27 The End of the Trip
After being on the road for almost three months, our trip together draws to a close. We left the beautiful mountains, lakes, rivers and glaciers of Alaska and British Columbia, and drove toward Calgary and the flatter prairielands of eastern Alberta, and then south to Montana.
We really appreciate the Alaska Travel Industry Association choosing us to share our adventures with you. As we end, we would like to share some of what we have learned about traveling in the north:
1. If you come in June (and for much of the summer in the north), it really is “the Land of the Midnight Sun.” The sun “sets” around midnight, but it never gets really dark. Some kind of black out drapes really improves your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
2. We always wondered what good sofa pillows were. We found some uses. They fit very well into the fan vents to block out the light coming in at night, and also in the cupboards carrying rattling pans on the bouncy roads.
3. Our group of three vehicles got a total of 5 rock chips, mostly from gravel thrown by approaching vehicles. Though slowing down helps, you can’t really do much about it. A change in the window deductible on your insurance policy would be advisable, although chip repairs are usually fully paid with insurance. For the tow vehicles a full size cover helps a lot. The smaller “bras” just get dust down the edges and wear the paint. On the jeeps, extra protection on the lights is beneficial.
4. The cost of living is somewhat higher in Alaska, but much higher in Canada. (Ex. Rum that cost $20 in the US is $67 in Canada. No wonder they monitor the amount you bring in!) Prepare accordingly and try to stock up on what you need to get from the lower 48 into Alaska.
5. The weather is a major factor in being able to really appreciate the beauty of Alaska. If clouds cover the snow-capped mountains, there isn’t much left in some areas. If you have the luxury of time, try to be flexible in your travel plans. If you can wait out bad weather, you may be rewarded.