Alaska Feature 1

Week One to Alaska

First, let me say this about that.  Many people have asked me to keep them apprised of our trip to Alaska via texts and posts and, of course, Facebook.  I don’t really use Facebook much, and there are, thankfully and gratefully, too many of you to text.  SO, I’ve taken the liberty of adding this little section/category to my sflocalsguide.com website to broadcast our trip.  We’re headed out of Healdsburg through Red Bluff, Roseburg, OR and Burlington, WA before we head into Canada and beyond.  Our destination is the Inland Passage, or southeast Alaska.  We will drive the RV and Jeep ‘toad’ up to Skagway, and then spend about 3 weeks in Alaska, traveling on the ferry service from Skagway to Juneau to Ketchikan and then back to the US to Bellingham, WA.  

So here we go.  We’re super excited, nervous and scared.  One has heard so many stories of the lonely territories we are about to cover.  We hear the roads are good, but we need to be careful as the snow wreaks havoc on the, and with the snow just clearing in most places, it’s difficult for the road teams to keep up with the maintenance.

Second, let me explain my evolution of camping.  I started backpacking with high school friends.  It wasn’t until my brother and his 8 or so year old son went with me to my favorite backpacking site, The Minarets, located in the California Eastern Sierras, that I finally came to my senses.  My nephew got hypothermia at our destination campground, and I realized I was ill prepared to deal with such an emergency – the end of my backpacking career.

Dogs in in park

On to camping V2.  I married Dave who had 4 kids, and we had them much of the summer.  We really wanted them to experience true vacations and the outdoors.  The only way we could do that was to use our Volkswagen Westfalen Vans (3 versions of them) to allow the 4 of them to have comfortable beds inside and we would sleep in a tent outside.  One of them hated it (you know who you are), and for the most part, we had great camping vacations.  It was all we could afford to do, but that issue was overridden by the joy of being together outside.

Then came Dave’s retirement.  My belief about retirement is that you either thrive or die.  I was so scared that Dave, super workaholic travelaholic, would truly mourn being retired versus thriving in the amazing projects that his company was endeavoring.  We bought an Airstream Interstate and took off in early 2015 for an 11,000 mile road trip all the way to Prince Edward Island in Canada.  Our mission that year was to cover presidential libraries and baseball parks and to spend at least 2 weeks on Prince Edward Island eating oysters and other shellfish.  Maine was a highlight too.

Then the following year was the Pacific Coast.  Then I got claustrophobic in the 3-walled king size bed, and moved into our Newmar Bay Star 32’ motor home.  Do NOT buy a new RV!!!  With both of them, we had nothing but problems the first 10,000 miles and then they were fine.  Let someone else deal with the first 10,000.

The final chapter of the evolution was a ‘toad’, RV talk for towing a car.  We traded in Dave’s beloved Ford Flex for a Jeep Cherokee Latitude, light enough that we could tow.  And, here we are on our first spring trip with Jeep in tow, a total of about 52 feet of vehicle to manage.  Whew!!  Now you know where the nervous comes from – not to mention the bears that we will surely encounter.

cooking

We got a little later start than we wanted to head up to Red Bluff day one of our 46-day RV road trip to the Inside Passage in Alaska.

My friend, Tina, loves the Durango in Red Bluff.  It’s right off the freeway, somewhat noisy, but for RV goers, it works.  I’ve posted some nice pictures north of Red Bluff of Mt. Shasta. The wonderful winter rains have filled Lake Shasta with water.  The last time we were through, it was truly tragic to see the almost empty lake.  The Delta Fire started 9/5 and shut down I5 north of Shasta Lake and devastated the countryside for miles along our route.  

river walk

Roseburg was nice.  We stayed 2 days, so we unhooked the car and were able to take in the sites – a winery, a brewery and a good regional park to walk the dogs.  

Longview Kelso Elks

We landed at the Longview/Kelso Elks Lodge on Saturday, and coincidently, they were having their Cinco de Mayo fiesta. I entered into the salsa competition with tomatillo salsa – didn’t even place. But the food and camaraderie was so welcoming. We even met the 3rd mate who will be on our ferries down from Skagway!

Today, our final stop before entering Canada, is Burlington, WA.  We have found Whidbey Island and its beaches for leash free dog walking and a waterside fish restaurant where our dogs can join us.




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  1. Scott

    So happy to see you two living the life! You both deserve all the wonders that life offers. Much love to you both from our rock in the ocean!

  2. JIM WALTERS

    DONNA…Great photo of my beautiful and talented neighbor!!! Sounds as tho you, Dave
    and “the girls” are having a grand time. We miss you and “the Court” is sort of dull.

    George did have a B-Day yesterday and now he is older than dirt!! Bonnie & Clyde have
    a driveway full of three different ground covers…see what you started!!

    Thanks for the interesting info about you and the trip…Love, Jim


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