Hooks for Cooks™

Al CanWhen my Eagle Scout husband and I decided to buy our 23-foot travel trailer six years ago, we thought it would be a great way to educate our children about traveling, camping, nature, life experiences, and resourcefulness. At the time, I never imagined we’d travel as far and wide as we have.

While hauling our trailer to the Washington Coast last week, my husband and I estimated that we’ve covered nearly 12,000 miles with our Cub Aerolite in tow. We have explored countless nooks and crannies up and down the west coast. Admittedly, this hasn’t always been a joy ride.

We always have three kids stashed in the back seat and a Golden Retriever in the kennel. It’s taken us years to streamline the difficult parking process, and on many occasions, I’ve sat in the passenger seat with a tattered map and a set of white knuckles. When we use our recently purchased Garmin Nuvi GPS, we follow the backroad detours gingerly. Afterall, our GPS doesn’t know we are hauling a behemoth behind us.

In the Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia region we’ve staked our claims in Cannon Beach, Fort Stevens, Nehalem, Grayland, Williams Lake, Ucluelet, Tofino, Parksville, Deception Pass, Mount Rainier National Park, and the Key Peninsula.

While living in Alaska for a year, we cranked up our itinerary considerably once the snow melted. I made it a priority to see as much of America’s Last Frontier as quickly as we could. We spent Father’s Day weekend camping in Denali National Park. On July 4th, we toured the Kenai Peninsula and attended a Pig Roast potluck on the shores of the world famous Kenai River. We watched Alaska’s sportfishermen launch their boats right off the beach in Ninilchik.

Buffalo on the Al CanWhen it came time to move back to Seattle that summer, we opted to drive the two lane Alaska Canada Highway. Dodging buffalo and camping every night en route, we saw some of North America’s most incredible and remote territories, and our children gleaned a keen understanding of Alaska’s critical role in World War II. We fell in love with Canada’s Yukon Territory, and the wonderful town of Whitehorse, which sits right on the massive Yukon River.

Hopefully, we’ve planted a sense of wonder and adventure in our children. For me, as a food and travel writer, this travel trailer has been the key to meeting and greeting some of our North America’s most dedicated and underappreciated small farmers, fishermen, and purveyors.

That, indeed, is a priceless education for all. Please come back often and watch for more of my posts in “Huckleberries and Hairpin Turns”.

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