Again, it has been awhile since we last posted and yes, we are spending this winter in Alaska. Why have we decide to do this?
If you have been reading our past posts, read FARTHER, you would know that our future travel goals have evolved to include finding destinations that require a high clearance overland type vehicle with extended stay capabilities.
There are now over a million people living full time in motorhomes. Read this recent article in the Washington Post. Spending most of our lives living in remote Alaska has effected us when it comes to having to camp near others.
Living the Alaskan lifestyle usually takes a certain kind of individual, one who is willing to endure an increased level of hardship and typically forgo the average American way of living. After living this way for 40 years It doesn’t make us any better, it just makes us different.
Our Current Travel Goals:
One of our primary reasons to construct a more capable vehicle is the desire to find and explore remote places, places where the normal RV can’t get to.
Recently we sold our beloved Zephyr motorhome to some very nice folks in Fairbanks and we are now comfortably based at our wonderful home in Denali Park.
After a crazy summer and fall of flying and driving many thousands of miles around the country searching for just the right vehicle we finally decided on a suitable chassis.
We eventually locate a 2004 International 7300 4×4 chassis (formally a bucket/boom truck) in Glendive Montana, of all places. It is currently housed inside our heated shop in Denali and the transformation into an overland vehicle has already begun.
After the last 5 years of traveling around America and Canada it has become clear to us that Alaskan summers are just what we are looking for. We can find peace and quiet, lots of room to roam, very few people and enough sunlight to grow almost anything.
During the summer months we have no desire to travel south to partake in the oppressive heat, overcrowded parks, unhealthy air and exorbitant prices.
The Alaskan Winter:
Some people consider spending the winter in Alaska a hardship but in reality it can be very enjoyable if one is prepared.
Hanging with friends and enjoying the holidays in this peaceful winter setting is certainly a highlight. There is nothing quite like spending New Year’s Eve shooting fireworks into the aurora at -40.
The length of the winter can be the hard part, cabin fever is sometimes a problem in January and February.
But if one is willingly to adjust to a slower paced daily routine, find a project to keep busy, increase your intake of vitamin D, get some exercise each day outside and travel to a warm climate destination for a couple of weeks, the winter can pass in no time.
This will be my first winter spent in Alaska when I have not worked. Instead of waking at 5:00 each morning to dodge caribou on a dark highway on my way to work, I now spend the mornings drinking coffee and watching the winter sun barely rise above the southern range.
Big decisions for the day might include what I want to do and when I want to do it. But of course this winter will be a little different as I will be mostly dedicated to the construction of the FARTHER.
To be very honest, with America’s current political and social divisiveness and the possibility of violent activism looking more and more likely, it is going to be nice to take a break from the road in a place where our primary concern is just staying warm.
Construct a camper (the Habitation Module) on the back of our new chassis within the next 10 months. The module will include everything a normal motorhome would have while incorporating all the best things we have learned over the many years of living in an assortment of different vehicles. More on the design later.
Our schedule is tight but doable. We plan to depart Alaska next fall probably in late September and drive south. Even if the project is not completed and we are living in a just a camper shell we will be back on the road.
For the next few months this blog will probably evolve into more of a construction update and for those who are mechanically inclined it should provide a look at our construction process and reasoning.
I will also continue to document the winter and the other things that we are doing.
For those of you who are used to the normal “Gone With the Dogs” travelogue with stunning photos of cool places, we apologize, believe me we will be missing that part also.
Ultimately the construction of this vehicle will enable us to take you to new distant and remote locations, it will be worth the wait.
I just returned from Fairbanks with a 1000 pounds of steel tubing and will begin welding the base frame for the habitation unit together this next week.
Recently I have been prepping the end of the frame by removing all unwanted metal from the days when the truck was used to maintain power lines.
I have already begun reconfiguring the end of the frame by removing a massive pintel hitch that was used to tow heavy equipment trailers and installing a 3″ receiver for any of our future towing needs.
Additionally I am constructing a 1/2″ thick skid plate to reduce the risk of damage to the end of the frame while traversing irregular terrain.
Unfortunately I will have no time to create videos with stunning overhead aerial drone footage as the subject matter will not be conducive to filming. I will really miss this part of the blog but in just a few months we will be back on the road again.
So stay with us through this winter’s project and hopefully you will see us transform a pile of steel and wood into the FARTHER.
Keep you posted…