This is a daily journal of our trip to Alaska. Bert’s journal is designated (BF) and Shari’s is (SF). The heading on each day specifies where we ended the day or, in some cases, where we spent the majority of the day. Milepost is the number of miles we have driven by the end of the day in the motor home, not including the car. Birdcount is the total number of bird species Bert has seen since we left home.

Day 1 - Monday, April 1 - Milepost 256 - Birdcount 10 - South Llano River State Park, Texas

(BF's Journal). April Fool’s Day - perhaps only a fool would sell a money-making business at the peak of success, thereby loosing his job at age 50, and then buy a 35-foot motor home, hitch a 4-wheel drive vehicle behind, hang on a pair of mountain bikes and head out for a half-year journey to Alaska! The binoculars, telescope, cameras, Camcorder, notebook computer, cellular phone, cellular modem, and CB radio are packed. This is the electronic age, so the electronics travel to Alaska too. This journal, recorded on my Compaq notebook, details our Texas to Alaska adventure.

We’ve been packing for weeks, but the feeling of forgetting something lingers. After double checking our closed house, the convertible jacked up on blocks in the garage, and taking photos of our embarking vehicle, we are finally off at a few minutes before noon. We’ve planned this trip for over two years. We are leaving! Can it really be true?

We head west leaving the post oak savannah of Bryan, Hearne, Cameron, and Temple, pass through a narrow section of blackland prairie, then the hill country along the escarpment in Central Texas. We reach Edwards Plateau and our campsite at South Llano River State Park near Junction by late afternoon. Our friends, Jim and Ermine Hailey, already have their trailer positioned at a campsite. Their feeders attract Black-throated Hummingbirds, House Finch and Chipping Sparrows. Dozens of not-so-wild Wild Turkeys strut nearby, intermingled with numerous deer. A pair of enormously eared Black Jackrabbits feed on young grass shoots. We hike up the hillside to view the red-orange sun descending over the edge of the opposite hillside. Later, around Jim’s campfire, we hear Common Poorwills calling in the night while we roast marshmallows. What a wonderful first day of our trip!

(SF's Journal). I say goodbye to the house and goodbye to the bluebonnets and goodbye to the swimming pool and goodbye to the wreath above the fireplace and goodbye to...... We depart at 11:50 AM for the journey of a lifetime. The sunny day is a perfect 70 and I find it surprisingly hard to leave. But as the gently rolling hills and smooth fields of bluebonnets give way to the more rugged hill country and unpopulated areas of Texas, I get into the swing of things. After all our planning it hardly seems possible we are finally leaving. What a blessing and a thrill! The roads on the map are marked light red, but mostly they are two lane, smooth and without many cars. The town of Mason seems like it comes straight out of a Mitchner novel with its quaint town square and neat little shops. Here, St. Paul Lutheran Church, a beauty of architecture, is prominently displayed as we pass through town. By 5 PM we finally reach South Llano State Park and meet up with Jim and Ermine Hailey. While driving, our hitch got too tight and we have a bit of trouble undoing the safety cables, but we manage. The Good Sam Club rates our campground as 4-7-7, but I think it is much better and I give it a 7-9-8. Wild Turkeys and Armadillos and Black-throated Hummingbirds are right at the campsite. The natural beauty of the site is great and we take time for a walk to a scenic overlook and see a beautiful peachy sunset over the mountains. Jim makes us hamburgers over an open pit and we chat and plan the next day before heading to R TENT, my nickname for our motor home. We put on our warm Pj’s because it is expected to get into the forties tonight.

Next Day Itinerary