Ever since we started telling people about our big adventure, there are two questions everyone asks – Where are you going? And when are you leaving?
Both of those questions were hard to answer. The only thing we knew for sure – was that we wanted to spend the holidays with family in Ohio. Otherwise, the calendar was open. But we also knew we wanted to get out and enjoy the gorgeous state of Alaska while it was still summer time – if time allowed.
As it turns out, time did allow. Once we finally cut ties with the house, we could poke around as we wished.
We’ve spent 37 nights in our camper. The first 13 were parked in the driveway at the old house. We only intended to be parked there for a few days, but delay in the closing prevented that from happening.
So that makes 24 nights of roaming the state. It sounds like a lot, but it doesn’t really feel like a lot. Most of the places we are visiting, we are familiar with already. Almost like we are working on a practice run while we are still in state.
Everyone wants to know when we are leaving state to actually start our journey. But I’m here to tell you, our journey has already started!
Sure, the rain kinda stinks – but those just make for great days that include reading good books and afternoon naps. It’s quite peaceful listening to the raindrops on the roof.
But let me tell you the best part – or at least my favorite part – sitting in the lounge chair on a sunny day, listening to the river and gazing at the mountains. Just can’t beat it.
After finally making it back to Fairbanks, we were surprised to realize how much we did not miss it while we were out and about. And after two days of running errands around town – we were SO ready to go!
Grocery store, vet checks, mail pick up, a few shopping errands, a visit to the storage unit for one last good-bye to the mustang…
We were worn out from the errands and ready to officially get going. Jason was also concerned about getting out before the hunters invaded our last few stops on the way out.
So, we left Fairbanks Wednesday morning of August 23rd. The colors hadn’t turned quite as much as I had hoped, but we figured once we were down the road fall could catch up to us.
We drove about 130 miles and stopped along the Alaska Highway at mile post 1393 to stay on the banks of the Gerstle River.
The Gerstle River is a glacier fed river that begins in the Granite Mountains, which are part of the Alaska Range. It is very wide on account of its many channels that zigzag and frequently change course.
We have enjoyed our stay here at Gerstle River. It would have been even better if it weren’t for the nearby rest area, and people who decided to wonder down the dirt path to find the river.
Jason busied himself with piling rocks for a pit and building an awesome fire. Which means we enjoyed another round of s’mores, while being subjected to a few stare downs. Jason also managed to take his bike out for a ride across the bridge and do some exploring on the other side of the river.
Leda enjoyed being my shadow and following me around everywhere.
Josie on the other hand, continued to be a menace in her Josie way and go run-a-muck when Jason tried to trust her off leash. But that didn’t stop her from enjoying a few giant sticks, basking in the sun, and getting a hair trim from an amateur groomer of a mama.
We took the pups out for a hike along the north side of the river. We went as far as the meager paths and river bed would allow us. And thanks to Leda, I got to venture through some thick, muddy, mucky silt. Thanks Leda.
We were off grid at Gerstle River, and enjoyed the slow pace of morning coffee with a view of a glistening river our nightly game of 500 Rummy.
We intended to stay longer, but after 2 nights the wind picked up something fierce, and we decided to head on down the road.
We’ve been surprised that we haven’t seen much for wildlife so far. We are hoping that will change soon, the cross into Canada is coming soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hi, I’m Hillary! Wife and dog mama of two goofy pups. I am a retired 6th grade teacher, but still seek to share and help others at www.teachlikemidgley.com
I enjoy spending time with my pups and my husband. I have a passion for rescues, and would save more pups if I could. I enjoy books and I am a mustang enthusiast. Thanks for reading!