It is funny in retrospect, not so much because because it was funny, but because they were right. It was the phrase we heard so often, the one that goes, "We're going to go to Alaska this year, next year, etc." Now that our first trip "to Alaska" is over and we are currently returning from Alaska, we understand it much better.
As it always turns out, it is the journey as much as the destination that in the end, gives satisfaction. One thing that anyone who drives an RV to Alaska quickly learns is that one does not simply cross the US Canadian Border, drive a couple of days and arrive in Alaska.
It is a long way from anywhere to Alaska, something that quickly becomes apparent once the wheels actually start rolling. In our case, what with side trips and extended stops to explore various areas, it took us nearly 45 days to traverse British Columbia and Yukon before arriving in Alaska. Sure we had a side trip to Skagway and Juneau, plus time in Eagle and Chicken, but despite the fact they were in Alaska we didn't feel we had arrived until we got to Tok on the July 4th weekend.
Each person's perceptions are different, we all have different experiences, everyone's WOW! factor is different, but each and everyone of us has that long, long drive in common. Of course there is a way around the drive drive, take the ferry, and those that either can afford it, or can't afford to take the time to drive, often take it.
Some drive up and back on the Alcan, while others might travel the Top of the World Highway, or come back on the Cassiar. In the end everyone has just as wonderful a time as they make their mind up to have.
We met people who had mechanical problems, and who just laughed those problems off as part of the experience. We met people who had mechanical problems and were not only sorry they had come, but declared they would never be back. Just think if you were a friend of either and asked them about their experience of "going to Alaska", what impression would you come away with, and what effect would it have on your thinking?
In a small way we had that experience with one of Linda's relatives. We were told we would tear up our RV on the roads, we'd have to cross the border and drive through Canada (as if that were a bad thing) and besides there is so much to see in the lower 48, why would we even want to go to Alaska.
Of course with thinking like that we would all still be living in the "Old World", believing the earth was flat. What kind of life is it to live all wrapped up in your safe little cocoon, never venturing out? At least those who went and had a less than stellar experience can talk about their own experiences. Those that don't go can only repeat the words of others.
So, sure it is a looong way to Alaska, and it's also a looong ways back. But golly gee whiz, it's more than worth it.