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CARS AHOY by Capt. Peter Tappenden and Capt. M.B.Bailey

Reproduced from The Autocar 10th December 1965.

MANY READERS will have heard and perhaps seen on television, pictures of the adventurous Channel crossing made by two Amphicars last September. It would be quite wrong to think from this that such a voyage is within scope of anybody as a solo venture, and the recent unhappy loss of an Amphicar, run down by a ship in the Straits of Gibraltar, stands as a warning. The project has to be attended by the same precautions as those needed for a cross Channel swim especially the need for an accompanying vessel. However, the full story of what was quite an ambitious venture will, we feel sure, be of interest to many.

A CASUAL discussion during a dinner party late in July this year led to two British Army officers, a sergeant and a London croupier crossing the English Channel in two Amphicars from Dover to Calais, on 16 September 1965. A quick tour then followed through France, Belgium and West Germany to the Frankfurt Motor Show,  and then a further trip through East Germany to Berlin  to the works where these cars are manufactured.

The two of us who had that discussion over dinner were Capt. Michael Bailey of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, my next door neighbour, and myself a captain in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, both of us attached to a "land lubber station" well inland at Basingstoke in Hampshire.

Within weeks a car was made available by the German firm Amphicar Vertriebgesschaft for the attempt. Harbour masters, the Automobile Association, Customs and immigration officials had been contacted and arrangements made. News of the attempt reached Timothy Dill-Russell, an Amphicar owner, escapologist and a croupier at a London club, and he asked to be included. An engineer and navigator was found for him Sgt. Joe Minto of the Royal Corps of Transport, from Boscombe Down.

The attempt was scheduled for 16 September, starting at Marble Arch, London, and ending at the Frankfurt Motor Show in West Germany. The object was to show that it was possible to use one means of conveyance throughout at a fare more economical than those already in existence. The night before, weather forecasts predicted a force 3 wind over the Channel, and this was confirmed early in the morning of 16 September.

At 5.30 a.m. the two Amphicars left Marble Arch bedecked with nylon ropes and four gentlemen clad in blue overalls, all slightly apprehensive of attempting a crossing which none of them had tried before in anything smaller than a cross Channel ferry.

On arrival at Dover at 7.30 a.m. final preparations were made before entering the water. Radio sets carried by each car were netted in, life jackets checked, the engines and electrical equipment waterproofed and most important the " bungs "the draining point at the bottom rear end of the car were secured. There had been the instance of a proud owner in Germany driving his car into water for the first time only to find himself and his car gurgling and slowly settling on the river bed.

At 8.50 a.m. the two cars rolled down the ramp into Dover Harbour and made for the open sea. Within the harbour wall the sea was fairly calm and gave no indication of the conditions outside, both cars were going well and travelling in line ahead, about 200 yards apart. We had been told that the vehicles would make 6-7 knots in still water, with an average fuel consumption of anything up to three gallons of fuel per hour. Charts and tide tables had been provided and we estimated that, at an average speed through the water of four knots and allowing for wind and tide, the journey across should take approximately six hours and we should arrive at Calais at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. A ship's log and a car compass registering down to five degrees of arc were the only additional navigational aids we possessed. After a quick tour of the harbour we set ourselves in a south-easterly direction and left the entrance.

The sea outside was running north westerly and a fair amount of roll and pitch was evident. Immediately, with a s.w. wind, waves cascaded over the bonnet and up the windscreen, but the cars held their course well. Within an hour we were level with the drilling derricks for the survey of the Channel tunnel three miles off Dover and progressing well at slightly under four knots. Several large ships took a great interest in the progress en route. At approximately 12 p.m. we started to hit the " Channel race " as it is called, and waves of quite a height were a regular feature. It was found better to motor up the wave with the accelerator full down, and when the top of the wave was reached to slacken off and gently motor down the other side. This was not always possible, because currents at times tended to come from the side; the only way to combat this was to put the foot down hard and motor through the top of the wave, clinging grimly to the steering wheel and watching the compass for direction.

We were all surprised to find that in these high seas we did not suffer from seasickness, and we attributed this to the fact that we drank milk throughout the journey, and had taken sea sickness pills.

The white cliffs of Dover gradually receded on the port quarter; after the first hour we had made 3,1 nautical miles and after two hours a further three nautical miles. At hourly intervals, we checked our positions on the chart  and altered course accordingly, to allow for the changes in tidal speed and direction.

