North, to Alaska!

This is getting real.

After 10+ years on the road, and nearly as long talking about heading north to Alaska, were are now finally on our way. No, we don’t have any detailed travel itinerary. The navigator has done her research, and we have determined a few simple goals. We will drive to Alaska. We will most likely come back south before the weather gets wicked. We are going to take our time, and enjoy the ride. The journey has officially begun. And we are in no hurry.

Alaska Map Start

Let the games begin!

To commemorate this adventure, and document the route, we’ve created a new map on the Live Work Dream Maps gallery page. I say adventure because after talking about it for so long, this whole live and work wherever we want thing is starting to feel exciting again.

Not that the nomadic lifestyle was getting boring, not by any means. The road definitely keeps us on our toes. Over the past few years, we have just enjoyed staying to the same regions and travel routine – head south for the winter, and back north when summer rolled round. South basically meant hanging out in the southwest. North was mainly Colorado. Now the North is calling us. Way North.

Mt Shasta Ski Park Welcome Sign

We are officially launching this next episode of our life from the origin of Highway 97 in Weed, California. Many often debate: Where does the Alaska Highway start? Apparently you don’t call it the Alcan anymore. Whatever. There is a totem pole in Weed, marking the start of US Route 97, and BC Highway 97 continues all the way to Alaska, so this is where we will begin.

We hope you will join us and follow along with future Alaska tagged posts as we document this exciting expedition. And oh how exciting it has already been…

Into the Wild

To mark the start of our Alaskan adventure, we had an uninvited guest pay us a visit in the middle of the night. Rene woke up in a panic to a rustling noise outside. Something was in the truck. “It’s no bear.” I attempted to calm her down. “Go back to bed.” It sounded pretty small to me. Then I felt the rig rock. I got up to get a flashlight.

“It’s a bear!”

I returned just in time to see little Boo Boo hop off the truck and walk under our window. “Awww…he’s just a baby.” She was still a bit panicked, and started screaming out the window. “Whatchya gonna do? We’re on his turf.” The shouting continued, so I joined in, then Wyatt went off. The Bear got bored and wandered away.

Mount Shasta Boondocking Bear

The next morning we found the calling card he left us. At least we have a good story behind the latest big scratch on the truck, and it wasn’t self-inflicted. The very next day, shortly after Noon, I was sitting on the couch uploading that very photo when I heard a thump and felt the rig shake again. I looked out the window, just in time to see that little bear’s butt climb up onto the truck bed again.

Mount Shasta Boondocking Bear

Loud screaming, shouting, and barking quickly ensued. Once Boo Boo had wandered off far enough, I went out to ensure it ran away, and didn’t come back. Rene and Wyatt kept the ruckus up from an open window.

Mount Shasta Boondocking Bear

I’m a good scout and consider myself pretty Bear Aware. From a safe distance I wailed, flailed and waved the cub off. He started to scamper up a tree, so I stopped.

Mount Shasta Boondocking Bear

I would rather he left, so I remained quiet and waited for him to come back down. That’s when I started throwing rocks. I didn’t want to hurt him, but came pretty damn close to hitting him in the head. He didn’t seem to care.

Mount Shasta Boondocking Bear

You see, we weren’t so much afraid for our own safety, as we cared about this little guy’s future. He’s no Grizzly after all, probably more like a yearling kicked out by a mama bear with new cubs. Out on his own and hungry in early spring, we may have been the first humans he ever encountered. Shouting and barking continued. Rocks kept flying, until he finally fled. Then we left. Once a bear makes contact like this, he will return, until he gets what he wants. And we did not want this little guy associating campers with anything good.

Our Bear Aware Reminder

I see our little visit from Boo Boo as a reality check, and reminder of the wilderness we will encounter over the next few months. Since we plan to enjoy boondocking much more than staying in RV parks throughout the Canadian and Alaskan territories, this will surely not be our last bear encounter – considering we encountered the first, on our very first day.

bear sprayBear Encounter Tips for RVers:

  • Please, do NOT feed the bears!
  • Don’t cook or eat outside.
  • Don’t store food outside, or in your vehicle.
  • Don’t leave trash in your truck.
  • Don’t toss dishwater out the door.
  • Don’t leave the door open when leaving your RV.
  • Lock your vehicle doors.
  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • Have high quality bear spray on hand.
  • Know when, and how to use it.
  • Make plenty of noise when walking in the woods.
  • Remember, you are the uninvited guest.

By following a few common sense practices whenever we are in bear country, we will keep future encounters to a minimum, and make sure everyone remains safe. Including the bears.

Mount Shasta Boondocking Bear
Wyatt watches out for Boo Boo’s return.

15 thoughts on “North, to Alaska!”

  1. Headed to Alaska! What a great adventure. Taking an Alaskan Cruise is on my agenda in a few years. I know that’s not the same as your travels, but it will offer great scenery and adventure. Maybe on a cruise we won’t have an encounter with a bear!
    I love reading your post, so please keep us informed with your travels.

  2. Passed thru Weed today and now on Oregon coast drifitng toward Alaska. Expect to cross border in Washington around 10 May enroute Alaska with same itinerary as you – drive, find, explore. Good luck

  3. Rene, Jim and Wyatt

    How exciting that you are on the road heading North!! Perfect timing, as Spring has finally sprung for us Northerners!

    Rene don’t you just love the total reassurance that “it’s not a bear…”?! That reassurance for me holds zero value in the future, especially when I’m told that “it’s not a spider!!” Hehe!
    Bear deterrents… Good old Pots and pans! Bring out your inner child and bang those pots together! Our voices don’t carry enough ‘ooomf’ to scare them! In comparison to their yell, ours is like a kitten squeak! Singing and talking loudly on your trails, so that there are no bear surprises. Another invaluable tool is this bear banger kit! We have only had to use it a couple of times for our bears, but it scares them enough to not want to come back! Be sure to have Wyatt in the RV and safely away, it is ‘shot gun’ loud! Mama’s and their cubs are super hungry right now, they will come back if they smell anything good and your RV is their ticket to a smorgasbord!
    Oh boy, do I have some bear stories for you! You are going to laugh! Not so funny for me at the time… but a good one all the same! Just remember that for the most part, they are more afraid of you and as long as you follow your rules above you should do just fine!

    Can’t wait to read more about your adventures, it’s exciting already! Most importantly, we look forward to meeting you!

    Petra, Paul, Stewie and his Kittens.


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