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…
21 thoughts on “Fabricating Our Future”
Hi Tim and Denise,
We met you at McCormick Camp grounds on the Idaho and Oregon boarder. Jill and I really enjoyed meeting you guys and getting a tour of the Farther. You did such a nice job on building it. Very clean. Being a fabricator I so appreciate your work. We wish we could of spent more time getting to know you guys. Very cool reading about your hippie past! Quite a story. I look forward to your next post. Sadie says hi to Ruby.
Thanks you guys it great meeting you also, If you ever decide to travel to AK you now know where we live drop by.
Hi guys!! 😃 We loved catching up with you on your blog! We drive by on our monthly trips to Anchorage and we all wave, “Hi”!! We are excited to get the RV out on the road soon. You have inspired us to blog. 👍 We are relocating to Anchorage in April. The adventures continue! Hugs!
Hi Tim Hi Denise
Allen Cornelison introduced Rebecca and myself to your blog. We left Bend, Oregon in August of 2017 and now reside on a lovely patch of land in Appleton, Maine. We enjoyed a visit from Allen and Vicki this last October and I was discussing with Allen my own interest in exploring Labrador now that it’s in our neighborhood. It’s suppose to be reminiscent of Alaska, BC and the Alcan back in the 60s. And if you and Denise should consider it, you could come and spend some time exploring our neighborhood in Maine as well.
Hi Bill and Rebecca, Labrador has been on our wish list for quite some time now, we just have to leave Alaska early enough in the fall to miss winter there. Exploring your neighborhood would be a blast you have now re-energized us to head east again.
Great! Glad for the connection. Bill
Awesome shop Tim. Really looking forward to the mechanical blog.
Sorry we missed you on your way through Tok. We had hoped to see you as you traveled back, but it is good to see that “Farther” is under construction. Hope you, Denise, Tuks, and Lulu have a wonderful winter….and we look forward to seeing the construction.
Hi Kay Lynn, I am sorry I missed you guys too but I drove from Dawson Creek to Fairbanks in a 37 hour marathon and passed through Tok in an hour that was not suitable for visiting you guys. Hope you and David and your pups are well and enjoying the winter, its going to be a very busy winter here but should that should make it pass quickly. Keep you posted!
Look forward to following along as you do the build and can’t wait to see some of the remote places you’ll be venturing to once she’s complete.
Not sure where my previous comment went, but here it is again. We are looking forward to watching the construction of your new “home”. How exciting. Keep the posts coming!
Thanks you guys yes it is an exciting time and will a big challenge but should be fun.
Wow…the Zephyr is but a fine memory. We fill forever remember how we lost our “Tin Cup” virginity around that dining booth. We’ll miss seeing the Zeph coming down the road with the Caboose in tow. Now FARTHER will be one bad ass, seek and conquer exploration machine. You indeed have your capable hands cut out for a massive transformation…you have done a lot of heavy stuff already. We look forward to seeing the progress over the winter. And you know where you can take a break from that cabin fever. You are always welcome at our Central Coast Hidey Hole.
Thanks for the kind words, Yes it was hard seeing the Zefyr go but the memories will always be with us especially our days and nights camping with you guys. I will be very focused this winter as the Farther takes shape but Denise will be headed south at some point. Thanks for offer to visit, hope all is going as smoothly as possible in your worlds.
Looking forward to next months episode already. It has finally cooled down to normal here in Yuma. Kind of envy you in your project but will just have to suffer thru the winter waiting and wondering to see what has taken place in your shop!! Have fun, Ron
I think you made the right choice Ron winter so far has been warn with some freezing rain, Yuma sounds great. It will be busy winter here but what better way to stay busy and make it go faster.
Enjoy the desert my friend!
Hello cousin. How do you know how to build this vehicle? It’s quite an undertaking. Do you have any help?
From a longtime neighbor’s perspective, Tim is a genius. He really is and will build a remarkable vehicle fully capable of driving from here to the tip of South America, road or no road. We who have watched him over the years have always been amazed by his abilities.
WOW! Thanks Tom I think the genius status is maybe a little out of my reach but I really appreciate your abilities to wax poetically. Thanks for stopping by, enjoy the Eagles!
Hi Mary Anne, After spending the lat 40 years constructing things as a mechanic, driller, heavy equipment operator and home builder its just another project to me. I have friends that have been helping me with the heavy lifting and Denise is keeping me fueled with a very hearty fare otherwise its just me. The hard parts getting the design straight in my head. Enjoy!
We are really looking forward to watching you create your new home. How exciting. Keep posting updates!