The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE - (July 1 - July 15, 2017)
Saturday July 1, 2017:
Easy morning cruise 40 miles into Tok, AK. , stop for breakfast and reality check, engine dies won't idle, fearing blown head gasket again (grrrrr, no more spare head gaskets). During breakfast, charge up US cell phone and find it works in AK, call friend in Anchorage, then call Moss Motors to air ship two head gaskets to Anchorage (good or bad engine, we need the spares regardless). Considering pulling two plug wires to avoid blow-through damage and running on two cylinders for several hours (that would be a challenge). Then compression test is not too bad, 125, 120, 110, 110 psi. Re-torque head, fire it up, runs like crap maybe stuck choke? Find one choke return spring disconnected, front carb running on full choke, result of hurried repairs late night before. Reconnect choke spring, runs well, great relief, run to full warm, re-torque head again hot, then on our way.
Prolonged fuel stop in Glennallen, AK with long lines at the pumps, chance to check shock bolts again, adjust heater valve control cable, tighter clip for bonnet prop rod, check water and oil, refuel, grab lunch for the road and haul on. When the territory is hundreds of miles with no appointments and late night daylight, it's easy to just keep on driving. Arrived at friend's house in Anchorage, AK 7:15 pm, about 355 miles for the day, easy compared to the day before. 2145 miles in 4 days, arriving a day earlier than originally planned.
Relaxed and spent four hours chatting with Del Rawlins in Anchorage. You think they like Jeeps up here? Most vehicles in Alaska will be four wheel drive. Near the garage, vintage Jeep on the left, and brother's Jeep on the right (may be needing some gearbox work). Then Del's back country Jeep, followed by the family hauler Wagoneer (the red one). And his sister's Wrangler was parked in the street to make room for my MGA in the driveway. Checking out his MGA restoration project, the car that used to belong to his father. Now why would I be so interested in his shock absorber mounting plate repair?
There's the infamous aftermarket alloy valve cover that had so much attention trying to find another like it for his brother's MGA project. Nice secure and leak proof screw-on oil filler cap. And there's the OEM style front sway bar from Moss motors with the special twist so it does not lie flat.
Del's new house is lots bigger than the old one, but you know there's never enough space. He is busy building a storage shed in back to remove "stuff" from the garage/workshop space.
Half past 11 pm off to Denny's for late night dinner, lucked out and tapped into spotty Walmart WiFi next door for 2-1/2 hours until computer battery was near flat. Managed to upload photos an notes for most of three days, and review lots of email. Snooze time in the small hours of the morning. Actually got dark at 2 am, maybe due to overcast and rain.
Sunday July 2, 2017:
Mid morning search for a WiFi spot with wall outlet. Lucked out on third stop, plug in to recharge, get breakfast, and we plan to have the whole day off to catch up with the world we have been out of touch with for a few days. Planning on better fixing the front suspension tomorrow morning (Monday), overdue for oil changes in engine, gearbox and differential. Then 4th of July parade in Anchorage on Tuesday with some more MGs from local club.
To answer the question, a bit over 122,000 miles since start of trip on 5-May-2014. Plan on a couple of weeks in Alaska, then back to British Columbia (Victoria area) before crossing Canada to Gander, Newfoundland over a few months time. Anyone else in AK we haven't heard from yet wanting us to stop by needs to holler and wave soon. Also taking appointments for anyone and everyone in Canada, including (hopefully) all clubs and shops. Finished and uploaded photos and notes from Friday PM and Saturday, catching up email and tech questions.
Monday July 3, 2017:
Rain and 53dF, not great for working on the car. Forecast claims 60dF and sunny for tomorrow, and 70dF and sunny on Wednesday (I think that's the day they barbecue in Alaska (one day summer). Okay, put off the car repairs for a couple days. After morning email and tech questions, I spent the rest of the day transposing the July newsletter from CMGC onto the club web site, and not finished yet.