Continuous communication was maintained between the two cars which were separated on occasions by as much as half a mile. Even at close range it was often quite difficult to see each other.

About this time the Townsend ferry on its normal run from Dover to Calais came up on our starboard side, some 121 miles off route. Many hundreds of passengers were taking an avid interest in our progress their cars snugly stowed on board. The captain later sent a signal, relayed through an air sea rescue launch which had us in radio contact, that he wished us "Bon voyage." The rough seas continued to build Up and at about 1 p.m. a force 5 bordering on force 6 wind was encountered. Keeping a steady course was extremely difficult, but we still maintained a steady forward movement.

Eleven miles out the weather became quite unpleasant, with the seas mounting and winds of force 5 to 6 common. Fortunately there was a tail sea running and by equating our speed to that of the waves we were able to make reasonable headway. By this time we were submarining consistently with the sea running over the bonnet and roof and cascading down the sides. While the engine continues to function, the blast of air driven out of the engine compartment through the bonnet louvres is quite sufficient to keep all water out of the engine compartment.

It was about 1.30 p.m. when the Amphicar driven by Tim Dill-Russell stopped as he had shipped water. It was subsequently found out that this was not attributable to leakage, but to a blocked bilge pump. As there was no way of registering the amount of water in the bilges it had not become apparent until it was too late. The movement of this water had doused the engine and electrics, which in turn allowed water to be sucked into the engine through

the exhaust system. It was decided to tow the car to the French coast to complete the trip. The ropes we had, being nylon, stretched and acted extremely well as a tow rope between the cars. Unfortunately, due to a manoeuvring error the tow line became entwined round our propeller, and one of us had to make a rather undignified entry in his underpants into the water; and after 10 minutes or so it was freed.

The next problem was one of refuelling. The vehicle fuel capacity of 1012 gallons was insufficient to make the crossing and it was therefore necessary to refuel at sea, a rather precanous operation which involved opening the roof and pouring the fuel into the tank from over the windscreen. The petrol tank is completely enclosed under the bonnet and normally this has to be raised before petrol can be supplied. This was obviously no task to undertake at sea and so we had fitted up an external filling point just in front of the windscreen and standing up like a schnorkel 9in. above the bulkhead.

Refuelling helped pass the time and it was quite surprising how soon the French coast appeared on the starboard bow, a most welcome sight which made us realize we were well over half way across.

Slowly the coast line approached and we began to make out certain shore installations in the vicinity of Calais. Up to now we had no certain means of determining our exact position and so we were most relieved to see ships approaching Calais and knew then we were correctly set.

Arrival : We landed on the coast north of the harbour at 4.30 p.m., approximately 7 hours 20 minutes after leaving the outer wall at Dover Harbour. The beach was soft sand and the going was difficult; however, the local French populace appeared miraculously in their hundreds and very soon we had the crown organized on a 125ft nylon rope; together we got the two cars on to the beach. There we were greeted by rather amazed Customs and immigration officials, who had been informed of our arrival only an hour beforehand.

We were all cold and completely saturated after our exertions in pulling the two cars out of the sea. By 5.45 p.m. we arrived at the Total filling station and were welcomed by the management with coffee and biscuits whilst our cars were serviced and washed down. Tim's car was dried out and started without the least hesitation. The sump oil had emulsified and was drained off, flushed five times and refilled with fresh oil. Our original plan for driving straight on to Frankfurt was modified and we decided to stay the night in Calais and set out at 6 o'clock the next morning.

The journey to Frankfurt was uneventful and took just on 12 hours, allowing two hours for halts. On the sea crossing the Amphicar had averaged some 1.5 gallons per hour in the sea, which meant conservatively that it had cost us under £4 for 2 passengers and a car to cross. This would have been even cheaper and quicker if we had no tow and the weather had been favourable.

During our stay, the firm had very kindly offered to strip Tim's car down and to renew parts where necessary if he was prepared to take it to West Berlin, where the cars were manufactured. Naturally he accepted their offer and to give the remaining three of us an unexpected opportunity of visiting Berlin it was agreed that both cars should make the journey on Sunday afternoon, 19 September.

The drive up to Helmstedt was uneventful but at the Allied check point on the autobahn certain difficulties arose. Peter and Joe's passports had been ruined in the sea water during the crossing and they were not allowed to proceed by road. So they had to make their way back to Hanover and arranged to fly into Berlin from there the next morning. Tim and I passed the check point formalities at both ends without trouble and duly arrived in West Berlin in the early hours of Monday morning. After a good night's rest we motored over to the factory in the French sector where Amphicars are manufactured.

