Ginger and Ken drive to Alaska from Texas, through Wichita, Madison, Chicago, Corpus....

We decided to make a lifestyle change and move. Following are tales of our trips, packing mishaps, beautiful drives, visitations and more! This is Texas2Alaska2 because it is my second time to make the drive.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yet More Sidetracking for Alaska Packing (read procrastination)

Organizing a passenger vehicle and a 5 x 8 enclosed trailer with enough personal belongings to start a new career, in a state 5,000 miles away, is a rather large challenge. Before we left Austin, Ken and I sold, donated or gave away a ton of personal belongings. Wood working tools were the hardest to part with but the best item to trade for gas money. Clothes and kitchen items were purged. Even our bicycles were given new lives in new homes. We had to narrow down our possessions to groups of items that could be transported to Wichita in the little trailer. 

We had dispersal overload. By time we were settled in Wichita at my sister’s, it was hard to even look at a box of stuff and want to open it. There were many more boxes that needed filtering through but it was much more fun to play with the baby. (Here, one more view, wishing we were using an airplane!) Outfitting the trailer was also a little more fun than packing or emptying boxes of unnecessary items. Paper work and files were the most tiring things to go through, not to mention heavy boxes. 
There were so many obstacles to plan for a trip of 5,000 miles. The right tires, the right battery, the weight of the load, what would go in the car, what would go in the trailer, what food to take, and how many days to stay where. Ken spent many hours on the internet and in discussions with baby daddy about batteries and trailer stabilization hitches. Tires were thoroughly researched and planned for purchase in Denver. The cold cranking battery was installed as the first cold front arrived in Wichita. The old one was just done. A fun side trip for gear in Wichita was at the Coleman outlet. Coleman manufacturing started in Wichita and there is a nice museum and discount store in downtown Wichita. We bought a stove, tanks, sleeping bag, cold head band, and day backpack all for about $100. If you are a camping aficionado and going through Wichita, I highly recommend visiting, .

The days finally came when we had to start packing the trailer. When you have to pack, you always think you can get more into a space than really possible. Always-no matter what you are packing. I felt like on the weekend trips up to Wichita in the past I was able to carry a lot of stuff in that trailer. But loading it for a long haul was much different. We wanted items we really loved, lots of cold weather clothing, electronics, and I wanted a kitchen. We had originally planned to leave in October and visit Yellowstone for a few days. We also wanted to camp in Canada. I planned to cook at each stop. However, as October slipped away, and the first cold snap came to Wichita, I started to wonder. Below, the semi-final packing. The screen on the back is to protect us from bugs when camping.

None-the-less, Ken constructed a camp table set-up and rigged some hardware on the trailer to post a tarp for covering. We would create our own little outdoor dining area. A space was also saved at the very top of all of our gear for sleeping. Being fiscally conservative was very important as we were now on a fixed budget. When we left Austin, we kept our spare bed mattress which was an Ikea special and just barely 5 inches tall. Yet when we tested out our sleeping loft (we slept in it the night before our departure), the space was just too narrow for us. We really wanted a comfortable bed, but reluctantly we had to leave the mattress in the house. Thankfully, I had two nice Therm-a-Rest mattresses from my original trip to Alaska. These, combined with a large sheepskin would make a decent bed and allow much more headroom. (I was really claustrophobic with the original arrangement.) Below, see the tight squeeze at the top. After one night up there, I knew it was too tight. The mattress was left behind.