This is post #2 in a 5-post series on our Drive to Alaska! Check out the other Days here:
Day 1 – Colorado to Montana
Day 2 – The Most Scenic: Banff, Lake Louise & the Icefields Parkway
Day 3 – Logging, Big Trucks & Long Roads
Day 4 – Crossing the Canadian Rockies & Arriving in the Yukon
Day 5 – Arriving in Alaska!
The time had *finally* arrived. After months of preparations, we were ready to head North.
North to Alaska.
We packed the car a couple of days in advance just to make sure we could fit everything in. And it did (just barely). I became an expert in filling any gaps because, as much as we had already downsized, we still had probably more stuff than we needed and what little space we had was precious.
We thought about strapping Nani’s crate to the top of the car a la Clark Griswold in Vacation, but figured she’d be a bit more comfy in the the back. (Only kidding, of course. Though I wonder if some people actually have strapped a crate to the top of their car…)
Day 1 was actually Day 2, technically speaking.
The day we had planned to depart Denver, a storm decided to descend upon the city and dump heaps of snow.
We awoke to dark, menacing clouds, swirling gusts and streets loaded with snow.
Should we give it a go, anyway? We wondered. Since we’ve driven in snow a thousand times and didn’t really have a problem with it, we decided we would give it a try. But first we’d have to wait until our dog was dropped off from her overnight doggie care place (she was staying there while we were in San Francisco the week prior).
The problem was that I-70 was closed. Shut down. Impassable. And there was no way they could bring her to us until the following day. So, our decision was made for us. We would wait.
Turns out the next day was gorgeous. As often happens in Colorado, a big storm will sweep in one day, offload tons of snow, and then move on out. The next day was sunny with blue skies:
Nani arrived safely in the morning, though not until about 8:30am. We were hoping for an earlier start, but got on the road by 9am. We were fully, fully packed. Lucky we had the Thule box on top which held all of our sporting equipment that would never have fit in the car: skis, golf clubs, tennis racquets…
As we left, I took a photo of the snowy Green Mountain near my mom’s place and off we went!
Just north of Denver we saw remnants of the disasters that struck I-25 the previous day. There was a 30-car pileup that we might’ve been caught in had we left when we intended to. So glad we were forced to wait a day.
About 2 hours into our drive, we crossed into Wyoming. Progress!
Wyoming was funny because we kept going in and out of these snow storms that literally appeared out of nowhere. They lasted only a few minutes, though, and then we were back in the sun again.
Many hours later, we’d crossed the whole of Wyoming and made our way into Montana. 2 states down so far.
Funny how the southern part of Montana had a decent amount of snow, but then farther north it looked far more like late spring with nary a flake of snow in sight.
When you look at the photo below you don’t have to wonder how Montana got one of its unofficial nicknames “Big Sky Country.”
And then the close of the day.
Total Drive Time: 11 hours
Total Miles Driven: 750
Day 1 was long, but we were excited about the journey, and even though we still had 4 full driving days left, we felt good at the end of the day.