Our Alaska Trip Epilogue
We decided to add a brief concluding chapter to this series, mainly to answer a few questions that have come up several times in the comments section
FIRST: To find the entire series (plus our earlier articles), go to http://blog.rv.net/author/barry-zander.
THE RIGHT RIG: The trip into Alaska via western Canada takes you through vast, gorgeous expanses. We really don’t think the size of your rig matters.
On our 58-day trek, we pulled our 28-foot Bigfoot trailer with a GMC 2500 diesel and had no problems, other than one of the first unexpected frost heaves, which cost us a bottle of blueberry wine and a bottle of balsamic vinegar. Also on our caravan were 12 motorhomes with towed vehicles, two Class Cs, a Winnebago View, two fifth wheels and a Class B van conversion.. That’s a pretty representative group and each handled the trip without any special problems, suffering only the same types of inconveniences that can happen in the Lower 48.
One commenter to the series weighed in that the best way to take this trip is in a truck camper. It might have its advantages, but we think you can make the trip without concern in whatever RV you have now. When you take the trip, do it in what makes you comfortable. We saw very few pop-ups on the 5,700-mile journey.
That said, we’ll pass along the advice of just about every expert on making this trip: Make sure your rig is in good condition, particularly the tires. Getting service on the remote highways can cost you days and diminish your financial resources significantly.
OUR CARAVAN: We signed on with Adventure Caravans after getting an effective sales pitch about caravanning from a different tour company’s wagonmaster. Monique continued to plan our solo trip and, meanwhile, compared routes, costs and features of several companies. We made our decision to caravan based on having a tailgunner to insure our safety on the road and so we could enjoy the trip without worrying about what’s ahead. In article XXIX we compared what we think are the main reasons to choose to caravan or go it on your own or with another rig or two.
AWESOME: Blog.RV.net has been our first blogging experience. The two things that surprised us in doing this series were: 1) That there was enough relevant information to write about for more than two months on one trip, and 2) that we would receive so many responses. We greatly appreciated all those comments that included the personal experiences and advice from others who have taken the trip once or more, plus those of you who live in the areas we visited, experts on the subject.
ABOUT US: We sold our home four years ago, bought a 22-foot travel trailer, which we over-packed with clothes, and set out from Southern California to see if this was the life we wanted. We pared down our wardrobe, and from Day One and never-ending, we have learned new things about RVing practically every day. One important thing we learned was that our inexpensive “learner” trailer wasn’t up to the rigors of full-timing. It was small, especially since it didn’t have a slide-out, and the insulation left lots to be desired in 113-degree heat and 16-degree snow. But even more problematic was that I ended up doing repairs just about once a week. Kinda takes away from our mission of enjoying life to its fullest.
Incidentally, both Monique and I brought to this adventure years of tent-camping experience with our children from long before we met.
As we neared the end of our first year of constant traveling, we realized that we were not ready to give up the excitement of “having a different backyard almost every night.” As this is being written, we are in our 334 camping spot (that includes two wintering stops and a couple of dozen parking lot overnighters). We continue on our quest to visit and experience all 50 states and all the Canadian provinces. If we happen upon the perfect place to buy a cabin, we might do it and use that as a base, but it probably won’t happen for a few years.
Meanwhile, we have our next three years planned – always subject to change – with the Grand Circle (Zion, Bryce, etc.) on the schedule for next year followed by an extended visit to the Maritimes of Canada.
Let’s wrap this up with a quote mentioned in our first blog
“To be happy you must be free; To be free you must be brave.”
From the “Never-Bored RVers.” We’ll see you on down the road.