Tuesday July 4, 2017:
Up early for breakfast, and staging the cars for the Independence Day parade in Anchorage, Alaska. The club British Sports Cars Alaska had several cars in the parade (as well as our MGA).
The British cars were at the tail end in group 50 of a 51 group parade. Some other interesting stuff here, colorful characters, beauty queens, marching bands, and a lot more.
The parade route was about a mile, and it was lined with thousands of very friendly people, including lots of kids who seemed to like the little cars.
The igloo was compliments of the local ice company. Last photo was a turn about half way around the parade route, people several layers deep everywhere.
After the parade we went to Glacier Brew House for late lunch with some club members. Excuse me while I bitch for a while. After paying for parking we had a 20 minute wait at the bar (with $4 sodas) before we could get a table, as the place was big and jammed. Food was good, and service was okay until we got the tabs, and we think all of the bills were wrong. We had ordered one item (pizza) but had several line items on the bill, including a couple of hard drinks we didn't have. Everyone's bill seemed to have drinks from other table positions, and we were getting billed twice for the bar drinks. To top it off, every bill had "18% auto gratuity" listed TWICE with different numbers, and it looked outrageous. Tried to ask the manager about it, but the best explanation we could get was it is automatically added by the computer, and it is a per person charge. Result was: small pizza $12.95, 18% grat $3.50 (27%), 18% grat $1.60 (12.4%), total 39.4% gratuity. Near as I could figure it must be a minimum per-seat cover charge (and there wasn't even any entertainment, just noise). This place obviously has way too much business and doesn't mind gouging the customers and discouraging them from returning.
Then I spent the rest of the day finishing posting the CMGC newsletter on line, and a good start on these photos and notes. More to post, but out of time tonight.
Wednesday July 5, 2017:
Quick breakfast and morning catch up on yesterday's photos and notes. Today is supposed to be 70dF and partly sunny, so must be car maintenance day. We picked up a few supplies at O'Reily Auto Parts on the way back to Del Rawlin's place, where Del was already busy hauling out a nice workbench, a floor jack and jack stands.
Not long to jack it up and disassemble the LF suspension. Raise the A-arm to unload all suspension parts except coil spring. Tape the tie rod and count turns for disassembly, to be able to put is back in same position after reassembly. Remove upper and lower trunnion bolts to set aside the swivel pin assembly with brake parts. Disconnect the sway bar (yes it is fatter than original issue). Loosen nuts on A-arm inner pivots to allow the MGB GT V8 style bushings (with inner steel sleeve) to rotate. Lower the floor jack and press down A-arm to remove coil spring.
Removed the two outboard studs I had holding the shock absorber (and upper suspension arm) to reveal the inboard broken stud and inboard stripped thread. The idea was to drill out the broken stud and install a Heli-Coil in the other hole working from the bottom, but those locations happen to be above part of the chassis frame, so back to working from above.
Removed the front carburetor for access to top of frame at the shock mounting pad. Drill out the remaining stripped thread using the special Heli-Coil tap drill, and tap the installation thread using the special Heli-Coil thread tap. Had a space problem with not enough clearance to swing the tap handle, so used a 11/32-inch 12-point socket to drive the tap. Now we're cooking, new seating thread straight and clean as a whistle.
Just a couple minutes to install the new 3/8-18-UNC Heli-Coil, get it screwed in to the correct depth, and knock the drive tang off the bottom end. Then we went after the broken stud.
Center punch and pilot drill. Being in an awkward space with limited access I ultimately broke the drill bit. The broken bit was not tight in the hole, so we eventually fished it out with a magnet. The hole was deep enough to use a square shank style Easy-Out, and in short order the broken bolt tip was unscrewed. TA-DA!
I had new studs, but studs as original are awkward with the inner fender obstruction (especially on the inboard side). A short trip to Ace Hardware brought us new grade-8 coarse thread bolts for the shocks (and longer bolts for the trailer spring shackles while we were there). In short order everything on teh car was reassembled. Golden opportunity to lube the four Zerk fitting on the swivel links.
