This is where I admit that I haven’t been totally honest with you lately. I’ve been hinting at honesty but not totally open. I told you that Sergio had to move “a bit” before Rosalind and I do. Well, he’s already moved. He left on Saturday.
I felt slightly squirmy about announcing to the internet that we’re here on our own, but I can’t really move forward with blog updates without revealing that piece of information.
Revealing it now also allows me to keep you updated on the other half of this blog, Sergio! He and his father completed what feels like a Herculean task to me. They drove from Fairbanks to Fayetteville on winter roads in six days.
Let’s break that down. On good roads, it takes 60 hours to drive from here to there. Let’s add another eight for things like potty breaks and winter weather. They drove about 68 hours in six days. They’ve been through the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. They’ve gone through North Dakota (just as a big winter storm hit because of course it did), South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, and the teeniest bit of Arkansas. Oh, and Alaska. On the AlCan Highway. In winter.
Sounds like the best time, right? Imagine at least 30 hours kind of like this…
They averaged 11 hours each day. In the car. On icy roads. With the occasional friend here and there.
They didn’t stop and sightsee. They didn’t do fun stuff. They just drove all day every day. The few updates I received looked something like this.
Though I hated the lack of communication from spotty international cell service at the time, it was probably for the best that I was kept out of the loop until they were safer.
It’s a good thing Rolo and I weren’t there. We would be on the road another couple of weeks because of how much we whined, and I would have stress cried daily when the roads were scary. Sergio and Eugenio handled it like pros though.
They arrived in Fayetteville yesterday. Sergio is currently wearing shorts. Eliot has been basking in going outside without coat and boots and peeing on good old grass like a dog should. They’ve earned it.
I hope that maybe Sergio will write his own post about this trip at some point because I clearly only have an outside admirer’s perspective on it, but here are the details I can provide to you if you are thinking of this sort of thing in the future.
Day One: Fairbanks to Whitehorse. He reported road conditions improved after Delta and he was able to maintain the speed limit despite snow covered roads. Flat and straight. Very few places to stop. Know where you plan to fuel up ahead of time, but also be prepared that it’s winter and some places will be closed because…shrug…it’s cold.
Day Two: Whitehorse to Fort Nelson. This stretch is mountainous and icy at this time of year. I think there were some white knuckle hours for this stretch. Almost no communication all day. Still not a lot of civilization.
Day Three: Fort Nelson to Edmonton. Conditions improved when the mountains were left behind. Sergio finally got phone service as they neared Edmonton, but Eugenio was able to communicate the whole trip.
Day Four: Edmonton to Minot, ND. This was a nail-biter because the big winter storm was hitting and they had to decide whether to stay on the path to ND or add hours by veering off path. They decided to keep steady and monitor road conditions. I believe Edmonton to Minot was a really good driving day.
Day Five: Minot, ND to Sioux City, IA. This was the surprise winter weather day. Cars off the road, slooooowwww progress. I don’t think Sioux City had been the original plan for stopping that day, but it took so long to get there that it made sense.
Day Six: Sioux City, IA to Fayetteville, AR. Somewhere on this day they finally left the winter weather behind. Turns out that way more of this continent is cold than I had previously comprehended. Smooth sailing all the way home.
Here is how we outfitted the Subaru before they took off. According to Sergio, it was a total champion for this type of drive. We don’t even have real winter tires on the car. Just the factory all-weather tires that came with it.
We added a cage to the roof rack that we had previously bought. We also installed a tow hitch and used that feature to add a bike rack to make more room on the roof cage. The roof cage is holding three full suitcases (clothes, shoes, towels, sheets, etc.), and two full gas cans covered in a tarp and netting. The tow hitch is clearly holding Sergio’s bike. Inside the car, they had a cooler full of drinks and snacks, two boxes of books, some art we wanted to specifically protect, duffel bags for daily clothes, a tv, a playstation, emergency water, some MRE’s, and a small toolkit. And Eliot and his bed. I was pretty much terrified that they would go off the road and get stuck somewhere, so the water and MRE’s were at least half just to ease my mind. They did not end up needing them, of course, but I don’t think anyone regretted the preparedness.
So there you go. Have a fun and safe trip if this sounds like your idea of winter fun! If you do, I probably can’t be your friend because you are obviously insane.
Shoutout to my father-in-law who was willing to fly 12 hours to Alaska only to turn around and ride through miserable conditions for almost 70 hours to make sure his son was awake and alert, only to get to Arkansas and have to drive five more hours all the way to his house.