Three self-described “Old Guys” who share a passion for snowmachines are nearing the end of a month-plus-long quest to motor from Grand Rapids, Minnesota to visit the Golden City between April 3 and 5. That puts the trio a few days behind the original scheduled April 1 marker when they hit the trail on March 6,.
The adventurers are friends and occasional distance snowmobile trekkers Paul Dick, 65; Rex Hibbert, 70; and Rob Hallstrom, 72. The game plan is to brave fierce winds, ice-clogged trails, and blinding blizzards—even as they snowmobiled through Canada’s Northwest Territory.
In fact, one of their snowmobile caught fire, but they put it out and just kept going.
Along the way they’ve enjoyed the hospitality of friends they just met. The three aging adventurers dined on moose tongue, slept in a trapper cabin, and enjoyed the classic camaraderie of three pals on—er—off the road that would make for an exciting novel. Or in this case, a Facebook blog kept by Rob’s wife Majeanna Hallstrom, their daughter Kasie Plekkenpol, and the three amigos. Also following this adrenaline-filled rush are Judy Dick and Pan Hibbert, the remaining two understanding spouses.
“The guys are consumed by the trip—keeping equipment operational, checking, rechecking and redoing their routes, and riding to make their goal (to Fairbanks,” said Majeanna Hallstrom. “We get one or two updates a day from them.”
One Sunday, she asked her husband how he was doing on behalf of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “We are trying to survive,” he wrote her back.
Kasie Plekkenpol expressed great cheer that the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and entire city of Fairbanks would greet the three like conquering heroes if they can complete the grueling trek. “We appreciate the visibility and encouragement and would love the opportunity to be represented by the Fairbanks newspaper.” Already, she said, at least two Fairbanks snowmobiler clubs will be on hand to give the trio a rousing Alaska greeting as they arrive in the city.
One of their biggest fans is Dan Dickerson of Fairbanks. “They are taking the road less traveled and using old `cat’ trails,” he said in an email. “The local indigenous tribes have been very supportive of them. This is a great feel good story . . . Let’s give them a big Golden Heart City welcome when they drive into town.”
They will spend a few days in our fair city resting up, and then their mission is to get back to their wives and families back home, Plekkenpol said.
“Their snowmobiles and equipment will be shipped/hauled home and the guys will fly home, hopefully in time for Easter,” Plekkenpol said.
Follow them on Facebook at “3 Old Guys Ride to Alaska.”
by Hank Nuwer