Doing homework for a big trip not only means reading through all the bags of literature and reference materials one has collected [see our last blog], it also means applying what we have learned.
Pre-Alaska travel planning has involved checking the expiration dates on our passports, getting Canadian Vehicle Insurance Cards, making sure our dog Star has the proper International Health Certificate, and lowering the glass deductible on our vehicles just in case one of those infamous AK rocks should find our beautiful $$$$ panoramic windshield. I have bookmarked an assortment of web pages on what you can or cannot bring into Canada, or more restrictively, what you can or cannot bring back through the USA border crossings.
Then there are creatures to worry about. We DO hope to see lots of wildlife, but we have no current plans to hike the back woods in search of Grizzlies (although they were the mascot of our daughter’s high school). That means we are not going to buy bear spray, Mace, or even wasp spray to keep the big guys away. And, since we are not gun owners, we won’t be declaring any firearms crossing into Canada.
But, what about mosquitos? Aren’t they the national bird of prey in the far North? Skeeters love me to death – my death in terms of swarming any piece of exposed skin that they may decide to feast upon.
So now it was serious shopping time!!! REI, Sports Chalet, Big 5 Sports, and even WalMart carry a wide selection of choices to do battle with skeeters. Hmm, how much Deet is too much? Can I carry a waist clip deterrent? Bug Candles? Zappers? ThermaCell Repellant? Oh, and don’t forget the Columbia bug repellent line of clothing? (Sorry, I may hate skeeters, but I’m too cheap to spend $80-$100 on a bug repellant blouse.)
And, finally, what’s the weather going to be like. Yes, Alaska does have a summer and, after more homework, I was able to print out the Weather Underground temperature and rainfall averages for a number stops along our planned itinerary. Even though we saw temps in the 60s-70s, surely we must need WARM jackets if we were heading to Alaska. Should we buy “water repellant” or “water resistant”? Waist length with hood? Fleece liners? Back to the internet, Facebook and the RVer bulletin boards and blogs for more research.
Then the best comment of all came from our good Boomer friend, Sarah Shong: “You’re just going to Alaska, and not climbing Mount Kilimanjaro…”
Duh, light bulbs going off. I checked my closet and discovered I already had a “good” all-weather jacket, found my golf rain suit, and we both had a couple of pairs of long-johns and ski caps, if needed. Luke picked-up a rain suit for those glacier sightseeing tours, and a trip to Wally World solved my skeeter repellent needs.
Time to load it all up and hit the road. Thank you, Sarah.