decision but we are so happy that we could this time. The lake is almost an emerald green, colored by the copper deposits in the area. If you are looking for a place to go to really enjoy the wilderness, the Northern Rockies Lodge in Muncho Lake, BC, would get our vote.


726u - Ken and Joyce's touring car at Muncho Lake. A perfect end to a perfect day.

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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