New snow drew a handful of sledders to Kincaid Park on Monday, but no one traveled farther to the top of the hill than three travelers from Florida. Brothers Andrew Isola and Daniel Isola, along with Monika Shirts, had spent a month driving to Anchorage from the Florida Keys, arriving just before the first big snowfall hit Southcentral Alaska this week.
“We were really lucky the snow didn’t come until just now, so we had a really great opportunity to come into Alaska,” Shirts said.
Their adventure, which began on Oct. 10, has racked up more than 5,000 road miles so far, they say. It began after Andrew Isola, 23, from Vero Beach, Florida, tried to sell his Honda Civic, but couldn’t find a buyer, he said, so he switched gears and planned a big road trip instead. Andrew Isola said he has been traveling year-round for the last few years and has been to 27 countries.
“We actually do this full time. We just travel and look for fun stuff to do and share our experiences with others and try to inspire people to have a good life,” Andrew Isola said.
“Social media helps fund things a little bit,” he said.
Shirts, 21, of Fort Pierce, Florida, whom Andrew Isola had known online for years but only met in-person a week before the trip, decided to join the brothers.
“She said, ‘Let’s friggin’ go!’” Andrew Isola said.
Colorado was their first major destination, where they did a two-day hike and camped on a mountain in hammocks. “Bad decision in the cold, but it was fun,” Andrew Isola said. They later hit Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies. The Honda made it as far as Calgary, where they rented a car after some mechanical troubles.
Andrew Isola said they’ve car camped or slept outside most nights. None have been to Alaska before. They went to Fairbanks and saw Denali before coming to Anchorage. “We just saw the northern lights, and that was definitely a bucket list thing for me,” said Daniel Isola, 20.
At Kincaid, the brothers experienced another first. They went sledding near the park’s chalet, using powder-blue Spiderman saucers they had just purchased at Walmart. The three geared up in cow costumes they bought earlier in the trip to act as an additional cold-weather layer and made videos as they rode the hills.
Before they return the rental car in Calgary, they may continue on to Anchor Point on the Kenai Peninsula because it’s the westernmost point on the North American highway system. “We actually go day-by-day a little bit up here, because we didn’t plan too much coming up,” Andrew said.