While I usually like to take this time to spotlight one of our guides, there’s a member of the Copper Oar team who’s been around the longest, but is often overlooked. Meet Sally, our trusty ’79 Chevy Suburban. The workhorse of Copper Oar, Sally spends her summer full of our Raft and Flightsee Equipment, shuttling it to the river in the mornings, and back from the airstrip in the evening. In addition to her daily workload, she’s always on call for hauling lumber, towing trailers, and getting vans un-stuck on the McCarthy Road. You can usually hear her rattling down the road about a half-mile away.

alaska mechanic

Sally in her typical state – with guides tinkering under the hood…

While she still looks great at age 40, Sally is known on the SEAG campus as the most difficult of our vehicles to drive. Her manual transmission is tricky for even the most seasoned stick-shift driver, and you don’t actually need to give her gas to get her moving – just bring the clutch out a little. However, her clutch sticks, so it’s not as simple as it sounds. Sally requires her driver to wear sandals (did I mention she’s perfect for rafting?) To let out the clutch, you need to sandwich it between your sandals and the bottom of your foot so you can pull it upwards. What a vehicle…

In addition to the sticky clutch, Sally also has a few other quirks. You need a pair of vice grips to roll down the passenger side window and cam straps to keep the rear doors closed and the hood down. She emits smoke (or maybe dust, who knows?) when you turn on the defroster, so you typically just drive to the river with the windows down. If you drive her any distance, you’ll also start to feel some heat on the heel of your right foot, as the exhaust comes up through a hole in the floor.

So next time you’re in McCarthy, stop by the Powerhouse and say hi to this beautiful old girl!

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