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June, 2011:

Alaska RT Entry 4: Minneapolis

I just found and booked my hotel all on my phone with an App. How crazy is that?!



Alaska RT Entry 3: Icy Hot

So it looks like we have our first mechanical malfunction of the trip. When we arrived in Chicago the heat started to get to us so we turned on the AC, which lasted for about five minutes. Upon lifting up the hood this is what we found:

After parking the car the ice melted off and the AC will come back on, but it will only last for five minutes, then it freezes again.

Today it reached 95 degrees around Madison, Wisconsin (humidity brought it to 110) and it’s been unbearable while driving. At 8pm we pulled over in the Twin Cities and are gonna take it easy tonight. I wanted to be in Fargo by tonight, but it looks like that’s not gonna happen. I have a 8am appt to bring my car in. Hopefully they can fix this ASAP.


Alaska RT Entry 2: Deep Dish in the Windy City

My first real deep dish pizza, from Gino’s East in Chicago.


Alaska RT Entry 1: Oh What a Night!

It’s 4:22am and Copilot has taken over the wheel. We had a bumpy ride on I-84 and a little traffic on I-81 but we’re now on I-80 and very close to the Ohio border. There’s some intense fog over here slowing us down a bit but it’s not too bad.

I noticed the GPS locator is showing my latest location but not my path. That may be something I can fix when I get WIFI in Fargo ND.


And We’re Off!

Necessities for a Road Trip

Cleared for Takeoff (An Overview)

This is it, the last post before takeoff. I’d like to take a moment just to give everyone a brief overview of the trip and what my plans are.


I’ll be leaving tonight, June 29th, at 10pm from New York. My goal is drive straight through Chicago IL and Fargo ND to Edmonton, Canada, as quickly as possible. After Copilot maxes out her credit cards at the Edmonton Mall (the largest mall in North America) we will begin the more “scenic” journey through the Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska. If all goes well, we’ll be visiting a mining town, driving along “Top of the World Highway”, visiting the North Pole, whitewater rafting, and bathing in hot springs.

From Fairbanks I may, although not likely, drive into the Arctic Circle to Prudhoe Bay. If I do, once I return to Fairbanks I’ll head to Denali National Park for a flight-seeing tour of Mount McKinley and a glacier landing. From there we’ll hit up Anchorage and then hop on a ferry (with our vehicle) down the Canadian coast to Prince Rupert. From there we will drive to Jasper and Banff National parks for some kayaking, and then head down into the States through Montana.

Entering by Glacier National Park, we’ll continue down to Yellowstone for the sites. From there we will head to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands, and then the most direct route back to New York.


I hope to be posting at least once a day. Some may be longer posts detailing what we did for the day, others a quick picture of something exciting we just did or witnessed.


I’ve created a page (link here and on the right-side menu of every page during the trip) where you can view a Google Map of our latest location. The map should show a red dot where we were last logged, and a blue line showing a very rough path of our route. Basically every time I open my “GPS Tracker” on my phone, it will log our location, altitude, and speed. I hope to open this once every hour. (Should you see the red dot in the same location for more than 24 hours, that probably means I’m in trouble! ;) )

I guess that’s about it… I can’t believe this day has finally come.

Google Maps Bug

I’ve noticed recently that Google has had issues with border crossings. So for anyone who is going back and reading older posts with interactive Google Maps embedded in them, the borders are all messed up like this:

It should look more like this:

Entries on the Trip

Tomorrow’s the big day. In terms of postings, here is my plan:


Wednesday night I will make a link go live titled “Live GPS Location” (or something like that). The page will have a Google Map with the location that Copilot and I are at. It should show one dot with our current location, and a line showing our path. Something like this:

The way this location service works is that whenever I open an App called “Instamapper” on my phone, it will relay my current location to the map for you all to see. I’ll try and open this App every hour, but if I don’t have 3G, there will be no update. For the most part, I should have pretty decent coverage everywhere except the Yukon.


The way I’ll be labeling posts is by day, then entry number, then title (most likely the location). It should make it easier for people to figure out where they left off reading, and for future readers down the road to as well.



Two Days, Twelve Hours


Well, this is it. Two days and twelve hours to go. I feel pretty good about everything. I’m almost done packing, just a handful of odds and ends to gather. I still need to find my favorite atlas. I don’t like using a GPS on cross country trips. To me it takes away from the excitement and adventure of it all. I feel like I’m part of Lewis and Clark’s expedition to explore the land, with a basic map in hand and charting out for new territory. Plus, by only using a map you have to pay attention to your terrain (enjoying the scenic beauty) and mileage between destinations (learning geography). I’ll bring the GPS just in case, but hope not to use it.

The only things left on my agenda are:

- Find Atlas
- Check flight-seeing times out of Denali
- Change AT&T plan
- Pick up spare tire
- Pack clothes, swimsuit, and bug spray
- Pack license plate (for Signpost Forest)
- Print travel documents
- Re-sync iPod

Luckily I got my old 60GB iPod Photo working, so I can use that for music and spare my iPhone battery. I don’t like charging my iPhone in the car anyway because those chargers use Rapid Fire Charging which isn’t good for lithium batteries.


Last night I checked the weather again. Miraculously Chicago, Fargo, Saskatoon, and Edmonton all cleared up with a sunny forecast. The rain seems to have been pulled forward or pushed back a day, which sounds great to me. I’m still nervous, and the weather in the Yukon and Alaska still look dreary and wet. Of course that area matters most to me for several reasons: Photography, Outdoor Activities, and Driving Safety. I guess only time will tell…