2023 Alaska To Mexico Marathon
2023 Alaska To Mexico Marathon

Wrap up - Alaska to Mexico Marathon


Our Bodacious Racing drivers have tied up this rally and are now looking ahead to the next big one!

Tim and Patrick, driving Tim's prized 1978 Ford Bronco for the Washington State to Cabo Mexico weeks of the rally, set off early on Wednesday, September 27 pointing towards home. At the final rally dinner and celebration Tuesday night, Tim was awarded the Spirit of the Rally award, for his indomitable commitment to finishing the rally.

Driving 2000 miles from his home in southwest Michigan to meet up with the rally in Walla Walla, Washington, Tim picked up the Escort's number 43. While no longer in general competition, he drove the full rally route: regularities, time controls and all. He didn't without proper rally instrumentation, his sturdy vehicle was not rally-tested, but he knew he could do it. First driving and navigating solo, then with son-in-law Brandon, he finished the Mexico leg with son Patrick. Along the way he lent a frequent hand to fellow competitors, pulling cars out of sandy traps and steep ditches.

For sure, his commitment to finishing the rally was clear, and for this his spirit was recognized.

The drive back through Mexico found Tim and Patrick meeting up along the way with other rally drivers, heading to deliver their cars to Los Angeles for shipping out of the U.S. But once back in the States in California, they pointed the Bronco for home.

Even a visit to the spectacular Grand Canyon in Arizona was only a short tour. From Flagstaff it was full speed ahead, stopping in Oklahoma, then a 12-hour final push for home.

The Bronco held up well, and Tim experienced some amazing hours spent in his favorite car. Getting home to Peggy (and Molly!) was wonderful, and he reports he is still resting up from what can only be called a victory over the Alaska to Mexico Marathon.

Meanwhile, Jeff and Chris finally were able to find someone willing to sort out the 1957 Chevy BelAir and 1971 Ford Escort. The damaged cars had been left in a warehouse parking lot in remote Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. There aren't a lot of car transporters going through that part of the world! But Chris was able to get in touch with a mechanic, Randy, who had helped out a few rally drivers after Jeff and Chris left the route. He transported both cars to his lot, and is working to get the Chevy driving and the Escort transportable. Randy tells us he has a truck coming from Edmonton which should be able to take the cars back to that city in Alberta, Canada. From there, our friends at Legendary Motor Cars, in Toronto, will be able to pick up the cars for transport to Rhode Island. This will probably take another month or so, but at least it's a transport solution!

Now the focus has switched to the next rally. While Tim is recovering from the Alaska to Mexico Marathon, and Jim is driving his own adventure from South Carolina to close up the family's summer house in Michigan, Jeff and Chris flew to England to pack up the 1972 Ford Escort and 1972 Porsche 911. These two cars will be shipped from RPS in Witney to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Our Bodacious Racing team will meet them there in late January to begin the Road to Hanoi!

Grand Canyon

Patrick at the Grand Canyon

September 26th, 2023

The Mexican Beach at the end of the line

Day 30: LaPaz to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

"We have docked in Cabo," Tim texted on Tuesday. "Did I mention that it's hot?"

Patrick and Tim say the heat as they've driven further and further south on the Baja Peninsula has been the overriding theme of this leg of the Rally the Globe Alaska to Mexico Marathon. While rains and cold temps marked the beginning of this trip a month ago, heading northeast out of Anchorage, Alaska; and heat became pervasive as the competitors drove through Utah and Arizona; for sheer discomfort, this part of Mexico has stood out.

One of the drivers told Patrick their thermometer on the final day had registered 50 degrees Celsius - that's more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit! Drivers and cars both suffered - the Bronco experienced a few vapor locks, usually while traveling uphill behind slow trucks. Patrick suggested Tim try hitting the electric fuel pump in these situations, to allow cooler fuel to stream into the engine. That seemed to work fairly well, and is a handy tip to use as they drive back up the Peninsula on their homeward journey beginning Wednesday.

But, Patrick reports, "not so bad, really, if you keep dosing yourself with ice water and drive really fast!"

Patrick also tells us he's loved seeing all the roaming cattle and horses. A bull on the side of the road started a charge at the Bronco. Patrick thought it was funny, and was joking about getting free beef, but Tim was cursing at the bull as an obstacle to be avoided!

The last stop before the finish was at a cafe in a small town, with great food, and good company. The final drive was uneventful, but then Patrick experienced his first endurance rally finish.

"It was a great fanfare, with Owen directing traffic like a guy on the tarmac at an airport!"

A swim in the pool beckoned. Those who had tried a swim in the ocean advised against it, with rough waves and currents. But the pool was calm, cool and welcoming.

Plans for returning cars and people to the States dominated the conversations. There was a group shipping cars from Mexico; another group would drive their cars to Los Angeles for shipping to Europe; and others, like Tim and Patrick, will be returning to the road for a long drive home.

Tim told Patrick they were leaving early on Wednesday. "No breakfast," he said!

Quite a drive in front of them, as they now make their way north back up the Peninsula, and connect with an Interstate back to southwest Michigan. Tim and his Bronco have completed the Alaska to Mexico Marathon.

Chris and Jeff are still working logistics on retrieving the 1957 Chevy BelAir and the 1971 Ford Escort from Whitehorse up in the Yukon. It's a remote location, and no shippers routinely pass through, so no takers on loading two nonfunctional cars on a flatbed or trailer. They just located a mechanic and Classic car aficionado who seems interested in lending a hand. Eventually those cars will make it back to the garage in Rhode Island.

Most likely Tim and Patrick will finish the 4800 miles back home before the original Bodacious Racing cars make it their 6100 miles back home! And Tim, Patrick and Brandon will have many stories to tell of this spontaneous rally adventure!

Safe driving!!

September 25th, 2023

Sunset on the 25th

Day 29: Loreto to LaPaz, Baja California Sur

Monday was the penultimate day of the Alaska to Mexico Marathon, and the cars and drivers are showing definite signs of fatigue and frustration. Continuing on is a necessity for these competitors, and with an increasing desire to put this rally behind them, they are focusing on their last days as a group.

Patrick, of course, is only in the fifth day of his rally experience, but he clearly understands how exhausting day in and day out of driving a marathon rally can be. He just may be enjoying the Mexican landscape and villages more than most of the competitors. "Beautiful roads, and we passed through this little village with a cool, 250 year old church," he says.

Tim was enjoying a cold drink in a cantina across the road, and Patrick was taking pictures of the church when all of a sudden four horses came charging down the road. Patrick turned in reaction to frenzied shouts just in time to jump out of the way as the horses thundered past. But he had time to take some pictures to share!

It was another scorching hot day. It was 85 degrees when they set off early, and it climbed to 106 by midday. The drive took them through mountains once again, climbing 4000 feet, and causing many cars to overheat. The rally route had them crossing streams as well, but the Bronco had no problem with these, even the ones a foot and a half deep.

The first regularity of the day was 16 km long, climbing mountain roads with hairpin switchbacks, water crossings, and altitude changes. The second regularity took them back down the same route, with the same challenges in reverse!

Patrick reports "The two regularities really screwed me up with multiple speed changes, one based on time and the other on distance. I thought I was doing great on the time-based speed changes when I missed one change by about 8 seconds. Then we had to play catch-up, but overdid it and finished 14 seconds early."

Lunch was at a restaurant with great food in Ciudad Constitucion. The car club of LaPaz was invited to join them, and all the car folks enjoyed exchanging stories. One guy told Tim he had a 1978 Ford Bronco too, and he was especially excited about examining Car 43!

The rally route after lunch was supposed to be another scenic drive through the mountains, with many more water crossings. Due to hurricane damage on that route, however, the reroute mapped a 270 km fairly direct run down to LaPaz.

But it wasn't without its challenges. Cows, goats, donkeys and horses were sighted, and once in downtown LaPaz, the road was rough, with stop signs every 100 yards or so. The hotel for the night had a beautiful view, and the rally drivers were glad to bring this very hot day to a close.

Tim's been complaining about the rally hotels in Mexico having only cold and lukewarm water - when what he really wants is a nice hot water shower to rinse off the day's dust and sweat. Saturday's hotel in LaPaz had plenty of hot water, he says, but no cold water out of the taps at all!

There's only one more day to go for this rally's finish in Cabo San Lucas!

the Bronco Behind A Tree

September 24th, 2023

everyone - into the pool!

