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  1. Default The Road-trip of a lifetime! Looking for people to share with (Lower 48, AK & Canada)

    Hi All,

    Before I begin, let me tell you a little about myself. I am a 50-year-old single male who has been road-tripping since I was 17 years old. I have been all up and down the East Coast and since 2011. I have been venturing West & Northwest to see our beautiful country. Every road-trip seems to be getting longer and more adventurous. I am an avid photographer and my road-trips involve a lot of exploring, hiking, camping and going just about anywhere to see the sights. I have been taking my Son on my trips over the years and he is now at that age, where he is not interested in driving cross country right now. All my road-trips have been taken by car and I have tent camped just about everywhere. This year is going to be something very different.

    I have wanted to do this for so long and I just cannot wait anymore. I’m prepared to do this on my own, but would much rather enjoy the trip with others.

    I am planning the largest road-trip I have ever been on and plan on leaving my job to do it. The trip is not etched in stone so dates are a little flexible and the venue is open to plan together with anyone who plans on joining the trip. I am shooting for leaving mid-July 2018.
    This trip will begin where I live in Fort Lauderdale, FL and will be heading West towards California (Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Death Valley National Park depending upon temperatures at that time), Oregon, Washington (Seattle & Mt.St Helens), Vancouver BC, Juneau AK, Anchorage AK, Fairbanks AK, all the way to the Northernmost city of the USA, in Deadhorse (Prudhoe Bay) AK. Then from there exploring part of Canada NW Territory, Yukon Territory, Jasper National Park, Yellowknife, Banff National Park, and who knows where else before returning home. Estimated trip will run 1-3 months based on what we plan together.

    I am looking for (2) things.

    1) I am looking for (1) compatible travel partner to split the travel expenses with in a Class B RV doing as much dry camping as possible. RV sleeps (2). This person should have a love for National Parks, remote locations, beginner to intermediate hiking and love photography since I will be doing a lot of picture taking and blogging along the way.
    Requirements: Male or Female, at least late 20's on up. Should be in good physical health with no major health issues. Must have a clean background, have valid passport, drug free, does not smoke or vape, trustworthy and honest.

    2) Looking for other people who are interested in caravanning along with on the trip either for the whole trip or segments of the trip. We would all travel together and do things together as a group, (rest stops, meals, camping, hiking, etc.) We may decide to do different things along the way but still meet back up by days end. We will all keep in constant communication along the road via 2-Way radio. More about this later.
    This is an adult trip, so no little ones, however mature teens are welcome with parents.

    One of my concerns is safety and I would rather travel with 1 or more persons for personal safety. It's always nice to have someone there in case the unthinkable happens. I have driven over 1 Million miles on my own over the years and will be nearing almost 2 Million miles very shortly. I love to drive places and explore. It is my hope to find others interested in sharing the experience with.

    I have a lot of photos of past road-trips on my Instagram page. Please feel free to check them out so you can get a feel for what you will be in store for and so you know I'm the real deal. IamTheRoadWarrior on Instagram.

    Please feel free to ask public questions here, PM me here or PM on Instagram. I am open to all ideas, suggestions and locations/venues. I want this to top all road-trips so I can top it again next year! :)

    Hoping to form some lifelong friendships on this trip.
    Andrew Scott
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-04-2018 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Added some line-breaks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,022

    Default You'll never be alone!

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    Let me tell you a little about myself, so perhaps some of your concerns will be put to rest.

    I am a septuagenarian grandmother who has travelled solo for more than 250.000 miles north of the Mexican border and up to the Arctic Ocean including to Alaska and back four times. Right now I have just started my ninth roadtrip.... eight of which have been well in excess of 20.000 miles. And that is only since 2001. This one will be a little shorter.

    The very worst that has happened to me was this very week; I had taken from me my bag and purse, all my cards, including my licence, several hundreds of dollars in cash, in two different currencies, my camera, my phone, illuminated magnifying glass, and whatever else was in the bag. All I can hope for is that the person who took it needs it all more than I do, since the police have informed me that I am not likely to see any of it again. The CCTV was not clear enough to identify who took it.

    Now I don't doubt that this has happened to thousands of others, but it is particularly difficult trying to replace a licence or credit cards when they are not US originals. At first I felt like giving up, but with the encouragement of others, I am on my way again.

    Don't be concerned to take this trip by yourself. You will meet the most wonderful people along the way when you are alone, and they will be different each day. Safety should not be a concern, just do everything for security that you do at home. Actually, along the way, you will find that you meet the same folk at each campground as you to AK. I carry a business card and souvenirs from home to share with those who are particularly helpful/friendly/interested. (Even small things like pens, postcards and fridge magnets from FL could be of interest to folks much further north.)

