I drove the 3,700 miles to Alaska in five days from Southern California in 1993, arriving Labor Day Weekend. Twenty-four years and four weeks later, I am driving 3,200 miles from Alaska to Wyoming in 10 days. The drive up was a blur. It was 15-hour driving days with a laser-like focus on the goal. Except for food poisoning from chili I ordered in a mom-and-pop restaurant in Northern California, I remember little else of the drive.
Completed in 1942, the Alaska highway was constructed by the Army Corp of Engineers as a supply route to connect Alaska to the Lower 48 during World War II. It was completed in October 1942, making my trip on the famed road exactly 75 years later.
In a post on my most frequently asked questions and in my post about my retirement party, I talked about how nearly everyone I have a conversation with about my adventure asks me where I’ll go first. Except that I have to go to Tennessee to pick up the trailer, my answer has been that I had no idea.
I’ve concentrated my time and effort to getting on the road with little time left over to think about what I’ll do once I get there. And, while that remains mostly true, I have a few plans that have fallen into place.
I think of the reservations I’ve made as anchor points. What I’m doing in between remains elusive. But once I’m on the road and have more time to think, I will figure it all out.
In a post where I shared a few things I wanted to do on the road, I said that, as a wannabe vegetarian, one thing I hoped to do on the road was to have a vegetarian Thanksgiving at an animal rescue sanctuary.
Turns out, attendance at a vegan Thanksgiving dinner was my very first on-the-road event reservation. Don’t even know where I’ll have the rig parked, but I do know that on November 23, I will be feeding
turkeys rather than eating one. (For any non-US readers, in America our traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes serving a roasted turkey and tons of side dishes and desserts. We eat ourselves until we are stuffed stupid.)
It was thrilling to reserve a spot at that dinner table. Once I got over the fear that I was spending money and not feeling 100% sure I could attend, I started making reservations left and right.
So Here’s the Agenda
I close the sale on my house on September 27. How it works (at least in Alaska) is that the next morning all of the paperwork is taken to the court system to be recorded. Recorded means the legal transfer of ownership. So the morning of September 28, I no longer own my house. And that means, I need to be out of it.
Agenda item #1: 7 a.m. September 28th leave Anchorage. Bye, Anchorage!
And nine days later, I’ll pull into Laramie, Wyoming, the town where I grew up. My dad still lives there and I’m going to store a handful of boxes with him. Hello, Laramie!
From there, I head to the Oliver factory to meet my new home. Hello, new home!
I’m not sure where exactly I’ll be but my plan is to stay in Tennessee for the rest of October and all of November. I want easy access to Oliver in case I need assistance with anything. Or need repairs (which is common on new rigs).
I haven’t yet registered for it but there is a 5-day photography class in the Smokey Mountain area. I’m holding off registering as long as possible because it butts up so closely to getting the trailer. You know, I want to be sure I can drive it, understand how to live in it, understand how to leave the pets safely inside for the day, etc.
The vegan Thanksgiving is also in Tennessee.
December is open at this point so I’ll probably just tootle around getting to know my new home.
In January, there are two week-long rallies with the Xscapers RV Club (a younger subset of Escapees RV Club) in Arizona. I will connect with others early in my travels which seemed like a great idea. In early February, Escapees offers a course called RV Boot Camp which is all about owning and maintaining an RV. It is a perfect class for a newbie like me. Like the photo class, I haven’t yet registered for this but I definitely plan on attending.
Toward the end of February I got a ticket for the RV Entrepreneur Summit. It’s targeted to full-timers who want/need to make money on the road. A few of the scheduled speakers are people I’ve followed during my planning phase. It’ll be awesome to meet them in person. And even more awesome to hear their words of wisdom.
In May, I have a reservation at the Lake Guntersville State Park in Alabama so that I can attend the Oliver Travel Trailer Owners’ Rally. Some of the people I communicated with on the Oliver Forum will be in attendance and it will be fun to meet them in person. It’s the chance to connect with others passionate about fiberglass trailers. I cannot wait to see various Oliver modifications and decoration choices. Plus, some of the group is going on a zip-lining adventure. Count me in.
And finally I plan to be at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October 2018. That event is crazy high on my bucket list. The bonus for the Balloon Fiesta is that my Alaska Book Club will be joining me. That’s the plan.
Update: Turns out, my plans didn’t go according the plan laid out so neatly above. Even after hours and hours and hours of planning, I hadn’t given the emotional side of a full-tome RV life enough consideration. The first 72 hours were unbelievable hard. And as a result, I scraped everything and made new plans.