Day 28: Guerrero Negro to Loreto, Baja California Sur

Tim and Patrick began Day 28 of the Alaska to Mexico Marathon on Sunday by heading out of the San Felipe hotel to the 1978 Ford Bronco. Sitting on the hood was a Mexican jar candle, featuring Santo Pedro Lopez. Patrick says this represents the "patron saint of rough roads and the fools who drive upon them." He also relates an accompanying prayer: "May your suspension travel be great, and your gearbox robust."

Tim tells us "Someone left it for us last night at the party. I take it as a compliment!"

Again underway, heading back across the Baja Peninsula towards the Gulf of California, it didn't take long for the day's heat to descend, adding more stress on the vintage rally cars, and their drivers. There is no air conditioning in these cars, and with windows rolled down, they feel only the hot air blowing past. "If anything," Patrick says, "the hot wind makes us feel hotter!"

Tim has perfected a cool-down trick that provides some relief on these hot, dusty drives. He keeps a cooler full of ice and water between the front seats, and stocks it with cotton bandanas. Picking a fresh, cold bandana from the cooler, Tim and Patrick wipe their faces, arms and legs, then drape the bandanas on their necks. Once the bandanna begins to dry out in the heat, they can repeat with another!

It was a beautiful drive, though, and the rally drivers enjoyed knowing they are drawing ever closer to their final day on Tuesday. No one had major problems, though all the cars and drivers are showing fatigue after so many days on the road.

Tim reports that after the day's scorching drive, he spent two hours in the hotel pool - and he wasn't the only rally driver who took advantage of this amenity!

More heat and road challenges still to come - but there are only two more days to Cabo San Lucas!

September 23rd, 2023

The Bronco on the Horizon

Day 27: San Felipe to Guerrero Negro

These last few days of the Alaska to Mexico Marathon are taking a toll on cars. Heat, sand, elevation changes, and the wear and tear of 27 days on the road have caused a few more vintage rally cars to drop out. But Tim and Patrick are still in it - and a good thing they are, too!

Having the not-quite-rally-vintage 1978 Ford Bronco has been helpful with so many cars getting mired in the sand. Tim and Patrick have been called upon for towing duty, and enjoy lending a hand wherever they can.

It was a blisteringly hot day as they continued on the rally route in Baja California. The first regularity, climbing the Peninsular Ranges that form the spine of the Baja Peninsula, resulted in the Bronco experiencing a vapor lock. With the gas boiling in the overheated car, there was no choice but to wait for the engine to cool. The second regularity also resulted in a long delay. A car had gotten stuck in the sand, and when another car stepped up to tow them out, that car overheated! So recovery time was necessary, and rally drivers just relaxed until they were able to set out on the regularity.

But as Patrick says, "Beautiful view of the ocean, and all these cool old cars to look at and interesting people to talk to, so who can complain?"

The rally route passed through a few sparsely placed small towns on the way south. Tim tells us the temperature got noticeably cooler as they drove closer to the Pacific Ocean. Our drivers stopped for lunch at one of these towns, grabbing a lukewarm hotdog. But it didn't take long for Tim to decide his lunch choice was a better snack for a local dog who stopped by for a visit. "Dogs everywhere we go seem to gravitate to Tim," says Patrick.

Tim and Patrick hosted the sweeps party on the Bronco's tailgate Saturday night; the party is a rally tradition to thank the mechanics for their difficult skilled work. Our drivers had a great time shopping the small markets of Guerrero Negro in search of gin and tonic. Owen played a mix of Mexican music on his car stereo for the party. And Patrick had a great talk with Andy Inskip and was taken on a tour of his sweeps truck, seeing all the tools and materials the mechanics use to keep the rally vehicles running to the best of their skill, knowledge and ability. Lots of beer was consumed, and a good time was had by all! The Bronco's tailgate proved a great bar, - and, as Peggy tells us, "It's not the first time that tailgate has been used as a bar!"

Just a few more rally days remaining, but there are many more challenges ahead. Onward down the Baja Peninsula!

September 22nd, 2023

Mexican sunset

Day 26: Puerto Penasco, Sonoro to San Felipe, Baja California

On Friday, the first full driving day in Mexico, the Alaska to Mexico Marathon drivers traveled from one Mexican state to another, passing more varied terrain and facing challenging driving conditions.

"We went through a lot of desolate looking scenery today," Patrick reports. "Most of the day we drove with a mountain range on our right, slowly dying down as we drove around the top of the Sea of Cortez and then to lower elevations around San Felipe."

They drove a varying landscape, intermittent mountains making way for a glimpse of the ocean and salt flats. At one point the scenery exploded with green near a large rural village, well-irrigated farm fields thriving. "Not sure what they were growing," says Patrick. "I think strawberries, Tim thinks soy beans."

They stopped for fuel in this town, with very friendly local people stopping to say hello and ask questions about the rally. Patrick shares they saw a lot more US license plates than they expected, mostly California and Arizona, but at least one from New York!

They had a "nice, fast regularity through sand," arriving 5 seconds early, but satisfied with that. Tim reports that two rally cars - an Escort and an MG - got stuck in the sand. The Bronco was able to help by pulling the Escort out, earning a new name for this secondary Car 43: Escort Maximus!

The rally traveled through two military checkpoints, with Patrick relaying that some of the soldiers were all business, while others smiled and waved. Large groups of soldiers were seen along the road. They drove by three military trucks that had stopped to help a local whose car had driven off the road and was stuck in the sand about 25 feet below.

They also passed by several schools, where all the kids were out watching the cars drive by and waving to the competitors.

The Bronco is running well, with recent repairs seeming to have fixed the oil leak. Tim tells us that of the 50 cars that started the rally in Anchorage, only 36 remain. Attrition due to car issues is the largest reason, but others decided to forego the Mexican leg of the trip. From what we can tell, this is the most relaxed part of the journey, so kudos to those that have been able to hold together for this long over so many miles, and are enjoying the water, the beaches and the enticing food of this part of the world. Just 4 more days to go!

September 21st, 2023

Military Aircraft

Day 25: Tucson, AZ, USA to Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico

It was an early morning for Tim and Patrick - a 5:30 AM wake-up call for a 7:02 AM start! But knowing Thursday was a milestone day, crossing into the last country of this marathon rally, our drivers were motivated to get up, pack up, eat a quick breakfast, clean the windshield and windows, and line up for the start.

And what a day! With temperatures hovering in the mid-70s as they prepared to start, they knew it would be another hot day. With three time trials on race tracks, their last day in the States would offer the Bronco some challenges.

The rally route again took them on loosely graveled roads, including some time spent driving on Pasqua Yacqui Tribal land, south of Tucson. Lunch included a time control in the town of Why, AZ at Granny's Cafe.

And after lunch, Patrick reports, there was a straight drive to the border crossing. "It was a very easy process, only taking about 20 minutes to get signed off," said Patrick. "But since the customs building wasn't very well-marked, it took a while to find it!"

As they drove south in Sonora, the landscape shifted from the dry brown of desert to the sandy colors of the ocean beach. They had arrived in Puerto Penasco!

How did Patrick's first day navigating for Tim go? No word from Tim, but Patrick tells us "I'm really enjoying navigating! As my wife can attest from our family road-trips, I'm already obsessed with tracking mileage. I like to compare the odometer and mile markers against my mental math, so I'm finding it quite enjoyable when the numbers on the Monit match up at each checkpoint."

Tim and Patrick arrived in Puerto Penasco in plenty of time to go swimming in the Sea of Cortez. "It's very warm and salty," Tim tells us. "Very therapeutic!"

Patrick has added a great element to involve the next Eades generation in this rally, too. "I've brought two of the boys' favorite toys, and I plan to send them at least one cool picture a day of them from the rally," says Patrick. Eston and Frank will certainly enjoy that - and so will we! Fun idea!

A great first day of rally navigation for Patrick, and another day of rally adventure for Tim and the Bronco on the Alaska to Mexico Marathon!

September 20th, 2023

Bronco Work

Day 24: Rest Day in Tucson, AZ

An ongoing joke about rally "rest" days is: where exactly is the rest? Between doing laundry, repacking bags, hunting down needed car parts, shopping to replace broken or lost items, diving into needed car repairs, and prepping for the next stretch of road days ahead, there is precious little time to rest!

But they do provide time for all of the above, and some sightseeing, catching up with rally friends, and in Tim's case, saying goodbye to one navigator and onboarding another!

Brandon, Patrick and Tim spent Wednesday morning working on the Bronco. They replaced the fuel pump (second one in 45 years; "so unreliable," says Tim sarcastically!). They also replaced all four jets in the carburetor, hoping that helps the Bronco oxygenate better in higher altitudes.

