Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Moving to Seward, Alaska ... in February!

Ready to disembark, our rig fully loaded! 

Greetings from the Northwood Inn in Fort St John, British Columbia. We've been on the road for three days now, moving ourselves and our belongings towards Seward, Alaska. We bought a tiny house there this past October after our season spent working at Denali National Park. The purchase process was quick (about a week) and then suddenly, after all our years of being dedicated big city apartment renters, we were homeowners in a small coastal town in Alaska.

We are now on our way back to Seward, Alaska, with our furniture, kitchen items and other things packed tightly into a 5' x 8' rented Uhaul trailer that we are towing behind our 1996 Isuzu Rodeo. Reed was able to amend the trailer hitch so that we could haul a trailer. Thus far, it's been a gift that we've been able to haul the trailer, as opposed to renting a moving truck. Most importantly, it allows us both to be in the same vehicle, and thus take turns between driving and navigating / fixing food / queuing up the next podcast / finding a place to stay each night. It also means less cost than driving a moving truck and a vehicle, so it allows us a bit more wiggle room in our budget for the trip.

Our current rig and the winter weather conditions and our trepidation have us going much slower than we ever have before. Our max speed is generally about 50 mph and we're driving only during daylight hours, so we're expecting this distance of 2500 miles to take about 10 days. Even so, we've felt pretty tired by the end of each day, and grateful that we have the funds to be able to stay inside to sleep. It's cold outside!

Our family sending us off (Reed's parents, Tanya & Scott)

This country is gorgeous, and it's clearly still February in the mountains and on the plains. Most of the lakes are frozen and even some of the rivers. People have been telling us that it's been a mild winter, with less snow than normal. In general, I am sorry that this has been true, but while we're driving, I am grateful that the roads thus far have mostly been clear of snow and ice.

Last year we drove up on the Cassiar Highway, but this time around we decided to take the ALCAN, or Alaska Highway, because it's a more main route, and thus carries more vehicles and has more population spread out along it, making for more potential help and more places to stop for the night. We spent our first night out with Deb & Bob, Couchsurfing hosts in Ashcroft, who have now hosted us three times, and thus are becoming like family for us. They were a great source of information and pointers on winter driving across Canada and it was lovely to be with friendly people that first night. I am excited to be moving to Seward, and of course I am always excited about traveling. At the same time, this departure was especially tough, because our plan is that we will be living in Seward for a few years and won't be seeing our loved ones in the Seattle area nearly as often. My adventurous spirit aches each time that I leave a place and people that I love.

Reed checking the oil and tires each time that we stop
This morning we have eaten a delicious meal of leftovers and canned foods heated up in the motel room's microwave. We brought plastic containers of frozen carnitas style pork roast that we cooked and then froze a few days prior to departure. We heated that up with half a can (yes, can!) of German style potato salad. That combo was luscious! In our other dish, we had canned butter beans reheated with brown rice and then a giant dollop of hummus on top and a smattering of green and kalamata olives. We're eating pretty well, and enjoying learning more which foods work for which type of traveling. We're well nourished to start our day of driving and the time has come to load back up in the car and hit the road north.

At the official start of the ALCAN, in Dawson Creek, British Columbia

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