Getting Ready

May 29, 2013

Its been a few years since we limbered up our Aliner “Tin Tent” pop-up camper. Our 2006 “Tin Tent Tour” was the big one and our first real trip in the camper. Our only camping trip since that time was in 2008 with friends, Sandy & Dave Netting, when we toured Canada’s Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Five years later, this trip, bound for Alaska, is slated to run for about five months.

The trip will probably involve a few more “dry camping” venues, meaning no electricity at campsites. That called for the addition of a small, portable generator to charge batteries. Selecting a generator was not a big problem. Storing it was. It meant we had to add storage boxes on the front of the camper, one for the generator and another for generator and cooking fuel as well as the propane grill from our boat. The trailer tongue is getting to be crowded real estate and cramming the additional stuff up front was a bit of a challenge.

Storage Boxes Further Crowd Front of Camper
Storage Boxes Further Crowd Front of Camper

Storage Boxes Further Crowd Front of Camper

Storage Boxes Further Crowd Front of Camper

We also wanted more comfortable seating inside the camper. The solution to that one was to saw apart a couple of metal and plastic folding chairs and to mount the parts onto the plywood seat bases where the old seat cushions had been. They seem comfortable but only a few evenings sitting and reading will tell.

Metal & Plasitc Folding Chairs Convert to More Comfotable Inside Seating

And, we’d traded Sandy’s old Lexus RX300 for a newer RX350 which meant configuring another car to hold our gear. We’d removed the rear seats from the old car to save weight and make more storage room. But the new car has air bags inside the rear seats and removing the seats meant completely disabling the air bag system. Not acceptable! Even so, the old frames for containing storage boxes and drawers was able to be adapted to the new car and it looks like we’ll have enough space to store the junk we’ll insist on dragging along with us.

Finally, the new car needed to be set up to haul the camper. Installing a hitch and a normal 4-wire electrical connection was part of the purchase deal for the car. But the Aliner needs a 7-wire hookup. Attaching and stringing the needed wire through the car was a bit of a challenge considering the complexity of modern car wiring, crowded engine room spaces and the under-car covers designed to improve gas mileage. That and a new stone guard completed the car renovations.

Needless to say it’s been a busy get-ready time. But we’re almost done. Just a couple more days, a farewell party with a few friends and we’re on our way.

We have an idea of places we might stay the first couple of nights. We have reservations to camp in Denali National Park’s Teklanika campground beginning July 6. In between we have a general idea of our route; up Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a stop at Mount Rushmore, through Canada’s Yoho and Jasper National Parks, visiting the Yukon’s Whitehorse and on to Denali. There will be lots of stops in between. We’ll have about five weeks to do that part so we won’t be traveling too fast; just our speed!

Beyond that we’ll make up our itinerary as we go. We have a list of places we want to visit and plan about two months in Alaska during which we’ll visit as many of those places as suits us. We’ll probably exit the state via ferry, touring Alaska’s southeast section during that portion of the trip. What will our route home be? Who knows? We certainly don’t! But we know we’ll have a good time!

We hope you’ll find our little travelogue entertaining!