As Patrick and Tim headed off to an auto parts store for replacement spare parts, Brandon took off for the airport, traveling back to his family in Michigan. "Off to the airport to return to the real world," Brandon tells us. "What an amazing adventure. I really hope to see more of the world and more rallies. What a great group of people!"

Before he left, Brandon shared his newly mastered tips in rally navigation with Patrick. Timing and route management are the focus of the navigator's attention in these road rallies. While Brandon has just one rally week on his navigator's resume, he had plenty of tips to share with Patrick.

Tim and Patrick carefully checked over the Bronco before heading in to dinner. Tightening nuts and bolts, lubricating the front end, and generally prepping for getting back on the road provided a satisfying entry to the world of rallying for Patrick.

Wednesday evening also gave Patrick plenty of time to review the route for Thursday's drive. They will cross the border from the United States to Mexico, as they start the final week of the Alaska to Mexico Marathon.

Mechanic Working

Parts Shop

September 19th, 2023


Day 23: Flagstaff to Tucson, AZ

While early mornings in the higher elevations of northern Arizona can be quite cool, the elevation drop, blazing sun, and drive south as the Alaska to Mexico Marathon competitors headed from Flagstaff to Tucson meant most of the day was spent traveling in 85+ degree temperatures. Of course, that was better than locals experienced earlier in the summer, with daily temps topping 110+! But heat is not a friend to vintage cars, adding more stress to aging engines, and adding to the exhaustion of drivers struggling with their own bodies overheating in a car with no air conditioning.

Tim and Brandon experienced the heat throughout the day, reporting a "brutal hot ride over many mountains." They found a regularity particularly challenging, driving hairpin turns on a dirt road, with a 55 kph speed change in the last segment. They posted a 5-second penalty, but consider that pretty good under those conditions!

Patrick took a very early morning flight to Tucson, arriving around noon. He had a great lunch, and spent the afternoon at the hotel pool, swimming and relaxing. When Tim and Brandon arrived around 4 PM, overheated and dusty from the long day's hot drive, they were met by a happily relaxed and cooled Patrick!

They spent the evening together, with Brandon giving Patrick a crash-course in navigating on a rally, and tips on timing for regularities and time controls. Of course, Patrick was introduced to the rally group. He finally can put faces to some of the names he has heard in stories told by Tim of past rallies.

At the rally dinner Tuesday night, with a husband/wife team celebrating their wedding anniversary as well as the husband's birthday (and generously buying drinks for everyone as part of their celebration!), Tim, Brandon and Patrick enjoyed a toast to the rally, as one navigator of Car 43, the 1978 Ford Bronco, handed off to the next.

Loren, one of the rally organizers, had a fun story to tell Tim. While she was driving down to Tucson on a more direct highway route, she ran into Jim at a rest area! Jan and Jim were driving from Sedona to the airport in Phoenix, and they all happened to be in the same place at the same time.

Wednesday will be a rest day, with plans for Bronco repairs and service due to take place. There's just one more week to go until this marathon drive finishes!


September 18th, 2023

Grand Canyon

Day 22: Springdale, Utah to Flagstaff, AZ

With the Monit rally computer hard-wired and mounted in the Bronco, and resigned to that pesky oil leak, Tim and Brandon set off from Springdale, Utah on Day 22 of the Alaska to Mexico Marathon.

After zigzagging across the state and national parks of southern Utah, Monday's rally route took a decidedly southern route into the Navajo Nation and the state of Arizona. Special permission was granted to allow the rally drivers to cross Navajo land, and our drivers soaked up this special experience as the tan-and-orange-colored rock formations gave way to the reddish copper colors of northern Arizona.

Driving regularities on dirt and gravel roads is always a challenge, but pushing up a 10,000 foot mountain pass left the Bronco gasping for air. Despite the grumbling from the engine, Tim and Brandon managed just a 1-second penalty; proof of Brandon mastering the navigational challenge of the rally now that the Monit is functioning properly.

Car number 15 was not quite as successful. They slid on a turn and ended up in a ditch, hood buried, rear tires in the air. Both drivers were unhurt, but it took some fancy towing to get the car back on flat land. They have hopes that repairs in a local garage will allow them to rejoin the rally in Tucson on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Our team traversed yet more amazing scenery in their rally route drive to Flagstaff. And the rest of the Bodacious Racing team (minus Peggy!) traveled through similar scenery, with Jim driving us in his rental car from our Sedona resort to the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately schedules did not allow for a meet-up, but both groups had an enormously enjoyable day.

Tuesday Jan and Jim head home to South Carolina; Chris and Beth will embark on their own driving adventure as they drive our truck back to Rhode Island; and Jeff and Gaye fly home to Rhode Island. We all enjoyed our little sojourn in Arizona!

Tim and Brandon will have a long day driving the rally route south to Tucson. They should continue to drive through challenging conditions and magnificent scenery!

September 17th, 2023

Run Forest!

Day 21: Bluff to Springdale, Utah

Three weeks in, the Alaska to Mexico Marathon competitors drove through scenic southwest Utah on Saturday, including extended drives through Monument Valley and Zion National Park.

As they drove through Monument Valley, Brandon reports the place was crawling with tourists, many standing in the middle of the road, cell phones out to frame pictures, oblivious to oncoming traffic. He also reminds us that in the movie Forrest Gump, this is the place the titular character decides to stop his run zigzagging the country. Is that why so many people had stopped in this one place to take pictures?

The 1978 Bronco was able to maneuver its way around the groups, with some choice words uttered by Tim, we're sure!

Driving through the breathtakingly beautiful Zion National Park, our Bodacious Racing team members still in the rally, report seeing domestic bison and wild big horn sheep. The variety of climate zones in this part of Utah is unparalleled, with an amazing variety of native flora and fauna, much enjoyed by the competitors.

There were no regularities on the drive, but they did relate a "fun new Time Control Section." Essentially, Brandon reports "you drive as fast as you can from one time check area to another, on winding gravel and sand roads with sections of wash-out. You wait for the exact right minute to hand your time card to the Marshall, then zip off down the road to the next checkpoint." Again, cars are penalized for being too early or too late. Sounds as if Tim and Brandon really enjoyed putting the Bronco through its paces.

The slow oil leak continues, but while frustrating, it doesn't seem to be hindering the car's performance. So they'll continue their nightly leak investigation in Springdale, as they prepare to leave Utah for a few days in Arizona, traveling closer to the final country of this marathon rally, Mexico.


September 16th, 2023

stopping in Utah

Day 20: Moab to Bluff, Utah

The drive on Saturday was Brandon's first day navigating for his father-in-law Tim in the 1978 Ford Bronco. On their rest day in Moab, they had installed a Monit rally computer, to more accurately measure distance, timing and speed for regularities, and Brandon studied up on how to use it. But it soon became apparent that the Monit was not getting power from the car, so was not reliable. They reverted to using their cell phone GPS odometers and a hand-held stopwatch.

On the first regularity of the day, Brandon learned the cell phones were not reliable either, probably due to the huge elevation changes of the rally route. "We came across exactly when we wanted to, according to this rookie navigator and the seasoned driver," Brandon tells us. "Then the marshalls told us we were 22 seconds ahead of time." Lesson learned, I suspect!

They were pleased to find that once the elevation changes slowed, their instruments were more reliable-that made a big difference!

The Southwest US has been inundated with rain at times this summer, and the rally has rerouted several times to avoid closed, washed out roads due to flooding.

Tim and Brandon report that a river crossing and regularity were canceled on Saturday afternoon due to the water running too high for most of the cars to safely cross. They are sure the Bronco would have had no problem with that crossing! Instead of enjoying 66 km on gravel roads with twists and turns, the new route took them on 34 km of pavement. "Boring!" says Brandon.

Safely finished for the day in Bluff, their attention turned to the oil leak that has plagued Tim's car. The Bronco has been running great, but this slow oil leak is evading repair. This time they are thinking it's the oil filter causing the problem. It's leaking just enough to coat engine parts and make it look more serious than it is. Oil levels have not been much affected-and they certainly haven't had the smoke Jeff and Chris experienced with the oil leak they had in the 1957 Chevy up in the Yukon!

The plan is to replace the oil filter and keep an eye open as they spend a long transit day Sunday driving west to Springdale, UT and Zion National Park.

