Travel Tuesday: Reconnecting in the Yukon

The keys are back in the hands of Heidi [aka, me] + adventure has already begun…I’ve discovered a rather backwoods section of the northern US, confirmed the existence of the Washington pterodactyl + fallen in love with farmland all over again. But, alas, there are more adventures to be had before I start my own recap…let’s start off with some crazy awesome photos that Terry + Kerrie took while wandering around Canada + Alaska!

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Dates: July 1 – 15

Miles Driven: 5,821 [8,999 – 14,820]

Countries Explored: 2 [USA + Canada]

Glaciers Discovered: 6+ [a lot…]

Bears Spotted: 2 [brown grizzly + black bear]

Nights of Van Life’ing: 15

Showers Taken: 7 [solar showers, ftw!]

People are Awesome: Internet strangers! We got a ton of incredible tips + ideas from John White in AK!

Terry + his wife, Kerrie, rolled back into reality on a Friday morning, jonesing for a hot shower + clean laundry. I had spent the last two weeks keeping their dog company so I was there to greet all of their van life stank + hear the flood of stories the moment they walked into the house. Um. I might have been a bit jealous of all the wildlife + glaciers they saw on their trip! My squirrel spottings seemed very un-cool as they talked about bears, foxes, coyotes + bison.

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On June 30th they piled their bare necessities into the van + headed north, driving until they got tired enough to pull over for their first night of van life, along the Alaskan Highway. The next few days were spent bouncing over frost heaves while scoping out glaciers as they followed the rugged Alaskan Highway north. Turns out the Alaskan Highway will give you a run for your money! It’s a beautifully scenic road wiggling north through some very remote stretches of British Columbia but road maintenance is not a common occurrence. Sounds like the lumpy, holey “highway” gave the van’s suspension a hefty test…which it passed with flying colors! Phew.

Once they arrived in Alaska Terry + Kerrie stopped by a few Sportsman Warehouse stores to visit with the retail staff, show off the van + get everyone signed up for a new round of product training. From what Terry said every Sportsman Warehouse they visited was crazy pumped about TETON Sports + the #yourlead van, which is awesome!

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After a few days of exploring the backwoods of Alaska, kayaking in mountain lakes + scoping out Denali it was time to head back home. They say they weren’t avoiding the crazy conditions of the Alaskan Highway, but Terry + Kerrie did take another route home. For “new views”, they said.

When I asked them about the most memorable + noteworthy parts of their two weeks of road tripping through Canada + Alaska this is what they came up with…

Visitor’s Centers = Amazing!

They made a point to stop by any nearby visitor’s center + were overwhelmed by how incredibly helpful everyone was. All the visitor’s center they stopped by had staff that were quick to offer up great travel advice + were chuck full of historical information about the area.

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Bugs + Weather = Not Their Best Friends

The van has seen all of the weather…from the crazy heat of the southwest to the endless rainy days of Alaska! We added screens for the front windows so the van would have more circulation at night, without the bugs, just before they took the van north. Turns out they never got to test out our creation. It rained, steadily, every day + the bugs were so aggressive they were getting in through the tiny screen on the roof van.

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Disconnecting = Reconnecting

When I asked Kerrie about the one thing she really wanted to share with the world about her experience with the van she immediately answered with something I can relate to on so many levels. She said “you get a new appreciation for what you have, like flush toilets + cell service”. Those are “necessities” of today’s life that we all take for granted that become a pretty big deal after a few days bouncing along remote highways. We talked about it all for a bit…it really does go beyond the basic nice-ities of today’s life.

While they were driving through the remote country side of Canada [+ Alaska!] they saw a completely different world. A world where things we take for granted every day have to be planned out + life has to slow down. There is no quick trip to the grocery store for a gallon of milk. The grocery store is miles upon miles away…if you ran out of milk before you planned to, you make due. Cell service doesn’t exist + internet access is a privilege. By no means do we all need to go back to that life, but seeing it + living it for a short period of time is refreshing.

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All in all, it sounded like Terry + Kerrie [who doesn’t love saying their names together!?] had one heck of a trip with many miles of crazy beautiful scenery, when the rain clouds got out of the way! They got to see glaciers + touch icebergs. They bonded over hours of card games in the van as rain plummeted the world around them. They saw a bajillion bison, surrounded by a katrillion wildflowers. They floated along calm lakes, surrounded by mountains + their reflections. Basically, they had a kinda, sorta good time exploring the Yukon! I think…

Final words of wisdom: “If you want to test your love for someone spend 2+ weeks in the van with them” — Kerrie

Get more of their trip photos here — @priestoso

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The mountains were calling...and she went. While she pretends to avoid cliches this one is true! Heidi is a farm girl from the Midwest living a nomadic mountain girl life. When she isn't working in a myriad of jobs she's out on the trails with her running shoes, snowboard or tent...chasing down her version of adventure + life one day at a time.