As we drive off the Alaska Ferry in Bellingham today, our north country adventure is officially over.
It was an incredible three-week road trip. We drove more than 4,500 miles through British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon and came away with many impressions. It's impossible not to feel wiser about travel after taking such an epic trip.
Here are nine epiphanies:
1. Return visit? Next time, we’d spend more time exploring the Yukon near Whitehorse and Dawson City, and the spectacular Haines HIghway. We also barely touched the surface of the beautiful Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.
2. Alaska's national parks are stunning, but you’ll pay a price. If you want to visit the main attractions in Kenai Fjords National Park, be prepared to fork over $150 for a guided boat ride. Denali is best experienced on the tour buses that are allowed past mile 16, but that can cost hundreds of dollars per person.
3. Not too welcoming: At the nation’s largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias, we encountered some angry sentiment from Alaskan government haters. Just outside the park, locals had erected a Confederate battle flag and a sign telling us we weren't welcome in their playground. Bummer.
4. Best camping: The U.S. Forest Service’s Porcupine Campground in Hope, Alaska, was where we found the most exquisite site of our trip, with stunning views of Turnagain Arm.
5. Best reason to visit in an RV: August is the beginning of the rainy season. Having an RV to explore the Kenai Peninsula was a wonderful way to get some dry relief.
6. Rain isn't all bad: While the wet weather was challenging, it also brought out the blooming flowers, which were a riot of color -- especially the nasturtiums.
7. Stupendous stamp: Arrive early at the border crossing at Top of the World Highway, and you just might get a special stamp in your passport going into the U.S. that features a caribou.
8. Anticlimactic ending: The beginning of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, features a well-photographed sign marking Mile 0. At the end of the road on Mile 1,387 in Delta Junction, Alaska, there's nothing. Come on Delta Junction -- where's your Alaska Highway spirit?
9. The raw fish is amazing: The Anchorage area's sushi is beyond sensational. We had some of the best ever at Sakura Asian Bistro while staying the night at the heavenly Alyeska Resort. Arigato to chef Johnny for the awesome omakase selection which included white king salmon and sweet scallops.
And oh! How we loved the oTENTik: While visiting Kluane National Park near Haines Junction in the Yukon, we stayed in an oTENTik, Canada's answer to yurts you might find in Washington's state parks. It was a fantastic experience: Read about it on our Going Mobile blog on The Spokesman-Review.
Cooking tips: Last week we asked for tips on RV cooking. We heard from Nancy Skellenger, who swears by the Instant Pot. "Get one. It's worth it," she wrote. Noted, Nancy!
Yes, we have videos too: Leslie has been a busy traveler. Check out her many videos posted on YouTube. You’ll find them here: youtube.com/watch?v=L0Hud7Yz3ts.
Today’s Going Mobile question: We're looking ahead to our next adventure in the Western United States. Where should we go? Send your email responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want more? Check out our Instagram photos at instagram.com/ourgrandtour