While it was jacked up I went after a loose pipe connection to the exhaust manifold (one missing stud and more missing nuts with only one secure stud). Installed one of the spare shock studs, which was previously left over from soft mounting Twin Cam carburetors (don't throw anything away). Del suggested a touch of high temperature thread lock adhesive. This stuff is Rocksett Engineering Adhesive 15014 from Flexbar, a water based adhesive temperature resistant over 2000dF. Let it air dry for a while, or heat to 175dF for 15 minutes. I recon the first heat cycle of the exhaust system should cure it. If you can't remove the screw or stud later, try soaking it with water for a while. New hex nuts, double nutted and jammed tight together hoping they may stay put better this time. Tighten bolts for the pipe lateral brace strap, and call it good to go.
Wheels back on, time for an engine oil change and new oil filter, also fresh oil in the gearbox and differential, and lube the propshaft while the tail end was up. Five minutes to change bolts in the trailer springs for longer bolts, followed by 15 minutes to clean and pack up all the tools, and finally get the victory picture.
Time to relax and chat for an hour before off to WiFi for email and BBS and tech questions. After 11-pm closing time, feeling particularly chuffed about the day's maintenance success and new confidence in the car, we drove 100 miles west from Anchorage out on the Kenai peninsula. Tough to get a good picture in the low light, but the midnight view of the Chugach mountains and glaciers is fabulous. Wonderful end to a notable day.
Thursday July 6, 2017:
Late rising, then another 40 miles on, landing temporarily in Soldotna, AK for late breakfast and WiFi work.
Something I didn't notice the night before, and I didn't notice being here 20 years earlier, was guard rails. Huh? From my trip here in 1997 I was under the impression that there were no guardrails anywhere in Alaska. Maybe it was related to all the side roads we ran at at that time. In any case, the notable thing here is that there is hardly 20 feet of guardrail anywhere that has not been thoroughly smashed. Sure, icy roads may be difficult here much of the year, but doesn't anyone take responsibility for their own welfare? It looks like a pinball machine.
This fellow took me by surprise. It was a very large porcupine seemingly "playing" in the middle of the road, but by the time I grabbed the camera
all I got was a picture of his rear end hauling off into the the grass. Then approaching Homer a nice picture of mountains across the bay, in afternoon daylight this time.
Then the primary reason we came to Homer, to visit Bay Avenue Garage. A little tricky to identify the location with no number out front but logically located between some other identifiable places. No one answered a knock on the door, although it looked like it should be occupied. On side around back, not visible from the street, we found the business sign where garage space looked like maybe it had not been used much for quite some time. Combined with the only known phone number being out of service we will conclude that this shop is now defunct. Bummer.
After dinner break, at 11-pm we headed out to Homer Spit, several miles farther on, and end of the road with the ferry docks. Most notable here are the over-crowded RV parks, followed by restaurants and other tourist traps along the road.
After a quick visit, turn around and head back, places to go, things to do. 21 miles back up AK-1, hang a left for a mile on Anchor Point Road, to find Anchor Point, the farthest point west that you can drive in North America. The tractors are used for boat launching down the steep embankment leading to the beach. Last time I was here there were a bunch of sea birds doing a line dance on the beach (but that was daylight rather than midnight).
Heading farther back up AK-1 we were spotting a number of Moose (lots of them) grazing on grass beside the road. Easy enough to see in the dim light, not so easy to get the picture without flash, and the first flash disturbs the moose to walk away. Well past midnight it was time to get some sleep (while it is still dusk).
Friday July 7, 2017:
Couple of things to do today. A little up the road (AK-1) turn off to go to Seward (AK-9). Lots of tour buses running here, as it is the only road to/from Sewart Landing where the cruise ships dock. About 35 miles on end of the road in Sewart as we fight our way done a lesser road to Miller's Landing.
Boat launch ramp, a harbor service boat, and one of the cruise ships.
