Maybe We Should Go To Alaska?

Whenever we talked about the list of places we'd like to visit, New Zealand and Alaska always topped both of our lists. Mike had always wanted to drive the Alaska Canada Highway. I came close to flying to Anchorage in 2002, had to cancel at the last moment due to a family emergency, and was anxious to try again. So on May 16, 2009 shortly after our work life had come to a screeching halt, we decided to just do it!

The first order of business was transportation. Our Saab 9-3 was too low to the ground to handle unpaved roads and didn't have much interior space. After some intense shopping, on Tuesday, June 2 we proudly drove home Tina, a brand new 2009 Chevrolet Traverse complete with navigation system and OnStar. Tina had AWD and her gas mileage was almost the same as a Subaru we also considered, plus she was big enough that we could sleep in her if necessary.

Thinking of sleep, we'd need some place to stay. I had joined earlier in the year and started searching for opportunities in Alaska in earnest. A home in Fairbanks popped up with a note "available now." I wrote them and waited anxiously, not mentioning to Mike what might be in the works. On the evening of June 2 I received a pleasant note back indicating that the home was indeed available from now until about June 22. So, I explained to Mike excitedly, whenever we could get ourselves up there, a cozy home in the birch forest just north of the U of A campus was ready and waiting. Incredible! Fairbanks was perfect for us because it is essentially at the end of the Alaska Highway. And once we got there, we could figure out the rest of our trip.

Time was a-wasting. We picked up a new camera (a D-SLR with normal and zoom/telephoto lenses), some outdoorsy gear and any number of other miscellaneous items and started loading the car. Probably the single most important thing we brought along was the Alaska Milepost book, the mother of all guidebooks, which we relied upon just about every day of our journey.

Two days later, June 4, we contacted our families to let them know we were leaving, and on the morning of Friday, June 5, coincidentally our fourth Wedding Anniversary, we rolled out of Estes Park towards Fairbanks feeling fine.

Tina, Petey the Pika, Susan and Mike at Lake Estes on the way to Alaska!