What is it about driving to Alaska that seems so daunting?
The distance is definitely a consideration, over 5,000 miles in Scoopy, and countless more on Toadie over 12-16 weeks. That's a lot of travelin' in a fairly short amount of time.
The roads are always a cause for concern, of course. Depending on who you ask, they either suck and will destroy your RV and tear up your tow or they are great and there is nothing to worry about. There are lots of ways to add protection to our tow ranging from very expensive kits to the homemade "Mad Max" variety. We fall into the latter category. A yoga mat. A couple of tarps. Paracord. Hardware cloth. I can only imagine how poor Toadie will look when we are done with our "preparations". We also got brand new tires for Toadie while we were in Oregon. But, in case our efforts fail, we also have a good supply of rock chip repair kits and a roadside assistance plan. In the end, the universal advice is to slow down and enjoy the ride and, for the most part, that's our plan.
Of course, all our preparations will be for naught unless we are allowed entry into Canada, and in order to do that, we have to get past the legendary Canadian border guards. They are mythical creatures with X-ray vision who can shoot laser beams from their eyeballs. (That laser thing may just be a rumor, I don't know for sure.) These agents defend their borders from a bunch of stuff. Chicken. Booze. Citrus. Terrorists. Really, no one knows for sure (although terrorist is probably a given...) and these guys have absolute power when it comes to boarding your rig and poking around and taking stuff!! The question that keeps most of us up at night is "will they?"
The US Border guards have the same reputation, except maybe no laser beam superpower, but they too can and will come aboard your rig and relieve you of stuff if they so desire. The rules, it seems, are constantly changing, and are difficult to keep up with. One agent's "meh" is another one's, "pull over". I think they like to keep us guessing, and boy do they!
It's always a huge topic of conversation among those heading north and there are horror stories that make the rounds every year, particularly with regard to alcohol. We RVers are a boozy lot any talk of confiscation sends us into a tailspin. Alcohol in Canada is expensive, apparently. Among the happiest RVer posts in the forums and on Facebook are "Whew, we just made it into Canada!! WUHOO!!!", and then everyone freaks out and asks how much alcohol they had on board.
There are only two left now.
It's a particular conundrum for those of us who live full time in our RVs. This is our only home, what exactly are we supposed to do with that Full Bar and the case(s) of wine we carry on board? We actually unloaded most of it at the ranch, except for the wine, but we'll polish that off in the next few days. Our plan is to cross the border booze-free, or at least within the allotted limits. We still haven't quite figured out what those are, but we will find out one way or another. :)
Living in an RV generally requires some preparation and forethought as to what lies ahead even if it's just looking at a map and finding a place to stay. But when Alaska gets tossed into the mix folks seem to go into overdrive. I get it. I mean, I'm a planner (control freak) by nature, so I assumed I would plan our trip six ways from Sunday and think through every contingency. Plan A, B, C & D. Surprisingly, this has not happened. I looked at the map and we discussed our route, but that's about it. We have no spreadsheets of fuel stops or campgrounds, basically, we're just going to wing it.
In ten days we cross the border into the abyss. Our first stop will be about five minutes away, at Costco, where we plan to stock up on booze. I guess we did some planning after all, eh?