Home has been a five-foot by eight-foot American Falcon teardrop camper for two weeks now. There have been a few surprises. I had imagined I would miss having a roof over my head or be frustrated living in such small space. It’s been quite the opposite. The trailer holds a queen-size memory foam mattress in its main compartment. In fact, it’s the mattress from my bed in Anchorage. There have been many mornings that we haven’t wanted to get out of bed because we were too comfortable! You can be assured I never uttered those words while tent camping.
It’s been easy to find comfort in daily life on the road. Even the anxious, neurotic dog is settling in. Everything we need is at our fingertips. Granted, we brought too much stuff and are watching for things we aren’t using to gift to friends along the way, but the kitchenette’s organization is clever. There’s the functionality aspect of organization as well as the ability of items to travel down extraordinarily rough roads, marred by pot holes and northern frost heaves. I’ve used a magnetic knife rack and towel rod, wire and wooden baskets, and 3M sticky hooks do the trick. A hanging flower pot holds the cutlery. A few bungee cords to secure the cutting boards and the camp stove (hooked into the wire baskets) and we’re travel ready. From the hooks we have hanging cups, a camp mirror, and telescoping wiener roaster. I also mounted paper towel and toilet paper holders.
The most difficult daily task is making the bed. The mattress extends below the bedroom cubbies so a couple of feet of mattress go under the built-in storage. Easy enough for legs to extend down there while sleeping, but a reach for arms trying to layer sheets and the mountains of blankets needed for northern camping in May. Luckily, so far, I’ve been able to use this task as an opportunity to be mindful and grateful for our comfortable little space.
Home isn’t home without art. The teardrop décor is complete with some posters and even an original watercolor from my favorite Alaskan artist, Debby Bloom.
At these northern latitudes, spring has just begun. In some of the farther north or high-latitude locations, spring is merely signs of things to come, like budding trees and flowering willows, rather than in present day warmth and life. We witnessed bud burst and leaf out multiple times first as we drove north from Anchorage to the Alaska Highway and then each time we gain elevation. Even now, next to the still ice-covered
Summit Lake in northern British Columbia, snow patches brighten the landscape and the only green are the conifers that don’t seasonally shed their needles.
What else is a sign of spring? Baby animals, of course. We have been so lucky to see recently born wood bison calves and Stone’s lambs in the incredible mix of wildlife we’ve been viewing along the way.
Trumpeter swans and Canada geese have paired up in roadside wetlands and we even watched bald eagles flirting over the Kenai River.
Showers can be few and far between on the Alaska Highway. A trick we have found is to stop at Recreation Centers in the small towns, like Watson Lake, Fort Nelson and Fort Saint John. These community facilities have weight rooms and other novelties such as pools, bowling alleys and skating rinks. And perhaps most importantly, they have showers and sometimes even saunas and steam rooms! For the price of a not-so-glamorous shower at an aging RV park, we can have a workout, some entertainment, and get clean. The pool in Fort Saint John can be better described as an indoor water park. In addition to the wave pool, separate olympic-sized pool, and hot tub, it has a three-story water slide that twists and turns in complete darkness! It was a thrill. We played in the pools until the facility closed, and even then, didn’t want to get out of the water.
The best way to stay clean between showers (no, not baby wipes) is to stop at the hot springs along the way. We spent a couple of cold, rainy hours comfortably soaking in the warm, mineral-rich waters of Takhini Hot Springs outside Whitehorse. A few days later we camped at Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park in British Columbia. I have visited Liard Hot Springs in the past, but had forgotten the stunning beauty of the clear blue water and surrounding lush vegetation. We timed it to see the wildflowers in full bloom surrounding the steaming hot pond.
WiFi is another commodity that can be difficult to find on the Alaska Highway. Rural Canada is behind in the times in internet connectivity; even Cambodia has WiFi at cafes and restaurants in almost any town or city! The rare internet access can hamper wishing a dear friend happy birthday, paying bills, and posting the next article to this site. It’s taken four stops in three different towns just to get the photos featured here uploaded. Luckily, most small towns still have public libraries that offer internet. Even in Skagway, Alaska, the public library is the only public place with connectivity.
I am finally starting to feel the release from the pull to be busy, to strive for the next goal. Living in the teardrop just two short weeks has already had an effect. Morning routines include a short meditation by a noisy riverbank or next to a deep boreal lake reflecting the surrounding mountains; a little yoga or Vasie Pilates after Jason prepares coffee. We then lazily decide if we will play music, read, write, or perhaps make a big camp breakfast of pancakes, eggs and sausage. We can stay at camp for another day if we like, hiking and exploring, or hit the road to see what new sights the day will bring. The lack of WiFi mentioned above has its positive side. With all the crazy politics and news, it’s a relief to have a smaller world, one here, in beautiful British Columbia, rooted in the present moment.
Curious to see where we’ve been? Pictures are worth 1,000 words so, provided we can find reliable internet, my next post will be a photo blog (in the Photos page) to share the incredible northern landscapes, iconic wildlife, and fun towns we’ve visited so far. Thanks for following along!