Stopping for a late morning lunch break in Sewart, we found Martin Walters from British Sports Cars Alaska. We figured he was out here somewhere, but didn't think it would be that easy to find him. On the way back a short stop in Moose Pass, the "Peaceful Little Town". This is the same whetstone that was here 20 years earlier.
Another 95 miles on we were back in Anchorage to visit Adrian Dixon at Repairs Unlimited. That's a 1947 Ford in the shop, and a Lotus Espri Turbo under the tarp. He was anxious to get some pictures of the MGA, as he services at least one of those as well as MGB and some other vintage British cars in the area. There is an MGB nearby with carburetor problems that we may be able to help. Adrian was trying to coax the owner into bringing it by the shop while we may still be in town.
Saturday July 8, 2017:
Day off, meaning it's a work day for the guru. Got a message, and took a quick side trip back over to Del Rawlins's place, as our care package with head gaskets had arrived. Then back to work to catch up with a few days of photos and notes. I have a couple of tech pages to update, and maybe a new one to post. Also something about posting high resolution pictures on the Chicagoland MG Club web site.
Sunday July 9, 2017:
A day to kill (sort of). I took the opportunity to make a list of every captive thread on the MGA, cage nuts, weld nuts, and welded studs. Reason? Because these things are NOT listed in in the Service Parts List, but they need to be repaired or replaced sometimes during restoration work. This is the beginning of an effort to find sources for the desired replacement parts, and to define techniques for the repair work. I hope someone finds it useful sometime. New tech page is at CF-160.
Monday July 10, 2017:
Planning on running some rather ratty roads soon, so we visited a tire shop to pick up a pair of trailer tires on new wheels,
just to stuff them in the trailer for spares, just in case. I had this experience 20 years ago on the Dalton Highway on the way to Deadhorse, well north of the Arctic Circle. After two blow-outs due to cut tires we left the trailer behind and picked it up three days later on the way back. Hope we can do better this time.
Then we ran 50 miles north to visit Jason Yardley in Wasilla, AK. Jason is still a repair shop for vintage British cars, although he is getting closer to retirement and will often refer customers to Adrian Dixon at Repairs Unlimited in Anchorage. Jason is a certified factory tech for Jaguar, Rolls Royce, Saab and I think Mercedes Benz as well, but prefers to work on the earlier non-electronic models. His wife likes to call the MGB her car although he ends up driving it more often. The white Jaguar belongs to his wife, who used to drive it a lot, but it seems to have been under the cover for a while now.
The Morgan is a regular fair weather driver. The Citroen 2CV ("deux chevaux or " "deux chevaux-vapeur" meaning "two steam horse" or "two tax horsepower") has been driven all over the world. In Europe they call it a Duck.
There are plenty of potential projects in the wings (most of which he will likely never get to). Not everyone has a Lloyd Alexander TS (1958-1961). The TS model increased power from 18 to 24 HP with 4-speed and higher final drive ratio. Some of the cars out back do have significant value as collectables. Jason is a significant mentor to Adrian Dixon who appears to be taking up the work load for vintage British cars in the Anchorage area.
On the way back to Anchorage we ran across this very nice all wood boat. I don't know if it may be new or recently restored, but it appeared to be all fresh as though it had never been in the water. Outbound on the Kenai Peninsula, it may have been heading for its maiden voyage. At first glance I thought it might be one of the Alaskan built clones of the Healey Sport Boat, except this on is an outboard model a bit smaller. No name on it that we could see with the fly-by.
Tuesday July 11, 2017:
Back to Adrian's shop today to have a look at a 1969 MGB GT belonging to Luke Clement in Anchorage, AK. This car used to belong to his father, and was perhaps maintained for a long time on a shoe string budget. It appears to be mostly original, except missing the air pump. Adrian has previously done a lot of work on this one to get it back on the road. It now has negative camber A-arms to go with the fat tires for crisp handling, but it may still need kingpin bushings. It was running a but rough, fortunately only needing carburetor adjustments to purr like a kitten. Good to see Luke with a grin on his face after the tune up.
