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A One-Way Ticket to Alaska (Part 9)

November 9:

Today is our last day on the road! We’re finally going to make it to Colorado Springs!

A part of me is already feeling nostalgic that the trip is coming to an end. The other part of me never wants to be in the car for longer than an hour ever again.

As we made our way through the nothingness of Wyoming, we reminisced on our favorite parts of the trip.

Favorite spot:

K’Lee: Muncho Lake

JT: Muncho Lake

Favorite animal:

K’Lee: Caribou

JT: Bison

Favorite state/territory:

K’Lee: British Columbia

JT: British Columbia

I think it is hilarious that both of our favorite territories was the one we nearly died in.

This last leg of the trip has been the hardest. I tried to enjoy the scenery and ignore how sore my body was but didn’t have much luck. Wyoming, Montana, and Alberta are pretty similar and three days of seeing nothing but cows, antelope, and deer gets old.

Southern Wyoming has interesting rock formations which reminded me of Cap Rock Canyon, TX. Pink, orange, and beige striped cliffs would rise and fall out of the rolling hills.

As we approached Casper, Wyoming, a huge cloud of smoke covered the city. As we drove into the smog, we realized it wasn’t smoke but fog. We had hoped to have left the fog in Canada. It was so dense that we couldn’t see the traffic signs.


Driving across the Colorado border was a huge relief yet somehow made us antsier. This trip has been so exhausting, and the idea of even driving another three hours felt like torture.

Luckily, we have an aunt who lives outside of Denver and visiting her seemed like the perfect way to break up another long day.

As we made our way through Greely, J.T. said, “The power steering just went out.”

My first reaction was to look at the GPS. We were eight minutes from her house.

Surely we could make it… Right?

As he manhandled the steering wheel through the next turn, I feared we were going to wreck.

Then the battery light lit up the dash. Then the thermostat.

“It’s overheating!” Panic filled J.T.’s voice.

Three more minutes. We can make it.

We turned the corner onto her street and limped the Jeep to a stop under some trees. A thousand thoughts ran through my head. Mostly, “Thank goodness, my aunt and uncle were available for lunch”.

When J.T. popped the hood, he said he could hear the coolant boiling. I’m not a car expert, but that didn’t sound like a good thing.

I went inside to tell my aunt what had happened while J.T. continued to investigate.

A little while later, he came in and told us that we were completely missing a belt. It had vanished.

I was so thankful this happened in a neighborhood and not on the highway in the middle of Denver.

After lunch, my brother and uncle headed into town to search for necessary parts while my aunt and I caught up.

Did I mention how thankful I was to be with family and not stranded in the middle of nowhere?

The sun had already begun to set before J.T. came inside, with arms covered in grease and superficial burns. We needed another part, and the store said they wouldn’t have one until tomorrow morning.

It ended up being a blessing in disguise. We got to spend the evening laughing with our cousins and enjoying time with family we don’t get to see often enough.

Despite the added chaos to an already chaotic adventure, I felt blessed to be safe and stay under the same roof of people who care for us and not just another faceless hotel.

I tried to soak it all in. Tomorrow will truly be the end of this journey (we hope), and I’m not sure when I’ll see my brother next. As annoying as he’s been, tonight has reminded me how important it is to take every opportunity you have to be with loved ones.

I’m not crying…

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