We have some VERY FUN (and aggressive!) travel goals for 2019…
As we did last year, we have developed a post to let everyone know where we are pointed and approximately when. This is so we can have the opportunity for meetings with friends. We figure you may not LIVE in New Mexico or Oregon or Idaho or Texas or BC or Chicken, Alaska, but maybe you have always wanted to visit. And knowing we are passing thru might cause an intersection of orbits?
Our overarching “Plan” for 2019 is to visit Alaska. We thought we travelled a lot of miles last year, when we went to Newfoundland. Well, as I started to examine routes and dates and so forth, a couple things became VERY apparent:
1) Alaska is Friggin BIG.
2) Alaska is Friggin Far Away!!
On the latter, I did not realize that the distance to Vancouver from Texas is only HALF WAY to Alaska!!!! (At least the part of Alaska we are heading for first). I had in my mind that starting the adventure in Vancouver was good because it was close to Alaska. It IS close to the little bit of Alaska that hangs down like a tail, but it is 2,000 Miles from Central Alaska – The “Top of the World Highway” – where we plan to start our actual Alaska Travel.
And, on the former, the Middle of Alaska (which we now know is 2,000+ Miles from Vancouver) is still THE MIDDLE OF ALASKA!!! I had in my mind that we would take a “side trip” up to Deadhorse on Prudhoe Bay – the farthest North Point you can reach by road. Well, that ain’t happenin’! But we WILL make a jog North to at least the Arctic Circle.
Along the way, we have noticed (or been recommended) a variety of slightly quixotic – maybe even considerably so – things to do and see. For example, a Facebook suggestion was made to attend “Chickenstock,” which is either a music festival or a hearty soup, in Chicken, Alaska. Further investigation turned up this as an obvious target of our attentions in early June. (it IS a music festival; not to say we cannot prepare a hearty soup while attending).
We also noted a 4th of July festival in North Pole, Alaska (near Fairbanks). According to my further investigation, this is much like many traditional such celebrations around the USA – except no fireworks. It doesn’t get dark enuf in North Pole in July! At about the same time is a unique Alaska Holiday: The Summer Solstice. The longest day, which in much of Alaska means there is no “night.” Why NOT celebrate this with a big, statewide party!
It is clear that Alaska is replete with character and characters, and we shall endeavor to get our fill of both.
I have also been reminded to allow some extra time in the “schedule” for, shall we say, “unplanned events of a mechanical nature…” This became clear as we sat in Ft. Hancock, Texas on a Sunday waiting for a mechanic to change an airbag on the bus. I consider this a POSITIVE happening…time to write and post; and time to consider and reconsider the timeline for our Alaska adventure. Anyway, I have learned over the past couple years to make lemonade whenever presented with lemons!
On the map, above, the Blue Line represents our path during the summer (about 7,500 miles in total). The Green Lines show just how far it is to get to the start and from the finish of this Alaska Adventure. And the Red Dots represent places that we “Plan” to visit, allowing lots of time in between for the usual “Happy Accidents.” Oh, and not to mention, things break!
Part of our planning for this Alaska Adventure involved finding an accomplice. We don’t want to make the trip alone for very practical reasons: It is a long way from everywhere, often without cellphone coverage. (And, things break). It seemed prudent to do this in a group.
But, not just ANY group. For one thing, it has to be a SMALL group — no more than 2-3 coaches total, or we’d be too big for many pull-outs along the way. Since the group needs to be small, even more impotent [sic] to select carefully!
Our criteria included: Easy-going and flexible travelers, familiar with RV Camping in many different scenarios, functional with a wrench (have I mentioned that things, occasionally, break?), equally functional with a joke, and of course, able to spend 3+ months on the road. I thought long and hard on this…even posted inquiries on some of the Bluebird forums where folks like us lurk. (Wow, that sounded scarier than I meant it to…). In the end, an idea came to mind, and I wrote to suggest the trip to friends Steve and Kathy Enfinger, whom we met several times this past summer. They tick all those boxes, and here was Steve’s response:
“I ain’t believing this…Kathy’s been opposed to an Alaska trip primarily due to lack of “shopping experiences” & not really being a nature lover (at least I think that’s the reasons)…so I started to just reply with a kind & appreciative “pass”… but, why not ask JUST to be sure. She immediately responded “YES!!! I’d love to go to Alaska with Dan & Liz!!” “YES!! Go tel’em to send the details. YES!! That’s exciting”!!
Sooo .. there you go .. more proof of “I don’t know nuthin ‘bout women”. Remind me to tell you that joke.
[You don’t have to, Steve, WE ARE THAT JOKE, all of us Men]
Well hey my friend .. put as down as “WE’D LOVE TO GO ALONG ON Y’ALL’S TRIP TO ALASKA”.”
(You can probably guess that Steve and Kathy are NOT of the Yankee-persuasion).
So, we are set to begin our adventure. We have a few unrelated details to attend to over the next few weeks, including getting our bus windshield replaced, attending a Rally in Natchez, Mississippi/Vidalia, LA, flying to Minneapolis for my Dad’s 90th B-day, some Dental work and doctor appointments in Chicago, etc. We’ll embark westward (and then Northward, when it gets a little warmer) in earnest on 10 April. We hope some of you will find a way to intersect with us in 2019!
6 thoughts on “2019 “Planning” (Which we try NEVER to do!)”
That is an ambitious travel plan to say the least. I wish we were able to join you for the Alaska trip. It sounds awesome! Alas, we have a wedding in England this summer so our other travel will be limited. Have fun!
Good move on scratching Deadhorse! I am sure the name alone got your attention. You may have renamed it Deadbus!
You won’t regret making this trip, unless, of course you have multiple breakdowns, get indigestion from eating faux morels, or forget which direction is “up”. I bet you’ll receive myriad suggestions about the route, the sights, and the places to stay, so I’ll add my two cents (Canadian cents, so less value here).
We’ve driven to AK three times (’73, ’88, ’05). Once, our last trip in 2005, we towed our travel trailer. The other two we tent-camped. Those trips remain highlights in our travel logs. I see you’ve chosen the “Cassiar Highway” and that’s our preference for either direction. It’s changed dramatically from our trip in ’73 when it was all dirt from Hazelton (one now connects at Ksan) north. Now it’s paved for its entirety. If you have the time and inclination when you get to Deese Lake you might inquire about Telegraph Road into the Grand Cyn of the Stikine. It’s a marvelous 70mi (~140 RT) side trip out to Telegraph Gk.
I’m sure when you arrive at Stewart you’ll find the time to continue to Hyder. We returned to Hyder in ’05 to find our camping spot of ’73 is now “improved” for bear-watching. (“Pave Paradise, put up a parking lot… .”) You might want to inquire about the road on past Hyder up to the Salmon Glacier. The glacier is spectacular and I think one of the largest remaining glaciers in N. America.
But wait! There’s more! Not now, though. I see your proposed route will bring you very near our place and the RV hook-ups are still working. If, by then, you’ve added rigs to your caravan they’re welcome too. They can always park out in the lava. 🙂
We envy your plans.
Thanks for the suggestions…some reinforce ones we have heard and some new. We will possibly swing by on the way through in September?
Not sure of your dates, but I plan to be in Vancouver/Victoria July 9-12 ( approx.) prior to taking a cruise of Alaska’s Glaciers and Inside Passage that leaves from Vancouver July 13. Sounds like you’ll be far up in Alaska by then, though.
We will be in denali and Talkeetna around mid july. If you do the excursions from your ship its possible we could connect