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Jeeps to traverse the Bering Straits

by Bill Cawthon on

A team of intrepid explorers and their two Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds are getting set to drive to Alaska the hard way: over the Bering Straits.

It’s the next leg of a journey from Paris, France to New York City the long way, a trek across Europe and Russia, then across the Straits to Alaska, south through Canada and then on to the Big Apple with stops at Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills and the Jeep plant in Toledo. The journey is the brainchild of Matthias Jeschke, a 39-year-old German who heads a company called Extrem Events.

The group left Paris in October 2008 and made it most of the way across Russia when winter storms and equipment problems forced Jeschke to suspend the journey. The team resumed their trip on December 29 and made it to the village of Uelen, the easternmost settlement in Russia. Now they are waiting for the ice conditions to be right for the 56-mile traverse. The Jeeps have special pontoon outriggers that will be attached before the crossing in case one of the vehicles falls through the ice. There’s also a small outboard motor, just in case.

If all goes well, Jeschke and his team hope to make it to New York City in June.

This isn’t the first time Jeschke has done something amazing in a Jeep: in 2007, he set a new world’s altitude record for a production vehicle when he drove another Wrangler up Ojos del Salado, a volcano in Chile, reaching an altitude of 21,837 feet.

Thanks to Larry P. Vellequette and the Toledo Blade!

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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