ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT ALASKA?
By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers
Ah, Alaska is in the air … or at least in the thoughts of many RVers.
Last week I received the following email from a couple in Florida: “We are new owners of a 40 ft allegro bus, never had an RV before. My husband wants to take a trip from Florida to Alaska but not through Canada. We have been there. Please give me your experiences and what time of the year is best. I will follow this blog [more on this below*]. It is very educational and fun. We have no friends that have RVs.”
An interesting email, to which I replied: Monique and I went up through Washington State to Oliver, B.C., over to Banff and up to Whitehorse. There were many notable sights and experiences, but following the Canadian Rockies was the highlight. If you haven’t purchased “Milepost, Alaska Travel Planner,” that’s where you should start your planning.
[I am assuming that by not going through Canada, she means that they don’t want to cross the border from Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, or from Minnesota. “Milepost” gives several alternate routes with crossings in Montana and Washington.]
I have often written about journey-versus-destination travel. Depending on your time and financial resources, my suggestion is to start as the weather warms up and work your way across America visiting places you haven’t been. There are very few days that aren’t interesting if not memorable.
Even Alaska is a journey more than a destination. There is so much to see, but you don’t have to dwell in one place for more than one to four days, unless you have a specific interest like cultural history or fishing.
We entered Canada last year on June 10th. The 2010 weather was spectacular for almost the entire two-and-a-half months we traveled up there, and hopefully 2012 will offer the same. It’s just luck.
For us the trip held many unique experiences. We caravanned for the first time — I recommend it. Just as valuable, you will have an opportunity to make friends for life, as we have.
Second, we saw all those incredible sights and learned a lot. Third, I had just begun my rv.net blogs and, boy, what a challenge, because of the amount of precious time it took (but I would do it again). Now, when we read through the blogs, it’s a great memory of those fast-moving days.
Beginning in the January issue of “Trailer Life Magazine,” [www.trailerlife.com] I will have a regular monthly column. The one for February is about Caravanning to Alaska, explaining the benefits. That’s the only caravan we’ve taken so far, but for your first trip to Alaska I suggest you give it serious thought.
*and, to explain about the blogs the commenter I quoted above mentioned, I posted about 40 blogs during and after the journey, which can be accessed at http://blog.rv.net/author/barry-zander. That’s not a very efficient way of following them, but it’s the best I can suggest at the moment; however, there is a remedy in the making:
We all have our priorities in life, and one of mine for the past three or four years has been setting up a website that will provide easy access to my articles and photography. A priority, but unfortunately other priorities cropped up constantly in our years on the road. Last week I paid for a URL address and other necessities to set up my website. Monique, the more money-conscious of the two of us, will not let that investment hang on the “to-do list” without getting it done, so the priority is now iron-clad against other less important priorities.
After returning early next week from the 49ers Encampment in Death Valley, California, I will board Amtrak’s Sunset Limited to visit family in Louisiana. With a total of 72 hours on the train, I should be able to make significant progress. (Plus, I do want to let you know about a cross-country train trip)
Now, back to Alaska. I strongly advise careful planning of your trip considering the great distances and numerous must-see places. There’s lots to see, lots of opportunities to waste time and money without seeing some of the spectacular areas of the Northwest.
Good luck in your quest. Thanks for writing,
BONUS PHOTOS: Saturday we were in Huntington Beach, California, with family. I took a few photos while walking on the pier which extends into the Pacific Ocean**. Then, Sunday we returned to our cabin in the mountains 100 miles away, where we discovered that an unexpected snowstorm had left us unprepared. And Tuesday we’ll be leaving for Death Valley — infinite variety in Southern California.
**If you want to know what an editor does, read the second sentence of the previous paragraph without the words “which extends.” Monique, my editor, pointed out the need for a correction.
From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road. © All photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved