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In spite of the obstacles the Alaska truckers were presented with they never weakened in their determination to get the job done. These pioneer drivers never conquered or tamed Alaska's roads and weather, but they learned to operate on the back trails and paths--always making their way to the trip's end. In spite of all the challenges, they never quit. The following from Teddy Roosevelt is an appropriate salute to Alaskan truckers: "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that high place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Eighteen Wheels North to Alaska: A History of Trucking in Alaska is the story of Alaskan drivers who guided, coaxed, pushed, pulled, plowed, and somehow made it to the end of the road--and beyond--over high mountain passes, whiteout conditions, seventy below zero temperature, through mud, muck, and tundra terrain--even onto the Arctic Ocean ice beyond the shore.
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Born at Fort Bragg, California September 15, 1923, Cliff Bishop was raised on a large cattle ranch near Ten Mile River north of Ft. Bragg. In October of 1941 Cliff went to work on a Standard Oil Company tanker and was shipping out of San Francisco when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. In November of 1942 he joined the Army Air Corps and served as a skipper in an Air, Sea Rescue Squadron. After the war he drove trucks throughout the west until moving to Alaska, where truck driving was his main employment. Cliff also worked as a diesel mechanic, owned and operated a Union Oil Bulk Plant in Glennallen, Alaska, and owned and operated a large trucking company, Bishop Trucking Inc. He is retired and living on the Kenai Peninsula at Kasilof, Alaska.
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