Iowa to Alaska: Day one

Erin Kirkland /AKontheGO

Erin Kirkland /AKontheGO

(This is the first time I have utilized the services of my phone to write a blog post, so please excuse any type pad missteps. Lesson #1: don’t rely on wireless in campgrounds.)

Even though May 15 is officially our first day on the road with Great Alaskan Holidays and their Spring Adventure Package, it feels as if we’ve been traveling longer than 36 hours. The red-eye from Anchorage didn’t help, I’m sure. But after a good night’s sleep, we woke up this morning to bright blue skies, singing birds, and a fleet of hundreds of RVs all bearing the GAH logo.

Today was a day of “Check and Roger” as we sorted through various forms, watched safety videos (nice work, GAH team), and settled the youngsters into a daily roadschooling routine.

The boys will be journaling daily in English and German to keep up their skills in both; and they also will record some videos for our Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Sunlight and open road. Erin Kirkland /AKontheGO

Sunlight and open road. Erin Kirkland /AKontheGO

AK Dad and I, for our part, will just try to keep our hands on the wheel, our eyes sharp, and our sense of direction true to the west and north.

The details were done by noon, and we fired up the rig and hit the road – all the way down the street to Bill’s Foods for a pile of groceries. The staff here are well used to Spring Adventure Package travelers tentatively driving into the lot and parking in a haphazard manner before shakily making their way toward Interstate 35.

It's not every day I get to see a best friend. Getting together at the Minneapolis Northwest KOA. Erin Kirkland /AKontheGO

It’s not every day I get to see a best friend. Getting together at the Minneapolis Northwest KOA. Erin Kirkland /AKontheGO

Tonight we are settled in the Minneapolis Northwest/Maple Grove KOA campground, a mere 150 miles from our starting point in Forest City, Iowa. My best friend from childhood joined us with her crew, and while the adults sipped wine and nibbled on a delicious and somewhat unexpected delight created from sliced salami, cream cheese, and dill pickles (my friend assures me this is a Midwest special), the kids ran about on the expanse of green grass, played on the playground, and climbed trees. The closest KOA to downtown Minneapolis, the property has great access to parks, museums, lakes, and Interstate 94, our ribbon of highway for tomorrow.

Monday brings westerly travel to Bismarck, North Dakota, and our first extended day of driving. <—–Wish us luck.

Adventure Appetites offers hearty, healthy meals for travelers. Erin Kirkland /AKontheGO

Adventure Appetites offers hearty, healthy meals for travelers. Erin Kirkland /AKontheGO

What we learned today:

Bring food and beverages to the Winnebago rally grounds. It’s a long day of organizing and going here and there, and not just kids get hangry.

Don’t plan to drive too far that first day. Sitting behind the wheel of a 31-foot RV battling headwinds and semi trucks is, incidentally, sort of stressful if you don’t do it a lot. Plan a light first foray into the RV world.

Get a power converter. Offered as part of the package, the converter allows us to charge devices without firing up the generator, a loud and somewhat annoying piece of equipment.

Say “OK” to bringing a friend. I’ll cover more about this later, but I can say that allowing AK Kid to travel with his best buddy was a great decision.

Have a sense of humor. This is new territory. Stuff is going to go wrong. Laugh and remember why you’re out on the road in the first place.

Check and Roger.

Links:

www.greatalaskanholidays.com

www.mplsnwkoa.com

www.adventureappetites.com

-EK

Posted in Alaska Road Trips, Big Adventures and tagged , , , , , .