For those interested, the car is truly amphibious and costs £1,075 in the U.K. It weighs a ton and looks a little top heavy. It is powered by a Triumph Herald 1,147 c.c. engine mounted at the rear and has a top speed on the road of over 70 m.p.h.                                                                   

 

 

 

The Yukon Adventure  !  

AMPHICAR ADVENTURE

After 24 years of living in the big State of Alaska, our experience with cars is that we need one hardy enough for our photography and rock hunting adventures.

Our 1955 Ford hating given its last faithful gasp, in 1965, we were looking over four-wheel drive vehicles, in front of our fireplace one snowy night this March, The twenty-mile per hour blizzard blew in our rock hunting friends, Everly and May Gibbons. They looked over our car brochures, then told us the car they were interested in was the "Amphicar".


"What's that"" said Ivan and Oro.

"That is a car that also travels on the water. doubling for a boat." said May "It has a water cooled 4 cylinder, 12 volt engine. We have looked at literature. It runs 32 mpg on the road-and 1 1/2 gallons per hour on the water."

"The Amphicar has 4 speeds plus reverse. The land speed is 75 mph maximum speed. Water speed is 12 mph. It has twin nylon propellors".

"The water tight doors with double locks and seals keep out the water In short, the Amphicar is the equivalent of a 14' steel hull boat, as a car it has a full rear seal and trunk space, with room for four"

"Where do we find an Anchorage dealer!". "Nick Rauch, who is the Alaskan Distributor of Amphicar."

The versatility of the boat-car appealed to us. With Amphicar we would drive in any lake or river along the Alaskan roads, reach the far side for wild life movies (Ivan's speciality), fishing. and bring back a carload of interesting rocks (Our hobby).

We slab and make bookends of any good Alaskan cutting rocks from fossils to jade. For 11 years I have been the program and tour chairman for the Anchorage rock-hound club. the "Chugach Gem & Mineral Society" - 470 members. I take them by helicopter, bush plane, swamp buggy all over Alaska. With Amphicar, this would be one more way to look up places for the club to go.

With the melting snow at Easter, our plans turned to map hunting the lakes we could travel with boat-car. On April 20th we called RCA and left a message for Nick Rauch to bring us Amphicar brochures

Nick Rauch came into our store and talked about the performance of the Amphicar, Everything we heard sounded good. Then he gave us the clincher idea

"I have been selling Amphicars in Alaska for a year. I have had my Amphicar out in Cook Inlet. Seward Bay. and the fast Kenai River, as well as many lakes I know what it can do Now I want to take it down the Yukon River, the fifth largest water way in the world in capacity "

"How about two well-known Alaskan photographers going with me in your Amphicar? You could sell the movies to the German Amphicar Corporation and give lectures. This would be a "First' for us-the first car down the Yukon River.

These sentences from Nick fired our imagination!

"We'll go." "Deliver a red Amphicar (for color photography) and we'll draw up plans"

Two weeks later a little red Amphicar drew up in front of our door.

On May 15th, the ice was off the lakes near Anchorage. We took our first Amphicar ride at Mirror Lake. As we drove in, the thought was in both our minds "this just doesn't seem right, driving a car into the lake." But the marine drive went in smoothly, the wheels carried us right over the muddy rocks into deep water.

Away we drove, stopping all traffic on both highway and lake. This was a fun situation, and we enjoyed it. Boat owners grabbed cameras and around and around us they went, shooting up film. The Amphicar performed smoothly just like Nick said it would.

From then on we make plans. Nick was taking his eleven year old son Phillip on his Amphicar for the Yukon trip, and Ivan and I were to go in ours. With a minimum of space, we carefully weighted each camera, camping outfit, so our cars would not be overloaded

We set the sailing date for June 15th. We would drive over the Glenn Highway, then down the Alaskan Highway to the junction of the Taylor Highway, up it to Eagle, put the Amphicars in the Yukon River. and come out at Circle, a distance of 165 miles. This would be a week off from our jobs - all we could manage.

