History of the Alaskan Stampede Trail & Bus 142

writing by Mickey Hines

photography by Jess Mariner

My father, Jess Mariner was the heavy duty mechanic employed with Yutan Construction out of Fairbanks during the 60s and 70s. After homesteading in the late 40s we had moved to Colorado in ’58 to escape the bitter cold of the Alaskan winter. Dad would come up to Alaska in spring to work and we would follow when school got out. When Yutan got the bid in ’61 we went with the camp into the wild to build the road from Lignite to the antimony mine on Stampede Creek. The other men on the crew lived in Fairbanks so their families just stayed home. Dad had purchased two green and white buses from the City of Fairbanks. One was Bus142 and that was the “boudoir” where we slept. He had removed all the seats and put a double bed in the back where he and Mom slept and a set of bunk beds opposite the door for David and me. He had built a stove out of a 55 gallon oil drum and it was very good at heating up that small area.

The engines had been removed but the driver seats were left in both buses because they needed to be steered when we moved from camp to camp. The buses were pulled by D8 Cats. The second he turned into the “galley.” It was a kitchen/dining area and had a booth which Dad had made by turning a bench seat around removing the seat between and putting in a table top. There were cupboards, with lots of counter space, a small wood cook stove and little cubbies over the wheel wells.

When winter set in Yutan brought the camp back to Fairbanks. Along the trail the axel on Bus 142 broke and they decided to leave it for hunters and hikers for shelter. In the picture I posted you can see the crew as they drove off leaving 142 behind.

Mickey Hines in front of Bus 142 in Lignite, Alaska

Bus 142 and Mickey Hines in Lignite, Alaska

Bus 142 on the Stampede Trail at Savage River in 1961

Savage River summer 1961

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