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Alaska Trip: Days 27-29 (The End)

Day 27 – August 4
Today was a relaxing, fun day on the Bitterroot River. We took a small boat, a kayak, and an inner tube about 10 miles upstream of my uncle’s house, and spent the afternoon drifting down and fishing. The weather was beautiful, the river even more so, and the stress of spending a month in a car washed away in the cold, clear water. When we drifted back to the house, we barbecued some salmon for dinner, then sat around chatting for the rest of the evening. It was absolutely lovely.

Day 28 – August 5
After a good night’s sleep and cinnamon rolls for breakfast, we’re back on the road. This is the home stretch now; we aren’t planning on doing anything interesting in the final 3 days of the drive home. The weather here is hot and dry, without a cloud in the sky.

We made it as far as Belle Fourche, SD, just over the line.

Day 29 – August 6
Last day. Got on the road before 7:30 AM, and we’re going 80 MPH on I-90, so we’ll make good time. The weather is clear and warm. Made it to Mitchell, SD for lunch. Sometime in mid-afternoon our trip odometer hit 10,000 miles. We made it to Albert Lea about 5:30, then headed up to Northfield to drop off Rachel, then headed down the final stretch of I-35 to home. We got back to Williams just before 9:00 PM.

It’s been a long trip, but good. As you’d expect, there have been occasional personal conflicts, but they’ve been relatively minor and short-lived. We’ve had 2 flat tires, but in over 10,000 miles that’s not too bad. Beyond that, we’ve had no equipment problems (1 broken tent pole, easily fixed), no animal troubles (beyond chipmunks), no injuries (besides sunburn), and no camping catastrophies. The weather has been suboptimal, but not really problematic.

In one trip we’ve seen Great Slave Lake, the Yukon, Fairbanks, Prudhoe Bay, Denali, Anchorage, Homer, Seward, Vancouver, Seattle, and Missoula, not to mention Fargo. We’ve visited friends and family. We’ve dived into the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. We’ve seen mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers of all shapes and sizes, as well as grizzly bears, musk oxen, whales, and wolves. We’ve seen the midnight sun and snow in July. We’ve driven a final total of 10,317 miles, including the northernmost and westernmost points in the North American highway system.

All in all, not bad for a summer road trip.

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