Carbondale, Colorado fades quickly in the rearview. We’re already nearing Nevada — we’ll try to camp high tonight at a mind numbing 7,000 feet so we can stay acclimated. Better take some Diamox for that kind of footage, eh?
It is about 4,000 miles to Alaska, by way of the California Sierra. Tomorrow we’ll try to set up for skiing something on the Sierra East Side. If the weather doesn’t cooperate we’ll keep heading north.
Getting out the door back home was one of the tougher get-readys I’ve done (really, it went on for six months). By the time our cargo trailer was packed with 1,500 lbs of food and gear (including road trip stuff), we’d spread ourselves over the place like some kind of tropical insect invasion. Every floor was covered. Every table sagged under a gear cornucopia worthy of a king’s banquet. Even the garage and half the front yard (with tents) we’re maxed. I sprained my foot (minor) hopping over a stuffsack.
The last pair of ski boots were shoved into the cargo box like a college level phone booth stuffing. Meanwhile, Lisa was finishing last minute sewing on a pair of Louie’s pants. Of course I was under the pickup bed with air tools, doing a last second swap of a set of Rancho RS 9000 adjustable stiff shocks. Ski boots are not the only thing that can use some beef. Dial up those 9,000’s to max, and you are not going to tail sway. It’s like having iron bars for shocks, yeah baby.
Our 2500 Silverado is a rolling electronics studio. Luckily I put in a half dozen more 12 volt outlets over past months — we’re using every one of them. Caleb and Jordan are in the back seat with two computers plugged in. I’ve got another ‘puter humming in shotgun position. Cell phones are charging, sat radio is blasting outlaw country. We’ve even got a Garmin GPS trying to give us directions (we set it to “fuel saving mode,” ha, fat chance, we realized after it sent us on some weird frontage road and wasted a gallon of kerosene.)
We’re hauling a 2,000 pound camper and 2,000 pound cargo trailer, getting around 15 mpg burning diesel. Key is keeping the engine just under “power mode” by modulating our speed. We watch the fuel use in real time, and can tell where the sweet spot is. Even so, round trip 8,000 miles, shew, glad we have 4 guys to share the cost. We did do an accurate MPG calc and got 12.2 MPG during one leg that included a couple of summits. I was figuring worst case scenario of 10 MPG, so that was nice.
If the 4 of us were paying for airline travel, gear shipping, Anchorage food prices and the Anchorage/Talkeetna shuttle, we figure we’d actually spend a bit more than the drive will cost–that’s a plus as well. I didn’t figure the mileage wear/tear on the truck into that, instead, I’m donating the truck miles as a part of WildSnow’s support for the boys.