Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline August 2017

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harbor with docks for fishing boats and the car ferry that runs between there and Valdez. Running back northeast, we drove a bit later than anticipated, and when it got dark we had a fortunately minor incident with a moose. Quick swerve to miss the moose, hit the brakes, jack-knifed the trailer, bent the rear bumper a bit. I think the trailer clipped the moose on the ankle ending up with bent trailer fender and missing Bearing Buddy (which we would sort out later).

Tunnel to Whittier

July 12, another side trip to Valdez, which is the southern terminus for the pipeline where they load oil tankers. Then back a bit and down another side road to Chitina (and a bit beyond) in preparation for next day's endeavor. Up early next day to casually (and slowly) negotiate 60 miles of the road to McCarthy. I missed this one 20 years earlier, primarily for lack of time, since the 120-mile round trip may have taken 12 hours at 10-mph. Now the road is significantly improved, so we averaged 21-mph and made it in three hours each way (and we didn't break anything). Nice little historical town, and with the improved road it is attracting some tourism. Once out of there we were back to the Glenn Highway, a bit farther east, and then through the Denali Highway (mostly gravel). Before the Parks Highway (Fairbanks to Anchorage) was built in the 60's the Denali Highway was the only way to get to Denali Park. We found this road much improved and did the 136 miles in only 3-1/2 hours. Next day (14th) began with a very short drive into Denali Park (no grizzly bears this time), then back out and on to Fairbanks where we spent the rest of the day with catch-up and planning.

Saturday-Sunday July 15-16 was an epic two day trip 500 miles each way up the Dalton Highway to Deadhorse at Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Ocean (where the oil fields are) and return. We needed to fix one minor tire puncture just on arrival in Deadhorse.

MG damage after Moose encounter
Also lost another bearing buddy, bought replacements at NAPA in Deadhorse (yes there is one there), and spent half an hour cleaning and repacking bearings in one trailer hub. Otherwise we found the road much improved, only 11 hours up and 9-1/2 hours back vs. 14 hours each way the last time. We didn't break anything, but did get another crack in the windscreen glass, and came back with lots of mud on the car and trailer.

Another day of catch up Monday, followed by a Tuesday trip 162 miles up the Steese Highway to Central and Circle on the Yukon river (mostly gravel road, some of it pretty nasty). Lost another Bearing Buddy just on arrival in Circle, not long to install the replacement. The return trip ate a trailer tire, so we installed two new ones and kept the remaining good one for the spare. Coincidentally one car tire also gave up the ghost at the same time due to carcass failure (nasty rocks), so had to install the spare before moving on.

We made it back to Fairbanks okay, then spent much of the next day looking for replacement car tires, which we ultimately found in Anchorage. Not wanting to wait for delivery to Fairbanks, we drove back to Anchorage (360 miles) to get two new tires installed (and kept one surviving radial tire for the spare). Then we got back to our friend Del Rawlins for a personal favor to get his bank to change some more US currency to Canadian currency. On the way, there we were spotted again by Ken Morton who followed us to Del's place, killing another hour for friendly chat. We ran over to Ken's place to see his MGA 1500 (with 1800 engine) which has been in the family for decades. It includes a factory fiberglass hardtop that looks like it was sat on by something heavy for a while, warping one rear corner which looks like it may be difficult to fix. Friday 7/21 was another data catch-up day, and laundry day, with a late night run up the Glenn Highway and onto the Tok cutoff before retiring for the night, which would be our last midnight sun in Alaska.

Saturday 7/22, a short run into Tok for late brunch and a last WiFi check before leaving after three weeks in Alaska. Then on the Taylor Highway to Chicken where we found improved roads and significant tourism activities. Continuing from there we skipped a side trip to Eagle (again on the Yukon River), needing to make the international checkpoint before 8-pm closing. Then following Top Of The World Highway (dramatically improved road), crossing into Yukon Territory, Canada in early evening, hopping a short ride on the free ferry across the Yukon River, followed by a short tour of Dawson City, UT, and refuel before moving on. Reaching the Dempster highway 24 miles out of Dawson, we took a short sniff one mile up the road to
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