Alaska in a 32 yr old Vehicle by Maggie McDermut

Intro: Delayed, but finally written

I finally reached a place where I could go through my travel journal and learn from my solo months on the road. I had not wanted to open my journal as there was some fear about the many emotions I knew would come flooding back, but here I am sharing my journey, the good, the beautiful, the real, the dark, and the heavy parts of my journey. Beyond grammatical editing and some further thoughts, what I have presented here is my authentic thoughts and notes from my 3 months on the road.

To start from the beginning, scroll down the linked web page until you find Day 1. Then you can scroll through the rest of the work as it’s posted. Thanks. 


Busted out much of my drive to Overland Expo, in Flagstaff, AZ in a day.  I was dealing with a bit of a time crunch as I only got Beastie back from my incredible mechanic Robbie a day before I was set to leave and had just finished up my last final a day prior.  Robbie did a lot of work to help me prep for our journey to come.  I had the transmission rebuilt, the seal replaced between the transmission and transfer case, and the PTO winch completely overhauled amongst a few other things.  Robbie let me come in and repack the wheel bearings as he worked on the big ticket items.  I got a late start the morning I left.  Stopped in Moab quickly for a bite and kept on pushing.  Landed in Valley of the Gods in southern Utah at about 11PM.  Settled in for the night before finishing off the drive Wednesday morning.  Expo was set to begin that Thursday.

I left camp in the Valley of the Gods early early, and ended up making it to Flagstaff 8AM on Wednesday.  Headed to work straight away helping with set up, primarily around the training area.  Got to drive a Defender 130 as my supply haul rig.  Not a Cruiser but still pretty neat!  The simplicity of my task of putting up signs was exactly what I needed for my tired mind and tired feet.  Ended my night at the Cool Rig Contest with Travis Wolcott, my fellow Change  Your World Fund grantee, ate incredible pizza and headed back to the event site.


When I first started my travel journal I had grandiose ideas of making more technical notes, mileage, how Beastie was running.  That didn’t last long, but I’ll include my ‘technical notes’ from the first little bit.

Beastie ran a little hot through the Rockies but at elevation that wasn’t to much of a surprise.  Just turned my heat to full blast and spent my drive sweating, but at least Beastie was running at a better temp.

From Grand Junction, CO to Tuba City, AZ the drive was 539km.  Filled up with 19.1 gallons of diesel in Tuba City and after some conversion math I landed on 28.1mpg at an average of 85km/h.  Pretty good for a 32 year old vehicle!



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