Great minds think alike!
A lot of folks have the Alaska dream, but don't know where to start, or how to go about it (or don't want to do it by themselves). I'm the sort of guy that can plan and then do (it's a good trait to have when you're in the military).
If you have any words of wisdom regarding leading a group I'd love to hear them. I'd like to compare them to mine. Group dynamics can get interesting.
I am sure your Army experience helps you a lot. Here are things I have seen.
1) all stops take longer, gas, food, etc. You have 6 Jeeps that need gas and only 2 pumps available. Stopping to eat, many small places are not set up to take 10 people at once, so every stop takes longer than planned.
2) wheels rolling at 0900, might mean 0915, unless you have a good group or you're in a couple of days and everyone see you mean 0900. There will always be someone a little late, and it might be the same person(s) every time.
3) when camping everyone helps, if your stuff is packed and your ready to go, then lets get the someone else packed away. Same with setting up.
4) we did group meals, and had someone who like to cook, did a great job, so we let him cook, and everyone else did the other stuff.
5) BIG ONE, AT LEAST FOR WHAT I HAVE SEEN. YOU CAN NOT MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY, DON'T TRY (see #9) STOPS ALONG THE ROUTE, ie YOU MIGHT PLAN ONE HOUR AT A MUSEUM AND YOU WILL HAVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS MORE TIME AND ANOTHER WHO THINKS YOU SPENT TOO LONG. Plan the best you can and then go. On a S2000 tour, this happen at the VLA in central NM, I planned 45 mins, and it ended up everyone wanted longer 1.5 hours, just got to our hotel room late.
6) my group has been together for many years, so we all get along, but that is not the case with every group.
7) Vehicle shape, my group has a master mechanic along, and I request everyone have their vehicle checked by him before we leave. On a trip like this, the vehicles need to be in top shape before you leave home. If its not ready a week before, then think about not going. Things will happen along the way, but being stopped for a fan belt that should of been replaced 3 months ago should not be one of the reasons. Reading the "Milepost" service can be far away.
8) One great thing about camping and all the camp sites up in NW Canada and Alaska, is that you don't have to make xxx number of miles each day, if something takes longer than expected, you can stop early, if not then cover a few more miles. With my car drives, we had to make to the hotel for that night, a little more pressure. The Colorado trip, we just stopped when we found a good place.
9) relax and enjoy
, because that is what this is all about. Sometimes I have a hard time doing that, because I worry about the things that I shouldn't, so relax and enjoy what is out there and the reason you came on the trip in the first place.
Most of my friends are coming from SE Texas, so the plan is a speed run to get to Dawson Creek and then slow down a little and see what we want. When we get to Fairbanks, then we take our time and go where we want and do what we want. I am just starting to map out routes to get some idea of how this might go. Then they get a speed run back, I will be retired so I can take my time. We are still looking into the ferry, as one friend might have 3-6 people with him and maybe 2 Jeeps that he would have to pay for.
I am asking each of them to give me any ideas of what they would like to see or do (2 other people now have the "Milepost) and then I will try to add that into the trip. Mine is the Arctic Circle and to go to Deadhorse or Inuvik. The group will decide in March if getting up early to make Deadhorse in one day or not. Someone has already said something about going to the area south of Anchorage and then someone else might want to fish for a day. The plan is every 6 or 7 day, will be a hotel night and the next morning some laundry time.
if I think of more I will post