CO-AK I: Snow Chains: Preview Of Another Journey North to Alaska

3500 Miles+-10 degrees=awesome?

My summers for the past few years have been filled with the unsurpassed views of the “last frontier”; Alaska. I’ve headed north on my ever-changing adventure for the last two summers to drive motorcoaches full of sometimes-interested tourists on tours throughout the interior. A mostly fulfilling and enjoyable occupation that provides me with many a fantastical sights and interactions. My first year up I flew to and fro. Last year I drove to and fro. Something that you must know about me is that I LOVE to drive. To drive means to travel and I’m here to see everything I can before I die. Therefore, I drive for work as well as pleasure. I love being on the road, seeing and absorbing as much as possible. In between seasons of work I mostly live out of my car on the road. There’s currently nothing more fulfilling to me than covering hundreds of miles of scenery with stop-offs and shenanigans along the way. Not only am I encountering beautiful sights and locations but, I’m also engaging in random social interactions with the interesting people therein. It’s the boobs. Anyhoo, I’m driving up again for this summer. The route I’m taking out of the U.S. is a new one to myself (which is exciting) but, the Canadian territory will be mostly the same. Which is great because now I know where to stop and soak up the space along the way based on my last trip up. Overall the journey distance-wise is quite a bit less than my previous trips up and back. The last two I took an extended route for additional experience. And, in these bigger jaunts, is how I prefer to do long trips like this. I can’t just power haul through such an endeavor. It’s not my style and I need the extras along the way. The current route this time should be around 33-3500 miles and 60-80 hrs depending on weather. I bet you’re all like “holy shit” and stuff, right? Sure, but my last drives up and down for over 7K each. Keep in mind though, I did a lot of playing and visiting along those routes. They were nowhere close to concise and contained a lot of fun detours. Being the veteran I am by now with this process I’ve learned how to plan my route accordingly. By accordingly I mean it follows a few guidelines: hot springs, points of interest, and breweries. A recipe for Canadian greatness Ladies and Gents. Below is the current route via the Googles (maps). Thanks Googs for making life super easy and whatnot.

Screenshot 2018-03-05 at 10.49.16 PM

Now, this particular drive up has the potential to be quite different from the others. In the others, my stints through The North happened at the end of September and the very end of April. This time up I’ll be headed up through the beginning of March. The averages of temperatures and snowfall during this time are quite different. I’ll be headed through areas with March averages of -7 Celsius and recorded temps of -40 (those record lows are not really possible for me so don’t freak out however, it’s gonna be “cold as ice”). Snowstorms are also possible; dumping several inches within an hour. These factors can make road conditions quite adventurous (treacherous). Because of these possibilities I’ve been preparing my outfit and mentality for the expedition as much as I think I can. Such preparations include buying tire chains, the routine oil change (w/cold temp thoughts), and small bottles of assorted alcohols. I also beforehandedly upgraded my sleeping sitch to include a -32C/-25F bag. This is not one of those super nice future tech bags. I’m cheap where I can be y’all. This big bad girl of a bag is double duty for a daring dad! She’s voluptuous, flannel lined, and packs up like a hay bale. Wouldn’t have her any other way in my setup. All things considered, I’ve been saying that I’m outfitted for -20F. I’ve never encountered those temps and I hope I never do but if so, I guess I’m prepared? On the whole, I’m honestly super psyched for it all.

The day before heading out obviously calls for a last hoo-rah of sorts with the Colorado fam. I planned a day of riding the mountain early and an evening of German brats and Bier. It couldn’t have gone more successfully. I rode almost 32K vertical feet and shared a few beverages with an assortment of friends throughout the day. That evening another set of friends (and some carry-over) and myself indulged in the Deutschness of delicious brewhas, good convo, and several rounds of hammerschlagen! Needless to say I woke up well-rested and ready to start my journey.

Who knows what the future journey shall bring. I know I’m super stoked and ready to get after it. Ready to cover that open ground and carry an open heart and mind for all choice encounters. Ready to end up back in Alaska and start another quest of a summer. Here’s to that and all that it shall be!

Look forward to part II and my first day or two of the journey. Maybe I’ll have a random encounter or happening?

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