Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Route...Kinda

Well we have been going back and forth for months now trying to decide which route we want to take to Alaska. We know we are going to pick up the AlCan in Dawson Creek, British Colombia, but we still are debating how to get to Dawson.  There are two frames of thought here, the first, and the one we tend to lean toward, is the direct route. Which would take us from Grayling, MI west through the Upper Peninsula to Minneapolis then north to Winnipeg.  From Winnipeg west through Regina, and then north to Dawson.  This would be the quickest route to Dawson and hence the quickest route to Alaska.  There are several pro's and con's some of those pro's are: quickest, shortest, new territory we have not seen before. Some of the con's are: more expensive IE gas, food, etc, many of the other sites we want to see would be easier to hit on the way up, and did I mention more expensive!

Although we are still leaning toward route one simply because we only have about 45 days before the snow will fly in Alaska, the other route we have started looking into is gaining speed. The second route takes us from Grayling, west through the UP, to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, then to Yellowstone NP in Wyoming, north through Missoula to see family then on to Glacier NP. From there north through BC to Dawson and the beginning of the AlCan. The pros of this route are: cheaper, gas in the US and food will save us money, our route home would not have to take a huge dip away from the pacific coast to hit the aforementioned sites. The con: it would add 2 weeks to our route to Alaska so instead of getting there at the beginning of Aug and having till middle of Sept we would only have 4 weeks, hopefully, of good weather.

So as of right now we are still going to go with route one because we still feel the the most important aspect of the trip is getting to AK quickly, but with that in mind I have attached pictures of the other route below.

From start in Grayling to Missoula.

Missoula to Dawson Creek, BC

From Dawson Creek, along the AlCan to Fairbanks then Anchorage.

From Anchorage, back south along the AlCan till Kluane lake then south to Prince George.

From Prince George to Lees House outside Stockton, CA

From Lee's to Cabo BABY woohoo Party on the Beach!!

From Cabo to South Padre Island
We thought about going to Cancun, Cozumel or the Riviera Maya but the situation going on currently with all the cartels and violence are dissuading us from heading that direction. Cabo on the other hand is on the Baja peninsula which has a much lower rate of incidents.

South Padre to New Orleans

New Orleans to Orlando for my dive classes
Can't wait to get to New Orleans Nikki has a ton of family that still live in that area that I would love to meet. Also really excited about the classes in Orlando, going through the PADI Instructor Development Course to be licensed as an Open Water Scuba Instructor!!

Orlando to Key West.
After the classes are done I would like to at least visit Key West, but from what I have seen we won't be spending much time there, RV spaces are ridiculously expensive!! Then from Key west we would head north to Michigan to pick up our dog from my parents and then back to our lives in North Carolina.

We are not sure how long it will take us but plan on being on the road from late July of this year till late April or early May of next year. Route one basically cuts out the trip west at the beginning and adds it in as a long loop east after reaching Seattle on our way south then back to Stockton to see my friend Lee. Then we will continue with the southern portion of the trip.  So we shall see how closely our route follows either one of these routes once our tires actually hit pavement!! Till then...

Stay Frosty

USMCPatriot aka Justin!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alaska Expedition

The Big Winne
OK so here we go, the planning process has begun and we have a ton to do and what should be a fair amount of time to do it in. I will get out of the Marine Corps on July 23rd of 2011 at 0800, yet as I said before I will still get paid until Sept 1st. My wife and I have decided that we are going to take a two month trip to Alaska. That being said we realized that the kids school will start in late August so we have decided that we are going to be home schoolingthem starting next year. We do not have all the kinks worked out of this plan yet so there will be more to come on that in the future. We rationalized that considering we both have education beyond High School, and our oldest would be in 5th grade that we can handle the teaching aspect. Both of our boys are on the honor roll with straight A’s so I am confident they will be able to handle the transition. Also, as a plus, we will be able to interject into their curriculum the religion that I feel has been so absent mindedly left out of modern education, without the exorbitant cost of Christian School. We will be giving them hands on education, which leads me into our second big decision…

We are buying an RV…not a trailer, not a pop-up camper, not a tent, a full blown Class A Motorhome. HOW, might you ask? Simple, we have saved a bit of money here and there, and having had the advantage of a steady job over the last couple years when many others have lost theirs we kept our debts low. When I walk out the door of the Marine Corps for the last time in July I will have absolutely no debt. All car payments will have been paid off, all creditcards paid off, no house payment yet, and no college bills because the Marine Corps has covered them all so far. So we will have no obligations tying us to anywhere, for the first time in our lives we have a little money and the time to spend it. We have already found the prospective RV, and keep in mind I said we have a little money. It is a 1989 Winnebago Chieftain, and it is awesome. Don’t let the age fool you, this RV has been babied by its current owner, it has always been kept indoors, and only has 46,000 miles on it. It has all the 1989 bells and whistles hahaha, but some have been upgraded including the Microwave, Fridge/Freezer, and AC/Heater units. It has new tires, and everything else works too. The current, and only, owner took it on a few trips to Florida and back and has just bought a new one to upgrade. So how much are we getting this gem for you ask….$5000.00 that’s right only 5K.

Winne's Kitcken
So a little more about the RV, this little beauty has yet to be named but she actually isn’t very little. At 33’ long and almost 9 feet wide this behemoth is a sight to behold. She does not look like a product of the 80’s, there are no ridiculous colors or ugly brown tweed, nor are there any mullets or insta-perms to be found! It has a queen bed in a rear room, a central dinette, and a couch with two captains chairs opposite. We will be taking out the old tv and replacing it with a new 47” flat screen, and turning the storage cabinets around the old TV mount into DVD, Blueray, and Wii storage. It is wired for indoor and outdoor speakers which we will be upgrading and linking into a new radio tuner with Sirius, which also connects to the TV. I am considering how to get satellite TV right now, haven’t figured that part out yet. There will be a TV mount added to the exterior, and it has a new full length awning with a screen surround. Talk about a nice place to watch Mystery Alaska, while sitting beside a lake somewhere. More pictures of the RV can been seen below:
Winne's Coach View
So there you go, to make this trip we will drive our RV from North Carolina to Michigan, dropping off our little yorky with my parents so he doesn’t become a Grizzly Snack, and heading to Alaska. Up next in the Planning process….THE ROUTE! So stay tuned because it will be up soon.
Winne's Rear Queen Bedroom
Until next time
Stay Frosty

                                                                   Update: We have since bought the RV in January and have changed our plans of a 2 months vacation to a whole year on the road exploring. This post was created a few months ago by my husband, please stay tuned to see about our travels.