    If you are considering driving to Alaska and back, something I would highly recommend, you need to get a copy of The Milepost - the bible of all those who take the track north. Spend some time really reading it, it will cover everything you need to know. The map which comes with it is particularly valuable in its information and detail.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    195

    Default

    Hello!

    As Lifey says, there's no reason to be leery of traveling solo. Finding the right traveling companion is tough even for short trips; finding someone who's even available (much less compatible) for 1 to 3 months is a pretty serious long shot. I retired three years ago, and I wanted to make a trip similar to what you're proposing, and I went through a similar thought process--I really didn't want to go alone. I figured it would be so much more fun with a traveling companion, and I fretted about all the what-if's. I tried, believe me, asking just about everyone I've ever known. Then, when I couldn't find anyone who was able to commit to such a lengthy journey (I was planning on two months), I figured I should just postpone it for a better time. Then it occurred to me that there would probably never BE a better time! So I loaded up my Jeep, and I hit the the road. I was gone 58 days, traveled 13,000 miles, and stopped in 24 National Parks. I've done some pretty spectacular traveling in my life, but that solo drive to Alaska was easily the most liberating experience that I can even imagine. And if I'd let my needless concerns get the best of me? I wouldn't have done it at all. The Alaska Highway and all that is still wild country, yes indeed, but it's a very well-traveled route. And you WILL meet people! Traveling solo is actually one of the best ways to make new friends.

    Good luck with your planning. If you're meant to have a traveling companion on this jaunt, you'll find one. But even if you don't--by all means, go for it!

    Rick

  4. Default

    Rick,

    I guess I should have clarified the safety thing. I was more concerned about going places alone and something happening due to health, illness, injury etc. Strange things happen to people at different times no matter how young or good physical condition your in. I've always believed in the buddy system. You just never know. From a security standpoint, no fears there.

    I will be doing this trip alone if I don't find anyone to travel with. This is something I have wanted to do for so long, there is no way I'm missing out on this. I am quitting my job to do this! I need this more than anything else. I'm not waiting till retirement. I have seen way too many people miss out on life due to health, illness etc. You never know when your day comes and right now, I'm still young and in good health, so I'm going for it.

    I do have a question for you though. Are the main roads paved or is there 100+ mile stretch of gravel road out there? I heard from someone that there was over 100 miles of gravel road going into Alaska and people put a 2nd windshield in front of theirs to protect their own from rocks flying up from people in front of you or passing you, not to mention carrying (4) spare tires since the road eats them up. This was the most craziest thing I have ever heard. Since you've done this before, maybe you can shed some light on the subject. I would appreciate anything you have to offer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    195

    Default Four spare tires and a screen for your windshield? Not anymore!

    The main roads are paved, but there are sections of the road in varying states of disrepair, so in the summer, when you'll be traveling, you'll run into numerous construction delays where the road narrows to one lane, and traffic backs up waiting for the pilot cars to lead them through construction zones that go on for miles. The last bit in the Yukon, leading to the Alaska border, is especially notorious due to "frost heaves," undulating pavement where the roadbed settles due to melting permafrost. If you hit those dips at speed you can go airborne! Where there's construction, there's gravel, so you need to be a little bit careful of the truck traffic. (You'll see LOTS of trucks, lots of RV's, and a surprising number of motorcycles!) The business about screening your windshield and carrying extra spare tires was good advice back in the day, but that hasn't been necessary for quite some time. Do make sure that you've got a good full-sized spare tire (less than 8 years old) and a functioning jack; you shouldn't have any issues. I got one "star" on my windshield on my two-month trip, and it happened on my last day, on a paved highway in Arizona when I was almost home.

    I totally understand about the possibility of medical issues. I've had multiple back surgeries. All I have to do is move the wrong way, or sneeze when I'm not braced for it, and I can throw my back out to the point where I can't even walk, much less drive, and I had nightmares about something like that happening in the middle of nowhere. I was extra careful, and I was just fine.

    Like you, one of my main interests is photography, and the trip yielded thousands of wonderful images. I don't do Instagram, but I have a little personal website with photo galleries that play like automated slide shows.

    Here's the Phoenix to Fairbanks segment; and here's Fairbanks back to Phoenix (by a different route). There are many other smaller photo galleries from that trip (and many other trips), as well as some articles in my blog about my planning for the drive. Glancing though these pictures just now, I'm half tempted to join you myself! (Unfortunately, I'm way too busy these days!)

    Enjoy, and be safe,

    Rick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,715

    Default

    Even 18 years ago, the stretches of gravel along the Alaska Highway were few and far between, mostly because of a construction project going on. And believe me, no matter where you go in North America during the spring/summer/fall months, you WILL meet Construction Projects.