First I had a rock club field trip to copper nugget country near the famous Kennicott Mine. Ivan and I and 6 rock hounds flew in and brought out fifty pounds of copper nuggets each, June 13th. Then we met the Rauch's, Nick, Ethel, Phil and Kathy, and Friend Erna Johnson at Atlasta House, Mile 166, Glenn Highway and headed north for our boat-car adventure. John and Marcy White of Atlasta House suggested a radio interview at KCAM at Glennallen; this is central Alaska's most powerful radio station We did and astounded the radio announcers with our proposed trip

Ethel. Kathy, and Erna led the way over the Taylor Highway to the launching spot - Eagle on the Yukon. These three were seeing us off, then driving back up the Alaskan Highway through Fairbanks to Circle (about 600 miles) to greet us at the end of our journey.

We stayed at South Fork Lodge the night of June 14th, located in historic Chicken Creek gold mining district

Kathy Rauch, 8 years old, was delighted by the hired lodge hand who turned puppet master to entertain her. He was good. During the long winter days of six hours daylight and 18 hours night, he is Chicken's most versatile inhabitant welcome at every home.

Another guest at South Fork lodge was Fred Buske "Chief Chugiak" of Chief Chugiak Jewelry Story, who was rock hunting. Fred has a gift shop near Anchorage and we have been friends for 16 years. Besides being mutual rock hounds, we have a bond in our unusual pets Fred had for several years a pet lion. We have a friendly reindeer.

Fred has been down the Yukon on a wooden raft. This is not a deluxe way to travel and he was reluctant to hear we were going to enter the mighty river with our 14' boat-car. He thought our trip would be as rough as the one he had. But we were determined to go through with this river adventure

We drove into Eagle at 4.30, June 15th. The Bierdermans own the Eagle Trading Post and when we told them about our boat-car trip, we got headshakes and stern sentences - "too many logs on river, icebergs cover sandbars, can't land. Too dangerous."

Nick and Ivan asked the Bierdermans, old river pilots, if they would draw in the best route through the river channels and sandbars on our maps. They did- and this was to save many hours of navigating.

At 5 30 Nick took his Amphicar into the Yukon for a test run, while the entire population of Eagle-55-and our group watched. The Amphicar swayed from one side down the water's edge bank to the other as it entered the ten mile an hour current (We found our later that the mud ramps had a deep hole in it right under the water). Then the little white car swept forward towards the red serpentine bluffs. We could see Nick putting on speed to bring it around in a broad circle to head back upstream. For a while it seemed like no headway could be made against the torrent of rushing water, then Nick slowly came nearer. Everyone held their breath. The Amphicar became bigger and bigger, suddenly there it was on the ramp. All the men ran down to pull it up the muddy ground, but it needed no help. The car left the water and sped up the road. Nick had 55 crowded around him when he stepped out of the car. Now they were filled with enthusiasm over our trip down the river.

That night we had an elaborate farewell meal at Merley's lodge and a good night's rest in preparation for the rough journey ahead.

Mrs. Merley serves as Eagle postmistress, librarian, tax collector. city treasurers, customs agent, district recorder. weatherman, airlines communicator, and State Welfare Agent. She said she heard that we had made it all right on our trial run

At 7.30 AM on schedule, Nick and Ivan put theirAmphicars into the Yukon. I had entered the Biedermans long riverboat and was out in the middle of the Yukon River where I could take black and while photos, color slides, and movies of the historic departure, A mile downstream, the transfer of cameras and photogramer to Ivan's Amphicar was quickly made.

AL 8.30 we had gone seven miles-beautiful clear 85 degree weather and so s-m-o-o-t-h - driving down the river. Not much debris after Eagle. There were 500 feet striated bluffs alongside us.

At 9.50 we drove into Pickerel Slough, 15 miles from Eagle. The Biedermans had told us pike fishing was good here. We tried for two hours. but the water was too high from the spring runoff, and the fish wouldn't bite. At 12.00 a thunderstorm blew up; we pulled the cars into the mouth of a slough to get out of the waves created by wind. We had lunch while waiting out the thunderstorm. Phil busied himself making an overhead shelter of spruce and willow boughs in case we had to make an overnight camp. This 11 year old was cheerful and helpful the entire trip.

At 1.30 we took off down river, still raining-warm rain, but no wind.

Thirty miles from Eagle and we were passing Calico Bluffs - sedimentary, extremely folded layers of ochre, yellow, and brown, with layers of fossils. They were sheer cliffs of one thousand feet to two thousand feet. No place to land and the rapids were too fast to try for fossils.

