The Arctic Circle and The Time Crunch
After mapping out my initial route for the Alaska road trip I started researching the Arctic Circle portion of my trip, which I mentioned a few posts ago. I got some news that makes me nervous. Plus, I joined this road trip forum and when I mentioned the time crunch I’m in, a few guys showed a lack of faith in my task at hand. One person even said,
“What you are planning is a speed run of epic proportions.”
I’ll start with the Arctic Circle…
I called the Arctic Caribou Inn (the lodge up in Deadhorse, AK that has a package where they take you on snowshoes up to the Arctic Circle). The desk clerk told me that they won’t start taking reservations until April of next year, which I was okay with because it may give me time to pinpoint a date I’ll most likely get there. What scared me was that she said they also won’t know if they will be taking people on the trip next year either. After we hung up I realized I should have asked her why. Does it depend every year based on the weather? Could they be closing because of budget reasons? This got me nervous. I mean, worst case we’ll drive up to Deadhorse, the most northern town in Alaska that is drivable to. But it would be really cool to say we actually dipped our feet in the waters of the Arctic Circle. (During the summer months some people actually take a swim in it.)
Now on to the Time Crunch…
Due to our jobs, Sal and I really can’t afford to take a month (or more) off to embark on this trip. We have 19 days to make it to Alaska and back. A big question we’ll have to answer a few days into our trip is can we make it to Fairbanks, or do we have time to head to Deadhorse and reach the Arctic Circle. I know this may sound insane to the average person, heck it even sounds insane to the road trip enthusiasts I’m talking to on this internet forum, roadtripamerica.com. One guru even told me,
“you basically have time to drive to Fairbanks by the straightest possible route, get out of the car and say “We made it.” and get back in the car and drive home by the straightest possible route.”
And that was him presuming I had 21 days, not the 19 that I have.
Luckily another gentlemen named MikeV, which I’m hoping isn’t Michael Vick, consoled me by telling me he just did a similar trip in 3 weeks. He had 24 days and went from Ohio to Alaska, then to San Francisco and back to Ohio. His excursion and time frame sounds similar to something Sal and I could accomplish.
I think it all depends on the Roadtripper. Some people can only sit and drive for 8 hours a day, Sal and I could handle almost double that safely (not 3 weeks straight though). We’re both young, and on the way up there we’ll be driving a direct route on an Interstate which should help shave off a lot of time. It’ll give us more flexibility to explore on the way back.
Overall I’m not too worried. Sal and I have driven 5,000 miles cross-country, moderately comfortable, in 6 days and 7 hours. We do what we can with the time frame given. The way I see it, I’d rather do something than nothing. Otherwise, what is the point of living?