Home away from home

The road is different every day, but much the same as it ever was – which is to say: wonderful; endless; like coming home; just as I knew it would be. And I’m remembering all the little quirks, charming and infuriating, that I forget as soon as I stop – among them the constant exhaustion, meaning that even when I do find myself with a free evening and an internet connection, all I can do is stare blankly at the screen, trying in vain to scrape together the remnants of the long flowing blog posts that accumulated in my head as I rode along.

So I suspect that my accounts of these few weeks will mostly be written in hindsight – much like the stories of Balochistan, which I ended up churning out as a confusing backlog weeks after they actually happened, from the relative comforts of Lahore and Islamabad. I just hope that my scribbled notes and fragmented memories will be enough to do justice to the things I’ve seen, and the people I’ve met.

Right now I’m making an unexpected stop at the Red Eagle Lodge in Chistochina, where the very kind owners have lent me a cabin (with a wood-burner) for a couple of nights in exchange for helping out at the first checkpoint of the Copper Basin 300 – a 310-mile dog race that’s passing through the area this weekend (the first teams are due to arrive in about four hours’ time). I had intended to be further up the road by now, but this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. I’d write more, but I’ve just been summoned to help move some food bags. More – much more – in due course, dear readers.

Leave a Comment


  1. Posted January 10, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Dog race? Far too good an opportunity to miss!

  2. Bridgette
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Greetings from Seattle!

    Hello Emily! I’m Tom Preston’s wife and excited to follow your adventure down the Alaskan highway. I’ve driven it a number of times with my daughter, and I’m in awe of your great adventurous spirit. Good luck and keep those wheels in motion under the northern lights.

  3. Jan
    Posted January 11, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Grist to the authorial mill, Em. Never miss an opportunity. Have fun, make notes and enjoy the break.
    Jan x

  4. Posted January 14, 2015 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Emily, the scenery just looks wonderful, i am sure you will remember to savoir every moment, there are certain vistas from my travels round the world that seem to be imprinted on my brain, and seem as fresh as the day i saw them, i hope you have a safe, enjoyable journey. keep warm

  5. Angela
    Posted January 14, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Dog race sounds fun. And log cabin with woodburner sounds hard to leave! Have you seen the Northern Lights yet? Good luck, Emily. (How long are you away for? The Wanderlust magazine is looking for an editorial assistant – as well as a 3-month intern, should you get fed up out there – lol !)

  6. Alastair Humphreys
    Posted January 15, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    If I was you I would settle down in that cabin and never ever leave!

  7. Patty Benjamintz
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Emily! I’m the second Canadian (but the first Canadian female!) you met yesterday. I’ve been watching your progress via the YB tracker link on your blog – and I am totally amazed!
    The skies have cleared today, and the northern lights forecast rating is up to a “4” for tonight – you may well see our skies dance for you tonight :-) Safe travels!

  8. Mule
    Posted January 20, 2015 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Hey Emily

    This trip looks amazing, I have just seen that you have a live tracker running so will have that loaded whilst I’m at work!
    (for anyone reading this http://thatemilychappell.com/route/)
    Hope you are staying warm and safe!
    looking forward to the next post :)

  9. Arne
    Posted January 23, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Wow!!!! The TCR will be a piece of cake for you after this. The challenges of crossing Europe in race-mode in the heat of the summer, as tough as they are, will feel like a party in comparison…. I mean, the Alaska Highway, from north to south, in the midst of winter?!? Holy sock. I did this in 2013. Yes, but hold on before you pay me any respect: I did it from south to north, I did it in summertime and … I did it by car. I felt vaguely adventurous doing it, but that sense of adventure seems cheap and entirely undeserved compared to what you are doing. I can only vaguely imagine what it’s like (pretty cold at times, obviously, but what do you make of the wide open space, the scarce sunlight, the lack of civilization, the solitude?). Well, do not feel lonely out there, I am sending a load of good thoughts your way – and I am sure everybody who comes across your blog will! Take care! Stay strong!