Nation, 45 miles from Eagle, is a deserted Indian village. Here we had planned to camp the first night, but when we tried to make the shore, it was all soft mud and no sand. The mouth of the river was choked with drifting logs, and we could not pull in. We tried several sand bars-too swift a current and too many icebergs lining the shores. At last we sew a stiller channel by Logan Creek. Nick went first and got safely in. Then Ivan made his run. Just as we came out of the main channel, the current sweeping around the island we were making fur pushed us sideways, and we crashed against the Island. Rocking violently. Ivan said, "We're in trouble, kid" He put the car into drive, and we made a run for the opposite island, scraping bottom all the way

Nick and Phil pulled over from where they had been watching us in apprehension and we tied up to the over hanging trees for the first night.

The Yukon River had recently been over part of this island, it was damp. We were fortunate enough to be carrying (NRC 8 x 10) space blankets, instead of heavy tarps, so we spread these under the aspen and willow and put out camping equipment. These space blankets keep in 60% of the body heat and proved so successful on the Yukon trip that we would not be without them. The temperature dropped to a cool 40 degrees as soon as the sun went down. but our space blankets kept us warm, and we know they will be excellent when we go caribou hunting in September and pitch camp in the snow

The mosquitoes were bad, although none had bothered us on the river, a big fire helped keep them away.  Blue bells, anemones, and roses were on the island. and the thrushes sang in the bushes, the beavers had been busy falling cottonwoods on the island shores. There were many moose tracks. 

That first night we had rice and chopped beef for dinner. Because of limited space in the Amphicars, we were carrying dried food. Phil never complained about this diet, but once this night he reminded a wishfully of has mother's fried chicken. We told him dried food wasn't as tasteful as Ethel's dinners, but necessary for this trip From then on, he ate anything. Outside of a few timely remarks about the mosquitoes, Phil never protested the rough trip again. A very good eleven year old sportsman. that Phil Rauch.

We were in bed by 10 00 p,m It was still broad daylight; the setting sun this far north just touches the Yukon River in June and bounces back up. The hoot owls and the mosquitoes made sweet harmony as we fell asleep.

There was a low fog over the river when we woke in the morning, but it soon was gone in bright sunlight.

For breakfast both men flopped flapjacks high in the air. With dried scrambled eggs and canned bacon, we made a good meal and at 10 after looking at our maps, we left on the second lap of out journey.

It was tense wondering whether we could cut across the rapids at the island tip into the main channel. Ivan went first, putting his car into full speed ahead to make the big river. His rush worked and Nick and Phil were right behind him.

We saw two bull moose that second day, and a cow and calf. They stood placidly on the river banks and watched the little white car and the little red car go by as though this was an everyday occurrence.

Along the edge of the islands and the river. the trees were leaning back at a 45 degree angle, the icebergs had pushed them over when the spring breakup came.

All during the journey there were 5 to 8 foot boils in the river. They had a tendency to slue the cars around so that Ivan and Nick were kept busy steering every minute This left navigating and photography to me.

The channels and islands has changed since the year before. I would call to the boys to stay away from a charted sand bar that we couldn't see, but the chart said was there. Our route went through channels whose mouths were so choked wish debris that we would have to take another channel not recommended by the Biedermans because of choppy water, rocks, or narrowness. It was so hot we travelled with the tops down, but on choppy water we just put the tops up and the water went over the windshields I got good action movies on this,

The yellow swallow-tinted butterflies and dragonflies flew out from shore to visit us Yellow geums, purple fireweed, and white anemones made the bluffs colorful.

Many islands were completely covered by icebergs, just as we had been warned.

At 10:00 the second day, we were halfway to Circle 75 miles. I made deviled ham sandwiches and passed them across the water to Phil and Nick

At 3:30 we tied up at Coal Creek for our second night The icebergs were fifteen feet tall on the beach.

We located the mouth of the creek with binoculars. Ivan swept across the current into the quiet creek. Turning upstream he hit a submerged gravel bar and the Amphicar was grounded. We rocked the boat back and forth, put it into car drive, reversed it, and pulled off the bar.

Meanwhile, Nick was pouring on the gas to come into the creek He was lucky to come right into deep water. The two cars came to rest by the Icebergs

Coal Creek was once a thriving stop on the Yukon River for the sternwheelers. There is a road to Woodchopper Gold Mine and the gold dredge

The houses were in good shape. We moved our duffel into the Coal Creek Roadhouse to the big top floor where there was plenty of light The chairs were covered with sheephide- very sturdy. Freizes were in the fancy wrought iron stove.

