Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Alaska Trip

Well, in the morning we will finally cross the Canadian border into Alberta.  We really feel like this trip is underway now.

We have made a few changes in our plans and as a result we are about a week ahead of our original schedule.  Tuesday, when we checked the road conditions for Glacier National Park, most of the roads were still closed.  Glacier had been the planned next stop, but with only 5.5 miles of road open on the East side, we didn’t see the point in going over there.

Our original intent had been to cross into Canada at Waterton Lakes National Park which adjoins Glacier.  But the road we would use is still closed as is the border crossing.  With most of the roads in Glacier closed and all the roads in Waterton closed, we’re going to bypass that stop.

We’ll drive right up I-15 to the border and save a week and several gallons of gasoline.  It’s not a big disappointment to miss these parks.  We’ve been to Glacier before and will go again some day.  When we do, we can visit Waterton at that time.  We have to stay focused here; Alaska is the goal.  Still, it’s hard to pass up such magnificent places.

Speaking of savings, let me just say a few words about the budget for this trip.  From the beginning of the planning stages, we have known this trip would be expensive.  Everything is more expensive in Canada and Alaska anyway, but add to that the ever increasing cost of fuel and you have yourself an expensive endeavor.

The cost of gas has already exceeded our early estimates--the estimates we used to plan the budget.  With that realization hitting home as well as the unexpected expense of my emergency room visit, we are now, more than ever, determined to pinch our pennies.  So for this trip you’ll see us boondocking as often as possible.  All the money saved on campground fees goes right into the gas tank.

We fully expect to be broke in Tok on the way out of Alaska; we may even be broke in Tok on the way into Alaska.  Today gasoline is selling for $5.50 a US gallon in Whitehorse, Yukon.  Next year we may have to park this rig under a bridge somewhere or workcamp, but that’s all right.  We’re going to Alaska anyway and we’re gonna have fun.

Tonight we’re parked at a rest area on I-15 north of Great Falls.  Thank you, Montana, for allowing overnight parking in rest areas.  This will give us a shorter drive in the morning so we can while away the hours waiting our turn with the border agent.  Then we’ll drive to Lethbridge, the first major town we come to in Alberta, for our first night in Canada.

Since we didn’t have far to go today, we weren’t in a hurry to leave this morning.  Wanted to stay plugged into that electric post for as long as possible.  We finally pulled out about 10, but then we had several tanks to either fill or empty.  Our first stop was behind the RV Park office to fill up with fresh water.  Then over to the dump station to empty the waste water tanks.

We really didn’t need propane, but wanted to fill that tank as well before leaving the US.  The campground didn’t have propane so off we went down to Dave’s Exxon.  While we were there we filled up the gas tank.  All that filling and emptying took about an hour after which we went back to the RV park to hitch up the car.  I think we finally pulled onto I-15 about 11:30.  First rest area we came to we stopped for lunch.

FUEL REPORT:  This morning’s fill-up was at an Exxon.  We paid $3.74.9 for regular gasoline; they were charging $4.15.9 for diesel.

As for road conditions, I-15 was once again a pleasure to drive on.  We passed through only one area of construction.  It was very short, but we did have to share the southbound lanes as both northbound lanes were closed.

CRITTER COUNT:  Twenty plus pronghorn antelope and three elk or mule deer.  They were too far away to tell for sure.

As I mentioned before, we did not upgrade our MiFi card to include Canada so will be dependent on local WiFi.  I’ll do my best to post daily. We’ll see how it goes.

That’s it for tonight.  Thanks for tagging along.

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