A Lance Camper, a C-Dory and Two Mighty Trucks

A mighty little truck. The first year we came up to Alaska, 2009, we used our C-Dory as our camper and towed it up and back – more than 8,000 miles over 43 days with our 2004 Toyota Tacoma. We had a sunroof, which proved to be just the thing for wildlife photography. Here the rig is parked in front of Muncho Lake in Northern British Columbia. Right after we took this photo, three Rocky Mountain Sheep ewes and their several lambs crossed the road right in front of us. (See C-Dory 22 Angler: A Boat for Alaska)

I have long admired the line from Robert Frost’s poem The Road not Taken, “…Yet knowing how way leads on to way…” for the simple, universal truth it holds. When we purchased this boat, we had no idea we’d be towing it to Alaska, using it as our camper both on land (it was a great conversation starter in campgrounds) and on the water. Nor did we have any idea that we would fall so hard for this great state. I don’t recall who spoke first, but on our way back to California that summer at some point one of us turned to the other and said what we’d both been thinking: “We need to figure out how to move up here.”

A few months later, we had job offers in the Alaskan bush, a new Lance camper and a Chevy Silverado 2500 pickup truck. We were ready!

The camper is equipped with air conditioning, heat, a shower and toilet, three-burner stove, a surprisingly large and very adequate refrigerator-freezer, TV, stereo, queen-sized bed, small dining table and comfortable seating, skylights and lots of cupboards and cabinets. Good headroom, too. We’re comfortable living small, so for the two of us it’s a plush set-up. We keep reminding ourselves that we’re preparing for a future chapter in our lives when, hopefully, we will live aboard a sailboat. An item we installed that has proved indispensable is the solar panel which, even on cloudy days, supplies enough of an extra trickle of electricity to make life easier.

It was a red-letter day when we got our Alaska license plates! That morning we walked into the DMV in Haines where a friendly clerk gave us a couple of driver’s license booklets to study. We walked to a nearby coffee shop, had our soy lattes, returned to the DMV, took the test, got our photos taken, and were issued licenses.
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Although we are in the heart of a near-record cold spell, we’re over the hump in the school year and our thoughts are beginning to turn toward another summer in Seward, exploring the Kenai Peninsula and boating and fishing the beautiful waters of Resurrection Bay.
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Gool ol’ Stanley, our reliable Chevy Silverado 3/4 ton, loaded up on her maiden trip to Alaska.
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