Monday, March 29, 2010

I received the 'Scenic Drives - Alaska & The Yukon' book in the mail late last week. I haven't really taken any time to thumb through it yet. A lot of the Alaska literature is currently sitting on standby till I have some time to dig into it. I'm looking at at least a couple of weeks until I can do that. Life has been keeping me busy.

I do follow the adventures of Andy Skurka though - if you don't know anything about this guy, you really should. He is currently on a 7-month, 4700 mile circuit through Alaska. He's doing this on foot, by ski, and raft. A few years back, he did the Great Western Loop - starting in the Grand Canyon. He made a clockwise loop to the west coast, up through the Pacific Northwest, and then south again.

More info here:

More later...

Montana: Books vs. word-of-mouth

Got the snazzy new (well, used) 'Scenic Drives - Montana' book in late last week. It's not quite what I was expecting though. I got some information that it would be good for off-pavement trails. The book shows some... but not nearly what I had expected. Thus far, I've gotten better information from the forums that I visit in terms of places to check out.

Definite locations so far will be the road to Polebridge (again), and the road up to Kintla Lake. Kintla Lake has some good backcountry camping, and it's isn't very far from the Canada border. Maybe we can make a side trip there, if time allows.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Command Central!

I received a USPS box from the gentleman that I've been talking to on Expedition Portal that lives in Girdwood, AK yesterday. In it was quite a few brochures, and magazines related to various places in Alaska... and also included in the box was a 2008 copy of the Milepost - the Alaska/Yukon travel 'bible,' of sorts. I'm super-excited to have this!! I plan to start pouring through it tonight and tomorrow... and start trying to pull ideas together from it.

We went to the Travel & Adventure Show today and found some more information regarding travel and locations. While there, we sat for a session given by Captain Keith Colburn of the crab ship Wizard (from the Deadliest Catch show). He was a great speaker, and was fun to learn about some of the things he has experienced and adventures he has had in his life. He's quite the admirable man.

Today, I stopped at a local craft place and found a couple of cork boards to mount in the spare room... to create 'command central.' I also ran over to Barnes & Noble for a Montana state map, and an Alaska state map - both in which to add to the board.

The beginning of 'Command Central.'

Literature I received in the box from Alaska:

Information and literature acquired at today's Travel & Adventure Show:

Friday, March 19, 2010

Scenic Driving...

While looking up off-highway roads for the trip to Montana this summer, I came across a book called 'Scenic Driving - Alaska and the Yukon' on Ebay for under $5.00 after shipping.

Mr. Postman, deliver this soon please. Thank you.

Adventure & Travel show is tomorrow!!

Montana: Off-highway travels

I've been looking for some off-highway drives to do once I get into the Glacier National Park area... aside from the trail to Polebridge. You'd think that Google would offer a wealth of information. Not so much.

Well, it does... but I am directed to sites that require a subscription to view maps and the area descriptions. I'm not cool with that.

So... I investigated a little further and found a series of 'Scenic Driving' books. Luckily, they have one for Montana. But in my search, I found that they also have one for Alaska/Yukon. Ebay yielded both of these books... for under $5.00/each after shipping.

I'm anxiously awaiting the postman.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Gracious people

Of the few places I've posted this trip, I'm already finding people willing to make this trip a great experience. I've had a few folks offer to send me their copies of 'The Milepost' to help in planning, another person who lives in AK has offered to send me information to the places I'm interested in... even someone who grew up there that has connections to a place to stay/shower/make vehicle repairs while in and around the Fairbanks area. This is fantastic - I really can't ask for anything better.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Expedition Portal

I registered on after many, many recommendations. I now realize I should have done this ages ago - the expanse of information is a little overwhelming. At some point I'll filter through the posts and find some things I can use.

There's one fella on there that just completed an Alaskan road trip, much like what I'd like to do... only I believe he was gone for a month or more. I have to work an abridged 3-week version. But his testimonies about some of the destinations, and his photos will be a huge help.

Adventures in Travel Show

The annual Adventures in Travel show is coming to Chicago the weekend of March 20-21st.

Hoping to snag some info, and hopefully a giant size map that I can tack on the wall in the spare bedroom for planning purposes. If I'm lucky, it'll go into details about some lesser traveled roads - my favorite kind!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Montana: Back to Big Sky Country!

I've had a couple of ideas about where to go this summer... for vacation, I guess. (To some it's vacation... to me, it's extended exploring.)

I thought about heading back out to Ouray, CO - it's such a beautiful area with tons of jeep trails through the mountains. I had a difficult time leaving there last year, and vowed to be back this year. I thought about going solo in June - a great adventure by myself, but not all of the trails I'd like to travel will be open yet. I also thought about taking the boy and going to meet some KJ friends in July - the downside to this is that meeting the friends would have to happen on a weekend... and we wouldn't get to utilize the weekends into our paid vacation time from work.

I started reminiscing the trip to Montana a few years back. We ended up staying at a ski resort that also did hiking/mountain biking in the summer. While this was a fun time, it lacked time to explore as much as we found we wanted to. We spent one day on a no-name trail that led to a tiny little town called Polebridge. That day... that trip to Polebridge... was one of the most memorable things we did the last time to Montana. So it's that kind of exploring that we're talking about doing this summer.

The plan is to drive out... with no intended destination other than the Glacier NP area... and explore. Via Jeep, on foot, do some backcountry camping (if allowed).... and just wing it.

Prepping... to prep.

I've gotten the word out for my intent in a couple of places - a couple of the jeep boards, Facebook, and some other sites that a frequent. I hear a common theme... get my hands on a book called "The Milepost." This book essentially tells you everything out there on the Alaskan Highway, and is a great resource. This is going on my to-do list.

I've also encountered one person (so far) that lives in Alaska. He's agreed to answer questions that I have and give some insight on what to do/not to do. He's already been a great help to me in the last few days.

The Adventures in Travel Expo is coming to Chicago in the next couple of weeks. I go to this every year because they have fun things to do, and it's always kinda nice to daydream about places to go... things to do. This year is the first that I'll have a real destination, a real plan in mind. I'm very excited to find what the Alaska/Canadian booths have to offer in way of maps and planning guides.

The show will help with this year's summer excursion as well - we're trekking back to Montana.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Decision made... now what?

I've been thinking and talking about driving to, and spending a few weeks in Alaska sometime... but it's usually never more than a daydream.

Till now.

Although it's a long way away, I'm trying to get together information and a game plan for making this happen during the summer/early fall of 2012 (if possible). The only real destination that I have so far is Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse via the Dalton Highway. Maybe over to Barrow also, if time/money allows.

Because planning is so early (meaning, I decided I wanted to make this happen.... yesterday), I don't have many details yet. I've been sending requests out for maps of the region, and all the literature I can find to help in planning.

I'm putting this out here as a planning, and eventually, a trip blog... and wouldn't mind some input from anyone who has traveled through Alaska before, or that lives/lived there... more specifically, the northern area that we plan to visit. Routes to take? Points of interest? Things to be careful of? Things to not do? Any input would be great.