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September 09, 2016

Alaska Roundup–trip summary and financials

Alaska claims to be the “Last Frontier”, it is also a “Vast Frontier”!  Driving days are part of the adventure, be prepared.

Things we did right:
I read the other blogs and guides to have a decent idea of what we wanted to do.
I allowed options and prepared for rain, expecting the average of 30% rain days, however we had 52 consecutive rain days! 
Health insurance research, as most US policies (including Medicare) are not valid in Canada
The Milepost, both on-line and hardcopy are indispensable
Scotchgaurd for the seat covers, jackets, etc
Canned air for blowing out the air vents of the PC
Removed the wheel simulators (hubcaps) and left them at home
A couple types of insect repentant
This could be a long list, we did most of it right

Things we could have done better:
This was to be a BnB trip – Boots and Bikes.  We were good with boots, but this is an Alaska bike:
IMG_0262 (640x480)
Not just the panniers, but the fenders!  Never thought to add fenders for a bike ride in the rain…
Jeans, Fran does not have any, and she did look a bit too much like a tourist in her golf and tennis pants.  I have a couple pairs of jeans and boots ... fit in like a native Smile.  Eh? U-betchya!!!
Timing! Leaving 10 days late due to my ‘stabbed in the foot’ with a sewing needle, returning 10 days early.  The house was empty and we were desperate for some sun!

Our financials in USD, the percentages may help with travel planning:
Days on the road 93
Consecutive days of rain 52 God liked Noah better!
Miles driven 10173
Gallons of diesel 632.46
Ave MPG 16.08
Fuel exp 1877.35 22%
ave cost/gallon 2.97
Rufus repairs/propane/service 843.33 10%
Private campgrounds 1213.13 34 nites ave 35.68 14%
Public campgrounds 498.38 31 nites ave 16.08 6%
FREE camping! 28 nites
Average cost/nite 18.40
Meals Dining out/grocery 1933.92 23%
Museums/tolls/ferries/etc. 963.51 11%
Personal haircuts/laundry/etc. 199.00 2%
Misc gifts/souvenirs 1123.72 12%

The Damage Report:
2 windshield dings– repairable
22 paint dings– the 2 big dings will require professional help
Kitchen sink ABS drain pipe broke – repaired  … ACE is the Place!
Stinky Slinky developed a leak – replaced tubing
Microwave motor shaft – non-repairable … new unit required
Slideout brake failed – using wedges to hold slide in while driving

Wildlife Sightings:
Black bear – more bears than moose!
Stone and Dall Sheep
Reindeer (captive caribou)
Grizzly (captive)
Musk Ox (captive)
Eagles/Osprey/Puffin – more birds than I’d ever be able to identify
Orca/seals/porpoise – lots of marine life
And we saw Denali!  Yup the elusive mountain took a moment of pity on us.
In British Columbia and Alaska water supplies the life, we saw that it comes in all forms – rain, fog, white energetic waterfalls, blue glacial ice, black mosquito infested marsh and every color and mood in-between. 

But taking 395 through Washington, Oregon and California is a stark contrast to the abundant water supply of the north.   Here’s a mid afternoon pic of the Eastern Sierra and me at Moul Falls ... what a contrast!
IMG_0750 (640x464)IMG_0512 (640x480)

Our final stop, a last chance for a bit of peace and quiet at Fossil Falls (BLM $6/3), which has been our launch pad north and last stop south for the past 30+ years.  However, the road within the campground has badly deteriorated …
IMG_0756 (640x480)

There’s no place like home ….
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