Sedona is spectacular! Hiking, sightseeing, massages and great food are keeping the other members of the Bodacious Racing team (sans Peggy!) entertained while the Alaska to Mexico Marathon continues.

chasing a competittor

September 15th, 2023

Resting Bronco

Day 19: Moab, Utah rest day

Rest days on distance endurance rallies always provide an opportunity to carefully check over these vintage cars, execute repairs, and investigate pesky problems that evade solution, and the Alaska to Mexico Marathon's rest day in Moab satisfied this opportunity.

It also provided a wealth of opportunities to explore the beautiful country around this southeastern Utah city, near both the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. From viewing and climbing weird rock formations to horseback riding and river rafting, there were activities galore for the rally drivers.

Tim's son-in-law Brandon had his work cut out for him, however, as he and Tim converged on the 1978 Ford Bronco. Having never been on an endurance rally before, Brandon spent a fair amount of the rest day undertaking a crash course in navigating by time, speed and distance, as outlined in the official rally tulip book of daily maps and driving directions. Tim taught Brandon how to time for regularities, and explained the calculations required to minimize time penalties for arriving too early or too late.

They were also able to install a rally Monit timer, to more accurately measure distance. Brandon learned how to set and reset the timer. A friend's dog was happy to cuddle up to Brandon as he worked to master these new skills; too bad the dog won't be on the road with them!

The Bronco's ongoing oil leak resurfaced as they headed back to the hotel from dinner. They plan to revisit that problem once they finish the next day's drive Saturday, to Bluff, Utah.

Jeff and Chris said their goodbyes to rally friends on Friday and headed off to Sedona, Arizona. While they expected to drive on highways, they found their direct option south from Flagstaff was on two-lane state highway 89A, driving through Oak Creek Canyon. They went from an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet to Sedona's 4,350 feet in less than an hour! The drive is ranked among the most scenic in the United States.

In Sedona, Chris and Jeff met up with Beth, Gaye and Jan; Jim will fly in on Saturday. With both Tim and Brandon on the rally, and Tim and Peggy's daughter Bridget traveling for work this coming week, Peggy will be caring for the grandkids. Not quite the relaxing outdoor and spa holiday those in Sedona will enjoy! She will appreciate her Grandma time nonetheless, but will be much missed by her friends in Arizona.

Tim, Brandon and the rest of the rally will continue to work their way through scenic southern Utah in the final third of this Marathon, heading south to the finish in Mexico!

September 14th, 2023

Red Rocks

Day 18: Heber City to Moab, Utah

A day for a beautiful drive! Knowing Moab was the destination for the day, followed by a much anticipated rest day, allowed rally participants to lean in to a challenging drive, enjoy the spectacular scenery of Utah, and navigate their way through the rugged wilderness of the rally route.

Tim enjoyed the mountain drive on gravel roads, bringing the Bronco through Manti-La Sal National Forest southeast of Salt Lake City. Tim soon found himself in the desert on the border between Colorado and Utah, an extremely rough road. He had to drive the Bronco to a slow crawl in places where the road was washed away.

Chris and Jeff enjoyed their drive, too, but they took a more direct route! This route took them through stunning territory, too, as they covered the miles south.

Once again, they met up with the rally folks at the lunch stop, a small restaurant in a small town. And it had great food!

Resuming the afternoon rally drive, Tim enjoyed the run along the Green River Gorge. The Bronco was running well, and his regularity results were great. William Nomates had a great showing for his last time being Tim's imaginary navigator!

A large rally group gathered at the only bar in Moab-World Famous Woody's Tavern. Many of the rally competitors our Bodacious Racing team have met on previous rallies, most notably the Lima to Cape Horn challenge last fall, have become fast friends, and a little bar time comparing notes helps them renew those bonds. But after some time, our three drivers peeled off, foregoing the rally's buffet restaurant for a steakhouse in Moab. This will be the last night on this rally that they will share dinner. Tim's son-in-law, Brandon, was arriving late to share this experience with Tim as they drive the next week through Utah and Arizona. And Jeff and Chris will head to Sedona, Arizona, leaving the rally behind to meet up with Gaye and Beth, and Jan and Jim.

Tim will enjoy his rest day on Friday, checking over the Bronco; cleaning filters; tightening nuts and screws; and instructing Brandon in the art and science of navigation!

smoke stacks

September 13th, 2023


Day 17: Jackson, WY to Heber City, UT

Tim was faced with a tight schedule Wednesday morning. He had a 7:20 AM start, but with breakfast not served until 6:30, it was a grab and go situation! It's hard to scarf down some good buffet eggs in 20 minutes or so.

The day, for the most part, was spent in a beautiful valley, driving on gravel along a rushing stream. This back country was very rough, and at some point the competitors crossed over from Wyoming to Utah without any fanfare.

After arriving in Heber City, overlooking the ski resort of Park City, Tim learned the Marshall on the second regularity of the day had made an error. "I ended up with just a 14 second penalty for the day," Tim tells us. Not bad for Tim and his imaginary navigator, William Nomates!

The small oil leak is still plaguing the Bronco. Tim thinks his repairs to date have made it worse! After his 10 hours driving, he spent another hour in the parking lot trying to figure it out. Suspecting a hairline crack in the bronze pipe leading to the oil sensor, Tim removed the entire pipe and installed a plug. He's hoping all will be well with that fix.

Jeff and Chris had a more leisurely day, starting out in the truck at a more reasonable hour with a stop at Starbucks for coffee. They didn't see any rally cars as they drove towards Heber City, since they took the more direct, paved roads. But they did meet up with the group at the lunch stop at the Bear's Den overlooking a beautiful mountain lake.

Tim says eating a big lunch makes him too sleepy to drive, so he opted for a few HoHos and a bottle of chocolate milk!

Our Rhode Island friend Carl, driving with his brother Peter, had a scare as a nut fell out of his steering column, sending him careening off the road. Fortunately he wasn't driving switchbacks at the time! The car's skid plate kept the undercarriage from sustaining any serious damage, and they were secularly belted in. The sweeps were able to tow them out and make repairs, but Carl received a strict lecture from them about checking each night for loose nuts and screws. Tim reports Carl was still shaken four hours later. He'll be more thorough in his checks from now on!

Brandon Kuglin, Tim's daughter Bridget's husband, is arriving on Thursday to join Tim as navigator. Tim tells us "Everyone on the rally is kidding me about whether Brandon will be better or worse as a navigator than William Nomates. Pressure is on!"

He's having a great time, no matter what! Onward to Moab on Thursday, and a rest day on Friday.

Tim and Chris

September 12th, 2023

a bison or a buffalo?

Day 16: Idaho Falls, ID to Jackson, WY

The scenery of the mountain west of the United States continued to impress the competitors in the Rally the Globe Alaska to Mexico Marathon. Tuesday's challenge was to climb the Teton Pass, enroute to Jackson, WY.

While many of the pictures Tim and other rally participants provided from the day show nicely paved roads, most of the regularity action was, once again, on rough gravel roads. The first regularity was 20 kilometers of such challenging road. Tim reported results he was happy with, however. "At the first regularity point I got a 1 second late penalty, and the final point I was 21 seconds late. Hard to know how fast to go without Jim to call the times." We think he's doing quite well on his own!

The day was one of driving through a mountain range with peaks well over 10,000 feet. The road was full of switchback curves as they climbed. The Teton Pass heading towards Jackson is nearly 8500 feet high, leaving Tim's Bronco gasping for air. They successfully made it through, enjoying the spectacular views as they drove to the Jackson Hole Valley.

Meanwhile, Jeff and Chris set off from the ranch, heading south to Yellowstone National Park. The GPS directions estimated a drive to Jackson of about 4 1/2 hours, but with all the Park traffic, it took more than 6 1/2!

While the "busy" season in our National Parks traditionally ends with Labor Day weekend, September is still prime time for park-goers, and Jeff and Chris were caught up in the midst of it. Driving through Yellowstone is always a beautiful adventure. They had planned to have lunch at the historical main lodge, but when they heard there was an hour wait, they opted for a burger at the general store. Traveling out the south end of Yellowstone, the road then took them to the north entrance of Grand Teton National Park. The day's drive through the Teton mountain range was spectacular and comfortable for Jeff and Chris in their contemporary truck, but challenging with traffic, wildlife and winding miles of mountain roads.

Once they drove into the chic town of Jackson, they settled in to await the rally's arrival. Soon Tim, in his Bronco, pulled up with bottles of Tanquerey and tonic, ice and glasses, and served cocktails in the parking lot to Jeff, Chris and the mechanics. This impromptu party continued as they walked from one potential dinner restaurant to another. The three friends finally decided on a Mexican restaurant with quite good food. Even the guacamole was spicy, Tim tells us, and Jeff sent a photo of the uniquely western dish of elk quesadillas.

