NOTE: This story, originally written and posted in October 1996, is now over 13 years old, but it keeps getting online visitors. Thanks for dropping by and reading. Links were last updated December 2008.
Opportunity came knocking on my door Monday morning, October 14, (1996) when I found a posting by writer Rich Truesdell in my e-mail in-basket. He sought a photographer to join a road trip up the Alaska Highway at the edge of winter, leaving at the end of the same week. I checked my calendar, didn’t find anything that couldn’t be moved or skipped, and wrote back that I was interested. To make a long story short, we connected and I joined a three-person team covering 10,000 miles in five weeks in an Audi Quattro A6 station wagon. I photographed the first two weeks of travel from Bellingham, WA to Anchorage, via Fairbanks and Deadhorse. Sacramento, CA photographer Jeff Burkholder photographed the return trip from Anchorage to Denver. Jeff’s other business is NMVInc., a new media development company.
The daily adventure journals that follow were written during the course of our journey and are liberally illustrated with photographs from the trip. Some of the images were made with an Epson PhotoPC digital camera (with a whopping 640×480 resolution), but most were made on conventional 35mm transparency film shot with an Olympus OM-4 (which wore out at the end of the trip) and scanned later. This site contains only the first two weeks of a five-week journey, when photographer Mark Turner was along.
- Day 1 October 19: Bellingham, WA to 100 Mile House, BC
- Day 2 October 20: 100 Mile House to Dawson Creek, BC
- Day 3 October 21: Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, BC
- Day 4 October 22: Fort Nelson, BC to Watson Lake, YT
- Day 5 October 23: Watson Lake to Whitehorse, YT
- Day 6 October 24: Whitehorse, YT to Tok, AK
- Day 7 October 25:Tok to Fairbanks, AK
- Day 8 October 26: Fairbanks to Coldfoot, AK
- Day 9 October 27: Coldfoot to Prudhoe Bay (Deadhorse), AK
- Day 10 October 28: Prudhoe Bay, AK overnight
- Day 11 October 29: Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks, AK
- Day 12 October 30: Fairbanks, AK overnight
- Day 13 October 31: Fairbanks to Talkeetna, AK
- Day 14 November 1: Talkeetna, AK overnight
Truesdell introduced the adventure this way before we departed:
"As someone who has always loved automobiles, travel and the lure of the open road, this fall, I am going to undertake a journey that I have always dreamed of, a trip to Alaska via the Alcan Highway. This trip is scheduled take place October 19 thru November 22, 1996. This trip, spanning five weeks will cover 10,000 miles over some of the most scenic roads on the North American continent.
"What could be more exciting than to cover nine states, three provinces, driving over the northernmost public road in North America in a brand new vehicle? Along the way we plan to take flights over Mt. McKinley, heli-ski, and visit national parks that most people will not have the opportunity to visit in their lifetimes."
The idea behind the trip was for a magazine story in amsterdam for apartments amsterdam, which never came about. It was still a heck of a grand adventure.
Our Vehicle – The Audi A6 Quattro
When it came time to select a vehicle for this trip, there were many options, mostly truck-like SUVs. As the owner of a well-worn but utterly reliable 1986 Audi 4000 Quattro, Rich decided to turn to Audi to supply a vehicle for this trip. Through the good graces of Audi of America, they were able to offer a 1996 Audi A6 Quattro station wagon. Deepest appreciation goes out to Audi’s public relations specialist, Terry Moorehead. She was able to process Truesdell’s request, all while planning and coordinating the US press launch and introduction of Audi’s new aluminum A8 luxury sedan.
For additional information on the A6, check out the Audi Home Page . It offers complete information on the Audi line-up; theA4, A6, A8 , Cabriolet, and the A6 station wagon. All offer either front wheel drive or all wheel drive making them the rational alternative to conventional sport utility vehicles where off-road capabilities are not required.