First off today, I want to thank all of our veterans for giving us the freedom to enjoy this Independence Day!
Yesterday’s blog post, Alaska Is Not For Us, brought some interesting comments and e-mail. While I was not surprised by the several e-mails from blog readers who told me I was wrong, and that to miss an RV trip to Alaska was a real mistake, I was surprised by the e-mail and blog comments from readers who agreed with me. It seems quite a few people feel the same way.
When I wrote that blog, I knew that a lot of RVers, many of them good friends, would disagree with me. And they had some very good points to make. My dear friend Sharon Del Rosario, who is traveling in Alaska this summer, and whose blog we have been following, had some interesting reflections on my blog post, and her feelings about Alaska, in her own blog post Would You Take You RV To Alaska?
Another friend heard from was Dennis Hill, owner of the RV Driving School. Dennis and his pretty wife Carol have been to Alaska several times, and this summer they are leading an informal caravan of friends, including Sharon, mentioned above. While Dennis is an excellent photographer, he doesn’t claim to be a wordsmith. But I think once you read this e-mail he sent me, which I am pasting in below with his permission, you might disagree with him, because Dennis does an excellent job of explaining that Alaska isn’t just a place, it’s a state of mind. Here are Dennis’ comments, in italics:
Very interesting blog today about Alaska. Internet has not been a problem for us, with or without the Datastorm (two way internet dish). Maybe a little inconsistent a few times, but that was due to me usually not wanting to walk/drive to the campground’s WiFi area if I could not get out with my Datastorm.
Yes, there is wildlife in all states. They just a little more abundant up here, in almost all of Alaska, not just certain areas. We have seen moose and bear quite often, and sometimes a little too close for comfort. True, you can do that in the lower 48, but not as much as up here, and just about on a daily basis.
Not including Anchorage or Fairbanks, and maybe Wasilla, these little towns (and there are many), are mostly throwbacks to the pioneer days, both in appearance and the peoples’ attitudes. This is more the norm than the few. A Virginia couple pulling about a 30′ Airstream got stuck on to a guardrail coming into this park this morning. Alaskans were first to rush out and make sure everything was all right, and then helped him get his RV off the side of the guard rail. Who watched? RV vacationers in the campground from many different states. I was kind of surprised, to be honest with you. These Alaskans remind me a lot of Escapees, to tell you the truth. Can you imagine an entire state of Escapees (except Anchorage and Fairbanks)?
Boondocking or a campground with hookups – we have done a lot of both, more than some of the others in our little group. No big deal, and each has its advantages, as you know. You know what freedom of movement means to us fulltimers. If someone doesn’t like getting a little dirty, or wants a supermarket or WalMart, or fast food or chain restaurants on every corner, don’t make the trip. If people come up here expecting to get good deals on "stuff" – don’t come. If people expect it to be easy and that everything will go right – don’t come. If people want to feel like they are living part of the pioneer history, and see it being lived everyday, just about – then come.
YES, it is expensive. Fuel, camping, food, tourist things, in that order. All can be cut back except fuel.
Roads – there is less construction and bad roads in the 6,000 mile trip than on any 6,000 miles in the Lower 48, hands down. The problem is people and their driving habits, usually speed, and I don’t feel a need to go into any of that.
An Alaska trip seems to take a another step beyond fulltiming, and I just can’t describe it. It’s like trying to describe the Grand Canyon to somebody who hasn’t seen it. It’s that feeling what ever "it" is. We come up to experience "it", not just to visit "it", what ever "it" is. Does that make sense?
This is not meant to be negative to those who wish not come up here. It’s an attempt to explain why people come here, and especially us. Leading this loosey goosey gang of ours up here has really been rewarding. Seeing them get all excited about this or that, and wanting to see and do everything is so neat. They are experiencing "it" also. It’s like a fulltimer answering questions from newbies about what’s it like to fulltime. "Well, it’s …………."
I think between Dennis and Sharon, you can see Alaska from another perspective. And neither viewpoint is right or wrong, because each of us looks at life and the world through our own eyes. As my friend Sharon said so well in her blog, “Alaska isn’t for everyone! And isn’t it great that we’re all entitled to our own opinions, likes and dislikes, preferences and tolerance levels? It’s what makes us unique and interesting, sometimes also different and unusual, just like the places we’re touring!”
Thought For The Day – He who hesitates is probably right.