Any time I travel from Alaska down to the Lower 48, it's a big deal. I have to get to the airport - either Anchorage seven hours away or Fairbanks, almost a four hours drive. Cell signal is spotty and moose are prevalent.
Moose impact usually totals a car, very often kills the driver. As long as the weather is good, both of these trips are great drives. When it isn't, it is white knuckles all the way.
In case of an accident, on some long stretches of Alaska highways, there are no houses for miles and no cars for hours. If you do go off the road, you often can't call anyone for help and just have to sit and wait.
In Alaska, we keep our cars well stocked with survival gear, non-perishable foods, blankets, camping matches, water. With barely any radio for much of the trip to Anchorage in particular, I spend hours catching up on podcasts like Managing the Gray by C.C. Chapman and Marketing Over Coffee with Christopher Penn and John Wall. I also like Double X and Freakonomics.
I always try to leverage my time away. If I have one conference, I try to find others in the area or clients I can meet or friends I can connect with while I'm in a city. This time, I turned a single appearance at Women Create Media on August 4 (speaking with my co-author Danielle Smith about c0-writing a book and working with editors and publishers) into a West Coast book tourfor my crowdsourcing book. Next is BlogHer (just attending).
Then Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa, and I end my travels on August 14 with a keynote address at Second Life Community Convention in Oakland. Then I fly back home, stay overnight with friends, and drive back to rural Alaska.
What am I looking forward to most? It's hard to narrow it down. The sunshine. Please let there be sun. Driving up the California coast. The ocean. Even traffic. I actually feel calmer, safer, in traffic. And it is a great time to catch up on my podcasts. Or listen to the news live on air. Or music.
I love road trips. I spent over a year on the road by myself from September 2000 to November 2001. You can read about that trip on RVGirl.com. This 12-day road trip is going to be so different from road tripping back then. Today, I've got Instagram, Foursquare, Intersect, Foodspotting, Facebook, Twitter and more, all at my fingertips on my iPhone that will probably work much of the drive.
I'll be keeping a road diary here (and syndicating it on my Crowdsourcing Book Site and posting dispatches at The Daily Crowdsource) as I travel. And if you're along the way between San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Napa and want to connect, let me know. Coffee? Tea? Lunch? I'm game.
Where do you like going when you go on a road trip?