A new trip is on the horizon!

When we got back from our epic lap around America, we were convinced that our travel bug had been satisfied, at least for a year or two. Six months later, that is still true for one of us – Dawn is very happy waking up in our comfy bed in our nice little beach house here in Seaview, Washington.

Me, though? That wandering gene never goes away. I’m always thinking of other trips, other adventures to launch. So, I’m going to do just that – go on an adventure.

In ten days, I am going to leave the comfort of hearth and home and drive straight north, to Alaska. That means, of course, the Alaska Highway, ofttimes referred to as the Alcan, as it runs through Canada for many miles before you hit the Alaska border.

This trip, I’ll be setting out by myself, not because Dawn doesn’t want to go, but because she absolutely, positively, hopes to never set foot onto a small plane in this lifetime. When we fly on commercial jets, our last stop before boarding is the airport bar to get Dawn a drink or two, because she is such a nervous flyer. I don’t think there’s enough alcohol in the world to get her on one of those tiny bush planes that will be an integral part of this trip. So, she’s staying home, while I venture off on my own.

My plan is to drive the Alaska highway up, then just see what happens next. In other words, no plan at all, just like when we drove around America last summer. I have some places I hope to visit – Seward, Seldovia, Soldatna, Kenai, Homer, Anchorage, Wasilla – because I spent time in those places back in the 1970s. Beyond that, I hope to catch one of those tiny planes and go north, to where there are no roads. Mostly, I just want to let Alaska wash over me, to meet the colorful people that I know live there, and get in touch with the spirit of the land.

I’ve been to all fifty states now, and Alaska is unique in so many ways. I haven’t been there in almost 40 years, so I think it’s time. Since it will just be me, I’ll be willing to rough it a bit more. Instead of our almost-new car, I’ll be driving my twenty year old Subaru Outback. She might be a little long in the tooth, but she’s got the heart of a lion. And, she’s only got a bit over 100,000 miles on her, which is like almost brand new for a Subaru, right? I’ll need a nickname for her, so if you have any ideas, share them in the comments! (She is emerald green, if that helps.)

I’ve spent parts of four summers in Alaska, but I’ve never driven the Alaska Highway before, so I am excited about the adventure. I will be blogging from the road every day, with lots of pictures. At least, I will blog every day that I have internet access, which almost certainly won’t be every day.

When I get back, I will write up all my notes and publish them as a new book – A Lap Around Alaska. It’s a big enough state, I think it deserves a book of its own.

So. Is there anything you would like for me to check out for you in the Last Frontier? Anything you’ve ever been curious about? If so, post in the comments, and I’ll see if I can get to it for you. Or, if you’re like Dawn, and you think I’m just a moron for driving the Alcan in an old car in early spring, feel free to say that too!

Cheers, and safe travels.

Shawn

29 comments

  1. I was so excited to read about your upcoming excursions. I love your sense of adventure. The icing on the cake is that you’re taking your readers along with you once again. Alaska is a beautiful and varied wonderland. I’ve never driven the Alaska Highway, therefore, I’m already looking forward to reading about your daily adventures. P.S. Green-eyed Lady.

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    • Part of it is, I’ve done a lot of solo traveling, so it doesn’t spook me much. I used to hitchhike up and down the west coast in the late seventies and early 80s, and I used to drive from Seattle to Arkansas by myself twice a year or so. I’ll have lots of good tunes and I have about two dozen audio books saved up to listen to! 🙂

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  2. I’m with Dawn. Small planes and I don’t get along. 😦 I ended up taking a bus tour out of Fairbanks to cross the Arctic Circle. It was a 17-hour drive. I brought my knitting. 😀

    If you haven’t been to Denali, you should go. The mountain is amazing, and the drive from Wasilla features the most awesome scenery in the whole country.

    I have more travel tips, but I’ll shut up now. 🙂

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  3. Audio books are clearly called for. Your hours driving will go by in a blink. One of the audio books we checked out was Gone Girl for our driving trip from Washington to California. Highly recommend it.

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    • Yep. I both read and listened to Gone Girl. Excellent read. I’ve got a combination of a few writing craft books and course, a few old favorites by Stephen King, and a bunch I just found interesting over the last few months. 🙂

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  4. Way cool. Cannot wait to see the pics and read what you have done. I went to Alaska for the summer of 1971 with my family, grandparents and my cousins. My grandparents went to Alaska every summer to fish for salmon and have some of it canned to send home. My grandparents sold antiques up and down the southern states. They retired and became gypsies. We camped, drove and took ferries up into Alaska. I remember seeing whales from the ferry boats. I also remember a moose coming into a hot springs we were at. I was nine. We had to have all these shots before we went. I remember the glaciers and watching an eskimo carve a totem pole. Have fun.

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  5. Wow. Didn’t know you’d be leaving this soon. Making me more and more jealous. But I finished reading Lap Around America and have since been thinking more than I should about what you said about doing it earlier rather than later, etc. We’ll see. (And I’m sure you know I’d vote for Green-Eyed Lady.)

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  6. I think this sounds amazing. I have always wanted to go to Alaska, and I would want to go exactly as you are. Have fun, and I can hardly wait to read about your adventures. By the way, I had to re-boot my Kindle, so I lost your Lap Around America. Is there another way I can get it? I have everything you have written, and I don’t want to lose this one.

    Have a most marvelous trip. Carol >

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  7. Last summer a birding friend drove and photographed his way to Alaska from Arizona in an RV. A small RV. He posted every day that he had internet on Facebook. It was a fun adventure to watch as I am sure yours will be! Will be watching!!!

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  8. Cool! Been so busy I haven’t commented much lately – but looking forward to reading of your adventures. Oh – and nickname? I’m thinking for your Subaru, I’d call it my Northern Lights. The meaning of the six stars in the Subaru logo is the Taurus or Pleiades constellation, and I’ve seen pix before with the Pleiades showing up through the Northern Lights.

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  9. I took a 2 1/2 hour ride last summer in a small airplane (Piper) out of Anchorage. By far the best thing I did. Even though I had a bit of a cold I would not have traded that adventure for anything. The pilot knew how to find the animals in the area, saw more glaciers than I could count. And flying over the mountains was just beautiful. Enjoy, I will be following.

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  10. You need to see portage glacier & Aleyska while your there. I was born & raise there. Since you’ll be in Wasilla, head over to Palmer & go see the Campbell house. My grandparents were among the first pioneers to head to Alaska & they built that house that is now part of the historic site. Enjoy…. It will always be my home. 😀

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