Having lived in Alaska all my life, it still has a magnetic pull on me (plus I still have a son who lives there) so I am planning a trip to Alaska in the summer of 2014. The reason I am telling you this is so that if any of you are interested in loosely traveling with me, you are welcome to join us. I say “us” because of right now there appears to be one other lady who is fairly likely to be going with me.
I’m writing this so you can start making plans now to join me. I know many of you dream of doing something like this and going with like-minded people just makes it all the better. Plus, going with a life-long Alaska Resident who has driven the Alaska Highway a dozen times can’t hurt!
I also know most of us live on very tight budgets and that is another reason I am telling you now. It looks like it will be about $3000 in gas, but it will be spread out over 6 months, costing about $500 a month. I’m giving you 6 months notice so if you can save up half of that between now and then, that will bring it down to about $250 a month. I know many of us can’t afford even that, but some of you can. So start saving now!!
But understand this; only self-reliant, independent people are welcome! I am going to enjoy the trip and not to be a tour guide, babysitter or entertain anyone. If you have any expectations of that, don’t join us. We all all have to strike a balance of traveling together and being independent. In some ways the trip I have coming up to Ridgway, CO and Moab, UT is a shake-down cruise to see how it will go with traveling in a caravan of other people.
Let me stop right now and say that this is all very tentative. I have no idea if it will really happen or not and it will certainly end up being very different than these initial plans!!. Like every vandweller I know, my plans are written in Jello! However, I think the odds of this happening are very high! I am determined to live my life NOW while I have the good health, energy and money to do it. I lived the first 50 years of my life for the future and that part of my life is behind me; from now on, I live in the moment!!
Here are the very broad thoughts about what the trip may look like; but understand all of it is subject to change:
- June has the best summer weather in South-Central Alaska (the Anchorage area) so I would like to get there in early June. That means leaving sometime in May.
- The Alaska Highway is no longer a difficult drive; don’t let any fears hold you back. I’ve driven it on a motorcycle and other than the construction areas it is no big deal.
- Be aware that gas in Canada will be very expensive and there will also be very limited access to cell phone and internet through Canada. Also, while it is possible to bring some guns through Canada, it is a hassle so your best bet is to leave all weapons in the States. It’s possible I may bring a 12 gauge shotgun for group bear protection, but that remains to be seen. Bear spray isn’t allowed in Canada. For more information on how to bring in a gun, see this page: http://www.canadawelcomesyou.net/firearms.html
- I’m taking Homer, he just has to have all his shots and get a vet to issue travel papers. The Canadians have a very good web page describing crossing the border into Canada, find it here: http://www.canadawelcomesyou.net/travelreminders.html
- Since I’m spending my winter in Arizona, I will drive up the spine of the Rockies and enter Canada through Great Falls Montana.
- We will visit Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rocky National Parks along the way. It has been a life-long dream of mine to visit the Canadian Rockies, so this will be a priority to me.
- The trip will cost about $3000 in gas but will be spread out over 6 months, May 15 to October 15
- Because we are all independent and self-reliant people, we can come and go as we please and be there for more or less time.
- To make the trip a loop we will return via Seattle and drive down the Pacific Coast to the Sierras.
- The trip is planned around the weather and trying to avoid heat, cold and rain. We’ll leave Arizona when it is getting hot and hit Canada and Alaska when it is warming up. We’ll stay in Alaska until the rains hit and try to get to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest before the rains hit there. As long as the weather is good there we will work our way down the Pacific Coast (where it’s cool). When the rains hit or we go far enough south we will head up to the Sierras where the weather should be cool and mostly dry. We will sit and wait till the desert cool off, then we will head back toward Quartzsite.
- We will pass many National Parks we will pass along the way! This would be a good time to have the $80 annual pass to get into all of them free for one year:
- Zion NP
- Bryce Canyon NP
- Grand Tetons NP
- Yellowstone NP
- Glacier NP
- Canadian Rockies
- Denali NP
- Wrangell Saint Elias NP
- Kenai Fjords NP
- Olympic NP
- North Cascades NP
- Mount Rainier NP
- Mount Saint Helens NP
- Crater Lake NP
- Redwoods NP
- Lassen Volcanic NP
- Mount Shasta NRA
- Yosemite NP
- Death Valley NP
- Joshua Tree NP
To call this trip “Epic” would be to damn with faint praise! Join me if you can for any or all of it. If you are going, be sure to buy a Milepost right now to start studying it.
The Milepost 2013
I also highly recommend Microsoft Streets and Trips for travel planning:
Microsoft Streets and Trips 2013