had the best of all worlds when I started fulltiming in 2001. For
the first two years, I drove my motorhome in tandem with my best
friend as he drove his Airstream. He showed me the ropes and helped
me untangle them. But when I got hooked on the idea of spending
the summer of 2003 in Alaska, he couldnt join me. Armed with
his constant inspiration and encouragement, I decided to carry on
alone. Scared spitless but spilling over with excitement, I took
off down that road for real instead of only in my dreams.
am completely and hopelessly enamored with mountains because their
enormity can make me feel small and insignificant or larger than
life all at the same time. Alaska promised visions of some of the
grandest of them all. It was definitely a different dynamic traveling
alone. I have always found RVers to be very gracious and helpful,
but they seemed especially so after finding out I was on my own.
If I ever thought Id be lonesome on the road by myself, boy,
was I wrong. I made lifelong friends while sharing this great adventure.
I know Im not the only single woman RVer who ever made that
trip, but you would have thought so from the reactions I got from
people I met. The word inspiration came up often in
peoples reaction to what I was doing, but instead of imparting
inspiration, I gathered it from the people I met along my way.
were times I stood and cried at the side of the road just from the
sheer exquisite beauty I witnessed. Then there were times when I
woke up freezing at 4 a.m. with a broken furnace, when my generator
wouldnt generate and when I had to replace the house batteries.
During those times, Id cry with fear and frustration and be
disappointed in myself for my own reactions. Crying in awe of the
beauty that surrounds me is far easier to understand than sobbing
over a repair bill. I mean, is it reasonable to expect to drive
a house 5,000 miles and not incur some repair costs?
I thought of the reactions of friends and family when I told them
what I was going to do, and how the general consensus was that I
was either very brave or very stupid. There were times when I felt
like both, but I was still willing to trade security for adventure.
So I cried with joy again when I saw the Welcome to Alaska sign.
I made it maybe not without problems and frustrations, but
I came all the way through Canadas Yukon and into Alaska all
78-year-old mother joined me for the return trip and I still have
bruises on my arm from her nudging me, Look at that
just look at that! Before this trip, she had been against
full-time RVing, but now she thinks its the best thing thats
happened to both of us.
was such fun and the best blessing to have her share those experiences
with me. We went on glacier cruises and blew the budget by taking
a flightseeing tour of the great mountain Denali. No word or static
image can convey the majesty of the view afforded by having that
wide range of vision, and we just didnt want to land. At Denali
National Park we saw at least 13 grizzlies and, while there, I was
convinced it was the time to fulfill another dream. How exciting
to be able to say that my first whitewater rafting experience was
down the Nenana River in Alaska.
back, I feel like the summer flew by, but in other ways it felt
like a lifetime. My emotions ran the gamut, thats for sure.
From a feeling of accomplishment that I came so far alone
to doubting the wisdom of ever taking off on such a crazy and risky
dream I felt it all. If what life is all about is to just
experience life and learn as much about ourselves and others as
we can during our time here, then I truly did live a lifetime that
the most important thing that I experienced was a recommitment not
to let fear rule my life. If I had, this 52-year-old woman wouldnt
be here to testify from very personal experience that with a little
faith, even baby steps can get a gal all the way to Alaska.