Why I Ditched the RV for the Annual AK Road Trip
It’s true, my best friend Biz and I drove 4,000 miles to Alaska in 12 days living out of her Subaru Outback. Chris and I decided to take a summer off from going to Seward, AK (for the first time in 5 years!) to finish the skoolie build. But when Biz told me she was still planning on spending her summer in Alaska and didn’t want to travel up alone, I of course was immediately sold on helping her make the trek in her new car! You might be wondering, ‘What’s the big deal? Don’t you live in an RV and practically travel for a living?” Very true. BUT, this was different. Biz (her real name is Marlee, don’t ask questions) is basically my sister and we’ve been getting into shenanigans since 1993. We’re convinced we could have our own TV show together, but that also probably means we are the only ones who think we’re funny.
Anyways, I have never driven the Alcan ( the long road through Canada to AK) in a car or without Chris for that matter. All 10 times it has been glamping in the RV. With a full kitchen and even a hotspot internet connection. But this time was a little more grungy, and I loved every second of it. And we made it! Living out of the Subaru (only got one speeding ticket!), camping, eating healthy, AND getting our sweat on almost everyday. And it.was.EPIC.
What did we pack?
Shoutout to Biz for doing all the manual labor of setting up/breaking down camp every damn day while I watched on crutches and took pics. She couldn’t have done it without me! These are the essentials we used:
-super basic tent
-3 gallon water jug
-2 dromedary bags for more water (we needed enough water at a time for cooking, brushing teeth, etc.)
-Sleeping bags that should’ve been warmer
-Memory foam mattress topper (sleeping pads maybe would’ve been the better choice, we had some rough nights but overall it worked pretty well)
-Camping silverware, 2 plates, 2 bowls, small cutting board, and 2 glass jars for chia pudding. Obv a necessity.
-Stainless steel coffee mugs for tea and bone broth
-Basic propane stove
-Propane for stove
And of course other basics such as a flashlight, lighters, bear spray, etc.
We put all the kitchen tools in a tub so it was all together, and it made a nice table/counter top for cooking and eating!
Keeping it healthy
Of course our priority this trip (well besides surviving) was to avoid eating typical camp “staples” like packaged raman and ravioli from a can. Yikes. Plus save money by not eating out! Also there is no where to eat in the middle of the Alcan. You CAN eat nutritious food while adventuring!! All you need is the propane stove mentioned above, a couple small pans, a cooler, and easy quick things to whip up. Having a cooler was a non negotiable for us, and it was super easy to get ice everyday/every other day. We packed a couple main seasonings and oil and we were good to go! We got easy veggies (like broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, mushys) that don’t take a lot of prep work (sorry brussel sprouts) and could saute. The key was prepping things for salads! Radish, tomato, cucumbers, onion, carrots, were all cut up and in tubber wares for quick lunches. We also boiled eggs to have for lunch, and cans of tuna (this is my fave brand that is low in mercury) that also spilled on me in the car one day. We had spinach, chicken sausage, Hillary’s patties, and banza pasta to use in dinners. We also ate a lot of avocado toast with bone broth that could easily be heated up real quick! For breakfast it was oatmeal or chia pudding. Chia pudding is my life line and the easiest nutrient packed breakfast ever! We would make them when we got to campsites and let them sit in the cooler overnight.
**Chia pudding recipe:
-1 cup almond milk
-3 heaping tablespoons chia seeds
-nut butter or nuts (this can be added while making it or put on top after!
-optional protein powder and/or Vital Proteins Collagen
shake up in jar! **
Because we knew we’d be sitting in the car all day for miles, we made it a priority to move in someway each morning. Going on a run is easiest no matter where you are (if your ankle isn’t sprained!). But we also brought yoga mats for stretching, body weight conditioning, or just jumping around! Small things like a jump rope and resistance bands are also great for traveling. There were also dance parties to Fleetwood Mac.
The road through Canada to Alaska is like no other, with the most beautiful views I have ever seen! This also means you are in the middle of absolutely nowhere with no phone service for miles and miles. Which is incredible, but as 2 girls safety was important. Considering I can’t run and only have crutches to defend myself, we didn’t want to take any risks. We never felt concerned, but we also were very selective with where we stayed each night. With Chris in the RV, I feel safe pulling over just about anywhere on the side of the road to hang for the night. But because we also wanted to set up camp and not feel concerned, we did a little research prior. We planned to get to a campground every night, and also made sure that these campgrounds weren’t deserted (not an uncommon thing on the Alcan!). We also had bear spray and a pocket knife, you know, just in case.
In case you find yourself driving from Arizona to Alaska with a tent, here is our route and campgrounds:
Tucson→ San Diego area//we stayed with friends this night, but there are definitely a lot of great campgrounds in this area)
San Diego → Santa Cruz area//New Brighton State Beach campground
New Brighton campground → Avenue of the Giants//Burlington campground
Avenue of the Giants→ Florence, Oregon//Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park
Florence OR→ Seattle//stayed with a family friend
Seattle → Cache Creek, British Columbia, Canada//Juniper Beach Provincial Park (favorite campground-a must stop)
Cache Creek→ Prince George, BC, CA// Hartway RV Park
Prince George→ Pink Mountain, BC, CA//Buffalo Inn (no camping nearby that was open, but we still cooked dinner out of the back of the car!)
Pink Mountain→ Liard HotSprings Provincial Park, BC, CA//Liard Hot Springs
Liard→ WhiteHorse, Yukon Territory, CA//Caribou RV
Whitehorse→ Tok, AK→ Anchorage, AK! (this was a long day but worth it)
This trip definitely reminded me to have confidence in myself and my own outdoor knowledge (without Chris there to fix all the things!), and felt pretty empowering. It also helped with my forced goal from my injury of slowing wayyyy down. I embraced chilling the heck out, and not stressing about the little things we can’t control. SO obvious, but something I definitely struggle with! The road has a funny way of teaching you some things you didn’t really expect. It brings out your wild woman. Oh, and reminds you that deep belly laughing, the kind that makes your abs sore, is something that should be happening daily!