Then the Snap-On man showed up, and Adrian had to go make another mortgage payment. One step inside the truck, and I felt like a kid in a candy store. I can't afford to stay here very long. We had to put Adrian back to work before we left so he might be able to afford the next visit from the Snap-On man.
I almost forgot we had a couple more shops to visit before leaving Anchorage. Had the names only, and had to look them up on the internet. First one was F.A.T.S. Auto Service in Anchorage. Large parts store on one side of the street, and service shop on the other side. They can do mechanical and electrical work on vintage British cars. They send the paint and restoration work to TPS (below).
Next up was Arctic Import Repair in Anchorage. They also do mechanical and electrical work, no paint or restoration work. Vintage British cars welcome.
Then we stopped to visit TPS Collision Repair in Anchorage. This place does nice restoration work, but is slated to close in September (2017), so they are not accepting new orders.
TPS sent us round the block to visit another shop, Classic Auto Rebuilding (Anchorage). This one was closed by the time we arrived, but definitely still in business and recommended, and they do restoration work on classic cars (does a Gremlin count?).
Now we seem to have no more formal appointments in Alaska, so we may turn into tourists for a week or so. Don't be surprised if you don't hear from us for a while, because we are looking at places with desolate roads and likely no internet connection. Wish us luck. We will see if we can collect some pictures for your entertainment.
Okay, not gone yet. We decided to backtrack a bit south to Whittier, AK, just because I had not been there before, and a friend thought it should be interesting.
Final approach to the town involves driving through a tunnel. There was a toll (for round trip) which we thought was supposed to be $13 for a car which should include a small trailer, but we were charged $22 for a different class, such is life. Single lane train tunnel, 2-1/2 miles at 25-mph makes six minutes in the tunnel. Traffic controls at both ends to share with trains and 2-way car and truck. Yes, semi trucks will fit through. Be sure to stay in your lane. The guy on the ATV backed up for a second look. He claims his first car was an MGA.
Got enough bandwidth? Click for a 20 second movie in the tunnel (37-MB of data download).
Whittier is mostly a large harbor with docks for fishing boats and the car ferry that runs between here and Valdez. Not sure if cruise ships come here, but the hotel is pretty big. We will remember this place as home of the $17 hamburger. Last trip up here in 1997 we tried to hop the ferry from Valdez to Whittier, but without a reservation they came up a few feet short on space for the MGA and trailer. Not going to try it this time, since the ferry is done for the day, and we don't want to kill the time waiting (bad timing). So back through the 6-minute tunnel.
Wednesday July 12, 2017:
Next intended destination was Valdez, AK. Last night late we decided to move a bit farther along. Heading in the direction of Glennallen, we drove a little farther than anticipated, and ended up driving some in the dark. Around 1-am we had a "moose encounter" in a rather dramatic fashion. Moose in the road, quick swerve to miss the moose, locked up the brakes got sideways, did a 270 in the road before stopping. Woo-hoo, exciting stuff. End result was jackknifed trailer whacking a bumper overrider, which didn't look too bad in the dark.
By morning light I noticed a dented trailer fender and missing Bearing Buddy (same one that got whacked in a parking lot a few weeks earlier). Now I recon there is a Moose out there with one lame leg. Well, we had another spare Bearing Buddy so put that one on and pumped some grease into it. Pulling the grease nozzle off of the bearing buddy, the Zerk fitting came out. Turned out to have no thread on the Zerk fitting, just some concentric barbs to be press fit into the plastic. Bummer. Put another Bearing Buddy on the shopping list, and make it an all steel part next time. Also another bumper and overrider on the next parts order.
Ran down to Valdez to get another look at the terminus of the pipeline at the tanker terminal in the bay. Found WyFi at Subway in Valdez with the lunch stop, long enough to post the photos above. Hung out to take some pictures around town. Oil tanks across the bay, ferry at the dock, and part of the fishing fleet in port.
