This random adventure started out as a last minute trip since my hiking buddy was busy. I grabbed lunch at Aurora Mediterranean, ran to a few stores looking for a DC air pump (for my sleeping pad), and grabbed some groceries for the trip. I was en route soon after. The decision was pretty easy as I was thinking of a few places to camp out at: Valdez area.
Even though this road trip was a long one, the scenery during the drive is absolutely gorgeous. Some would argue that it’s too long for a simple one night camp out. I’d do it again.
The weather wasn’t too bad, but did get down to about 37 degrees later in the evening with light rain. It was expected at this time of year though. The next few weekend trips here in Alaska are definitely going to be colder.
The rental car that I have been driving for several weeks now has been surprisingly fun to live with. This was the first hybrid I’ve ever spent any extended time with and I must say it would make a great daily driver. This 2020 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid has 35k miles on it currently, is all wheel drive, weights around 3,800 pounds, and has 219 hp from a 2.5L 4-cylinder. It has a 14.5 gallon fuel tank, about 500 mile’s of range and on this trip it delivered around 40 miles per gallon.
The interior is fairly loud at highway speeds. This could be due to rough Alaskan roads. The leather interior is pretty comfortable and build quality is good. This car does have lots of features: LED headlights, auto high beams, heated seats & steering wheel, heated front windshield, and radar cruise control.
Sleeping in the car was interesting. I packed pretty light to save space but the sleeping pad and bag were fairly comfortable. I was able to stretch out, just barely, as I am 5′ 10″.
As I was taking some time lapse footage with the GoPro, I was running into some interior fogging issues. This was when I discovered an interesting feature of a hybrid. I turned the windshield defroster on and noticed that I was running off the hybrid battery. The engine would automatically start and recharge the battery when I was getting pretty low. It would recharge the battery to about half then the motor would shut down. I could have used this feature on several trips in the past.
The next morning I started to take pictures in the area then started to head back to Fairbanks.
The early morning clouds were fantastic. This area simply never disappoints.
I tried to stop by as many stops that looked like it would offer a great shot. Many times it’s tough because of a lack of area to stop.
The drive back to Fairbanks had some rain and very little traffic. What little traffic came from the road construction that went down to a single lane near Delta. The time-lapse of the drive shows how it’s done here with a truck that escorts you.