I did not buy a trailer planning to go to Alaska. It might have been cheaper, had I known. Because within 2 years of buying my Open Range Light 272RLS and Bruce, my F-250, I traded them both in for a new fifth wheel and for Rory, my diesel F-350. Bruce had a gas engine, and he quite frankly struggled going up hills in Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Indiana. It’s not fun pulling a 35 foot trailer up a hill on I-64 with your foot pegged to the floor praying a semi doesn’t run up your rear end as you putt along at 40 mph.
To understand how this all came about, it’s important to know that the vast majority of RVs are made in northern Indiana. Elkhart county is the RV capital of the world. And many of the manufacturers have rallies every year in that area. It brings together owners who get to attend seminars and meet like minded RVers. Living in Indiana means I’m close to all of the action. So, the second summer that I owned my Open Range trailer, I decided to try a rally.
The Open Range rally was held in Shipshewana. I’d never actually been to this area and found it to be a great place to visit. There’s a large Amish community there. I’ve visited some of my Amish patients in their homes and was even honored to be invited to speak at an Amish school once. I would have enjoyed the rally just for the area it was held in. But there was also a ton of stuff to learn and a lot of people to meet.
During the rally, I learned that two of the more active members of the Owner’s Forum had come up with the idea of having an Open Range Alaskan trip. They planned to utilize an RV tour company to help organize it all. As soon as I heard about it my imagination was on fire. As a solo woman, the idea of going as far as Alaska seemed as difficult as RVing to the moon. But, with a group who looked out for each other and in the care of a company whose sole function is to plan and organize these trips, it was suddenly something I could do.
The fly in the ointment was that the trip would start in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and last for 60 days, ending in western Washington. I’d not only have to have the 60 days off, I’d also have to get to Coeur d’Alene and back as well. That’s a lot of time off. The good thing was that there was plenty of time to plan, as the date of the trip was set for 2 years in the future–2019.
The more I learned about the trip, the more I wanted to go. I broached the idea with my boss, and was excited that she was encouraging. So, I signed up and very slowly the planning wheels started turning. One of the first issues was knowing I would be uncomfortable towing a trailer. A gas truck that struggled in the slight elevations of our area was not ideal for the mountainous terrain of the West.
I had to swallow hard and take a loss on the rigs in order to get exactly what I wanted. It will be worth it though; how many people have this kind of opportunity? I’ve read a lot about gratefulness and learning to be a positive person. My goal for this trip is to remember that I’ll never be in that moment again.
I’ll probably never get to visit the Yukon or northern British Columbia after this summer. Instead of viewing them as a route to deliver me to my ultimate destination, I want to be sure to open my eyes to all that they have to offer. I do not want to take for granted the subtle or the overt beauty possessed by any location that I pass through. Hopefully, through my photography and my blog here I’ll be able to share what I find in a manner that touches everyone who follows along with me.