The CoolRVers are actually a couple of retirees, Judy and Luke Rinehimer and our 5 year old German Shepherd Dog, Miss Shady Lady. We are "extended-time" travelers with a home in Cool, California. Thanks for following along with us as we travel North America in our "rolling condo", enjoying the RV lifestyle. Your comments are always welcomed.

Click photos to view the images enlarged. Use your BACK arrow to return to the blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

“You’re just going to Alaska, and not climbing Mount Kilimanjaro…”

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.mosquito baby

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. 

mosquito toes

So now it was serious shopping time!!!   REI, Sports Chalet, Big 5 Sports, and even WalMart carry a wide selectionTherma Cell 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.



Sharon Del Rosario said...

Thanks for all the great links, Judy. As you know, we're already up here in the great north country. So far we haven't had many bug problems, although we have Deet spray handy. Don insisted I buy a rain PROOF jacket, not repellant or resistant. I'm already glad I have it, because it's lightweight and also warm. Remember to layer - long sleeved shirt, sweat shirt, rain proof jacket, socks, long pants. You're good to go!

Oh, yes, I have to say that pic of the feet surrounded by mosquitoes freaked me out!

smdrm said...

Judy, I would be thinking as you were originally. Thanks for putting the proper perspective on things. Hope to make it to Alaska someday.

Selene, NC

Doug and Sheila said...

We were in Alaska last year and didn't have a problem with the mosquitoes except for one place. We took the bus tour into Denali National Park and the lake at the end of the road was nasty with mosquitoes! You really needed a hat with netting to stay outside there. We didn't have it so we were out and back into the bus within about 2 minutes. Otherwise the mosquitoes were not much of a problem.

Linda said...

I proved in Minnesota last summer that the Off clip-on really does work. We sat out on a deck by the St Croix river where not one mosquito bit me! I clipped it to the arm of my chair and it protected both me and my neighbor. I now officially love that thing.

Linda Sand

Merikay said...

Ae you going alone or with a caravan? I know these questions will be answered as you go, but I was just wondering. I've been reading about Alaska for years.

E Squared and Mui said...

Rain proof is the only thing that will work for sure ... trust me. We've been in both June and August, and have had great luck both times weather-wise ... but it's not for nothing that they say Alaska's weather is variable :-) The few instances of rain we got soaked our rain repellant/resistant jackets soaking in no time at all. As Sharon noted above, layering is the way to go. As for the mosquitoes, we had no problems in August, but June was another story ... Avon's Skin So Soft worked great for me ... something to consider. The clip on thingies work great as long as you're stationary ...like when you're dining out or just sitting and relaxing in the great outdoors, but they don't do a thing if you clip them onto your belt and start moving around ... that was our experience in Jasper a few years ago.

Judy and Luke Rinehimer said...

Merikay, we are traveling with just one other couple. We looked at the caravans and decided their itineraries were too locked in too expensive when you are still driving your own coach.

Sue and Doug said...

planning a big trip is half the fun!..sounds like you are on 'information overload'!..dress in layers...no guns..no produce over the border..buy some duty free before you head across if like?...shots and such for the pets!..and dog food in the orginal bag!..most of all be informed when you cross!..only answer the questions they ask..don't offer any other information!..remove sunglasses and turn off vehicle!..but most of all..have Fun!!

Sarah and Richard said...

Thanks for the "shout out", Judy! Sue and Doug's post right before mine says it all. I also agree with E Squared and Mui that "rain-PROOF" is the way to go. Our rain jackets also functioned as excellent wind breakers. We were only plagued by mosquitos in one place in the Yukon (were in AK July 2 through late August) Beware of "information overload"-- you'll spend too much time reading and keeping your info current, and not enough time enjoying the moment.