While Tim will drive the rally route in to Utah on Wednesday, Chris and Jeff simply plan to meet up with the rally at the lunch stop, and then as the rally finishes the day in Park City, Utah. There's more mountain driving ahead for all of them!


Nora's Fish Creek Inn

September 11th, 2023

Extinct Volcano

Rally Day 15: Boise to Idaho Falls, Idaho

Getting into the rhythm of the rally in his 1978 Ford Bronco, Tim had a great day of driving through southern Idaho. He enjoyed listening to music-Jackson Brown and The Rolling Stones-as he functioned as both driver and navigator.

There was just one long regularity on the route, since the road for the second one on the schedule had been washed out by recent rains and flooding. Tim got just a 6-second penalty at the first time point, and a 9-second penalty on the final one. "I'm happy with that, but if Jim had been calling times, I bet we would have received zeros," Tim tells us.

A time trial on a race track also provided a satisfying result. Tim and the Bronco posted a time of 1:06. With the two Escorts still in the rally posting a .52 and .56, Tim feels he did quite well.

He enjoyed driving through the beautiful countryside, even if it was pretty rough going. The rally route took the competitors through an ancient lava field, and past extinct volcanoes. They finished the day in the lovely town of Idaho Falls, at a hotel with an outdoor terrace overlooking the Snake River. Tim reflected that the setting complemented a gin and tonic quite well!

It also provoked some philosophical musing. "I must say, I was second-guessing myself on the drive from Michigan to Washington. But the past two days have been outstanding! The Bronco has performed fantastically well, and the scenery has been magnificent! I'm glad I told my brain to f*** off and listened to my heart!"

We're glad, too, Tim! Safe travels as the road takes you from Idaho into Montana and Wyoming, finishing up in Jackson, WY, where Jeff and Chris will be awaiting your arrival.

Jeff and Chris spent time in the city of Bozeman, MT, getting the oil changed in the truck, filters replaced, and otherwise preparing for their drive to Jackson. They also bought and installed a trailer hitch and acquired a tow rope. They figure that since they'll be shadowing the rally for a bit, they should be prepared to help out. They will leave the ranch in Pray, MT Tuesday morning, driving through Yellowstone National Park and Teton National Park, enroute to Jackson to meet up with Tim and all the rally participants.

Chris and Jeff

September 10th, 2023


Rally Day 14: Walla Walla, Washington to Boise, Idaho; Tim’s Bronco Day 1

September 10th marked the first day of Tim's rally re-entry, driving from southeastern Washington into the Idaho state capitol of Boise.

While his plan for driving the Bronco alongside the rally cars is to "don't get in anyone's way in the regularities," Tim has set up a good system for being his own navigator in a car without timers and resettable odometers. He has taped the map book to a cooler secured between the front seats, available for easy reference. His cell phone, with an odometer app, rests in a holder on the dashboard in front of him within easy reach.

On the first day with this set-up, Tim missed a turn when his cell phone overheated, and the odometer wouldn't reset. He drove about 40 kilometers into the wilds before realizing he was lost. He doubled back, making it to the time control just in time to avoid a penalty. By then his cell phone had cooled down enough to reset the odometer.

The first of three regularities for the day had multiple turns and speed changes. Tim ran into a group of about 40 bicycle riders, spaced about 500 meters apart. "I had to slow for each of them, as we were on a dusty gravel road and I didn't want to kill them with dust as I passed." Despite that complication, Tim managed a 24 second late penalty, not bad for someone pacing himself by instinct instead of instruments! He says he just averaged the speed changes and went for it, clearly a good tactic.

In the second regularity, Tim improved his system, managing a 1 second early penalty. And on the third regularity, despite the white knuckle challenge of driving through a canyon with a rough gravel road, numerous hairpin turns, and big drops down steep grades, with no guardrails, he finished with a 20 second early penalty. "I sure miss my co-driver Jim," he tells us.

It was a long 10-hour day, punctuated with a great BBQ pulled pork sandwich served at a place in the middle of nowhere. The Bronco seems to be enjoying the gravel roads, and is running well. The rally drivers experienced a run through National Forest, along fast-running streams and the Snake River. Every 10 kilometers or so Tim saw someone fly fishing in the water. "Jim would have loved it!"

We can all enjoy Tim's current listing on the Rally the Globe website results report for the Alaska to Mexico Marathon. Car 43, a 1978 Ford Bronco, is driven by "Tim Eades and William Nomates." Just a little joke about Tim driving solo!

The rally's next stop: Idaho Falls.

In Montana, after doing a few ranch chores, Jeff and Chris thoroughly washed the truck in preparation for their drive. Not quite Tim's adventure, but they are enjoying the spectacular scenery of Paradise Valley, and looking forward to meeting up with the rally on Tuesday.

September 9th, 2023

Alaska to Mexico…Redux: To Walla Walla, Washington

With much interest expressed from those in the know in Tim's cross-country adventure to rejoin the rally in a different vehicle, we are getting the blog back up and running!

Tim began formulating his plan to rejoin the rally a week ago, before he ever made it to Sitka, Alaska, and then home. Once back in Southwest Michigan, he opened the garage on his personal vintage car, a 1978 Ford Bronco. Tim bought this car new, way back when, and it has been lovingly kept ever since, repaired, maintained and rebuilt as needed. While not quite qualified by Rally the Globe rules; vintage cut-off is 1976 - for Tim's purposes in getting back on the rally road, it more than excelled.

Tim spent 2 days prepping the Bronco for the 2000 mile drive to southeastern Washington. While most rally cars have their suspensions beefed up, race seats installed for comfort and security, roll cages and five-point harnesses in place for safety, and multiple timers and distance monitors to ensure timed regularity success, the Bronco merely presents itself as the well-kept vehicle it is. Tim packed the necessary repair tools, safety equipment, spare tires, and hit the road with his trusty steed.

When the Bronco was new, Tim spent many hours behind the wheel crisscrossing the country, and part of the appeal and challenge of this drive was in reliving those hours. A 13-hour run to the middle of Nebraska on Wednesday found Tim at a rest stop, camping out in the back of the truck. "Last time I did that was in 1980. It's not as much fun as I remember!"

Late Thursday afternoon found Tim crossing an 8500 foot pass near Laramie, Wyoming. Tumbleweeds on the road became a problem, along with the reality that the Bronco couldn't go as fast as the 80 mph speed limit. The no ethanol gas available in this part of the country gave a boost to mileage, an especially good thing in an area where service stations can be 200 miles apart.

Later that day, Tim crossed the Continental Divide at 7000 feet. "This is the second time the Bronco has been out this way," Tim reported, having given a UGA student a ride to a dude ranch in Colorado, then continued on to the Oregon coast-in 1979! "It was easier then - I didn't have to do it in three days."

The Alaska to Mexico Marathon rally drivers crossed the border back into the United States at Osoyoos, BC, on Thursday, and made the short drive from there to Leavenworth, Washington. Tim arrived in Walla Walla on Friday ahead of the main rally group, eager to meet back up with everyone.

"The trip out was fun, with lots of loud music on the CD player," Tim said. "Went on many of the same roads I took in 1979, and passed through many of the same towns. Back then I had an Audiovox cassette player and now I have a Pioneer CD player. Back then the speed limit was 55, now it's 80. Since I can only manage 70 going downhill, that didn't matter much. Back then, I had a lot more time, 2 months. But it was a good trip out, and I'm glad I did it."

With the rally scheduled for a rest day in Walla Walla on Saturday, Tim had plenty of time to refocus on the journey to Mexico. He bought two gin and tonics to help ease him into car prep: "One for me, and another one for me," he said.

Late Friday afternoon, with rally cars arriving, Tim checked into the rally hotel, and laid down for what he figured would be a short nap. "I woke up at 12:30 AM - completely missed dinner! Went back to sleep - for another 11 hours!"

Greeting Saturday well-rested, Tim reentered the rally, getting his official stickers, hitting up two different auto stores to purchase spare parts, repairing (he hopes) a small oil leak that plagued him on the way out. Having successfully passed scrutineering for this not-quite-a-rally car, Tim manufactured a number sticker, reclaiming the "43" from the broken Escort, back up in Whitehorse.

The navigator that mechanic Jamie hoped to have come in to ride with Tim to Moab couldn't make it, so Tim will be doing double duty, driving while navigating. After spending some time over lunch catching up with rally stories from the past week, Tim studied his route book. "I told people that if they see a big green truck in their rear view mirror not to panic - it just means I'm lost and following them."

