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Davidson Resident Prepares for Upcoming Road Trip

by | May 3, 2022

Davidson resident Tom Cotter and the rig he’ll be driving on America’s Greatest Road Trip.


Tom Cotter is getting ready for a road trip. It’s not just any road trip. It is:

America’s Greatest Road Trip

Key West to Deadhorse

His trip has a name, it has branding, and it has a book deal.

This artist rendering shows the graphic designed by Dwight Knowlton. Local installation will be done by Rich Dagenhart at Artisan Graphics.

The adventure starts Sunday morning, May 15. Cotter will be driving a Ford Bronco and towing an Airstream Basecamp 16X. It’s the smallest Airstream, with a base weight of 2650 pounds. He’ll be traveling with photographer, Michael Alan Ross, with whom he has partnered on several past books.

Many readers and neighbors know Cotter as the host of the TV show The Barn Find Hunter and author 19 previous books – including Ford Model T Coast to Coast – A Slow Drive Across a Fast Country.  As the title suggests, to say that he loves cars would be an understatement. So is the notion that he loves an adventure.

When asked about the genesis of the trip, he quipped that it is a trip that he has been thinking about all his life. Key West is home to “Mile 0,” and Deadhorse is known as “the end of the road.” Key West has the Southernmost point in the continental U.S., and Deadhorse is in the Arctic Circle. It is the last town – with a permanent population of 25 to 50 – located just south of Prudhoe Bay.

He’s breaking the trip into three legs. Leg one is from Key West to Seattle. That leg will take him through 14 states, but he plans a slight detour to travel to North Dakota since he has yet to travel to the Bison State. Cotter has budgeted 30 days for that leg of the trip. He’ll take a break between legs one and two, making a trip back East to spend time with his wife and family.

He’ll return to the West Coast and start leg two – which will take him from Seattle to Fairbanks.

Another important aspect of his trip is that it is “a 2-lane trip.” He is staying on 2-lane roads, with the goal of going town to town and staying away from cities. Cotter was philosophical in his description of that aspect of the trip. He noted that he wants to try “to get away from the noise,” and hopes that he finds “more that unites us than divides us as a country.”

This is the poster for the trip.

The last leg of the trip is from Fairbanks to Deadhorse. It is “only” 500 miles, but the Dalton Highway (414 miles of the trip) is not exactly the highway that most people envision. Well, not unless you watch Ice Road Truckers. The road is a dirt and gravel road that is primarily used to transport supplies and equipment to Prudhoe Bay.

The trip marks Cotter’s seventh trip to Alaska, but it is his first road trip to the 49th state. He became fascinated with Alaska when his cousin left law school and New Hampshire and made his way to Alaska and never left. He’s also never been as far north as the Arctic Circle.

And while the trip will take him from Key West to Deadhorse, he made certain to point out that Davidson plays a prominent role in America’s Greatest Road Trip.

Cotter will start from Summit Coffee and plans to launch the book at Main Street Books in the Fall of 2023. He’s inviting the community to both. Head on down to Summit between 8-10 a.m. on May 15 to see him and the Bronco-Airstream rig before he heads out of town.

But wait, there’s more. There is an important philanthropic element of Cotter’s trip. He is partnering with the Vintage Racers for Rescues animal shelter. He’s seeking sponsors to pledge support for the shelter to help fund their efforts to save animals from kill shelters. If you are interested in finding out more about how to support their work please visit:

He has also promised to let us check in on him along the way, and we’ll share those updates with our readers. And you can bet, we’ll announce the details for the book-signing at Main Street Books a little over a year from now.

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