Our last full week together with Moritz and Jakob has passed in an eye blink and we have started to prepare for the time after their departure. The cargo hitch and mosquito sreenhouse are listed on Craigslist and are due to be picked up by potential buyers during our time in Portland (the amount of interest was quite stunning!). We have started the process of going through all cabinets to declutter the supplies and equipment that we have once again amassed over the last two months. We are sad to see our roomies go, however, also excited about two weeks of space and privacy until Gabriel is due to join us in San Francisco.
Our time in the north has come to an end and while the incredible beauty of the Alaskan wilderness is hard to describe with mere words we are glad that we have now started our journey south. We are looking forward to warm temperatures and the beautiful absence of mosquito infestated woods. We are looking forward to paved roads and the conveniences of civilization.
It’s half time and I can’t believe it. All the things that we have already been blessed to experience and it’s another three and a half months until we board our plane home. Simply mind blowing!
We took a moment to reflect on our top three parks that we have thus far been allowed to visit:
- Badlands National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Jasper National Park (Mieke), Tombstone Territorial Park (Tim)
And the intense part of our journey is still ahead! We have visited 13 National Parks this far, with 20 still ahead of us. Unfortunately, our request to extend our visas is still pending so that there still is a possibility that we will need to cut our trip short.
While the Alaska Highway was a disapppontment, the Dempster Highway is simply incredible! Turning north shortly before Dawson City, the Dempster Highway takes you 800 km along a gravel road all the way to the Beaufort Sea. We made it as far as Tombstone Territorial Park, 71 km into the journey, however, have vouched that we will return to make it the full distance. The plan is to fly into Whitehorse (without the boys) for a two week explorative trip, rent a jeep or motorcycles and off we go! While it’s going to be at least another two years before we can attempt the trip, please feel free to comment on this blog post in case you are interested in joining the madness or babysit the boys.
I will keep this entry very short. We spent the last week driving 1.941 kilometres, mostly through pouring rain and fog. For me personally the Alaska Highway has thus far been an utter disappointment. It’s true that we have practically seen every animal imaginable – even a wolverine and a (very wet and unhappy looking) wolf – along the roadside, but the allure that the highway is exercising on so many has simply been lost on me. I want to experience the wilderness in person and not through a windshield. Unfortunately, the Alaska Highway offers little opportunity to explore on foot. I assume it’s a right of passage for anyone that wants to conquer Alaska, however, would I have the choice, I would try to circumvent the ordeal the next time around.
David Cassidy once sang that “saying goodbye ain’t easy.” Man, was he right! This morning we sent Manuel on his way back to Berlin and Alex perfectly summarized our sentiment at dinner when he continuously asked for “Manu? Manu?”. I assume it’s going to be a couple of days until this feeling of missing an essential part of our group will disappear.
It’s official. Mieke and I once again have room mates that aren’t our children: Moritz and Manuel! They are loud, they smell, they snore, they are mean and they mess up our carefully crafted routines, but we simply love having them around! I was lucky to marry my best friend and while there is no one else I would rather sail to the end of the world with, it’s nice to have company to provide additional intellectual input on route to the horizon. Sadly, a dear friend of ours will not join us on our quest – a circumstance that has rather upset my dear wife. Never make promises unless you itend to keep them, otherwise they will come haunting you… Jakob on the other hand has now confirmed his flights, while my parents have already safely arrived in Calagary and are due to join us at the end of the week. We are looking forward to having them all!
Mieke and I are debating whether we want to keep Gonki even after returning to Berlin in October. The damn camper has become like a second beloved home to us and despite already being on the road for more than two months, we can totally imagine ourselves going on camping trips during summer vacations to come. Keeping Gonki would mean to store the camper at an RV storage facility here in the US.
We are excited! Why? It’s only another three weeks until our little family road trip will grow into a full-grown travel caravan! Who will be joining?
- Manuel (08.06 – 21.06) – Car + Tent
- Moritz (08.06 – 28.07) – Couch
- Claus + Karola (15.06 – 15.07) – RV
- Gabriel + Beate (16.06 – 01.07) – Car + Tent
- Jakob (29.06 – 28.07) – Couch
- Scott + Sebastian (28.07 – 19.08) – Couch [not confirmed]
- Susanne (28.08 – 03.09) – Couch
Week ten and Mieke and I feel back in 2009. We have arrived at our first great National Park of the west: the Badlands NP. Once upon a time, we set out on a four-week road trip to the great National Parks of the west (Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, Joshua Tree) together with three of our best friends: Fanny, Lara and Moritz. A trip that we will never forget and that has romanticised road tripping the United States in our minds for eternity. It’s been ten weeks, and it finally feels like we are really getting started! Gonki has become a real home to us. Routines have established making our daily lives with two toddlers facing constant excitement manageable. Responsibilities are clearly defined, as we start to drift into a blissful tomorrow. Cut off from civilisation by limited connectivity we don’t have much more to report than our own adventures – or do we?