A GUY AND HIS DOG: TRIP PREP, TESTING AND CHANGES

Did I ever talk about the trip I'm doing to Alaska and the Yukon this summer?  Well, if I didn't...that's what I'm doing.  The trip has been in planning for a year and a half now and it's nearly time for my departure.  What started out as a trip to Alaska with a friend of mine from California turned into plans for a mini series, a group name with a IG page and website and plans for future trips.  At the height of the stoke level the team was at five other people including myself.  In the past couple months the team roster has diminished to just...me (and Willow).  

 It's just me and the dog.  Willow and I will be joined at the hip by the end of this trip...

It's just me and the dog.  Willow and I will be joined at the hip by the end of this trip...

The last remaining members of the team were Jessey and Tommie, two fellow overlanders who offered up there home as a refuge from the road and later became part of the team.  While at the North West Overland Rally in Plain, Washington, Jessey took a spill off his longboard and broke his ankle.  The resulting surgery put a plate and screws in his ankle and has forced him into couch jail for a large portion of the summer, scratching the AK/YT trip off the list of summer activities.  

So, as it stands, I'm riding solo plus dog for the whole trip.  My feelings about the change are pretty optimistic at this point.  I've wanted to do more solo travel and it looks like the opportunity to do so has fallen right into my lap.  Yes, it's unfortunate that I won't be able to produce the mini series that I had hoped for and I will undoubtedly have some pretty lonely days, but I think the experience will shape me in a positive way.  

 The adventure buddies, Willow and Turbo.

The adventure buddies, Willow and Turbo.

Aside from that, I had a chance to test out the new set up this past weekend when I went to pick up Alison.  From Red Deer where I picked her up we traveled to Canmore, AB to enjoy a night together at a B&B then hike Mt. Rundle the next day.  From there we traveled up the Icefields Parkway from Banff towards Jasper, turning off at Saskatchewan Junction and heading East towards Nordegg.  The first night we joined a fellow traveler in a small camp spot along the river.  The second night we stayed along the same river a little further down towards Abraham Lake where we had a more open and level campsite.  

 Contemplating life?  At least she chose a good spot to do it...

Contemplating life?  At least she chose a good spot to do it...

 It's a trio now...

It's a trio now...

We got a good idea of what the new tent and canopy is like and how the well the pull out kitchen works.  I'm happy to say that each performed great!  The canopy is a lot more spacious allowing for better and more storage.  In addition the side access makes it a lot easier to retrieve stuff located closer to the cab of the truck.  The new tent is pretty swanky as well; although smaller, the tent is comfortable, spacious enough and basically wind and rain proof.  And lastly, the pull out kitchen.  It worked great and Alison was pretty pleased with how it made prepping food a lot more convenient.  Overall, pretty good results, I only came back with a small list of modifications.

 Skirting the provincial park boundary.

Skirting the provincial park boundary.

 Room with a view.

Room with a view.

 Campsite on point.

Campsite on point.

Now I bide my time before departing for BC where I'll use my parents place as a final staging point before the trip.  All my gear for a month and a half on the road is being sorted and consolidated and I the truck is slowly being packed.  Just a few more days.