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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Intimidating Alaska

~Tuesday, March 1, 2022~

Day 625

Being the music lover that I am, it’s so cool to have live music within earshot of our campground; 2 electric guitars and vocals…..and they’re darn good! They’re “shy” musicians since they appear to be playing their light jazz on the backside of their campsite. And they have it set to the perfect volume that would appeal to most campers.

We’ll take these temps while we can get them…..mid 70’s today forecasted to last only 3 more days and then dropping to the low 60’s and upper 50’s before we move on to Sedona. I know, I know. I shouldn’t be complaining when much of the country is still experiencing their chilly winters. Anyway, with continued itinerary planning, why not do it outside with the background of music and sunshine?

Hoping you won’t mind reading about our conditions in planning this once in a lifetime trip. So here ‘ya go…….It appears in our research that when doing a road trip through Alaska, that boondocking is the preferred choice over campgrounds and RV parks. It’s the one place in the U.S. you can basically boondock anywhere you want. And they’re free and surrounded by sheer beauty for the most part. But for whatever we save in lodging costs, we’ll make up for in the expense of fuel, groceries and excursions.

Even though we’ve compounded a lot of RV experience in our short 20+ months, Alaska is making us feel a bit intimidated in terms of how far it is, how rugged it is, how vast it is. Are we out of our league? I think every first-timer to the Last Frontier shares the same fears. But we’re excited about the challenge. One thing we know is certain…….careful planning is crucial!

Most of the miles we’ll be putting on will actually be in the Canada portion. From our port of entry of Kingsgate, B.C. Canada to the border of Alaska is about 2,000 miles (there are 5 allowable entry ports from the U.S. to Canada if you’re continuing on to Alaska). Once we’re IN Alaska, we’re looking at another 1,000 miles. But we couldn’t be more thrilled that we have 2 months to experience the 49th state as opposed to 2 weeks if we had jobs to worry about.

Sharing our plans with fellow RVer’s has been met with cheers but also reservations. The naysayers are usually the people that haven’t actually done it with those opinions falling on deaf ears. We don’t want to hear about the fear of doing it since fear itself keeps us from being adventurous. So we will be, shall we say, cautiously fearless.

What we really care about is hearing from the individuals who have actually HAD the experience. If you’re one of those, we’re all ears!

Here is an example of our approach in trying to make things click for this trip (in this order):

  • Coordinating where we’ll be in the U.S. to an acceptable port of entry into Canada.

  • The route of both Canada and Alaska. With Alaska, we’re also trying to decide if we want to go in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction.

  • The distance we’re willing to drive each day with questions like: Do we want to zip through Canada to get to Alaska, or take our time, keeping in mind our turn around time due to weather. So far, we’re allowing 10 days to get to Alaska from the Canadian border.

  • What are the highlights we want to see and let that dictate our lodging

  • Gathering tips and reviews from blogging sites, travel apps like Campendium and All-Stays, and travel websites that back up the information we’re getting from The Milepost (the Alaska “bible”)

  • Creating a list of paid campgrounds and a list of “free” boondocking locations (many found by coordinates (GPS) which won’t work if we don’t have cell service). Within a one day’s drive there should be ways to get water, use dump stations and get propane.

  • Making a list of gas stations and resupply locations (i.e. WalMarts, Targets, etc.)

Now it’s a matter of inputting all the data and timing it all out. What would we do without those Excel spreadsheets? Jeff is the spreadsheet king, so trust me, this will be one dialed in itinerary. But doing it this way, puts everything in one place on our laptop, easily accessible regardless of not having cell service.

Taking a much needed break from all this planning, we headed out on one of the trails that connects right from our “Roadrunner Loop” at Dead Horse. It was a beautiful evening with views of the Black Hills Mountain Range above the city of Cottonwood. The snow that fell just a few days ago has really hung in there, even though it was just a dusting. One thing that’s so interesting about the desert is the variance in temperature. On this particular trail tonight, we could feel blasts of cold air then back to warm air in just a few feet of elevation change. But the minute that sun sets, especially at this time of year when the desert doesn’t hold any heat, the temperature really drops. Tonight’s low….40 degrees.

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