Our 11,635 mi camping trip to Arctic Circle. In Part (1)
A true adventure by John M and Kay A Coffman
Ed: This story written in 2022 – 23 was written describing a trip we made in 2006 to the Arctic Circle. It was written as part of an autobiography and anybody with a map can follow along the route taken.
I had been wanting to go to Alaska ever since high school. I got awake one morning, June 22, 2006, and realized that if I didn’t soon get there, I would be too old to go. I spoke to Kay about it at the breakfast table and she agreed. Just an extension of my wild nature.
We decided to go to Staunton that day and hunt for a camping trailer. We found one we liked and bought it. We towed it home and planned to go camping that weekend. We only went camping twice to familiarize ourselves with it before taking off on our adventure.
Our starting mileage was 36,033 on a 2002 Isuzu Trooper. We wondered how much we forgot. It seemed like we had been packing up for a couple of weeks. Joni and Kayla helped us to get ready to leave.
All the while keeping in mind that I had to be back to Virginia in time to pack up again to go to Wyoming to hunt antelope and also before we ran out of our medications.
Thursday, July 6, 2006
We finally got off at 1:28 p.m. As we got on I-81 at New Market and headed south we asked ourselves if we really should be doing this. Knowing all the time we both have health problems and that we would be in primitive areas. I’ve recently had open heart surgery, back surgery and Kay has diabetes. We decided to keep going, against our better judgement.
We got to Huntington, W.VA where we stayed at the Beech Fork Campground. We got to our site and hooked up our water, plugged in the power cord and hooked up the sewer. Everything was going fine, or we thought.
At a later time, it was beginning to get a bit warm in the camper so we thought we would turn on the A.C. Nothing happened. Huh! We tried the microwave, nothing there either. After a lot of testing, we found out that we had no current. We came to the conclusion that we had been operating on gas and battery power. We also came to the conclusion that the problem was not ours as we had no power coming out of the campsite power supply.
After examining the thing, I noticed a few little strange looking buttons in the box beside of the plug-ins. I finally decided I would push them the opposite of what they were. Presto!! The lights came on in the camper, the air conditioner started with gusto.
By then it was time to go to bed. (11:30). In these modern campers you don’t know if you are running on gas or on battery or electric current.
Friday, July 7, 2006
We left the campground at 9:00 am. Mileage 36346. On leaving Huntington we got on Rt. 52 which followed alongside of the Ohio River heading for Cincinnati, Ohio. As we had ½ tank of gas we didn’t feel it necessary to get gas in this heavily populated eastern United States, so down the road we went. We drove a good ways and we noticed that we hadn’t seen a gas station for quite a while. Our gas gauge was getting lower and lower. We were now almost in the desperate catagory. Where were the gas stations? Well, running on the last fumes of the tank we finally came to one at Moscow, Ohio. What a relief a little gas can cause. Our first lesson in gas management to get ready for the Western U. S. and Canada.
At Point Pleasant we stopped in to visit the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant. On the tour of the house, they showed us a pair of leather boots that a cobbler member of the family made. They had tiny wooden pegs to hold the soles on. At Cincinnati we got on Rt. I-74 and arrived at a campground at Mahomet, Illinois at 7:30 pm CST.
Saturday, July 8, 2006
We left the campground at 8:45, mileage 36772. We continued on I-74 to Bloomington, IL and then headed north on I-39 to Madison, WI, where we picked up I-94. At Partage we got on I-90 to Tomah, WI, We are staying tonight at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Menomonie, WI.
Sunday, July 9, 2006
We left at 8:15. Mileage 37207. After Fargo, ND, the hilly landscape changed to flat land. We arrived at Grand Forks, ND at 6:15
To be continued.
Check with us next month for a continuation of this adventure…John & Kay