Monday, May 31, 2010

Alaska Email Test Message

Configuring the rig for our Alaska trip was a fascinating exercise. It became apparent, while looking for pickup trucks, that American trucks are simply the best in the world. How Detroit could get that right and lose the ability to manufacture attractive and competitive cars, would be a good sociological study. Nick asked questions of as many knowledgeable people as he could find, and the conclusion was “buy a Ford 350 with dual rear wheels and a big diesel engine.” The next step was finding a camper. Mary and Nick don’t like the idea of towing anything, because of our desire to go into rough road wilderness with the rig. We both knew of the Alaskan Camper by reputation. The more we looked into the Alaskan, the better it seemed for us. It rides low, but then easily rises to a height where Nick can fully stand up inside. It has a queen size (more or less) bed with enough length for Nick’s height. It has a comfortable place to sit for prepping dinner, reading, and eating. It has a drop down dining table. It has hot water, a heater, a refrigerator, and a stove top. The storage space is adequate. Most of the camper equipment is standard. We ordered blackout curtains so that we can sleep when the sun doesn’t set. We are bringing two folding chairs for outside seating when weather and bugs permit. The camper has a neat stereo system, including radio, CD player, and IPod dock. We ordered two powerful storage batteries for the camper. There are also two batteries in the truck and two alternators. This configuration provides for a quick recharge of the camper batteries when we are driving the truck. The propane bottle (22 lbs) can run the camper fuel needs for about a week. Many RV parks have electrical hookups. When electricity is available we can switch the refrigerator off of propane, and also run the internal lights on the external power source.


Part of the trip will be through Canada. So we have to remember our passports. Also, Canadian regulations limit the amount of booze. Looks like Mary and Nick can have two one liter flasks of sipping tequila. Nick can also “borrow” Mary’s tobacco allowance and take along a nice supply of cigars to frighten off the mosquitoes.


Nick bought a Kindle and likes it a lot. The Kindle store allows one to buy a single day newspaper on line, so wherever we have wifi we can get our New York Times. The classics, being in the public domain, are pretty much free or can be downloaded for a couple of bucks. So, Nick has the complete works of Shakespeare, Joseph Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Dickens, John Donne.

Preparing for Departure

We are one week from departure. Multiple lists of to do's have shrunk to one (still pretty big). Nick is still seeking the right tire pressure gauge and an ice scraper. The camper needs water. Food, mostly bought, has to be loaded in. All of the various electronics (sat phone, cell phones, cameras, portable GPS, Ipod) and their separate chargers are ready. Mail forwarding and financial transactions are organized for our absence. We will get to enjoy one opera performance (Walkure) the night before the start of our journey.

We have reserved RV park space in Mt. Shasta City, CA and Woodland, WA for the journey north. We have a room at the Fairfield Inn in Bellingham, five minutes from the Alaska Ferry the night of June 10th. On the 11th we start the sea portion of our voyage, destination Haines, AK.