Last time Tim navigated was for Jeff in the 2015 Sahara Challenge. "But how hard can it be to drive and navigate?" Chris can probably tell him, having done it for nearly 2 weeks in China, Mongolia and Russia in 2016.

Speaking of Chris and Jeff, they are getting ready for their own adventure rejoining the rally, picking up Jeff's truck at our Montana ranch. They will meet up with the rally - and Tim - in Jackson, Wyoming on Tuesday. They will drive with the rally until Moab, Utah. At that point, Tim's son-in-law Brandon will step in as Tim's navigator. Chris and Jeff will see everyone safely off to points south before driving to Sedona, Arizona, to meet up with the rest of the team, including Jim. Tim will take his place in the Bronco, car 43, hoping to enjoy his rally drive down to the finish in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. First stop in this restarted journey: Boise, Idaho.

Back on the road... follow along!

Green Bay Bronco

Green Bay Bronco

September 5th, 2023


Our Wrap Up of the Alaska to Mexico Marathon

The breakdowns of Car 20 and then Car 43 left our Bodacious Racing team dispirited and angry. There was little to be done for either car in the moment. The 1957 Chevy had a drive shaft failure that derailed the exhaust system, suspension and rear axle. This was particularly painful since Jeff and Chris had done so much of the rebuild themselves. They concluded the parts they chose for the rebuild were not robust enough for the extreme driving conditions of a road rally. "The system was fine for driving the Chevy to 'Cars and Coffee'" said Jeff. But under the continual abuse of gravel, pot-holed roads; hairpin mountain turns; and the sheer weight of the Bel Air, the parts could not support the car. Welds gave way and the structure collapsed.

The overall damage to the Escort of the blown gearbox was more limited. Unfortunately, the remoteness of their location in the Yukon worked against them. With no replacement gearbox able to be sourced locally, and knowing the Chevy was already out of the rally, Tim and Jim faced the reality that they had few choices. It would have been at least a week for a replacement to arrive and be installed. Even if there had been a willingness to shoulder the expense, and in the event a local garage could have helped them with a repair, they would have been left driving remote roads behind the rally, trying to catch up, without the support of pre-arranged meals and lodging-not to mention mechanics on call for other car emergencies.

So all in all, this rally was a bust.

Tim and Jim were able to get a tow truck to take the Escort back up to Whitehorse, and were able to get a lift as well. With both cars in a warehouse awaiting transport east, they all met up to commiserate. The next day they flew to Sitka, AK, and were a few beers into the day by the time Gaye and Peggy arrived from Juneau! We all enjoyed a day of sightseeing and a great dinner, then headed home.

The original plan for the rally had Gaye, Beth, Peggy and Jan meeting up with the guys for a week in Utah and Arizona. With that in mind, we have come up with a new plan-not quite as adventurous as the original, but fun nonetheless!

Jeff and Chris are flying to Livingston, MT this Saturday. They will pick up Jeff's truck at the ranch, and plan to meet up with the rally in Jackson, WY on September 12. They will then shadow the rally, enjoying the company of their many rally friends, and seeing some of the sights of the country's west and southwest. Tim is thinking along the same lines, driving his Ford Bronco west.

They will all then meet up with the rest of the team in Sedona, AZ, to enjoy a short holiday of hiking the hills, eating good food, and raising a glass to the Alaska to Mexico Marathon as it heads down to Tucson, and over the border to Mexico and the finish.

Next on the schedule for Bodacious Racing is another Rally the Globe marathon, The Road to Hanoi, starting January 27, 2024 This rally takes them through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, finishing as they drive the Ho Chi Minh Trail into Hanoi, Vietnam. Jeff and Chris will be in England in October to pack the 1972 Escort which Tim and Jim will drive, and the 1972 Porsche 911, which they will drive. Both of these cars seem to be in great shape. But you never know what will happen with the endurance rally experience!

August 31st, 2023

Day 4: Whitehorse to... Whitehorse?!

With the day dawning on questions for Jeff and Chris on how they were going to manage recovery and shipping of the 1957 Chevy Bel Air after its catastrophic suspension failure, they woke up, once again, in Dawson City, Yukon.

Down the road about 650 kilometers, the more successful 1971 Ford Escort with Tim and Jim, began the day a bit more optimistically. After working to replace the front tires and realign the front end, they started Day 4 traveling the Alaska to Mexico Marathon route to Watson Lake.

Jim tells us they nailed the first two regularities today, and saw themselves moving into second place in their class. All was going well, until disaster struck: the gear box blew up, leaving the car undriveable. It had developed an oil leak, and unbeknownst to them, the oil drained away. Jim says he remembers smelling a slight burning smell, but Tim didn't think it was anything out of the usual vintage car smell of fuel and exhaust. Was that smell an early indicator of a problem? We'll never know.

What are the odds that both of the Bodacious Racing team's cars would have such unrecoverable failures? While Owen, one of the rally sweeps, had a gearbox for replacement, it was in his shop in England. He offered to have someone hop on a plane and bring it to British Columbia - but only if the team would foot the bill. It would have been a costly fix, and the Escort would be out of the competition after missing multiple rally days. In the end, they faced the inevitable: this rally was over for our team.

What remained was a logistical challenge. Cars needed to be shipped to a warehouse in Whitehorse. The Chevy wasn't even in good enough condition for transport. While we reported yesterday the car was able to limp back to Dawson City, that was an overly optimistic take on things. Jeff and Chris got back, but left the car where it broke down. The suspension was shot, but also had lost a rear axle. Not driveable!

With the local garage opening at 8 AM, they connected with the one tow truck driver, riding with him to the site of the Chevy's collapse. The mechanic and a welder were able to put things back together enough to allow it to be towed. It was then taken to a warehouse in Whitehorse, to await transport by Melvyn's team to Rhode Island, where it will be restored and put on display in our collector's garage, telling its stories, but officially retired.

Chris and Jeff booked a 4:20 PM flight to Whitehorse on a local commercial airline, Air North. This airline has eight planes in its fleet, and services the more remote communities of The Yukon Territory. They plan to meet up in Whitehorse with Tim and Jim, to then fly to Sitka Alaska on Friday, to meet up with Gaye and Peggy. As of this writing, logistics were fuzzy about how Tim and Jim would get the Escort back to Whitehorse, or themselves for that matter - but we're confident they'll work it out! Once in Whitehorse, the Escort will join the Chevy in awaiting transport back to Rhode Island.

So spirits are low in the Bodacious Racing world. With high hopes shattered for the cars they entered in this rally, there has been "a real dent in the fun factor," as Jeff reports. The flight to Whitehorse was enjoyable, food provided was surprisingly good, and it offered a real Northern adventure. But it wasn't quite the adventure they had been looking forward to as they prepared for the Alaska to Mexico Marathon.

On the other hand, Gaye and Peggy have been enjoying an Alaskan adventure with a high fun factor! After seeing the rally drivers off, they hopped in the rental car for the drive up to Talkeetna. This is a rustic little town, with a population under 900, but full of interesting log homes and structures, a great restaurant scene, and a location on the banks of the Susitna River. While we knew the Denali mountain range was looming above us, along with the great mountain itself, visibility was so poor you would never have guessed it! In a light but steady rain we enjoyed walking around, ducking in and out of shops, and a warm bowl of beef quinoa soup for lunch.

Early on Tuesday we boarded the Alaskan Railways Coastal Classic train in Anchorage down to Seward. We traveled in domed cars, with outdoor viewing platforms, and enjoyed the sights and the staff's stories as we headed south. There was a moose sighting, a group of bears, beluga whales in the Turnagain Arm, and multiple bald eagles, along with living cliff walls of mosses, ferns and other plants, and rows and rows of evergreens and birches. The ubiquitous Devil's Club ivy spread its large leaves and spiky stems in the undergrowth. Breakfast was enjoyed in the train's dining room car.

While the weather in Seward reflected the local temperate rain forest, we experienced adventure after adventure. A boat tour to spot wildlife and geographic and geologic features of Seward's Resurrection Bay, and the Kenai Fjords in the Gulf of Alaska, were followed by a great seafood dinner in town. Wednesday morning we were off to the Seavey's sled dog kennel for a meet and greet with experienced sled dogs, some of whom are Iditarod champions with Seavey family members, and some of whom have just been born! We rode in wheeled carts behind teams of 14 harnessed dogs, who barked their excitement until they were released by the musher to work out their energy by pulling us through trails in the surrounding forest.

