The decision of what to drive isn’t made, yet, but the decision of how to drive is almost entirely separate, anyway. I can start thinking about that in parallel.

Google Maps gives me roughly two routes for land-based travel:

The first–drive straight west for a while, turn right, and go up through Madison, WI, and large portions of Canada–is 4071 miles long. At the speed I plan to drive, that’s roughly 11 days. (Yes, I’m familiar with Hofstadter’s Law. I’m planning for 2 weeks or more.)

The second, going through Seattle (an option I’m considering largely due to the convenience of using US currency and staying in hotel chains I know are pet-friendly for as much of the way as possible), is 4902 miles long. That’s 13 days.

I’d like to take a day or two, in there, to chill, be a tourist, and not really drive anywhere (so, 13 and 15 days, respectively). Where and whether I can depends, a bit, on which path I take, of course. There’s a third option: ferry from Bellingham, which is north of Seattle. As far as I can tell, this is a terrible idea–it’s expensive, takes possibly longer than driving, and … actually, if the trip planner is to be believed, it’s not even possible, unless I leave earlier or drive faster. And the birds would have to stay in the car. The whole time. … No way.

One other possible wrench in this plan is, if my newest Ravelry friend is to be believed, the possibility of snow along the Alaska Highway. Now, looking at historical data for the Yukon, it seems like snow in mid-September is not really a problem. A kind professor tipped me off to the existence of the Milepost, a sort of travel guide for the Alaska Highway–which looks like it stretches into the Yukon, as well–and I don’t see a lot of evidence that snow is of great concern. … I think I may ask an Alaskan librarian for help with this. I know a couple, now, and it’s an excuse to get to know a couple more, right?

If I don’t hate driving by the time I hit Tok, I may go up to Fairbanks and down through Denali. That would be an awesome drive.

Also, this whole thing could be done more efficiently–and would be a whole lot more fun–if someone were able to join me for any leg of the trip. I realize flying back to Pittsburgh from Anchorage is expensive–believe me–but maybe someone wants to go to Wisconsin? Or from Wisconsin to Dawson Creek, BC? … No worries, if not. I’m prepared to do the drive myself, but I figure it can’t hurt to ask.

Last, but not least, I have put in requests for bids from pet shipping companies, for the birds. I don’t think we’re going to deem that especially economical, but who can say?

As always, feel free to leave comments/advice/complaints/suggestions/recipes/lolcats.

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