Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Arctic Campaign Heroes

Tamerlane's campaign was a success. After five days, six bus transfers, and over 3,100 miles, I reached the Arctic. In retrospect, the true heroes of this journey are the tough, reliable, American buses and vans that I rode in.

The MCI 102C3 is the oldest passenger bus in the current Greyhound Canada fleet. The clutch on the bus I was riding in from Dawson Creek to Whitehorse was about to go kaput. Nevertheless, the bus made it through some gnarly passes, sub-freezing weather, and icy roads with barely a hiccup. Okay, maybe a few.

In northern British Columbia and the Yukon, Greyhound also acts as a courier, taking the role of DHL/UPS/FedEx/postal service/bike messenger. The bus I rode in towed this trailer-full of packages.

For the Whitehorse to Fairbanks leg, this rear wheel drive Chevy Express 3500 van was comfortable and quick. It has a 6 liter Vortec engine and stability control. With snow tires and at the hands of an experienced driver, this van can take you anywhere. This was by far the best vehicle out of the three in this post.

This Ford E350 took me from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle. It is bone stock except for the Hella driving lights, sat phone, and snow tires. The 5.4 liter V8 produces 350 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to tow Tamerlane's battering ram and trebuchet. My only complaint: the second row passenger side seatbelt was overly complicated and required one buckle to act as a "key" to unlock the second buckle.


Unknown said...

Just wanted to let you know that the bus in the picture towing a trailer is not a 102C3, it's a 102DL3. #1007 is a 1997 CAT C10-powered 102DL3 with National 4210S Winged seating and it has silversides, so it doesn't look like the other DL3s. It has a 7-speed Fuller T-11607D manual. In 1998, Greyhound switched to ordering only Allison B500 automatic transmissions and all manual buses have been retired and sold.

Maxichamp said...

@John Wilbur: Thanks!