My first summer in northern Canada and Alaska was a real eye opener for me. I had very little money and was making the trip in a little Geo Prism and a tent. I left from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I had a car top carrier full of dehydrated food, a trunk full of tents and gear, and a backseat full of sleeping bags, a dog and a 6 yr old.
I wanted to see ALL of ALASKA so that I could come home and shop "online" for a piece of land there knowing what the general area and terrain was like in a given location. I ended up going 11,000 miles that summer. (My car died about 60 miles after returning home) ~ that was a close call. Sure glad I didn't head up to the Arctic Ocean like I was thinking at the time.
Since my journey really started after crossing the Minnesota border into Canada. I quickly found us in very rural countryside heading north. We drove in 20 hour stretches looking for a camp ground. Only when we were completely exhausted of looking at mile after mile of countryside did a campground seem to appear. We had a goal of getting into Alaska as quickly as possible. Prior to crossing the border, we had spent the night at a camp ground was in Northern Minnesota. We had pulled in around midnight, set up our tent quickly, thinking we were going to FINALLY get some sleep.... WHAT WERE WE THINKING? Sleep is NOT something you get on an adventure!
As it turned out we spent a couple of months wandering around Alaska after leaving Canada and never saw a bear near our tent. We were assaulted by storms so bad the winds pushed the roof of our tent down into our faces as we slept, rain that poured like a river requiring a second tent to be put over the first to keep out the driving rain, motes to be dug to divert the raging torrents coming off the tent. We had a moose cruise past the side of the tent on the one foot of space of the tent pad that stuck out past the tent. It was pretty unnerving to think of hooves carrying 1200 lbs just inches from my face. There were the unknown silent things (probably bears!)that we could neither hear, see, or smell that sent our dog into a barking ruckus in the middle of the nights, but overall our tent stay was fairly uneventful. The Alaskan nights (mind you its still broad daylight at night) in June and July did surprise us by dipping down into the 20's and 30's in some places particularly in higher elevations.