Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003


Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts



Day 1 - June 6 - After a get-acquainted dinner at the Hardeman’s the night before, we all gathered on Wednesday morning, June 6, to set out on our great adventure. Ben had finished his two vehicles just the night before and neither was really road-tested. The comment was made that one of his cars hadn’t run in 40 years and the other had a new engine, transmission, and Ruckstell rear axle and hadn’t even been out of the garage! (The Spring 2001 purchase of Texas T Parts had interferred with a timely completion of the restoration.) Ben and Nancy planned to drive the 1927 Fordor and their daughters, Jennifer and Ginger, would be driving a 1926 pick-up.

Tour participants David Johnson, his daughter Sue and her husband, Bill Capps had driven over from Mabank, Texas. The other couple, Ken and Joyce, had driven in from Tennessee and already had 600 miles driving over to start the tour with the rest of us. Ross Lilliker had flown in from England for the tour, having shipped his 1926 right-hand drive roadster on ahead.

The pictures show the fanfare take-off. Unfortunately, Ben’s Fordor didn’t make it very far before we noticed smoke coming from under the dash. After a brief analysis, the other drivers started off and Ben, Ross, Jennifer, and Ginger set to work. The apparent problem was a defective ignition switch, but the next day, the real culprit was discovered to be a short in the ignition wire to the coil with a bolt bracing the dash to the firewall. While the car was being worked on, Ben felt that the engine had become too warm considering the short distance driven so decided to remove the thermostat from the water outlet neck. A large wad of cotton fibers were lodged in the thermostat. The culprit was a mouse, who chose the radiator to make his new home. So, before starting off again, the Fordor had a new radiator installed.

After a quick lunch, we started again. Less than a mile away, another problem developed involving the new engine in the '26 Roadster Pickup. Fortunately, it wasn’t as serious as once feared and we started off a third time. A few minor adjustments along the way and the cars were well on their way to catching up with the others, if not by nightfall then the second day. Just outside of Temple, a mere 80 miles from Bryan, Jennifer’s pick-up truck made a loud snapping noise and refused to go further on it's own. Ross towed the truck into Temple where we set up "shop" in the parking lot of a Texaco station with bright lights. It became obvious that the problem was in the rear axle and Ross and Ben disassembled the drive train, propping the truck up on plastic beer crates and jacks. It took more than 24 hours to rebuild the axle and during that time, an amazing number of people appeared and offered assistance. Rick Clark, a local Model A man, came that night and brought additional jacks, took Nancy to get food for our group, and produced a firm 2"X12" board which we still have (never know when you are going to need a hard surface for a jack!). Our friends,Steve Markowski and Jennifer Pardue, who drove up from Bryan at 11:00 pm to bring some needed parts. At about 10:00 pm, Temple residents, Frank and Robin Ach, saw us and came to see if they could help. In the next 24 hours, these kind people provided coffee and food; brought lights and a generator (the Texeco station turned off those great lights at 11;30); gave Nancy, Jennifer and Ginger a bed for the night; fixed a hot breakfast for the woman and brought some out to Ross and Ben who had spent the night by the cars.


The night before the adventure! Bill and Sue Capps, David Johnson, and Ross Lilliker get acquainted over burgers at the Hardeman's house the night before we left Bryan.


Ben, Ken, Ross and Bill. What T trip ever began without a few last minute adjustments?


We're ready: 10 people, five cars, four dogs and a trailer. Alaska or bust!


Unfortunately, bust came earlier than expected. An overheating radiator stopped the Hardeman Fordor before we made the main road. It seems a mouse had built a home in the radiator.


Change out the radiator before we set out again? No problem for the young man from England. Ross pulled the former mouse palace and replaced it with a second one before lunch.


After 80 miles of smooth driving, the 26 pickup truck being driven by Jennifer Hardeman suddenly stopped running. Ross towed the truck into a Texaco station in Temple, Texas, where a quick examination revealed that something had seized up in the differential. Ben and Ross, with some assistance from Rick Clark, a local A man who responded to our call for help, began the task of disassembling the rear end in the parking lot at 8:00 pm.


Bracing the truck on coke cartons loaned to us by the ladies at the Texaco, Ross and Ginger work on finding the problem.


Still smiling at 10:00, we still weren't aware of everything we were up against. Notice the grease on everyone involved. Note the oil in the parking lot. Note the fact that Jennifer and Ginger are holding the differential in their hands.


Lucky checks out the broken pieces of the smashed pinion bearing. This was prior to the realization that Ben and Ross were going to have to camp out beside the cars, still in the parking lot of the Texaco, because the ladies at that station were shutting off the lights and going home. Nancy, Jennifer, and Ginger accepted the kind offer of Frank and Robin Ach to spend the night at their home in Temple. The Achs were incredibly kind to us, total strangers to them before they offered to help.

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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