Happy March 1st! We made it through leap year (next time we demand a three day weekend) and now we are ready to rock and roll into all that is the season of March Madness. With only a few weeks “officially” left in the winter season, we are dusting off our hibernation hats beginning TODAY and getting ready to hit the road running. After all, the days are getting longer and the sunrises get a little more stunning by the day, so we really have no excuse to sit still any longer.
One thing is for sure, The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground is magical any time of the year. But there is something extra special about hitting the road and enjoying the vast snow-covered mountains that can be found all throughout The Kenai during the winter and spring months.
Now, let’s get real; In Alaska, it is possible to experience snow covered mountains all year long. But during the winter and spring months especially, the mountains seemingly glow with fresh, glistening snowy powder.
AND, they are right there! Right in front of your face. Popping up in mass quantities reaching far and wide, high into the sky. It doesn’t get more ‘up close & personal’ than that. And everyone knows how much we love to get Up Close & Personal on The Kenai.
But where there is extreme beauty, extreme caution should always be taken. Alaska is a big, beautiful beast of a State and it is very unforgiving. Although we have excellent groups of people that work tirelessly to maintain our roadways all year round, it is important to be prepared for anything as our weather patterns in Alaska are often times very unpredictable. And when we talk about your safety, we mean business (hoping that this bear photo expresses how important your safety is to us).
And on the topic of unpredictable, the glorious wildlife that can very regularly be seen at close distances from many roads on the Kenai Peninsula will often times cross the road or walk along the road. Be advised of this and always use caution when you observe wildlife while driving.
The day can start out with beautiful bluebird skies and be filled with flurries by lunchtime. With the assistance of AAA Alaska and AK on the GO, we are sharing this excellent checklist to make sure you are prepared for all of your Kenai Peninsula winter and spring road trippin’ adventures.
AAA Alaska recommends the following tips for a safer winter & spring driving experience:
- Put away the cell phone. Distracted driving causes accidents. Pull off the road in a safe place for photos. It’s okay to do that.
- Renting a car? Don’t forget to ask for a power cord to allow the engine’s block heater to do its job. A must in Interior Alaska however it is not something that’s needed that often on the Kenai Peninsula.
- Check fluid levels (oil, antifreeze) and tire pressure before you leave home.
- Watch the sides of roadways. In Alaska, anything from dog teams to moose can appear without warning, and drivers must not assume either will stop when they see you.
- Check windshield wipers; are they suitable for winter driving? If wipers become clogged with ice or snow, stop and clear them before continuing.
- Refrain from using cruise control in snowy, wet, or icy conditions.
- Make a trip plan, and leave it with a trusted family member or friend at home. Call this friend when you safely reach your destination, and upon return home. Allow plenty of time to reach your intended stop. Do not rush.
- “Aim high,” that is, look farther than 15 seconds down the road, about a quarter mile at 50 miles per hour. Ask kids to pick a landmark ahead, and count until you reach it, that will give some perspective of stopping distance or evasive maneuverability.
- Carry your AAA membership card at all times. Remember, the membership follows the individual, not the vehicle, so even traveling in someone else’s car, you’re still protected.
- Check road conditions and weather before leaving home. NOAA and Alaska 511 are excellent options.
In addition to that great list from AAA Alaska, we also have a few road trip recommendations. Be sure that wherever you go, you wear layers of clothing and bring a good coat and boots just incase you experience rain, sleet or snow (or all of the above). As we mentioned before, the weather can change rapidly throughout the day so you want to be prepared for rising temperatures that can heat you up as well as frigid temperatures that can creep up on you and leave you a very unhappy camper if you’re not bundled up.
Some other items that we recommend include the following; plenty of water, food and snacks to hold you over if you get stuck on the road longer than expected, ice scraper for your windows, first aid kit, a good flashlight and materials for building a fire just incase you experience vehicle troubles and need to keep warm until someone arrives to help you. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared when staying and playing on Alaska’s Playground.
On the Kenai Peninsula, springtime road trips are great because they allow you to load up the kiddos, family, friends and your beloved four-legged friends and have an epic adventure by simply driving right our of your driveway and off into any direction that your heart desires.
When you set out for a day trip, we recommend getting up and on the road nice and early so that everyone in the vehicle can enjoy a STUNNING Alaska’s Playground sunrise together. Trust us, you will not regret it. Alaska is truly larger than life.
And when you get up at the crack of dawn, it’s always a good idea to stop by a local Alaskan coffee house and fuel up for the whole family. And with views like this, how could you resist? We love Veronica’s Coffee House in Old Town Kenai and the amazing blogger Alaska from Scratch captured the warm atmosphere and delicate beauty absolutely perfectly.
Be sure to take the time to pull over, get everyone out of the vehicle together, walk a few minutes and take in an stunning view of your backyard. While living such busy lives, it’s easy to get caught up in everything and forget to appreciate the immaculate beauty that surrounds you. Slow down, breathe, and take the time to reflect. It’s true what they say… there is no time life the present!
With March 1st kicking off and only a few weeks left of winter before spring officially begins, it’s time to get out of hibernation and hit the road searching for fun new adventures. If you need any ideas or suggestions for where to explore next, please remember that you can reach out to us at any time and we would be delighted to help you plan your next spring/winter-wonderland excursion. Safe travels, dear friends!