Detour: Hawaii

Flying to Hawaii

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.

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25 Comments on “Detour: Hawaii”

  1. Tom August 16, 2013 at 8:38 am #

    Polar opposites, indeed, although when we last visited Juno in was 94 degrees!

    Like

    • Brian August 16, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      Funny. We experienced some of that too.

      Like

  2. walktx August 16, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    What a wonder trip you have planned. I look forward to following your adventures.

    Like

    • Brian August 16, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Thanks. We look forward to sharing them.

      Like

  3. Rajiv August 16, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Terrible roads? Oh please, come to India, and you will never criticize roads again!

    Like

    • Brian August 16, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Some day. Until then we’ll just take your word for it. 🙂

      Like

    • antarabesque August 17, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      The roads are fine! Living at Mile 0, I would know.

      Like

  4. Ingrid August 16, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Very cool…..I was wondering what happened to your Alaska journey, especially with fall approaching. We too have reconsidered driving to Alaska. Hubby is concerned about the wear and tear on the truck and fiver and then there’s the gas. Sounds like Plan B could be a winner!

    Like

    • Brian August 16, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      It’s always good to rethink things. Sometimes the obvious path (in this case driving to Alaska) isn’t always the best one. Let us know what you decide.

      Like

  5. jmeyersforeman August 16, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    I am sure this will be an amazing trip, it is sad that you will be seeing only the major centers, and missing some of the great country side, and of course missing Canada all together! My family drove through Alberta, then Yukon to the “top of the world” highway over to Chicken Alaska, and down through the state, about 10 years ago, pulling a 5th wheel, some of the roads are gravel, but it was an amazing trip. But then again gas prices were not what they are today, I am sure you will love Hawaii. I am looking foward to reading all about it.

    Like

    • Brian August 16, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Of course driving to Alaska would mean missing Hawaii on this trip. Everything is a trade off. And this particular trade off (swap a couple of months driving through the Canadian wilderness for a month on some tropical islands) seems like a good one.

      Like

  6. John August 16, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Full thrust! Pound for pound, a jet engine is the most powerful engine available. 🙂

    Like

  7. Allison August 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Kudos to your logic path. We’ve talked to more than one RV’er who, after driving to Alaska, were so jarred and dismayed by the roads that they took a ferry back to the US rather than repeat the process. Looking forward to your account of Hawaii. I haven’t been there, so a preview will be good.

    Like

    • Carol August 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      I always have heard that September is THE month to be in Alaska!

      Like

    • Brian August 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      If we had driven up, we’d have taken the ferry back too. Partly because we don’t like backtracking and covering the same ground, but also because there are many places in Alaska you can’t drive to. We didn’t even get as far as pricing out the cost of ferrying our 35 foot motor home and tow car, but I’m guessing we’re glad we didn’t go that route. 🙂

      Like

  8. Deb August 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    You are right that BC gas prices are hefty. On Saturday we paid $6.23 a gallon in BC….ouch! You should still check out the west coast of Canada at some point as it is pretty awesome.

    Like

    • Brian August 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      We’ve actually missed most of Canada so far on our travels, although not by design. The way our schedule has worked the past few years is that by the time we reach the border it’s usually late in the season and we need to turn around and head south again. It’s safe to say, though, that we need to (and probably will) do some kind of coast to coast Canadian extravaganza at some point.

      Like

  9. Megan August 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    Haha. I’m glad I’m not the only one. When we moved to Seattle, I told my husband we were going to drive to Alaska and back for a week’s vacation. Then I realized it would leave about 11 seconds for seeing anything.

    Like

    • Brian August 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      But those 11 seconds are freaking amazing! 🙂

      Like

  10. writecrites August 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    Glad to see you’re coming to Hawaii. And if you come in September, you’ll be here for the Aloha Festivals—lots of pageantry and events for about a month on all islands. I write the Destination Hyatt books for Honolulu, Kauai and Maui, so in case you’d like to see it, I’m attaching a link to the Honolulu book. Just skip the Hyatt part and go right to the good stuff (attractions, etc.): http://destinationhyatt.customtravelmags.com/publication/?i=138907
    If you’d like to see Kauai and Maui, too, just let me know.
    How long will you be here?

    Like

    • Brian August 17, 2013 at 11:13 am #

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for the info. We were on the islands for about a month but have already left (the blog trails us by a bit as we tend to travel faster than we write.) Sorry for the confusion.

      Like

  11. Gina left the mall August 16, 2013 at 6:56 pm #

    I laughed at your map consultation because I’ve had the same consult before (“Holy crap, that’s far” + “No freaking way.”) I’m thrilled that your value trip has added so much value to your journey.

    Like

  12. kathibook August 17, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    You guys live the most amazing lives!!! Envy….pure envy!!

    Like

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