ES has been asking me for days where to register for the SAT since we are essentially going to be living on the road in a just a few short weeks.  Finally sensing her frustration Rick and I just looked at each other and said Anchorage.  Put down Anchorage.  So there is that.  We have something definite in our future.  We will be in Anchorage, Alaska for the SAT at the end of September. 

Now the next question is how do we get there.

I really want to drive.  I want to camp.  I want to roast marshmallows under the northern lights.  I want to eat moose steaks.  I’m not sure why I feel that way.  Probably stems from binge watching The Last Alaskans. (great show btw—I highly recommend it)  Truth be told I am not very outdoorsy.  While I do enjoy a good hike I am a light sleeper and very particular about my mattress. I hate bugs.  I get cold really easily and that makes me cranky.  But the allure of a grand adventure and the call of experiences outside my comfort zone really surpasses any reservations I have.  My daughters just roll their eyes at Rick and I every time we come up with a crazy plan like this and say, “You two would totally have dragged us on the Oregon Trail if we had lived back then.”  They are probably right.

Traveling the Alaska highway has long been a dream of mine.  The plan would be to head west and cross the border probably near Glacier National Park in Montana and then head up to Dawson Creek where the highway begins.  We also are thinking about going directly north and up into Canada by Niagara falls where we will head to the Trans Canadian highway towards Winnipeg.  Regardless of the route we actually go there is something so alluring about the wide open expanses of natural wonder that surround the Alaska highway that heads through some of the most remote wilderness on earth.  I love animals—moose, bear, caribou.  I think Yukon Territory and Alaska are really the north American version of an African safari—just as exotic, but a lot closer to home.  And cold.    

One other caveat is that we only have an electric car.  Living in DC that’s pretty much all we need to get around, but heading to Alaska in a car that needs to be charged every 200 miles is no small logistical problem.  Luckily this is what I do as a travel advisor and I have a route figured out.  It’s slow going though because we will have to use RV hook ups instead of super chargers every couple hours between Edmonton and Fairbanks and that takes time. A lot of time. This is where the camping comes in since sitting in the car for 10 hours while it charges seems like a waste unless you are sleeping.  In a tent.  With grizzly bears.  So I am thinking we are crazy, but I do love a good adventure so I still want to do it.    Rick is a bit more concerned about it.  Especially if the car breaks or freezes or something happens because it’s not like you can just bring it to a mechanic and tell them to fix the battery.  He has some image of us sitting stopped dead on the side of the road a million miles from the nearest town with no cell reception and grizzly bears beating on the windows.  Somehow if I think about it I can see it that way too. 

The Canadian border is also still closed too and even if we do somehow manage to get into Canada the Yukon Territory also has it’s own travel restrictions.  The likelihood of both of these being lifted by August is questionable at best.  Now I have read that if you are transiting through to Alaska they will let you go.  Especially if you are moving.  Or if you are traveling for work.  And the plan right now is to rent something there because in addition to camping and eating moose steaks I really want to spend the winter in Alaska.  Mostly just to see.  The reality of the cold and dark probably sounds a whole lot more romantic than it is, but I’d like to spend the year there.  It’d give us plenty of time to become Alaksa experts for Christopher Travel.  We’d be able to meet with all sorts of tour operators and do hotel site visits.   And I guess that is technically moving there since we won’t have any other home right?  And it’s also technically for work because the whole original purpose of this journey was to develop our domestic supplier relationships?  Plus ES is now registered to take the SAT there  so they should let us cross right?  Do you think the Canadian Border Patrol cares where my daughter is taking her SAT? 

These are the questions that keep me up at night. 

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About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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