Our original plans had us driving the R.V. to Alaska this summer, which would have essentially completed our westward migration across the U.S. But then we consulted a map.
“Holy crap, that’s far,” was my first reaction. “No freaking way,” was my second.
It’s a 2,300 mile drive from Seattle to Anchorage and another 2,300 miles back. One way of thinking about that distance is the time it takes to drive it; about 90 hours round-trip over what I understand are often terrible roads.
Normally we keep our drive times on travel days to less than 4 hours because driving sucks and there is never a good reason to torture ourselves any more than we absolutely have to. But keeping that pace would require three solid weeks of driving days. If we were to spend a couple of nights at each stop, as is also our practice, we’re talking about months of travel to and from our planned destination. No thanks.
Another way to think about that distance is to measure the cost of traversing it. Our R.V. travels only about 7 miles on a gallon of gasoline. With fuel prices in British Columbia more than $5 per gallon we’d end up spending over $3,300 on fuel alone.
There’s a reason God created jet engines. One of which, I now realize, is so I don’t have to drive to Alaska.
At this point in the story I’m sure my always astute readers are wondering what any of this has to do with Hawaii. And that really is the best part. Not only is it cheaper to fly to Alaska than to drive there, it’s so much cheaper that we added a flight to Hawaii and also some internal Alaskan flights for less than half the cost of simply driving the R.V. to Anchorage.
What’s more, some of the places we’re visiting in Alaska can’t be driven to anyway.
So there we have it. From Seattle to Hawaii, Hawaii to Anchorage, Anchorage to Juneau, Juneau to Ketchikan, and back to Seattle at about half the price, and one-sixth the time commitment, of driving to Alaska alone.
Now that’s what I call value. And the money we’re saving doesn’t even begin to account for the utter coolness of piecing together two “polar” opposite destinations like Hawaii and Alaska in to one trip.