After forty-seven years of marriage, four children and five grandsons, Rich and Linda Kaufmann were ready for the next big adventure. They weren’t interested in a cruise or tour. They were going to drive; five months on the road, hauling an 8,000-pound, 33-foot trailer into the Alaskan wilderness.
The trip would take them from their home in Racine, Wisconsin, to the legendary Dawson City, the Yukon and even the North Pole. Their vehicle had to be fierce yet comfortable, safe, able to tackle the treacherous highways and remote roads on top of the world. The choice was simple: a 2008 Ford Expedition Limited.
In May 2009, they packed up and went west. Rich was mostly in the driver’s seat, Linda on the passenger side and their Chihuahua, Cricket, sleeping comfortably in her travel bed on the wide console. For Linda, it was all about the roominess of the SUV, particularly the six-way adjustable seats. For Rich, the Expedition offered perfect handling and a smooth ride. Having done extensive reading before the trip they were prepared for the extreme conditions: frost heaves caused by freezing and thawing soil that lift up the ground, washboard roads and longitudinal cracks and all the dumps, dips, ruts and all the steep grades you could imagine. “Sometimes the road was like riding a roller coaster in slow motion,” Linda said.
The Expedition got through it all, allowing them to experience real Alaska – remote, beautiful and wild. Linda says the highlight of Alaska was seeing Mt. McKinley in all its glory. “It is only fully visible about 20 percent of the time. The first day we went into the park it was raining, but the second time we went in, it was completely visible,” she added.
After completing 15,015 miles on this trip, the Expedition pulled into their Wisconsin garage. They held on to it until 2013 when their life changed again. Family was priority and they needed to be closer to home. They traded in for a 2013 C-MAX hybrid.