We continued the day hiking the Exit Glacier, where we encountered a mother moose and her half-grown calf on a trail, cautiously watching as they wandered off in search of tasty plants. We then visited a salmon hatchery and spawning area, where the silver salmon were running. Our guide entertained us with stories about the history of Seward, and as we drove down the road, a black bear crossed in front of us, and we spotted a moose grazing along the side of the road.

Delivered back to the Seward Train Depot, we boarded a train back to Anchorage. We were exhilarated but exhausted! That didn't stop us from enjoying the scenery, including an extended view of the Spencer Glacier, over cocktails and dinner.

We were able to catch a few hours of sleep in Anchorage before returning the rental car at the airport and boarding an Alaskan Airlines flight to Juneau, the capital of Alaska. We enjoyed exploring the streets of this historic town. With two enormous cruise ships in port, all the shop owners assumed we were off one of the ships! There are precious few tourists doing their own adventure like we are. Juneau shares much information about the history of the indigenous people who live in this area, the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian, with a beautiful museum, locally made art and crafts, and native design much in evidence. A great lunch of locally-sourced halibut tacos and rockfish and chips was followed by checking in to the historic Baranof Hotel, named for the Russian governor of Alaska, before it was bought by the United States.

Tomorrow we'll explore some of that Russian history along with the native Tlingit people's history, when we travel by seaplane to the formerly Russian town of Sitka.

In Sitka, we will meet up with our disappointed rally drivers, who hopefully will enjoy a bit of Alaskan history and more great seafood before flying East with us on Saturday. Look for a last wrap-up of this foreshortened rally adventure, and a hint of what's next for a recovered and refreshed Bodacious Racing team.

August 30th, 2023

Bel Air Suspension Failure

Day 3: Dawson City to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

What a day this Alaska to Mexico Marathon day was for our Bodacious Racing team.

The night of Day 2, the work on the Chevy was completed after midnight. Both Jeff and Chris were disgusted with how the car was performing. The tight switchbacks on gravel roads was wreaking havoc on the newly rebuilt suspension. Little problems had cropped up that were more inconvenient than serious, but they added up to a stressful ride. And it became obvious to Chris when he drove to get gas early in the morning that the oil pan was still leaking, despite the best efforts of the repair crew the night before. Jeff said when he came out at 7 AM to go to the car and found it missing, he hoped it had been stolen! But Chris soon returned the car with a full gas tank, ruining Jeff's hope. Their moods were grim.

Car 20 continued to disappoint as Jeff and Chris headed down the road after their start. Barely 20 kilometers of driving and disaster struck. They could tell the oil pan was dripping oil again from the smell of smoke as the oil dripped and ran back to the exhaust. The suspension was definitely off - and then there was a rattle, as part of the suspension hit the road. Pulling over, they found the part several yards back. The rattling of the heavy car on the challenging roads had broken the welds in the suspension system. Parts were dangling and there was no way to continue on. Standing by the side of the road, they came to the obvious conclusion. Car 20, the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, was out of the rally.

One of the sweeps arrived to make his own assessment, and quickly agreed the car was shot. Jeff and Chris gingerly turned the car around, and had a very uncomfortable ride back to Dawson City, accompanied by Jamie, the mechanic, for safety purposes.

Once back in Dawson City, Jamie turned back to rejoin the rally, wishing Jeff and Chris good luck. They spent the day hanging out in the small town, working on various scenarios for moving ahead. Jeff was able to get in touch with Melvyn from Cars US/UK, who said he could get the car shipped back to Rhode Island if they could get it to Dawson Creek, British Columbia, the rally's stop on Saturday. But the one flatbed truck in town and its driver were on a logging run, and wouldn't be back until the weekend. The one tow truck driver in town was out on a job elsewhere, not due back until late. So they still aren't sure how they'll get the car to Melvyn by Saturday. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, Tim and Jim were having a great time in Car 43, the 1971 Ford Escort. Tim writes: "Ten hours again today. Two very long regularity tests, each 30 kilometers on tough gravel roads. Then another 30 kilometers back to the main road. Lots of fun to drive the Escort on these gravel roads. She was made for this kind of driving. Had a tire go bad. Spent a few hours in the hotel parking lot tonight changing the two front tires, doing a new alignment and changing the camber of the wheels, all with the sweeps' help. They are a bunch of great guys. Bought them dinner tonight as a thank you. Hopefully the severe front end vibration we had all day will be gone tomorrow."

Jim continues: "In Whitehorse tonight, capital of The Yukon Territory. Really nice people came out to see the car while we were working on it. Slows the work down answering questions, but it's great to see so many enthusiastic people.

Tomorrow will be another long day. Jim is doing a fantastic job navigating, and doing the math needed for a successful regularity on the fly. We are getting some good times with a couple of zeros (not early, not late, exactly on time to the second.) That earns us a lollipop from the Marshals. Having a great adventure. It's beautifully up here in The Yukon."

So that's where we end Day 3. Tomorrow, Tim and Jim proceed to Watson Lake. Jeff and Chris will continue planning what's ahead for both the Chevy, and them, and we'll report back tomorrow!

Chris and a piece of the Bel Air suspension

Dawson City Radio Station

August 29th, 2023


Day 2: Crossing Into Canada

The now familiar sight of Alaska rain and low clouds greeted the Alaska to Mexico Marathon competitors this morning. But there was a long day ahead, and a little rain didn't delay the start of Day Two.

And a long day it was, especially for Chris and Jeff in car 20, the 1957 Chevy Bel Air. At the very first regularity, the oil pan on the car's new engine sprang a leak. After removing the skid plate and the front tires, they tried tightening bolts to stop the leak. Unfortunately, that didn't work, so they committed to drive on, with frequent additions of oil to replace what was dripping out.

Of course, dripping oil hits a hot exhaust and smoke ensues. So it was a smelly ride as they continued on their way.

Tim and Jim had no such issues with Car 43, the 1971 Ford Escort. It ran beautifully, cornering well on switchbacks, and performing perfectly on the day's mostly gravel roads.

Tim reports the day shifted from rain to sunshine, back to rain, and then more sun. They drove along fast-running streams cresting over their banks, saw lush vegetation and mud flats, and crossed easily across the Us/Canadian border out of Alaska and into Yukon.

Meanwhile, the Chevy continued to struggle. As they packed up after the first attempted repair, Jeff and Chris decided to put the skid plate in the back of the car, rather than reinstall it. And it almost fit-shattering the rear side window when it didn't quite make it!

Again on the road, the gear shift knob came off in Jeff's hand! For about fifty miles, he couldn't shift, until they somehow managed to get it reinstalled, at least temporarily.

In order to get to the day's final stop in Dawson City, the rally cars had to board a ferry to cross the Yukon River. Cars waited until the ferry was full, then were carried across to disembark at the town and make their way to the night's hotel.

Upon arrival after their 10-hour drive, Tim and Jim quickly learned the caterers had failed to deliver dinner. So Dawson City's pizza parlor did a good business feeding the competitors, mechanics, and rally officials!

Dinner was the last thing on Chris and Jeff's mind. Chris immediately went to work to remove the oil pan on the Chevy. Initially they thought they had a bad gasket. Further investigation showed the oil pan was bent out of shape, allowing a bulge that leaked oil. The sweeps arrived to tackle the problem. Andy "Skippy" Inskip spent time pounding the oil pan into shape. As the sun set, lights were turned on and the work continued. Tim and Jim and other rally friends drifted out to join the work party. By 10 pm, the repair was complete. But it took another two hours to reinstall the skid plate, secure the cracked back window and address other issues that had cropped up.

Chris and Jeff keep asking themselves and each other why they're driving the Chevy on this rally rather than the super reliable Porsche 911! It seemed like a good idea at the time...

It's tough to have such problems so early in a rally, and the Bodacious Racing team's mood is reflecting that. Let's hope Day Three, another long drive-655 kilometers-through the remote and isolated Yukon to Whitehorse, goes better for the Chevy, and just as great for the Escort!

August 28th, 2023

Day 1: The first driving day of the Alaska to Mexico Marathon dawned rainy and cool - a perfect late-summer Alaska day!

Nervous energy in the hotel breakfast room, and then in the car park, were palpable. Competitors and spectators alike breathed in the excitement, along with carbon dioxide fumes, as cars started and formed their lineup to go under the Start arch by assigned car number.

Goodbyes and good luck messages were shared. We hugged and waved, and with admonitions to send stories and pictures for this blog, first Chris and Jeff in the 1957 Chevy BelAir; followed 18 minutes later by Tim and Jim in the 1971 Ford Escort - headed under the Start arch, waved on by Rally the Globe director Fred Gallagher. Merging into Anchorage traffic, they started day one, following the directions in volume one of the three volume tulip book that the team will use during this rally.