    What you should do before you leave, is to ensure that you have a good comprehensive insurance plan for your vehicle, and find out what the window repair/replacement deductible is on it. You'll need to talk to your insurance company folks anyway, to ensure you have good coverage in Canada. When we went up the Highway, we were caravaning with other folks. Between the two vehicles, each windshield got dinged. One was in a construction zone where a commercial trucker was going way too fast for the territory, and the other was on pavement where there were rocks and frost-heaves, and someone traveling too fast towing a boat, threw a rock. Neither windshield had to be replaced, but we found out that Whitehorse has (or did, at that time) a mobile windshield repair guy who came out to the RV park and fixed both windshields for very little money. We didn't even have to submit paperwork to the insurance company.

    We had NO tire troubles among the two vehicles. Both carried full-sized spares and one had an extra spare for both truck and his travel trailer. But we saw evidence that others had tire troubles. I would not carry one of those "donuts" that today's vehicle manufacturers think will do for a spare. You do want to make room for a full-sized spare.


    Donna

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Quinn View Post
    The main roads are paved, but there are sections of the road in varying states of disrepair, so in the summer, when you'll be traveling, you'll run into numerous construction delays where the road narrows to one lane, and traffic backs up waiting for the pilot cars to lead them through construction zones that go on for miles. The last bit in the Yukon, leading to the Alaska border, is especially notorious due to "frost heaves," undulating pavement where the roadbed settles due to melting permafrost. If you hit those dips at speed you can go airborne! Where there's construction, there's gravel, so you need to be a little bit careful of the truck traffic. (You'll see LOTS of trucks, lots of RV's, and a surprising number of motorcycles!) The business about screening your windshield and carrying extra spare tires was good advice back in the day, but that hasn't been necessary for quite some time. Do make sure that you've got a good full-sized spare tire (less than 8 years old) and a functioning jack; you shouldn't have any issues. I got one "star" on my windshield on my two-month trip, and it happened on my last day, on a paved highway in Arizona when I was almost home.

    I totally understand about the possibility of medical issues. I've had multiple back surgeries. All I have to do is move the wrong way, or sneeze when I'm not braced for it, and I can throw my back out to the point where I can't even walk, much less drive, and I had nightmares about something like that happening in the middle of nowhere. I was extra careful, and I was just fine.

    Like you, one of my main interests is photography, and the trip yielded thousands of wonderful images. I don't do Instagram, but I have a little personal website with photo galleries that play like automated slide shows.

    Here's the Phoenix to Fairbanks segment; and here's Fairbanks back to Phoenix (by a different route). There are many other smaller photo galleries from that trip (and many other trips), as well as some articles in my blog about my planning for the drive. Glancing though these pictures just now, I'm half tempted to join you myself! (Unfortunately, I'm way too busy these days!)

    Enjoy, and be safe,

    Rick
    Thank you for the travel information and sharing your photos. Very nice and inspirational. They make me want to leave now! Since you don't have Instagram, you can always go to http://www.instagram.com/iamtheroadwarrior and view my pics there. A much better experience if you have the app and an account though.

    Well, if you decide on joining all or part of the trip, let me know. We can always meet-up somewhere along the route.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,022

    Default Epirbs and other personal locators.

    Quote Originally Posted by fl-hunter View Post
    Rick,

    I guess I should have clarified the safety thing. I was more concerned about going places alone and something happening due to health, illness, injury etc. Strange things happen to people at different times no matter how young or good physical condition your in. I've always believed in the buddy system. You just never know. From a security standpoint, no fears there.
    This concern can be overcome simply by carrying an Epirb or similar personal locator. They are inexpensive and bring great peace of mind. I carry mine whenever I am on the road, be it in the US or at home. In the car or in my pocket, but within reach always. Mine is smaller than a cigarette pack, and the batteries in them now last something like seven years.

    As you said, you never know what can happen, and the stories of those rescued successfully from all sorts of situations leave me in no doubt that they are essential when travelling, whether alone, or in a group.

    Lifey

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    This concern can be overcome simply by carrying an Epirb or similar personal locator. They are inexpensive and bring great peace of mind. I carry mine whenever I am on the road, be it in the US or at home. In the car or in my pocket, but within reach always. Mine is smaller than a cigarette pack, and the batteries in them now last something like seven years.

    As you said, you never know what can happen, and the stories of those rescued successfully from all sorts of situations leave me in no doubt that they are essential when travelling, whether alone, or in a group.

    Lifey
    I do have a satellite phone with the emergency locator button built in, so yes, it's kind of like that, but nothing replaces another person. I was recently in a grocery store and watched a 35 year old guy just collapse at the customer service counter. His head hit the floor like a rock. As it turned out, his blood pressure went low for no apparent reason and parmedics arrived on the scene within minutes. If something like that happens, you don't know it's happening, so you can't press a locator button etc and help isn't going to arrive anytime soon in some places. For what it's worth, your ideas are great and that's my backup plan, but would prefer a living breathing human who can think and act in case the unthinkable happens. I'm well prepared myself.

    Thanks again for the ideas.

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