Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yellowknife, Third Post

Preparations continue. Time is contracting.

This time next week I will awaken Tyler, my travelling companion, to begin our journey. Besides my wife Marsha, I have never travelled any appreciable distance with anyone along for the ride. (Well, there was my first wife but that was a lifetime ago.) This will be a new and different trip. Tyler is in charge of documenting the trip with text and pictures to be posted here. He has a Blackberry and a laptop so we should be able to provide regular updates about the places, people, and things we encounter along the way.

With the recent escalation of fuel prices I gave serious consideration to abandoning the trip. It is, after all, a useless trip to a place where I have no family, no business interests, no reason to visit other than my selfish desire to do something most people will never.

Marsha had to adjust the family budget to accommodate me. I estimated fuel cost for the trip at $5/gal. Assuming the 245 returns 24MPG for the 6000 miles, I will generate a fuel bill of $1250 in just three weeks on the road. We won't be impoverished by the expenditures but some things could have been done at home that will now have to wait awhile. Make that a long while. If I spent the money on airfare I could visit London or Dublin or Gothenburg.

Those places will have to wait. Besides, they are not on my list of places to visit before I die. Yellowknife is. As are New Zeland, New Foundland during the Targa event (September), and Guanajuato Mexico. (BTW, I had a "bucket list" long before the movie was ever even an idea. ;-)

Enough whining about expense. On with the trip...

Itinerary: There isn't one. Well, there is a general plan. Depart Jacksonville early Tuesday, June 3rd. Arrive Calgary sometime after church hours on the following Sunday. The miles between those two places should offer vistas and life experiences worth having. The general goal right now is to depart Alberta Monday morning to make Yellowknife by Wednesday night. That is three days to cover more than a thousand miles (by my planned mountain route) so there won't be much in the way of touristy things on the "to do" list. Departure from Yellowknife will most likely be sometime on Saturday, maybe Sunday. After a quick stop again in Calgary to pickup Volvo parts, the next destination is the VCOA MidSommar Festival in Lindsborg, KS, on the weekend of June 21 & 22. We will leave there Sunday afternoon, putting down a couple of hundred miles before we bed down for the night. We should be back in Jacksonville late on the 23rd. That's the outline. The particulars of the trip I will leave to Karma and happenstance.

Lodging: We will camp two nights out of three. My back will not allow me to sleep on the ground for three consecutive nights. Plus, having done my share of it, I have no intention whatsoever of sleeping outside during a major storm. If the weather is nasty we will find a building to sleep in.

Free camping is good. The National Forest system is one way to sleep free. You are supposed to check in with the rangers but since we will be staying only long enough to sleep, I am not going to bother to find the ranger stations first.

I have made no reservations. If we end up sleeping in the car, so be it. In all my years and at least a couple million miles of travel I have seldom made reservations. The notable exceptions have been business trips. When I travel for pleasure I prefer the catch-as-catch-can lodging. I also prefer independent, locally owned, establishments over even the best of the chain motels. The local establishments seldom offer wireless internet. Sometimes TV reception is a problem. Linens are usually well worn but clean. I will not stay in a motel if I see vagrants or whores standing about the premises; that is just an invitation for trouble. Such places are seldom found in small towns so I avoid metropolitan areas if at all possible to do so.

Sightseeing: So far, the only places I want to make sure we see are Cadillac Ranch, Taos, Durango, Silverton, Dinosaur National Monument, Yellowstone, and Going to the Sun Highway. On the way to Lindsborg I would like to see Mt. Rushmore. That is the entire list I have. I reckon Tyler has a list too. And, I am sure other things that we "can't miss" will present themselves. I have never been one to stop at tourist traps but I may make an exception for this trip if something looks particularly odd or entertaining.

We are about ready. I have to install an alternator today. I need to get some minor essentials for the trip. I need to air my tent and sleeping bag, and pack. I get off work Monday night and Tyler and I will come to my house for sleep and we will depart early on Tuesday.

Stay tuned. More to come...


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