About the Shunpike Experiment

Pronunciation – \ˈshən-ˌpīk\
A side road used to avoid the speed and traffic of a superhighway.
— shun·pik·er \-ˌpī-kər\ noun
— shun·pik·ing \-kiŋ\ noun

Stanley “Stan” Shunpike was a wizard and was the conductor of the Knight Bus in the Harry Potter series of novels.

Sportsmobile (SMB) is a company that specializes in converting passenger vans (Ford, GMC, Dodge) into 4×4 off-road camper vans; Ironhorses.

Alaska is a state that is long, long way from New Orleans (4200 miles using the ‘direct route’) and a prime target for an Ironhorse.


I’m Steve.


That’s Michel. She’s eating for two.


We believe that “what the heart loves, heals”. We love adventure, travel, each other (we’re like beans and rice) and Lil Gleazy, who is en route to earthling, human form. We believe that living in “the present” is a step toward salvation, nirvana, awareness & happiness. Drink it up. Get Busy Livin!!

Travel Plans:

We will be working our way north but first we will head west to Los Angeles. Marina Del Rey has become a little sanctuary for us. Thanks Señor!
From LA we will pass through Carmel on our way to San Francisco. Family and friends, who have become family, in these parts. We will then work our way north to the Gorge at George, Washington; a ‘final destination’ for this leg of the trip. Sasquatch Festival is held at the Gorge on memorial day weekend and our good friend will be hosting.

For the second leg of the trip we plan to visit Glacier National park then spend the 4th of July at Coeur D’ Alene (CDA) with friends. From CDA we will make our way north to Alaska via Banff NP and Jasper NP. Nothing solid beyond that. We intend to stay in Denali NP & Kodiak NP in Alaska and then load the Ironhorse on a ferry to come down through the “Inside Passage”. The Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia are a prime target as well.



18 responses

  1. BDM

    If she’s eating for 2, that means you’re drinking for 3. Don’t slack off…

    May 18, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    • No slacking here…. Any suggestions from a father of 2? Isn’t there a drink called ‘slap yo mamma’? 🙂

      May 18, 2011 at 10:38 pm

  2. Bennett Biever

    Steve –

    Saw the “ironhorse” the other day off Causeway (near my house) obviously right before you guyes headed out and wondered who would have such a cool ride – should have known.
    Kyle sent me the link for your trip.
    Safe travels and hello to Michel


    May 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm

  3. Melis

    I live in East Glacier, MT. I have no idea how I ended up on your blog site. But I was very inspired by what I read. Sounds fun. If you two need any help or a place to park while traveling through Glacier, give a shout. I would like to catch a glimpse of Ironhorse! Happy Trails!

    May 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm

  4. MaMa Jilly

    I am inspired by you two every day!

    May 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm

  5. BobO

    I think Banff may possibly be the most beautiful place on earth, certainly awe inspiring……Look forward to many more blog posts to read… Bob

    May 31, 2011 at 6:12 pm

  6. Marianne

    You two are incredible! What wonderful journey. Enjoy every minute of it!

    July 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm

  7. angele darling

    Michel, Saw your mom and dad last night at the Voelkel’s house. She told me about your adventure and I was so interested in following your journey. You must remember that I am married to a 64-yr. old California hippie and remember that you never leave that mindset. I am sure he has had many of these adventures prior to meeting me. All the best and hope to see you when you return home to deliver! Hugs, Angele

    July 25, 2011 at 1:20 am

  8. Linda and I, owners at Susitna Place, were fortunate enough to host Michel, Steve and Brendan for one night. Glad to be “extras” in the Shunpike Experiment. Always nice to meet people who “get” Alaska.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:11 am

    • Thanks for the hospitality David! You have a wonderful BnB.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm

  9. Chris Pettigrew

    Thank you for sharing this amazing journey with us. Miss you Lil’Biddy.

    August 16, 2011 at 12:50 am

  10. Adam V

    Saw the website on facebook and decided to click on it. Did not realize I would spend the next several hours enthralled with your trip. What a great gift for the new baby…”This is what your Mom and Dad while we were pregnant!!” Thanks for sharing this awesome experience with the rest of us Louisianians who thinks “going on a trip” means driving to Destin. Be safe and have fun.

    August 18, 2011 at 11:37 pm

  11. Jen Richards

    Michel and I were Boulder dorm-mates.. tell her there are some wonderful travel packages to Vancouver and that this past week, there was a record setting 85 lb Salmon caught off the Queen Charlotte’s. This tidbit may come in handy because we both know that Michel’s version of eating for two is more like a normal person eating for five. Safe and adventerous travels!
    Jen Richards.

    August 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

  12. sarah preston

    looks like you guys are having an amazing adventure together! congrats on the soon-to-arrive little g!!

    -sarah preston

    September 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm

  13. Hi S&M,

    Do you guys still check this? I would anticipate some spikes in traffic after today. Thinking about you guys. Would love to see some video of the pre-game.

    Looks like the Shunpike Experiment bore some great results!

    Love and Respect,


    September 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm

  14. Linda Woodruff-Thompson

    Hello Cousin!
    I am so inspired by your story and travels! Wishing you the very best and if you and Michel ever want to travel up to the Great Lakes area~ We are on the Arrowhead of Lake Superior in Duluth MN. You have a place to stay for sure!!!

    September 26, 2011 at 6:28 am

  15. Michael

    What a wonderful web site. Congrats on the little one, and Thank you for sharing your lives with us. Steve, thank you for inspiring me and proving that every man dies, but not every man truly lives!

    September 27, 2011 at 1:41 am

  16. Stefan S.

    Greetings !

    I may be a little late. You’re back, and you may or may not know this tune.
    So Id rather make sure. Yes, its called ‘Shunpiking.’ By an incredibly beautiful band.


    Same link, here’s one your iron horse will like, it’s called ‘Mensy.’

    Best wishes and thanks for the experience -enjoy!

    Stefan from Germany

    October 9, 2011 at 5:03 pm

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