Trip plans for the Alcan 5000

As work continues on the Mustang, I’m finalizing my plans for this year’s summer road trip.

A year and a half ago, my friend Dmitry decided to sign up for the Alcan 5000, a road rally that runs from Seattle, Washington, up through Canada on the Alaskan Highway, into Alaska, continuing north until you hit the Arctic Circle, and finishing down south in Fairbanks. Dmitry signed up for the rally on a motorcycle, because he’s nuts.

I’m not quite as nuts as he is. Therefore, I decided to sign up for the rally in a 50-year old car: my old ’66 Mustang. So I’m still arguably nuts, just not quite as nuts as Dmitry. A friend of mine, Mike Boryca, also signed up for the Alcan 5000 in a vintage car. I convinced my friend Brandon Boyd to serve as my navigator for the rally.

I had just completed an 8k mile road trip in the Mustang, traveling from Michigan to California, up to Washington State, and back to Michigan. A road trip to Alaska would be a similar distance, so the Mustang, already having proven itself a more-than-capable long distance road trip machine, would be perfect for the Alcan.

For the past year, I’ve been keeping track of my travel plans in a Google Doc, just like I did with my previous road trip in the Mustang. In the year since I started planning, a couple of people have joined in the adventure. For better or worse, these folks are already well versed in foolish adventures, either with me or on their own.

Pictured above is the tentative route that the Mustang will probably travel. Google Maps suggests that it’s a 9300 mile round trip, so with my personal wandering about plus the transits and stages for the road rally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the car goes more than 10k miles on this trip. Here’s the itinerary for the trip, still liable to change, but at this point is pretty much well set.

8/9/2018 — Depart from Dearborn in the evening, drive to Chicago, Illinois.
8/10/2018 — Drive to Fargo, North Dakota.
8/11/2018 — Drive to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
8/12/2018 — Drive to Calgary, Alberta.
8/13/2018 — Spend three days in Banff National Park.
8/15/2018 — Drive to Glacier National Park in the evening.
8/16/2018 — Spend the day in Glacier National Park.
8/17/2018 — Drive to Seattle, Washington.
8/18/2018 — Spend the day in Seattle.
8/19/2018 — Start of the Alcan 5000.
8/28/2018 — Alcan 5000 concludes in Fairbanks, Alaska.
8/29/2018 — Pick up Angela from the airport, rent gear from REI in Fairbanks, drive into Denali National Park, overnight at the Teklanika campground.
8/30/2018 — Park bus to Wonder Lake, hike, overnight at Wonder Lake campground.
8/31/2018 — Return to Teklanika, hike, overnight at Teklanika campground.
9/1/2018 — Stop by 49th State Brewing Company for beer and BBQ pulled pork. Overnight at the Chenna Hot Springs.
9/2/2018 — Drive to Fairbanks. Angela, Brandon, Dmitry, and I fly out. Dan and Sarah drive the Mustang back to Detroit.
9/3/2018 — Fly into Lincoln, Nebraska. Rent a ride for Nationals.
9/8/2018 — Fly to Detroit, Michigan.
9/9/2018 — Rest day before going back to work.

According to my spreadsheet, I have budgeted $2700 for fuel, $900 for food, $1300 for lodging, and $3800 for “other,” which includes my plane tickets and the $2500 stipend I’m giving to Dan and Sarah for driving my car back home.

Add in the 15% “fudge factor,” and my budget for this trip a round $10k. I’m not worried about the money, though. Having planned for this for a while now, I’ve set aside the money for the trip.

No, the biggest potential issue is that I don’t finish the Mustang in time for the trip. The transmission swap took way longer than I had originally expected, and I still have things I’d like to do to the car before I go to Alaska. However, with the clock ticking away, I’m thinking that a lot of things I want to do right now will simply have to wait until the car returns home.

I do have a Plan B: the Volvo I just bought is my backup Alcan rally car.

It’s 86 days until I leave for the trip. I hope the Mustang will be ready in time…