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Suzukis Across The Globe

Posted in Events on February 1, 2011 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Brian Vance

On the third leg of the Tokyo to L.A. the Hard Way Tour with Suzuki and Motor Trend magazine, we made our way from Anchorage down the Alaska Highway (Alcan) to Los Angeles.

The road trip was the final leg of a tour that started in Hamamatsu, Japan. The vehicles were driven across Japan and then ferried to Russia, where they undertook an arduous journey across Siberia. From there the vehicles were air freighted on a C130 cargo plane to Anchorage, where we took over and drove them home.

The journey was an exhilarating drive from our sparsely populated northernmost state to one of our most overcrowded metropolises! This part of the Suzuki world tour wasn't filled with off-road adventure like it was for Technical Editor Fred Williams during his epic journey across Russia and Siberia (to be featured next month), but it was an amazing road trip through thousands of miles of northern wilderness that anyone in a reliable vehicle could complete.

We always exercise caution when jumping out of our vehicles in wilderness like this, since a person never knows what to expect. We found these grizzly tracks just off the highway at a small rest stop by a lake. We were told that just a a few minutes before we arrived, the bear had rambled down to the water and swum out to an island.

Our driving sabbatical from Anchorage to Los Angeles isn't out of reach of the average four-wheel and automotive enthusiast longing to drive long distances. It's a safe road trip we highly recommend to anyone, especially families with kids. It's an adventure kids will remember for the rest of their lives. Our journey down North America was just an extended version of what most Americans do for vacation: Load the truck up with the wife, kids, dog, shotgun, fishing poles, and camping gear, and drive. If there are a few trails and some off-roading along the way, it makes the trip all that much more exciting.

The last leg of the journey didn't involve dangerous river crossings or cliffhanging dirt roads, but it was a road trip though some of this continent's most spectacular country. As connoisseurs of everything automotive and four-wheel-drive, we were just happy to drive through parts of the Alaska and Canada some of us have never explored. The drive was easy. Our most imminent concern was running out of fuel or having a moose or buffalo come crashing through the windshield at night and kicking us to death.

We weren't too concerned about our vehicle's dependability since the crew from Motor Trend was driving the same Suzuki Kizashis that had already made it through Japan and across Russia without any problems. We were driving a brand-spanking-new Suzuki Equator with just a few miles on the odometer. Over the past few years we have tested, modified, and literally beat on a Suzuki Equator and had found them to be tough and reliable-that's why we crowned the truck our 2008 4x4 of the Year . We would drive an Equator anywhere, and that's just what we did.

Driving east across Highway A1 from Anchorage is a breathtaking jaunt though Alaska's wilderness. The asphalt road was well maintained, or at least it was when we drove it. Our goal for the first day was to travel 427 miles from Anchorage to Beaver Creek, in Canada's Yukon Territory.

Loading the Equator with our gear in Anchorage gave us an overwhelming sense of freedom, especially since we knew we would be driving for days through territory hostile to cell phone and Internet service. We grabbed what was perhaps our last good cup of hot coffee and a hefty innards-clearing bran muffin, and hit the road knowing that we had just under 4,000 miles of amazing territory to drive through before we landed in a place called home.

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