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This past month, I went on my annual summer family vacation. It was an extra special vacation because all six of us were flying into Alaska to experience the 49th state in a RV for the entire 10-day vacation. This was one of the longest trips I had taken with my “blended family”, (my girlfriend, her daughter and my three kids) and it was filled with several special events and activities like river rafting, zip lining and a wedding….  A wedding!

More on that later. So as this trip began, there was my typical speech to everyone about the challenges of everyone keeping their cool and being patient with one another during the trip. Little did I know that the first 6 days of our summer trip was going to test everyone’s patients; especially mine!

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RV Travel

So as I stated earlier, the trip plan was to fly into Anchorage, pick up our RV rental and begin the 10-day road trip. Like most vacations, I had planned a little “wiggle room” in between events and activities just in case things get delayed. As I picked up my RV, I did the standard inspection of my vehicle. Now, if you have never rented an RV before; there are a few tips I would like to share about my personal experience:

Tip 1: Take your Time and go through the entire vehicle with your sales associate. Use your Video Camera or Smartphone to document your inspection.

Tip 2: Ask for all RV functions to be turned on and functioning. This means the Stoves, Pumps and generators. Record the startup functions on your video camera or smart phone.

Tip 3: Have a Copy of your Car Insurance. In addition, pay the extra fee for windshield insurance. In Alaska, there is always road construction because the summer time is the only time they can repair the roads.

Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

Groceries are very expensive in Alaska. The main reason why groceries are so expensive is because EVERYTHING is flown into the Alaska. The weather is so extreme; it is hard to have the common staples locally produced and available. There are no dairy farms, so milk is expensive and so is the price of beef, etc, etc… The bottom line is that even after a thoughtful grocery list and a trip to the “Super Walmart”, my girlfriend and I were able to stock our RV for the 10-day trip on $600 dollars.

A special note on a few of the items that were purchased on that trip to Walmart; as a cooking blogger, I am part of a group of #SilkBloggers who write about Silk Almond Milk, Silk Soy Milk and Silk Coconut Milk as part of my family commitment to plant based nutrition. I had brought some Silk Coupons and purchased both the Silk Almond Milk in the perishable and shelf-stable containers. Little did I know that this purchase was going to come in handy on this trip.

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Denali National Park

About a 5 hour drive outside of Anchorage is the Denali National Park. Now if you are not familiar with summertime weather in Alaska, let me tell you a few things to be prepared for when visiting Denali:

-Sometimes it rains, sometimes it is windy and sometimes it is sunny.

-There are ALWAYS mosquito’s in the summertime. Mosquito’s are the State Bird of Alaska, or at least I think it should be…

-It never gets completely dark at night; so expect to bring “eye covers, Benedryl, or Nyquil” to convince your body to rest; otherwise you will be like my family going on midnight hikes in the complete sunshine and burning out at 3 AM.

In summary, the park is huge, our campsite was perfect and we had a blast. We saw Moose up close, and Bear from afar. During our first meal, I had decided to BBQ and the first night in Denali was a hit. It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized that something went terribly wrong…

What’s that smell?
Waking up in the RV the first morning of our road trip was somewhat eventful. My girlfriend Beth is an expert on describing smells and decided to give me her thoughts on the smell that was coming out of our RV. Now my girlfriend Beth is from Gulfport, Mississippi; and to understand her southern ways and vernacular on describing certain events is something of comic proportions. No matter how vulgar the words may be; everything sounds funny with her southern accent. Anyways, you get the point; something smelled really bad and it was not coming from any of our four children.

Apparently, the refrigerator was broken; and after further review, the fridge was never going to work from the moment we had left the RV sales office. The exterior vent from the RV that holds the refrigerator components had been tampered with and the entire machine was inoperable. Our dairy products, meats, and cold cuts were spoiled and our produce was about to spoil as well and become part of a science project growing in our fridge over the last 30 hours…

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Silk to the Rescue

As the rest of my family woke up to the smell, I was busy managing damage control. The nearest access to ice for an ice chest was over an hour away at the Denali Park entrance and I had a handful of kids hungry and waiting for their first breakfast.

As I assessed my options, I saw that I had a box of pancake mix and sitting next to the mix was a block of Silk Almond Milk. This almond milk does not spoil and it was because of this discovery, our first breakfast of my family summer vacation was saved by Silk.

I served up the best Pancake recipes I know; Bacon Pancakes, Banana Pancakes and just regular pancakes using Silk Almond Milk and Krusteaz Pancake Mix.

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Our Alaska Journey Continues…

After our breakfast was served, I headed back toward the park entrance and bought ice for my two ice chests. I was able to continue on the first 6 days of our trip without an operating refrigerator; the RV company that I rented from made it up to me by exchanging an upgraded, newer model. Despite the refrigerator inconvenience, our Alaska journey continued to our other activities and events on time.

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Speaking of other activities, there were a few surprises in store for all of us…and there are more “#SilkBloggers” tales  to share!

To be continued…

 
 
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