Jeep CJ-7 Crawls Decimated Alaskan Road Like a Champ

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Major 7.0 earthquake may have rattled Anchorage’s spirit but this boulder basher’s bravado is rock-solid.

Jeep vehicles are designed to be comfortable on-road and capable off-road. To fully test whether one is, you typically have to drive down paved roads until you get to either a trail or an OHV park. According to the Anchorage Daily News, on November 30, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Alaska seven miles north of Anchorage, turning public roads into off-road courses full of chunks of pavement. The damage to one particular road may have prevented traffic from flowing, but it didn’t stop one particular determined Jeep CJ-7 driver.

Ben Ertel, host of the Youtube channel JK Gear and Gadgets, is a resident of Alaska, as well as the owner of an LJ, XJ, and JK. Naturally, footage of the CJ wheeling over the destruction caught his eye. He makes sure to share it in this video. Destroyed Alaska Highway Jeep CJ-7

It starts with a blue CJ-7 on knobby tires chugging along a road until it reaches a spot where the road is broken into two different levels. A long, uneven stretch of shattered pavement lies ahead. After opening their door to take a brief glance at the destruction in front of them, the driver decides to roll on. They descend the first makeshift step smoothly. As they make their way down the next section of ruined tarmac, you hear a bit of scraping. The driver is undeterred and forces the CJ-7’s right tires over chunks of rubble so they can reach the next broad swath of pavement. Destroyed Alaska Highway Jeep CJ-7

They make an easy left, then hang right before coming to another pausing point. The road in front of the Jeep slopes down toward a narrow gap that divides it from the rest of the pavement ahead. Having come this far, the driver pushes on, keeping their right foot down until the CJ-7’s front tires bite onto the next slab and pull the rest of the Jeep behind them. The driver then forges ahead, takes another left, and climbs out of the mess and onto the rest of the road that wasn’t broken apart by the quake or the thousands of aftershocks that followed it.

No word on who was behind the wheel, but given the driver’s cavalier attitude toward paved surfaces, we have to entertain the thought it could’ve been a certain eccentric inventor.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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