Planning and Preparation for the Camping Trip to Alaska


The Travelers

Alan and Diane Darge
Best friends for decades Gregg and Gale

Equipment and stuff we took with us

At least one Bible.
One old 2002 Ford F150 truck with new valves, timing chain, water pump, idler pulleys, battery, tires.
One 15ft long, 42-year old 1973 Lark travel trailer with new tires and several new modifications.
Two new spare trailer tires and rims. The rumors we hear claim the roads are crap and destroy tires.
Of course, I took a 2-gallon gas can One old 1994 Coachman (Chevy) motorhome.
One complete spare tire for the motorhome and a spare rubber-only tire
Two 120VAC generators with gas cans and oil.
Tools galore including more LED lights than you can shake a stick at. If something breaks, we should be able to repair it.
For Diane's office: One HP desktop computer, two monitors, laser printer, APC UPS unit, VOIP telephone, papers, etc.
Four notebook computers, two tablet computers, smartphones, Verizon JetPack hotspot to get us onto the internet, anywhere in the U.S.
Several external hard disc drives and a boat load of cables and AC adapters to connect everything together and keep it all charged up.
Clean underwear and socks.

How we planned this trip

Whose idea was it anyway? (Alan thinks it was the devil.)
It all started in November 2014 when Diane began the months and months of googling and building a one-hundred-plus page itinerary. We settled for 500+ points of interest on the way to Alaska and back home to be completed in about 90 days. At this point, we needed a good map program. Okay, we have Microsoft Streets and Trips 2011 that I would like to upgrade so that it would run on my new Windows 8 notebook. Wishfull thinking. Microsoft dumped Streets and Trips and there ain't no way it's gonna run on a Windows 8 computer. Research is required here.

Hello, Google. After a lot of investigation, I purchased DeLorme Street Atlas 2015 USA that was bundled with a GPS that plugs into a USB port. Cool! Fifty bucks went to Amazon and the unit was here in two days. What a cool program. Very complicated and a real stinker to learn how to program it. But, after hours and hours and hours of fooling around, we were mapped and ready to go. It took several get-togethers to coordinate our efforts into this one map program with who knows how many attached files. We knew the route wasn't perfect and we could modify it as we went. There was a lot of coffee involved.

Just trying to hit the road on time...

We've delayed the trip due to health issues with Diane's Dad and Gale. Then, just when we thought we were good to go, Darge's truck had issues. The week before this trip was extremely frustrating. The truck developed some serious problems during our Florida trip in early May (we just loved Disney World and had a great camping trip with our granddaughter, Josslyn and met Jim, Andrea, John and Erin there). The truck problems were actually rooted last year with a cracked throttle body causing a minor vacuum leak that the truck's computer managed to mask except for a couple of error codes. The engine actually ran just fine. The Florida trip caused a bad coil pack that melted cylinder 3's spark plug and then escalated to some burnt valves which was diagnosed after we returned home. There was no compression on cylinder 3 and very low compression on cylinder 8 which forced me to get a complete valve job. It was cheaper than buying a new truck.

Zillions of repair dollars later and we are off to Alaska with 500 plus planned stops along the way. We're safely in God's hands and will be traveling in God's time and praise Him for allowing us this wonderful summer excursion.

So here we go... Alaska or Bust! (probably shouldn't say bust)