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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wrapping up Alaska 2011

I guess I could say our Alaska road trip was in the planning for 44 years. While at Emporia State in the late 60's we met a couple from Alaska. They were finishing up masters degrees in education while picking up a pilots license. They were in love with Alaska and saw potential in its future. When Dan graduated with a teaching degree, we sent resumes to the Anchorage school system. For one reason then another, we never made it north.

I can't say we dreamed and thought about this summer's trip all that often over the years. But, we always knew it would happen. Fuel prices tempted us to put the trip off this year.  Thankfully, we still have the big three: health, time and each other. So we loaded up and took off.

We left on July 6th  driving a 2001 Ford ¾ ton diesel pickup with 182,099 miles on the speedometer. On the back of the pickup we carried a 2005 850SC NorthStar popup pickup camper. Obviously, we saw no need to have new equipment.

We returned on August 17th after 39 days. The ending mileage was 192,102. Here is the summary.
We drove 10,002 miles, used 666.725 gallons of fuel, averaging 15.001 miles per gallon and $4.522 per gallon for diesel, for a total of $3015.00. (I converted all of Canada's metric figures to keep it equal.) I guess the reason I found these figures interesting is because I saved $3,000 for the trip but with higher fuel prices, I figured that amount would probably only pay for the fuel. Right on there!

We decided to convert $1,500 to Canadian money just to have the cash available. The rate was $1.06 American for each $1 Canadian. That amount of money paid for all fuel, camping fees and Canadian groceries except for two credit card charged fuel fills. At the border, coming home, we had enough change to buy a bottle of Crown Royal at the duty free shop. (It was a small bottle:)

I did not keep accurate records on other expenditures. However, we roughly figured how many nights we paid for camp spots, restaurant meals and misc expenses and $1,000 would almost cover it. (I don't count groceries because we have to eat at home).

So, bottom line, in this summer's economy, it took close to $4,000 for this trip.

Another expense I am not counting toward the total is the cost of shipping our salmon home. Chip took care of all of that for us and we are paying him by the pound. It cost about around $10.50 per pound. That sounds high, but it is our salmon, the fish we actually caught. So many companies put the fish in bulk processing. I appreciate knowing how they were handled. Frozen wild-caught sockeye salmon in stores cost $6 to $7 a pound so it isn't too bad
Finally, we want to thank all those who looked after our place while we were gone. Family: Marc and Kim. Friends: Tom and Christy, Mark and Brenna, Mark and Kitty and others who kept a watchful eye on who came in and out of the driveway.

Hopefully, this information will encourage others thinking about a similar trip. There are other options, cruises, fly up and rent an RV or car. Still, there wasn't any part of this trip I would leave out. The road trip across Canada is beautiful. So, if you have time, do it all. Or if not, just do as much as you can. It's worth every cent you will spend.

Thank you Carol Lindahl for making this map for us.  Amazing!


  1. I finally got into the KSU travel stuff and will email you two of the trips I found. They have just a cruise and also a land/cruise deal, plus found a majestic rockies trip that include Canada. Honestly, you put all of these together and they don't begin to touch what you've experienced. You had 3x or more the amount of time they offer, and considering that they show single rates, you two could probably have spent up to $12,000 total to see everything you did. Plus you had transportation, didn't have to walk everywhere, or pay to be taken there, didn't have to drag luggage between buses, trains, flights....ate more sensibly... the list just goes on and on. I googled Alaska train and travel and the different combinations are mind boggling. Too structured for my liking. You did it the right way in my book. So glad your "dream" came true!! I think mine was my Hawaii trip back in '82 seeing 3 islands and getting to see Don Ho in person. lol You did great and thank you so much for taking time to blog each day and share your adventure. Hugs, Carol

  2. Worth every penny spent and every mile driven. It was a great adventure, and thanks for letting us tag along via cyberspace