The morning's drive quickly took the competitors out of Anchorage. Near Wasilla, they approached the first regularity. They report muddy, slippery conditions on the gravel road they set out on. Tim and Jim finished 2 seconds early after "battling slippery hairpin turns, steep gradients, and large holes in the road." An excellent first showing for Car 43!

Jeff and Chris did the same regularity, wrestling the large Chevy through the same course, and finished spot on! Rally competitors get a penalty for finishing too early or too late, so a 0 score is something to be applauded.

The time trial on a race track was also a successful experience for both cars. Tim and Jim boasted a great time. Jeff says he is relearning how to drive the Chevy. It doesn't corner or steer anywhere near the same as the Porsche 911 they last drove on an endurance rally!

Lunch was at a roadside diner, famed for hosting various dog sled competitions, including the Wasilla 300 and the Iditarod. Jeff ordered salmon fried rice and a reindeer kabob-Alaskan choices, for sure!

Tim reports seeing many cars and trucks along the side of the road that had obviously had run-ins with large wildlife, and says he heard it could take several days to get a tow truck to some of the remote country they passed through. They also saw an ice cream truck open for business at a service station in the middle of nowhere. Who exactly are their customers?

Several cars broke down today, but the Bodacious Racing cars are running well. Tim Said, "The Escort is running "like a Singer sewing machine!" We think that's good? No moose or bear were spotted, but frequent warning signs remind drivers to stay aware.

The day's drive ended at a hotel on the outskirts of Fairbanks, named Pike's Landing. Think Chris got a discount at dinner? It is perched on the banks of the currently fast-flowing Chena River. Many Alaskan rivers have flooded from recent rains; the second regularity of the day was canceled due to the road being washed out. Weather conditions will be an ongoing theme of this rally.

Tomorrow the rally leaves Alaska to drive across the border to Canada. Tim is hoping that Dudley Do-Right is manning the border crossing. Stay tuned!

August 27th, 2023

Sunset in Anchorage

Technically, Rally the Globe's Alaska to Mexico Marathon began on Sunday, August 27th. No kilometers were driven - the day began and ended in Anchorage - but the day before the start of any rally sees the human participants firing up their intellectual engines to prepare for the rally's specific challenges.

The Bodacious Racing team met for breakfast at the start of this important day. Scrutineering was planned for 10 AM, so after eating in the hotel dining room, and visiting with many fellow competitors familiar from past rally adventures, Jim and Chris picked up each car's envelope of rally decals. Out in the car park across from the hotel, they applied the Alaska to Mexico Marathon decals. Jeff and Chris will be in Car #20; Tim and Jim will be in Car #43.

Both cars were well-prepared for the scrutineer. The process includes a checklist of safety items both on the car, such as turn signals, horn, brake lights, etc.; and carried in the car; fire extinguisher, tow rope, jack and stands. Jim, however, ran into a little problem when he saw Car 43 was entered on the scrutineering form as a Datsun 240 Z! Jim is not a fan of these cars, and was convinced Chris or Jeff had somehow engineered the error. He crossed out the offending car description, writing in their 1971 Ford Escort. But that set the tone for the scrutineer, Jamie Turner. Taking seriously the need to check all the necessary equipment, he signed off on the form. However, he added in the notes section: "Navigator has an attitude problem"! Too funny - and all part of the banter that accompanies our team on every rally.

Our friendly mechanic Jarret from Revenant Motorsports, who had flown in with us to help repair a last-minute issue with a brake caliper on the Chevy, found himself pressed into service by needy competitors in the car park. A malfunctioning headlight that needed a complete rewiring accomplished, he had people lining up to ask for help. We think they didn't quite understand he wasn't part of the rally team of mechanics! But he helped out in good spirits, before rejoining our team for lunch, and then heading out for the long trip back to Rhode Island.

With their scrutineering forms in hand, the guys were able to sign in. They were issued rally backpacks including branded shirts, water bottles, and a small cooler. But most importantly, they received their map book, tulip books, and time cards. Safety beacons were also assigned. These will allow for tracking in case of breakdown in a remote location.

No sooner did they receive the books when navigators Chris and Jim began marking up each page. These give complicated instructions, using specific kilometer, or fractions of a kilometer, counts. Feeding directions to drivers Jeff and Tim is the navigators' job, so the more time they spend familiarizing themselves with the route, the better prepared they are.

Tim and Jeff prepared by examining their map books. These books are divided into the route for each day's destination, and show time trials and regularities. The map books also contain a very entertaining addendum on "Animals of North America As Seen at 70 mph". Blurred photos of bears, bison, moose, etc. are included, along with tongue-in-check descriptions of the potential danger to rally drivers of an encounter. Fun prep, especially for the many European drivers who are especially excited about this North American adventure.

With a meeting at 3 PM, then the rally dinner at 7, the day before the rally flew by. Heading off to bed to pack up, they agreed to meet up for their early morning starts. Jeff and Chris, in Car 20, will take off towards Fairbanks at 7:46 AM. Tim and Jim, in Car 43, will start at 8:04 AM. The Alaska to Mexico Marathon will be on!

Just a note about posting updates. Due to the 4-hour time difference between Alaska and the East Coast, as well as the long driving days, we will most likely be a day behind the rally in our daily posts. But we will keep up, sharing the stories we hear along the way!

August 25th, 2023

Another adventure begins! Our Bodacious Racing team has been prepping since they returned from Argentina in November. Jeff did a short staged rally in Sweden in March, driving the 1972 Porsche, set up for driving in ice and snow with deeply studded tires. The entire team then enjoyed driving their MGs in England and Scotland in April on the Flying Scotsman.

But the long focus has been on this one: 12,000 kilometers, 30 days, from Alaska, through British Columbia; crossing the US border to Washington state; from the northwest of the States to the southwest; crossing into Mexico south of Tucson; and then along the Baja Peninsula's east coast to finish in Cabo San Lucas.

Jeff and Chris will be driving the storied 1957 Chevy. This car, the veteran of two Peking to Paris Rallies, a Trans-America, and a Blue Train with the Bodacious Racing team, was completely reconditioned this past year. Chris and Jeff used their home shop in Jamestown to replace the engine, install new brakes, a new suspension, new seats, and many other repairs and fixes. A newly designed dashboard on the navigator's side will allow Chris to best observe his time, distance and speed instruments to simplify his calculations. Storage has never been a problem in this large vehicle, but streamlining tools and spare parts, with a place for everything, will help ensure quick repairs along the way.

Jarret Hurteau, of Revenant Motorsports, served as the visiting on-site professional, advising and assisting in the project, and doing all the welding needed. Completing the exhaust system was a high point in the rebuild; the Chevy Bel Air coughed out way too many fumes in the Jamestown courtyard!

Jim and Tim will be facing a distinct challenge: driving in right hand drive countries with the steering wheel on the right side! They have chosen to drive the 1971 Ford Escort they last drove in New Zealand in early 2020. They love this zippy rally car, and as seasoned drivers, they have no qualms about the extra challenges of driving on the "wrong" side of the road with this car.

The Escort was reconditioned with new fluids, break pads and tightened suspension. Tim visited the shop in Jamestown to inventory spare parts and tools, and to organize and pack the car. But we know once Jim gets to the garage in Anchorage, they will have to completely reorganize and repack everything!

The cars were shipped in late July. In preparing to drive the Chevy and Escort to the shipment pick-up point, the Escort refused to start. With a little more gas in the tank, and a quick jump to the battery, Jeff and Chris were able to coax it to start up. The cars were loaded into a car carrier, for overland shipment to Tacoma, Washington. From there, they were loaded onto a ship up to Anchorage. Upon arrival, the Escort refused to start again! Jamie Turner, one of Rally the Globe's mechanics, was on the scene, supervising car deliveries. He jumped the Escort, but then conferred with Jeff and Tim about securing a new battery. Seems like a good idea!

The team will pick up their cars on Saturday; complete Scrutineering on Sunday; and start the Rally on Monday, August 28th, driving north from Anchorage to end that first of many rally days in Fairbanks.

With forest fires looming in British Columbia and the northwest States; cold weather up north and broiling weather in the south; rivers flooding and washed-out roads, the natural challenges of driving the length of North America cannot be minimized. But preparation goes a long way in success, and the Bodacious Racing team is certainly well-prepared for this adventure, the 2023 Alaska to Mexico Marathon.

CP Construction

Revenant Motorsports