North to Alaska –Our Journey Begins


Appropriately, Frosty will accompany us to Alaska.

If you have never visited west of the Mississippi it may be hard to imagine how vast our country is. As we begin our trip north we decide there is no easy way around it. We must travel one long day to escape the desert. So the sun was barely peaking over the horizon when we headed out.  We left poor Bob, both worried and sad that he wouldn’t be there in case gasket blew. But twelve hours later we arrived safe and sound at Mammoth Lakes, California and decided that was the end of our day. For your sake, and in anticipation that you might one day actually want to travel this trek, I am not posting pictures of the arid, flat, dry, hot, windy, roasting, blowing (did I leave out any adjectives?) desert. But when you do cross in the luxury of your air conditioned vehicle, think for a moment of what our pioneer forefathers must have struggled, in the open sun, little shade or water available.


The view from our campsite. Two things to notice: Yes, that is snow on the back of Yosemite and yes, that is McDonald’s in the background–you didn’t expect us to go too rural the first night, did you?

You’d be proud of how well we put up the tent. It wasn’t quite as easy as our practice runs since the ground was sand and the stakes kept popping up and there were giant wind gusts threatening to blow everything away. But, after forcing three stakes in each holder the tent managed to stay put!

Hmmm, for some reason the tent doesn't look nearly as pretty as when we practiced at home.

Hmmm, for some reason the tent doesn’t look nearly as pretty as when we practiced at home.

The Mammoth Lakes area is really very beautiful and we think it would be a good place to return to and spend at least a week exploring. It’s also only a few hours over the pass from here to Yosemite and all the wonders of this park. Oh, and those of you in AZ will laugh because all the Forest Rangers we talked to said many of the areas and roads were just opening, summer really hasn’t started yet.

Okay, so enough of the tourist stuff. I know you are just anxious to hear the real scoop on our trip and here it is. As I said, we managed to get the tent up without incident…and we were excited that it did not fall on us. However, we were not so lucky with the air mattress. For whatever reason, the dropping cold temperature or gremlins or maybe operator failure, the air mattress deflated within two hours of going to bed. And someone, yes, someone who was initially very warm, suddenly discovered that a flat air mattress and no sleeping bag underneath gives one a very chilly night. And a long night.

But never fear dear ones. We will try again…very soon…

day 1

Our journey, thus far.

Tomorrow: Nevada.

North to Alaska ~ Reality Check

Now don’t worry, the trip is still a go. In fact, it will be here soon. Today I just wanted to give an update. I think you all know everything that has happened, but then I remember I think lots and write little…

So here goes.

The plans are coming together. We’ve begged and borrowed everything needed, from air mattresses, to a camper shell for the truck. But, wait.  I’m ahead of myself.


We have been practicing pitching the tent.

Did I tell you we are taking the truck? It has few enough miles that it’s still in good shape but old enough and with enough dings (read hail damage and a few experiences with a teenage daughter) that we won’t cry if we drive over rough road and find rocks. The always safety conscience husband has insisted we change the oil, check the windshield wipers and other lame stuff that should be unnecessary to look at for the life of the vehicle. And my folks are letting us use their camper shell so everything can stay dry and we can pack more stuff.

Yes, more stuff… because my idea of just tenting occasionally has grown into camping as long as the weather permits. We’ll also be cooking most meals, which makes sense when you think about Matthew’s dietary restrictions this way we’ll be able to eat pretty much like at home.

The folks also loaned us a ’30 second tent’ which pops up in just 30 seconds and they had a port-a-potty which will be put into the 30 second tent… Thus solving the significant “peeing behind the bushes” dilemma.


Key items ready to be packed include OFF (of course), the dried fake chicken chunks, and hey, note the prized camera bag loaned to me by my photo journalist mother!

Our friends loaned us a very nifty plug in cooler which will help keep foods chilled…at least until we camp in snow 🙂 We also have borrowed a camp stove, portable grill and various and sundry other things. About the only thing we’re not borrowing is ourselves. No wait, we owned the First Aid box. Naturally, first aid is the doctor-to-be’s responsibility and of course, she is having a fit over all the supplies in the box being dated 1998…


Not only do we have to learn how to cook on the Coleman stove, but how to percolate coffee.

So the plans are all coming together. We’ve mapped out our route and will see friends and family along the way. The length of the trip is daunting and we’ve already had to make cuts in some of the more frivolous stops along the way. (The good thing is, we will have places to visit the next time…) The kids are excited. None of us can really know what to expect. There will be lots of family time. Often when I tell Matthew we are going to do this or that he stomps around in protest.  But he is surprisingly interested in the trip. Of course, as you may recall, he loves the maps and continues to peruse them daily. We talk about the people and things we will see and I know there are several special people along the way that he is excited about seeing.

Due to concerns about the safety of our cats…and our cat sitter…I made an executive decision to post updates on a delay. Burglars and thieves should note that as they read about our expedition chances are very high that I will be sitting in the living room, upholding my second amendment rights, polishing my Colt 45. So the questions will be: Is it real? Or is it Memorex?  Am I reading something that happened today? Or was it three weeks ago??? Okay, I’ll give you a few clues…the seasoned adult or keen observer, who has read beyond junior high Social Studies will be probably ferret out the truth.

Today it is 99F here in the Arizona desert and the temperature will only go up for the next month. Rain…or snow…we are looking forward to spending time in the cooler climes and experiencing the land of the Midnight Sun.

Oh…wait a second…shoot. I almost forgot the most important thing! We will be on the CB radio! (Yes, of course, borrowed…) And even better, I already have a handle. Just give me a shout out: Breaker, Breaker, One Nine… Ramblin’ Rose, You Got Your Ears On…