Tag Archives: driving

Gary Cooper’s Duesenberg SSJ


1935 Duesenberg Special Speedster Model J; Photo credit: Gooding & Co.

The ’35 Duesenberg SSJ was the fastest pre-WWII production road car, with speeds reaching 140mph in 1935. It is powered by a supercharged 420 cubic inch DOHC eight cylinder, which produced 400 HP.


The Duesenberg Straight Eight; Photo credit Gooding & Co.

This incredible vehicle went up for auction this past weekend during the famed Monterey Car Week. Gary Cooper once owned this SSJ; it was one of several Duesenbergs the actor owned during his lifetime. The Duesenberg was eventually bought by road racer , car manufacturer and America’s Cup winner, Briggs Cunningham. The Cunningham collection was bought by Miles Collier. It is Collier and the REVS Institute that is auctioning the car.


The Duesenberg SSJ at REVS Institute; Photo credit: Circle-to-Circle

I had the opportunity to see this famed Duesenberg at the REVS Institute, when the Frozen Foursome visited Tampa in April of 2016. It really is a remarkable machine. Absolutely stunning, with beautiful lines. Even today, it must be something very special to drive.


The Duesenberg’s cockpit at the REVS Institute; Photo credit: CtoC

The Duesenberg SSJ was sold at the Pebble Beach Auction for $22 million. At that price, the Duesenberg becomes the most expensive American made car ever sold at auction. It also became the most expensive pre-WWII model ever sold.

There were only two Duesenberg SSJ’s ever built. The second car was owned by actor Clark Gable.

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1962 Ferrari 250 GTO; Photo credit: Sotheby’s

A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was also up for auction at Pebble Beach. Ferrari made thirty-six 250 GTO’s. The Ferrari sold for a staggering $48.4 million. At that price, the 250 GTO becomes the most expensive car ever sold at auction.


Bethlehem Steel Works

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania


Camera: Leica M3; Film: Kodak 35mm, T-Max 100


Alaska Highway Closed


Lower Post, British Columbia; Photo credit: CBC/Danni Carpenter

The Alaska Highway has been closed due to an aggressive fire just south of the Yukon border in British Columbia. The community of Lower Post, BC has been evacuated. The town of Watson Lake is taking in displaced residents and stranded travelers.

The fire, which is believed to have been started by lightening, is approximately 4000 hectares in size. There were 14 firefighters and an air tanker working the fire as of the last update. Heavy equipment is currently being used to protect the community of Lower Post. The fire is not contained, and the highway is expected to be closed for several days. The road is closed at KM 823 near Coal River to KM 968 near the Yukon border.

The Alaska Highway has also been closed at KM 133 near Wonowan, BC and KM 454 near Fort Nelson, as well as between Fort Nelson and the Laird River.

Travelers can still drive to/from the Yukon using the Stewart Cassiar Highway. It’s a route I highly recommend! Absolutely beautiful country, but the services are even more limited than on the Alcan. I once took the Cassiar while driving a ’73 VW Beetle, so don’t be discouraged, although I suggest bringing an extra five gallons of fuel.

We are in a wet, bubble up here in Alaska, so the news that the Alcan is closed due to fire, came as a bit of a surprise. We had an inch of rain at my place yesterday alone, and the high on Saturday was 55 degrees. Our normal high this time of year is in the low 70’s. Currently, August 2018 has seen 3.54″ of rain fall in Fairbanks, which stands at the 10th wettest August on record.

Alaska had 399,000 acres burn this fire season, which is lower than the past three years. The total is 40% lower than the median over the past two decades.


Canyon de Chelly Revisited

The Flagstaff Roadtrip


Canyon de Chelly National Monument

I took a road trip a while back to Flagstaff from Minneapolis with a good friend of mine. He is, in fact, one of the two official sponsors of Circle-To-Circle. These photos are from that road trip.


Smaller cliff dwelling in Canyon de Chelly

I had to hunt in the archives for the original post, and was surprised to find out that this trip was back in 2014. I was amused to see that my camera battery had died on the digital, and I was forced to bring out the film camera. So here we are, over four years later, bringing CtoC up to date.


Larger cliff dwelling in Canyon de Chelly

I absolutely love driving and camping across the American Southwest, and this trip was mostly a two-lane adventure. I think part of the desert appeal is that I’ve lived in the north country all of my life. The arid environment is so different. In Alaska, I’m rarely further than 25 feet from water in any one direction. For me, the West is very much an alien world.

Visiting Canyon de Chelly, both of us travelers, were hit by the bug to get into that national monument’s back country, but neither one of us has been back. Yet. Now that bug is crawling again.


Meteor crater near Winslow, Arizona

I put in the photo from Meteor Crater, partly because it was from the same trip, and partly because I think the black & white film does a better job of relating just how desolate that country is.

Camera: Kodak 66; Filter: Kodisc Cloud – Yellow; Film: Kodak 120 T-Max 100


Custer National Cemetery

Bighorn County, Montana


Custer National Cemetery

These are from a past Rover Roadtrip.

Big Sky Country.

The head stones, just like the plains of Montana, seem to go on forever.

I remember it was a hot, dry, spring day, on this visit to the Little Bighorn Battlefield.


Indian Memorial Sculpture at Little Bighorn

Camera: Kodak 66; Film: Kodak 120 T-Max 100


The Gateway to Kenai Fjords

Back from our fishing trip to Seward, Alaska. Here are just a few of the Seward Sights:

Upon arrival, we hit the beach in late afternoon to wet our lines. This seagull watched patiently, hoping we would eventually catch it a salmon dinner.

Apparently, Seward is the Mural Capital of Alaska, a tidbit that had eluded me up until this past week. This one graces the wall of The Fish House, which is a great place to pick up any gear that one leaves in Fairbanks. It is also a pretty kick-ass hardware store.

Seward is the southern terminus for the Alaska Railroad. Across the street from the little depot, is one of the best breakfast places in town, called The Smoke Shack. This small diner is located in a complex known as The Train Rec. Made up of several retired Alaska Railroad cars, The Train Rec has a great view of the harbor.


The Train Rec complex


Attack of the Cobra


1965 289 Shelby Cobra

The host of some show called Barn Find Hunter has been touring Alaska in his 1965 Shelby Cobra. His tour, which includes three more Cobras and their passengers, had stopped in Girdwood overnight. Girdwood is a small community south of Anchorage, just off of the Seward Highway.

On Wednesday morning, it was obvious that the Cobra had been broken into during the night. There were prints all over the car, some dents in the rear fender, and the convertible top had been ripped open.

Alaska State Troopers, called to the crime scene, confirmed what was apparent from the tracks in the mud.

“Grizzly”.

The stolen item? A small package of Fig Newtons, that had been left behind the seat.

That’s why us residents always say: Don’t bring food into your tents. Or your classic convertibles…

On the plus side, Barn Find Hunter has a good future episode.

Photo credit: Hagerty