We woke up Sunday morning just a week after we traded in the van for our new truck and got ready to start our push through the Al-Can highway through Canada and into Alaska. In the last week, I have already driven more than a 1,300 miles and hopped on a plane to San Francisco and back to Edmonton. Between Jasper and the border of Alaska we are looking at roughly a 1,500 mile drive while expecting at least some of it to be rough and under construction. We would normally prefer to drive no more than 200 miles per day even when road conditions are good. That means it would take us more than a week to cover this distance if we drove every day. In anticipation of this journey and the lack of Internet connection along the route, I took the whole week off from work so we can try it push out more miles each day.
We have been looking forward to the drive up to Jasper from Banff ever since we visited Banff for the first time 2 years ago. What we hoped to be a casual and scenic drive turned out to be a little more than that.
Leaving Whitefish we were ready to take on the long drive ahead of us. We have been prepping for this for months and we are all antsy to get moving. The 60 miles from Whitefish to the border went quickly and we all got across the border checkpoint without any issues. Well, except the Costco frozen chicken that we had in the freezer. Apparently there is a bird flu outbreak and it is not welcome into Canada.
Finally we made it up to Whitefish, Montana just outside of Glacier National Park. Here is where we will be making some of our last minute repairs, do some shopping and chores before we make the crossing into Canada. Oh yeah, we are now 3 Airstream strong with Kerri (@asolojourner) and Tim (@van_tramp) joining us who have been here for about a week.
From City of Rocks National Reserve we made it to Idaho Falls for the night. We had originally considered finding a place to stay for a couple of nights but decided it would be best to continue to push on so we can meet up with Jeff and Lisa and make our way into Montana by evening. After a solid morning of work, we hitched up from the Walmart at Idaho Falls and made our way to Big Hole National Battlefield.
After several months of prep, numerous southwest adventures and many appointments attended in California, we are now finally on the road making our way slowly into Alaska.
After a long drive day from Cedar City, Utah, we made our way up Highway 50, which was first used by the Pony Express and is now labeled The Loneliest Highway in America.
For the last few months we have been anticipating our friend Nathan and Renee of Wandrly to make their way west so we can spend some time together. Last summer before we headed out to the northeast, we got to see them in Sequoia National Park and then again in Lone Pine. We once again got to hangout when we both made it to the midwest in Michigan. Now they have finally made their way into California we planned a get together at our favorite dust bowl: The Joshua Tree Dry Lake bed.
After a few weeks of doctors appointments and other mundane obligations, we got the hell out of dodge once again and made our way to the desert. Our friends Maggie and Ryan @kaplandia wanted to plan a get together and we suggested the Trona Pinnacles just outside of Ridgecrest at the southern end of our favorite Highway 395. We have never been and thought if we went any later than March it might get too hot.
In between doctor’s visits and other family obligations while we are in southern California, we try to spend as much time in the Southwest this time of year as possible. For the last few years, we have made it a tradition to hit a few of our favorite spots and also try to see some new ones. We once again left the bustling highways of Los Angeles and headed for the dusty desert roads. This time, we started at Mojave National Preserve.
After spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with family in southern California, we made our way back into the California desert just before New Years. We really missed this area after spending the spring and summer across the northeast. Our time just before Thanksgiving in Joshua Tree was such a blast that we made plans to meet up with more full timers in the desert of Borrego Springs.
Being in Southern California during the fall means having lots of fellow full timers around who have also fled here for the weather. In fact we noticed that there were so many around, we organized a little gathering at the Joshua Tree Dry Lake Bed in the high California desert.