1. Driving the Alcan (now called the Alaska Hwy) is rough in a car – those of you who’ve done it can attest to that (PK, Bruce, Jack, Joe & Jen, Lanny – in a ’53 Jeep Willie, no less). In an RV it’s like running in low-quarters (or wing-tips for you non-military types) or high heels for the ladies. You know how new running shoes feel like you're running on pillows? Well, this is the opposite...every bump is magnified and the little swales that make for a somewhat pleasant roller-coaster feel in a car cause the shocks to bottom out and feel like the entire undercarriage is going to scrape on the road. And when the swale runs at an angle across the road it causes the four wheels to cross it separately creating a major contortion as the vehicle twists in opposite directions. Plus you get to slam on the brakes frequently prior to hitting a rough spot which reduces your speed and causes the entire RV to crash around you – wonderful for the gas mileage, not to mention a few broken dishes.
2. We are extremely fortunate to live in the US for a number of reasons. For example, the average price for gas in Canada is about $1.30/liter. Now that doesn’t sound too bad, except that there are 3.8L/gallon so you’re actually paying $4.94/gal. We actually paid upwards of $2.00/l in northern British Columbia. Dave, to answer your question that works out to $.85/mile. We had intended to enjoy a leisurely drive across Canada enroute to Alaska and back to WA, but it became a dawn to dusk forced march in order to get back to the good ole USA as quickly as possible. Secondly, phone/internet charges. Being savvy AT&T users, we got the Canada plan which brought the rates down from $.79/min to $.59/min. Those charges start as soon as you initiate the call. They also start as soon as your phone starts ringing on an incoming call. So for dear Mom’s normal hour+ calls to her mom, we only had to pay $35 (saved $12 using the plan!!). Better yet, the internet plan reduced the charges from $10/MB to a meager $1.25/MB. Every time you go to a different page on a website, it takes about 1 MB. So, for a typical period of surfing the internet, the 10 minutes required a download of 15-20 MB runs about $20-25. Like I said, be thankful we’re Americans (and not only for the lower cost of living)!
3. The dream of carelessly cruising around North America without a care in the world isn’t quite accurate. The house back in MI is still there (in the 3 weeks they’ve been in the house, the renters have complained about a broken shower, faulty electrical outlets, screens that don’t slide and brown water – Tim, you want to buy that house back?). The normal mechanical issues associated with driving a combustion engine vehicle are magnified when you put a house on the back of it. Daily monitoring and adjusting fluid levels, tire pressure, air shock dampener, loosening plumbing fixtures, doors and drawers that get loose and don’t work and heating duct work (remember it was 20 degrees this morning). Finally, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up – the pension is great, but after living on a pretty good salary, trying to do the same thing on 50% of that salary is tough – see previous paragraph.
4. Of course, given the alternative, this ain't all bad. Life on the road is pretty cool. You get to see a lot of beautiful scenery, get to watch the kids appreciate the beauty and majesty of God’s creation and you get to share it all with the people you love the most. We get to spend a lot of time together (well, sometimes this isn’t a positive, but 99% of the time it is). As I write, the sun is coming up over the mountains in the Yukon Territory. It’s neat to be able to experience Whitehorse, YT, but the sun coming up over snow-capped mountains on a crystal clear day when the temp is about 25 is a phenomenal experience that our family will treasure for a lifetime. Well, my dear wife and I will, the others are still in the rack!!