Hurricane Adds to Epic Move from Florida to Alaska

End of the Alaska Hwy
Roy and Lisa Tomasch at the end of the Alaska Highway in Delta Junction, Alaska

A move from Florida to Alaska is imposing under the most ideal conditions. But the Tomasch family added a wrinkle to make their journey even more epic. Roy and Lisa Tomasch set out on their moving adventure just as Hurricane Irma set her sights on the Sunshine State.

With their son moving his family from Minneapolis to Delta Junction, Alaska, Roy and Lisa loaded the contents of a self-storage room their son kept in the Fort Myers area into a 26-foot U-Haul truck and drove it to Minnesota. From there, father and son would drive the rest of the way to Alaska, while Lisa took a flight ahead to meet them.

“We had everything planned for a month, including the U-Haul truck rental and flights,” Roy said. “We planned to leave on Sept. 8, but Lisa got a day off work because the area was under evacuation orders. So we picked up the truck and loaded it a day early and left on the 7th.”

They needed the extra time since a lot of other people were also trying to escape Florida before Irma hit.

“There was a lot of traffic heading north,” Roy said. “It usually takes about 9 to 10 hours to get to Atlanta. But after 15 hours, we were still about 70 miles outside Atlanta. On top of that, there were fuel shortages throughout Florida and Georgia. It was tough to find a place to stay. We managed to find a hotel that first night and enough fuel to make it to Tennessee, where things finally cleared up.”

Moving to Alaska

Moose on the Alaska Hwy Yukon CA
Roy Tomasch snapped this photo of a moose crossing the Alaska Highway in Yukon Territory, Canada

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful — at least as uneventful as a seven-day, 4,800-mile journey can be!

After leaving Minneapolis, the father-son duo ventured through North Dakota and entered Canada at North Portal, Saskatchewan. They continued through Alberta and into British Columbia, where they picked up the Alaska Highway in a town called Dawson Creek. That highway ends 1,422 miles away in Delta Junction, Alaska, where Roy and Lisa’s son now lives with his family.

“It was a really fun trip, but it went by so fast because of our schedule,” Roy said. “I’d like to do that drive again when I have more time.”

Roy is no stranger to long trips.

“I used to be an over-the-road truck driver, so I’ve made several cross-country trips in the past. But this was easily the longest trip I’ve ever made,” Roy noted. “I’d never driven through Canada before. We didn’t know what to expect crossing into Canada, but we didn’t have any issues.

“The U-Haul truck was great,” he continued. “It was pretty much brand new. I think it had about 4,700 miles on it when we got it.”

Helping U-Haul Customers

Roy's house ... end of journey
After about 4,700 miles, the Tomasches reached the end of the line in Delta Junction, Alaska

Kayla Church, manager of Storage King USA and U-Haul Dealership in Fort Myers, made sure Roy and Lisa got the newest truck possible for such a long journey.

“When Roy came in to make the reservation, I couldn’t believe it!” she exclaimed. “This was easily the longest rental I’ve ever had.”

Church immediately got in touch with her area field manager, Mark Soyk.

“Kayla called me just about every day to remind me that she needed a truck to go to Alaska,” Soyk said. “She really wanted to ‘wow’ this customer. But she and her team do that for everyone.”

“I just wanted to be sure they had a truck that was ready for such a long distance and traveling across such different terrain,” Church added. “We’d go the extra mile for any customer, whether they’re going four miles or 4,000.”

Soyk noted that he thinks the successful journey — amid a hurricane, no less — is a testament to how great U-Haul equipment is.

“It says a lot about our dedication to providing clean and well-maintained equipment, as well as a smooth ride the entire way,” he said.

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