Driving to Alaska Day 15: The day the driving fatigue set in

Welcome to post 15 of 18 in our Driving to Alaska series. We hope you enjoy the stories from this unforgettable 4,000 mile road trip.

The morning began in a far less glamorous way than the previous night ended.  After our two hour long sunset safari, we pulled onto a wide stretch of shoulder and promptly passed out at 1:00am.  When we woke, a group of people had parked next to us and were prepping gear for a pack rafting trip.  With no privacy of any kind we got out of bed, into the cab, and made our way to the nearest town about 20 minutes away.  I was bummed to see that it was once again grey and overcast and cold; and being on the move again before I’d even changed out of my pajamas made the come down off of last night’s high even more palpable.  

The trusty iOverlander app informed Mark of a gas station with showers at the highway junction in Cantwell.  It had been six days since our last shower and I liked the idea of getting clean but I never get my hopes up when it comes to public shower facilities, you never know what you’re going to get.  To my sheer delight we walked in to discover a sparkling clean laundromat that included four modern and immaculate bathrooms and one private shower.  I was tired of being outside in the cold and tired of being on the move (we’d driven every day for the last 15 days).  Hanging out at a clean laundromat where we could shower, do a load of laundry, and charge some of our batteries and devices, sounded like the perfect way to spend a few hours on a dreary day.  We left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  It was just the morale boost we needed.

In search of a hot lunch, we traveled north towards Denali National Park.  We walked into a popular restaurant to find it filled with tourists and prices that only a tourist hotspot can get away with charging.  Mark and I have spent a lot of our lives living near, and working in, resort towns and they’re not our destinations of choice, so we turned around and went back the way we came.  At a roadside pullout we set up our table and stove and Mark cooked us a meal that was likely far better than anything we would have gotten near the park.  

We both were craving a day of stillness so we returned to the remote highway from which we came.  Most of the campers had cleared out leaving us with any campsite we wanted.  I spent the afternoon in a blissful state of deep sleep while Mark spent hours listening to an audiobook.  

This trip has reinforced our love of slow travel.  For us, being on the move constantly isn’t sustainable.  We hit a wall today because of the fatigue it inevitably causes.  Having a rig with enough space and amenities for protection from the elements is crucial for us.  In the truck we’ve been loaned, the only way to get a break from the outdoors is to sleep or to drive.  We are so grateful for this experience and are indebted to our friends for loaning us their truck.  But I certainly can’t hide the fact that I am beyond excited to return to our Four Wheel Camper, we’ve fallen in love with it all over again…though I’m not sure we ever fell out of love with it in the first place.

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We’re Mark & Michele, modern-day nomads perfecting the art of slow, full-time travel.  Our tiny home on wheels and slow-paced travel style allows us to minimize our expenses while maximizing our freedom.  May our unconventional way of life inspire you to design a life that you love.


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