Farm Industry News Blog

Step right up, up and away!

Iowa farmer Jeff Ryan takes a well-planned summer break to take an adventure of a lifetime in a tiny plane in Alaska.

Once you get from Iowa to Alaska, there's the small matter of getting around up there. Past bank trips had been taken using 15-passenger vans as the vehicle of choice. That enabled the group to toss all of their luggage into the two vans and still fit enough passengers inside so as not to be sitting on Samsonite seats. It sounded good, but then we discovered the reality of vehicle rental in Alaska. A van or even an SUV was going to cost a ton of money for ten days. Add in hotel rooms at anywhere from $150 to $250 per room per night and it gets spendy in a hurry.  That's when we made another discovery. We'd rent an RV and hit the road with our hotel on wheels. An RV was actually a lot cheaper to rent than an SUV. 

We kept it real, though. A Ford gas engine would power the RV. To me, that screamed two things: "Big dog of an engine, and HUGE PIG on gas!" 

I pretty much went two-for-two on that prediction. The mileage was not impressive, but it wouldn't have been great in an SUV either. The sleeping possibilities were a whole lot better in an RV, too. But The Chairman had his limits. An RV, he felt, was "too much togetherness." He doesn't mind group vacations. He does not care for group accommodations. He'd take a hotel room each night, thank you very much, and he'd gladly pay whatever the tab would be. (There's not as much German in his background as mine.) 

Turns out the whole RV / hotel combo would work out quite nicely. We'd usually pull into the hotel and drop off our senior citizen members and then park the beast nearby. That would allow the rest of the party to enjoy indoor plumbing and the convenience of a spacious room, as well as decent Wi-Fi connections out in the parking lot. 

I'll be honest. I've never understood the upside to any kind of camping.  Ever.  It doesn't look like the least bit of fun to me. A good share of my time at work is spent hauling loads of stuff around on some kind of trailer or wagon. Having that as my living accommodations is not vacation to me. When it's time for vacation, I want to pull the pin and walk away. I'd like to do it in something that's easy to park, too. 

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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