Then we shuffled off back north in the evening. Got some nice shots of glacier melt running off the mountains.
Made a fuel stop just before 10-pm, then headed through Chitina and 20 miles farther down McCarthy Road. Nesting spot for the evening (around 11:30-pm) was at a long single lane bridge crossing a deep gorge with rapids underneath (photos below). Bound and determined to fight our way through the rubble road to get to McCarthy. Will have plenty of pictures of the road to McCarthy tomorrow.
Thursday July 13, 2017:
Another busy day today. The bridge has a large commemorative poster to explain the history of the region, including valiant efforts to build a railroad through the mountains, across a glacier, using numerous trestles and bridges. Then we got to slog along for another two hours to make the last 42 miles down McCarthy road. The 21-mph average speed is not nearly representative of the tough slower stretches of the road.
We did finally arrive at McCarthy (almost), and we didn't break the car. Problem there is the vehicle bridge is long gone decades past. Twenty years ago there was a hand operated cable tram across the river. That is now also gone. But there is now a foot bridge in its place. For those not inclined to walk the last mile (which we did), there is a shuttle bus available. Life got cushy here, I suppose to cater to tourists.
In town it certainly looks like a step back in time. After the (closed) museum, our first stop was The Potato restaurant for lunch. $13 hamburgers are to be expected in such remote locations. I was surprised how active this place is with busy commercial establishments, some tourists hiking, and sportsmen hunting and fishing.
Rotting pilings are all that remains of an old bridge. Also both ends of the old hand operated cable tram now long out of service.
Very rough going, but we did a tad better on the retreat run, 2-1/2 hours for 61 miles of ratty gravel road. Pretty sure p/u trucks and jeeps can do in under two hours, but at least we didn't break anything, again. The final cut through the mountain lets you out into Chitina where you get a very welcome 30 miles of pavement back to the main highway.
Then a casual 35 mile dash up to Glennallen to refuel, followed by a 70 mile dash up the Glenn Highway to Paxon where we hung a left onto the Denali Highway. By now you may be getting the sense of humor about what they call a "highway" in Alaska. Before the Parks Highway was built (from Fairbanks to Anchorage) this was the only way to get to Denali National Park. I believe it has been improved some in the past 20 years, as we managed to make the 136 miles in only 3-1/2 hours (including the first 17 miles of relatively decent pavement), and we didn't break anything. Along the way there were four lodges catering to sportsmen (but precious few tourists). Mapquest thinks this route should take an hour longer, but it still looks like a good deal to me. The alternative is a (paved) loop through Delta Junction and Fairbanks which is 190 miles longer and takes 5-1/2 hours.
There was a reward at the end, a place called Panorama Pizza Pub at Denali Perch Resort where the WiFI was good (as well as the pizza). In a few hours I managed to check email and get half way through posting the day's photos and notes before the place closed at midnight. By day's end we had done over 400 miles, including about 240 miles of some of the rattiest roads in Alaska. Ask if it was fun? Well, it was interesting.
Friday July 14, 2017:
A more casual day today. We began at 8-am with a 15 mile drive on paved road into Denali National Park. After yesterday's ventures this seemed like five miles. It was as far as "civilian" vehicles are allowed. Beyond there you have to take the bus tour. Last time here I took the short tour, which did get to visit some Grizzly bears. This time I wanted to take the long tour, 91 miles into the park taking 12 hours for the round trip. Navigator had a near violent reaction to $194 per person, so we didn't (which I may forever regret), but we are not supposed to be tourists on this trip. Then a casual two hour run to Fairbanks where we took the rest of the day off for well earned relax and catch up.