There were soft mattresses and springs to spread our sleeping bags on - this was luxury. No mosquitoes in the roadhouse, but bad outside.

While we were fishing at Coal Creek, Nick said, "Look at the bull moose." It had walked down to the creek edge opposite us for a drink. A magnificent rack even this early in the year He stood there long enough for 'all of us to get a picture and then slowly turned and walked away.

Seventeen inch grayling were lumping in the creek, but none of us could hook one, so we had pork and beans and beef stew for dinner.

At 10:15 (still broad daylight), we went to bed. I woke up once and heard a heard rainstorm, at six a.m., it was very bright and no rain. At 7 am we had flipped our pancakes in the air for breakfast

At 9.0 o'clock both Ivan and Nick made an easy takeoff and we were on the last day of our journey to Circle.

The bluffs were beginning to narrow down to the Yukon Flats that start at Circle City, The flats are 200 miles long and 10-40 miles wide. Across from the last bluffs at 11am white water Rapids showed. We pointed them out to Nick, but he had seen them. We rolled up the top, and as we went through the waves I took movies. lvan handled the boat like a veteran.

Nick was speeding up all the third day-he was anxious to see the rest of his family, and he knew they would be worrying about him until they, saw him safe.

One o'clock-20 miles to Circle-and I made turkey and cheese sandwiches for lunch. A thunder and lightning storm blew up Coal Creek way. We finished lunch and put the tops up. We can sure get in out of the storm in a hurry.

If we did not have well-marked maps with the channels drawn in by Biederman's of Eagle, we would waste days searching for the right route. There are so many islands. channels, and gravel bars, it would be hard to guess which one to take.

At 4 15 we saw the first houses and people at Circle. I saw them first and waved to the other car. Tears came, to my eves - the first people for 165 miles. We turned on our car lights, hoping the people of Circle would see them through the low river fog. Later Ethel and Erna were to tell me that they were having coffee in the Yukon Trading Post when the Indian boys came running in to tell them they saw car lights one-half mile out on the Yukon (The river is that wide at Circle.) All the villagers of Circle ran down to the rivers edge to greet us. A boat with the owner of the Yukon Trading Post and an Indian came out to show us the right channel into Circle. They could see we were in difficulties There were so many hidden sandbars in front of Circle that we were constantly scraping boulders on our hull.

Ivan and Nick put then cars into car drive to get off the bars into the deep channel where the Circle guide boat was. We followed the boat back and saw the towns population waving to us. Ivan and Nick speeded up the cars and ran up the shore side by side Ivan hit soft sand and bogged down Ethel and Erna grabbed the front of Ivan's car and pulled him up the beach. Nick had hard gravel under the lyres. He poured on the gas and in a mighty surge, went out of the water, He jumped out. grabbed his lovely wife with a big Irish grin, gave her a hearty kiss, and hugged his daughter, Kathy. The Circle people gathered around and wished us well. Ivan and Nick opened their car hoods and showed off their engines that had performed so well. 

Everyone was interested in the details of our three-day journey.

After half an hour of telling our story, we relaxed with hot showers in the deluxe Warren Motel, changed clothes, and went to the Yukon Trading Post for a civilized dinner. Running water and electric lights were a bit strange, but so enjoyable.

Mary Warren outdid herself on dinner-cheesed potatoes. shee fish, green tossed salad, homemade biscuits, fruit salad with whipped cream, corn tartar sauce, and was it any wonder I could not eat the huge slab of cheese-pear pie offered?  Phil had the pie and ice cream on it!  Where did he put it? That dried food on the journey was filling, but it didn't taste like this.

Dinner over, Ivan and I took a ride down the Steese Highway. After the smoothness of the Yukon River, the frost boils and ruts in the road seemed extra rough.

That night Ivan and I took pictures of the midnight sun sinking into the Yukon River, our watery home for three unforgetable days.

The Rauches and the Stewarts had successfully completed their "first", the First car down the Yukon, North America's fourth largest waterway and the fifth largest river in the world in capacity.

One impression after we reached home - we met our friend. Fred Buske "Chief Chugiak" and he told us how worried he had been. Seems Fred met some Fish and Wildlife men on the way back to Anchorage, and they had told him he should get the Air Rescue helicopters after those friends of his on the Yukon River, because it was impossible for them to make it safely to Circle.  Fred was pretty worried until he reached Anchorage and learned we were safe.

All's well that ends well


Oro Stewart