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John and Mandi

us --> van --> overland
1,997 days a wanderin'

HD Off

Bouncy Wheel On, Bouncy Wheel Off

Jul 26, 2015
by John

The 3,000 miles we’ve put on the van since leaving Jasper two weeks ago has caught up to us. Nothing horrible, just that the inevitable failure of our front passenger shock is imminent. Locating a replacement has been almost impossible, Anchorage appears to be the clear winner for parts acquisition, so we’ve limped our way here from Tok. We should have been a little more proactive in getting a new one. Contrarily, wanting to shake living office jargon, we were a bit lackadaisical.

While we were sporadically bouncing along the Glenn Highway we had been discussing what it is we really want to experience in Alaska. The sheer size and lack of extensive roads makes it a hard orange to peel. Epic landscapes and wildlife, probably everyone’s answer, unequivocally ours too. We’ve experienced both, not on par with National Geographic but several intimate accidental encounters. With all of this wonder, why are we both a little underwhelmed?

The van has been telling us the answer, we’ve been just a bit too dense to hear it. The mileage we have driven in such a short amount of time is taxing, really taxing for us. We’ve spent so much time in the cockpit we’ve grown weary of a wonderful place. Needing to drive to Anchorage for a shock that will take an unknown amount of time to receive is exactly what we need, to pause just for a bit. We would prefer to be in the wilderness instead of a city, is that really an issue?

Dempster Highway, Canada

She bad, so keep steppin fool

Just like the failing shock, we hit bumps that rattle us a bit, then hope the next levels it out. Sort of a stupendously stupid way to go about things. Sometimes purposely driving into the bumps expecting a smoother ride after, idiots on parade… even though it does work occasionally. The drive from Tok to Anchorage is easily done in about 5 hours, we’ve taken three days. There is no rush to get to a shop that doesn’t open again until Monday, why over stress an already stressed situation. Our new shock might arrive by Wednesday, it’s completely out of our control.

Do we feel we’ve rushed through some possibly wonderful places? Absolutely not. We’ve driven most of the Alaska, Klondike, Dempster, Top of the World, Taylor, and Glenn Highways pulling over for photos, meals, and roadside camping. We’ve visited small towns and decent sized cities along the way. We spent a rainy night all alone at a roadside watershed (McDonald Creek - Creek 115), soaked in the best hot spring so far at Liard, toured a sternwheeler in Dawson City, spent four wondrous days and nights along the Dempster, had hand churned ice cream in Eagle, sent some mail in Chicken and bounced along the Glenn Highway. The views have been stunning and the wildlife and people unforgettable. An experience we had to have to understand more about who we are. Our days end early and our starts are late. We pour more like honey than like water.

The reality is the Yukon and Alaska are huge, really freaking huge. We will have to mix it up a bit to experience our type of trip. Instead of Anchorage, we were supposed to be driving to Fairbanks, as if there is some type of requirement. All along we’ve said and felt we will probably never drive here again, WTF! We aren’t gifted with the talents of clairvoyance so who knows why we have limited our future as such. Maybe we will be back again, maybe not, it doesn’t matter as we will see and experience what we are willing while we are here now. To purposely mix up a movie quote: “It’s our time, up here.”

Whitehorse, YT, Canada

Another gorgeous lake view... yawn

McDonald Creek, BC, Canada

It was a real watershed moment, for shizznizzle

Muncho Lake, BC, Canada

The sky is missing some bullshit inspirational quote

Dempster Highway, Canada

Love birds!

Dempster Highway, Canada

None shall pass!

Dempster Highway, Canada

The hills are alive but we don't hear any freaking music

Dempster Highway, Canada

Those humps, those humps. We love those rocky lumps.

Dempster Highway, Canada

Latest rocker panel craze, Arctic brown

Top of the World Highway, YT, Canada

Top o' the world to ya

Top of the World Highway, YT, Canada

Because you know she's all about that bass

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, AK, USA

You must return here with a shrubbery or else you will never pass through this wood alive

Matanuska Glacier, AK, USA

Glacial speed, that of which automotive parts are aquired


Say what? (6)
Claude-Alain
Jul 28, 2015 at 01:15 AM
Nice to see that your journey leads you to these North places I love so! Enjoy the peace of the far North :-)
Jul 29, 2015 at 08:47 PM
Thanks Claude-Alain. It is very peaceful when we are off in the wilderness! We are anxious to get the van sorted and to get back out into the wild. It's funny how we're just not into city life right now.
the more we explore
Jul 31, 2015 at 10:49 AM
I just stumbled on your adventures from ujoint's website. I'll be watching closely. It looks like a fantastic journey. We'll be living in an RV full time starting in a few months, and we can't wait.
Aug 3, 2015 at 07:30 PM
If you keep a blog be sure to send it to us! Hopefully we'll run into each other on the road.
Rick
Jul 31, 2015 at 09:45 PM
Just found your page, too bad you arent in anchorage anymore would have loved to help out. All you expedition van people have inspired me to build my own
Aug 3, 2015 at 07:32 PM
Hey Rick,

We had to skip Fairbanks and Denali so we'll be driving through Anchorage again. We could always grab a cup of coffee if you have any questions.
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