Saturday July 15, 2017:
Headed north from Fairbanks, 500 miles to Deadhorse to visit the midnight sun and the Artic Ocean. 80 miles out of Fairbanks on the Elliot Highway, enter the Dalton Highway (originally called the North Slope Haul Road). It was built to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in 1974. It was originally a private road with check points, requiring special permit for access. When I was last here in 1997 it had been open to the public for only a couple years, and few people came this way. Last time I saw this sign the result was the only time in my life when I drove for three days without exceeding the speed limit, the trip being 14 hours each way, all gravel, some of it very rough. Previously 15 and 18 miles in we had two blow-outs on the trailer, so left it behind for three days and picked it upon the way back, but it was "Deadhorse or bust". The road turned out to be slightly improved, so this time the trailer would be tagging along the whole way. You can soon get very lonely out here. There would be about 100 semi trucks per day using this road, so it's not like you would get stuck, just dusty and rough, so be conservative and try not to break the car.
The pipeline soon becomes your friend, sometimes on the left or right, occasionally underground, often out of sight in the mountains. The haul road takes a slightly longer route winding around the hills to limit steepness of the grades. Even then some of the hills were flat out in 2nd gear for a couple miles at a stretch. 60 miles up (140 miles from Fairbanks) the long bridge is the Yukon River crossing. You can get fuel here (at a premium price if you need it), but the next fuel stop is only 116 miles farther on (check your fuel gauge).
This is also a good place to get a close-up look at "the pipe". For engineering detail, the oil carrying pipe is 4-feet in diameter with a 1-foot thick insulation jacket and 6-foot diameter outer metal cover. Crude oil is mixed about 50% with water and heated for easier flow. The pipe supports are embedded in frozen ground (permafrost). To avoid melting the permafrost the pipe jacket has additional insulation at the support points, and the vertical legs are heat pipes with boiling volatile fluid inside that will transfer heat from the legs to cooling fins on top.
Some people might stop here, tank it up and go back, but we drive on. Another 60 miles up we came to the Arctic Circle crossing with a marker for the tourists. I have been told that the real Arctic Circle is something like four miles farther north, but the signpost station was long ago moved to this location to have a bit more space for parking. The gravel road is often watered to keep down dust, so the car (and trailer) will pick up mud as we go.
Another 60 miles up we made a fuel stop at Coldfoot. Truck stop, restaurant, post office, motel, and I think a gravel runway for small planes. What you see is what you get. But wait, check this out. The cute gal with the new fur coat had to get her picture taken with the MGA. She got so excited about the car that she forgot to turn on the gas pump. She owns a nice 1978 MGB which is currently in South Carolina, but which she intends to bring to Fairbanks.
Far enough north we were proceeding through the Brooks Mountain Range, beautiful scenery. I was surprised to find some asphault road surface occasionally, but that would soon deteriorate into rubble again. Periodically along the route there would be a pumping station to reheat the oil and keep it flowing through the pipe.
The semaphore style posts along the shoulder of the road are markers to guide the snow plows which give you an idea how much snow they expect here. Occasionally we had a 20 minute delay for one way traffic, and a "Follow Me" escort through a construction zone at a crawl. Eventually we arrived in Deadhorse, 240 miles from the last fuel stop in Coldfoot (I told you to check your fuel gauge).
Checking the clock, we made the 416 miles in 11 hours, which was a full three hours quicker than the prior trip. The roads really have improved, up from 30-mph to 38-mph average speed. Trying to find the spot for tomorrow morning meet for the ocean tour, we discovered there are now three hotels in town, and we picked the wrong one first.
I thought the car was handling a bit odd for the last few miles into town, and sure enough we had a half flat tire. A quick inquiry pointed us to the Tesoro gas station, which is really a do-it-yourself machine, but there is a related sevice shop on site, which happens to have an easily accessible air hose. I was pulling the wheel off the car and watering down the tire to find the leak, about to put a plug in it, when a nice gent popped up and offered to do it right. Tire off the rim, boot installed inside the tire, and back on the rim in short order. No charge, thank you, "We like to help the visitors, hate to see them stranded up here". Very nice bloke, and we didn't have to pull the spare out of the boot.
Then we took a bit more time to drive around town and check out some of the oil drilling equipment (waiting patiently in the yard for its next assignment) before nesting down for the night.