Alaska Road Trip: Background Info

We are more than halfway through our road trip to Alaska. If I don't start documenting our adventures soon, I am afraid that it will become too daunting of a project to do later. We have seen and done so many things. I was going to skip straight to Day 13: Lucy's Baptism, but I don't think I can handle going out of order. It's hard enough for me to skip past the other things we did in May before our trip. It was a busy month: Park City, a Power of Moms retreat, Mother's Day, Lucy's birthday, the Ogden Marathon. It seems like those events took place ages ago, but I have some great pictures, so I will catch up with those later.

And before I get into the day by day record of our travels, I'm going to start with some background information about our road trip. (I really think road trip should be one word. Is there somewhere you can submit that to be added to the dictionary??)

My cousins, Jake and Amy, moved to Alaska about ten years ago. I think it was six years ago that Slade and Carissa moved up, and then they were followed by Matt and Erica a few years later. My cousin, Maggie, (aka Cheesecake Maggie) moved up about a year ago.

With so many of my cousins living in Alaska, Steve and I had talked about how we really ought to take a trip while they were still there. (We were too slow to catch Slade and Carissa before they relocated to Arizona.)

About a year ago, I got a phone call from Matt. It was a Sunday evening.

Matt: Erica and I were just wondering if you could come up and visit.
Me: Are you in Utah?!?
Matt: Ummm, no. We're in Alaska.
Me: Yes, haha, we'd love to come up and visit. . . Someday.
Matt: Well, it's been a while and we thought it would be great to see you.

I told Matt how we were saving up for a trip to South Africa, so it would be 2015 or later before we could go to Alaska. And then I got off the phone and told Steve I really wished we could take a trip to Alaska.

Later that fall, I met up with Maggie and her boyfriend for lunch at Sonora Grill. They talked about Alaska with passion. It didn't make sense to spend money on a trip to go to Alaska while we were saving up for South Africa. But I just couldn't get Alaska off my mind.

I went ahead and canceled the trip (on my calendar and in my mind). Twice. But both times it didn't sit right with me. There is clearly no shortage of fun or excitement in our lives, but it really felt like this was something our family needed.

In January, I gave Rachel some instructions to get online and look up some information. Together, we came up with this very rough itinerary:

Steve and I both put the dates on our calendar and we renamed our jar of change the "Alaska Jar", but I still kind of expected Steve to talk me out of the trip. Our goal has always been to be able to travel for a month every year, but until this trip, Steve had never taken off for more than a week. 

I just kept talking about our trip to Alaska, and before I knew it, it was really happening. Derrick got lined up with a summer job in Fairbanks. We got our passports. Steve talked me into buying a trailer. After I thoroughly researched travel trailers, Steve drove to Colorado to pick up this beauty that I found on craigslist: 

We were set. Or so we thought. . . 

The week before we left, we incurred $1800 in repairs on our Pilot. We counted our blessings that the problems were taken care of at home and didn't leave us stranded somewhere in the middle of Canada. And then a couple of days later, we realized that our Pilot was not properly equipped to pull the trailer. (Honda Pilots were listed as an appropriate vehicle for towing. . . just not six-year old Honda Pilots.) We quickly made the difficult decision to sell our Pilot and get a new one. Well, it was difficult for me, not for Steve. 

We spent the days that led up to our trip packing and preparing for a month-long absence, selling our old Pilot (less than two days on ksl.com), getting our new Pilot ready to go, running the marathon (and the subsequent limping), and planting the garden. The day before we left, Steve had a catering for 200 people in the morning. And another one for over 600 people that night. Of course it would work out like that!

Grandma Gloria came to our rescue and came over to help a few times. (Grandpa Richard too!) They planted the garden with Steve, weeded our flower beds, watched the kids while I ran errands, and even helped the kids do their chores. I came home and found this very accurate note from Rachel added to the bottom of the kids' To Do list:

Thank you, Gloria!


Kayli said...

I can't wait to hear EVERYTHING about your trip-- the good, bad, and ugly!

Natalie B. said...

I have been dying to see what you are up to! How FUN! Keep posting when you get a chance!

The Clawsons said...

I've been waiting for these posts for a while now. Your teasers on FB have been keeping me in suspense. James and I have ALWAYS wanted to take the Alaska Highway. Can't wait to hear more, and be safe!

Karen said...

So when are you coming to Iowa. :) I hope that sticks with you too.