Alaska Road Trip 2016 Begins in 4 Days
Odometer (Legend Coupe): 543,199
Odometer (Legend Sedan): 150,241
Odometer (ILX): 163,382
It was Saturday, May 6, 2006 when my dad and I departed from Salt Lake City to begin a very long journey. For months, I had researched and planned a nearly 8,000-mile road trip across North America and ending in Fairbanks, Alaska. It took us only 4 days to get there.
A decade has passed, and I’m ready to go back. The Legend, which had 220,000 miles back then and has 543,000 miles now, will sit this one out. I’m taking my 2013 ILX. The pre-work began long ago: I have a recent copy of the “Milepost” trip planner in hand. Milepost is known for being the Bible of the Alcan, with detailed turn-by-turn directions. We relied heavily on the book in ’06 as we were unaided by any sort of GPS or smart phones at that time. This year, we’ll have some help from technology but I still want to keep the navigation somewhat “old school.”
The fun begins this coming Friday, May 20th. Joining me for this adventure will be Jason from Las Cruces who is preparing to take his 2004 Mazda 6. It’s tough (impossible) to know exactly where we’ll be stopping each night because there are so many variables in play. Just a couple of weeks ago a piece of the Alaska Highway was shut down due to wildfires, and one such fire in Alberta necessitated the evacuation of an entire town of 80,000 people. Beyond that hazard, there are the inevitable delays due to road construction this time of year, potential weather uncertainty, and general concern of our health and safety. We don’t want to push our limits on daily distance (even though longer daylight hours up north may tempt us to) so that we can stay alert throughout the trip.
For some time now, I’ve been compiling a to-take list. Here’s an excerpt:
- 3 spare tires. I have a full size 17″ wheel that matches the existing wheels, plus the donut the car came with, plus an extra tire that I saved the last time I had my new set installed.
- 4 walkie talkies. Battery life under constant use is about 1/2 day. So if Jason and I each carry two and charge them at night, we will have constant communication which is critical especially in areas where cell signal is nonexistent.
- 1 GoPro camera, 1 Canon Rebel digital SLR camera, and my iPhone for documentation of the trip.
- 2 iPods (one with about 1,300 songs, and one with over 15,000) plus 3 huge CD cases carrying 64 discs each.
- Milepost Guide Book editions from 2006 and from 2015 with step-by-step, detailed travel helps.
- 2 laptop computers: My personal laptop as well as my work one, so I can check email occasionally as time and Wifi permit. In the 9 business days I’ll be gone, I anticipate almost 2,000 emails coming in.
- My “I drove the Alaska Highway. Both Ways, Dammit!” bumper sticker.
Oh, and a valid passport! When was the last time you took a ROAD TRIP that required one?
This afternoon, the ILX got an oil change at Acura of Tempe with 0W20 oil which should be good to last me for the entire length of the trip without having to have it serviced whilst en route. The last oil change prior to this was in February, about 7,500 miles ago. Maintenance minder and trip meter are now reset at 0.00 miles.
It might not be this clean when I get back.
In an untimely fashion, my credit card was compromised over the weekend so I’m waiting for a new one to arrive (quickly) so I can take it on the trip. I’ve already alerted the credit card company that I’ll be traveling through 7 states and 4 provinces in case my charging activity looks suspicious (because it will). Here’s my most “determined” look to pull this trip off without a hitch.
Couple other news bits:
Anybody already read the article about Victor Sheppard who drove his 2007 Toyota Tundra to a million miles?
Toyota is going to dissect his truck! A shame, I say. Keep it rolling.
Here’s a photo from Saturday morning in Phoenix while I had the Legend sedan out for a spin. “Mr. Lucky’s” has been a landmark along Grand Avenue since 1966 when it was built to be Phoenix’s first casino. That plan didn’t go through, but the place ended up being a nightclub for 40 years. Today it houses a furniture store but that crazy (creepy?) sign out front still catches everyone’s eye on a daily basis.
The twins were put back away for the next few weeks.
I got a kick out of this gas station the other day. “Super Plus 2000: New Gas for the New Millenium.” And “millennium” isn’t even spelled correctly. I wonder if I should tell them that Y2K was 16 years ago.
Spare tires for days!
My friend Michael who flew out to buy his new Vigor recently has been really enjoying it.
That shine though!
And a friend sent me this photo of a neighborhood in Paradise Valley, Arizona where I need to look at real estate.
Until next time! Not sure when or where that’ll be, but I’ll post whenever I can.
EDIT: WordPress just told me this was my 555th post since I started Drive to Five. Gives a whole new meaning to the name, doesn’t it? Drive on.