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Old 12-09-2015, 03:00 PM   #1
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Alaska trip - which direction is best

DW and I are going to Alaska in 2016. We will be leaving Spokane WA the last week of May. We intend to go as far as Fairbanks and come back down to Denali, Anchorage, Homer, Valdez and head home. We have been told it is better to go to Valdez first and then head to Fairbanks on the way home. I am just wondering what you folks have found when traveling to Alaska and is this route change something we should consider?
Thanks for your time and help.
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Old 12-09-2015, 03:57 PM   #2
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Found something that might interest you: Alaska RV Road Trip
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Old 12-09-2015, 05:57 PM   #3
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We did a three month trip up there in 2012 and started in Valdez. We went up the Stuart Cassier Highway and came home the Alaska Highway. Most of the caravans seem to go through Fairbanks first so we were thinking we would keep running into sold out campgrounds. We had four RVs in our group and always found places to camp. We did call ahead every morning so we knew where we would end up.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:38 AM   #4
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What do you mean by best? We drove from Texas through Colorado and Montana to Fairbanks, then down to Valdez and over to Anchorage before heading back to Prince Rupert and Victoria BC and finally down the west coast of the US. We had two fairly expensive ferry rides from Vancouver to Victoria and Victoria to Port Angeles, WA. We enjoyed the trip, but it wasn't the shortest route we could have taken.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:55 AM   #5
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There is no "best" route. Going to Fairbanks first is just as good as heading toward Anchorage first. Be advised that even in late May, you may still bump into snowy weather. Having lived in the Fairbanks, Anchorage and Homer areas, you'll have a wonderful trip, regardless of the direction you choose. Summer solstice in Fairbanks (actually just a few miles north) is an experience. Enjoy!
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:09 PM   #6
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Might also consider from Valdez take the ferry to Whittier and go through the tunnel. Or the other way around. Ferry is very expensive but it does take a lot of driving distance off.
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:29 PM   #7
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So happy for you to be getting to take off on this journey next year!!! We planned our Retirement Victory Tour to Alaska and went in 2014.

I found this site:

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: RVing in Canada and Alaska

To be my best source of great info. And also a great way to share info along the way, and read current events from those that travel before us within a week or two, on current conditions.

Look for the Roll Call 2014, and 2015 threads to read up on lots of great info. Also register with the Roll Call 2016 group too.

Many, many very experience members share their knowledge.

As early in the years as your going, I'd go up the ALCAN, and then come back via Casier. I think you will find more places opened on ALCAN that early. (We crossed the border 5/1. We had many campgrounds closed along the way. But, much better then Casier. And still very doable. We don't drive in snow, so we stopped a few times for a few days, to let things clear out.)

We did go Fairbanks first. I would avoid the Top of The World. Taking a day trip from Tok, visit Chicken, and then drive a bit with a Toad on the TOW worked well for us.

Get reservations for Denali.

If you'll be in the great north over 4th of July, get reservations early for where you wan to be. We really enjoyed Seward for 4th of July. They seem to have about 1/3 of all Alaskan's their, for the Race Down The Mountain. And it was one of the nicest 4th of July parades that we've ever enjoyed.

Enjoy your trip,
Smitty
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Old 12-12-2015, 10:26 AM   #8
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Did you ever think you would get excited over finding a Rv park with 30 amp service you will after this trip. We even got turn away at Skagway because Rv park owner said he would lose money renting to us because of electricity use they was having a heat wave was in the 90s offend to pay more he said he couldn't do it . Ended up staying on the parking lot where the ships come in for a day then got into a park I really enjoy it had a great time the wife said only way she would go back would be on a plane or ship
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Old 12-12-2015, 12:41 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by halftimer View Post
Did you ever think you would get excited over finding a Rv park with 30 amp service you will after this trip. We even got turn away at Skagway because Rv park owner said he would lose money renting to us because of electricity use they was having a heat wave was in the 90s offend to pay more he said he couldn't do it . Ended up staying on the parking lot where the ships come in for a day then got into a park I really enjoy it had a great time the wife said only way she would go back would be on a plane or ship
That made me grin, and yep - chuckle! We were so early in the season, that man of the campgrounds were not officially opened.

We stayed in one down by the river, just North of Pink Mountain. This place was not yet opened for the season, but when I stopped the gent in the office said he had some of the fracking crew (two) staying with us. And he said go pick a space and make ourselves at home, with a $20 sliding into his shirt pocket! Only cost me two days of travel, $250 that week, and then when we got home, $450 more. The generator that was providing power to the sites, had a problem! Our Hughes Autoformer took the hit for us (I had it in line in front of our TRC Surgeguard.) It took out our refrigerator too, Norcol 1200. We moved sites, and stayed off grid, and I was able to get power back to the coach by bypassing the Hughes, while retaining the TRC Surgeguard. It was too late in the day then. So we kept the fridge closed, and got up early in the AM and drove back down South to Fort St John, where we found a place to repair our fridge (The tech was hones, as he opened up the back access vent, and was able to do some jumpers to 'reset' the board, which then tested out OK. Only charged us for a 30 min labor repair.). We had Murphy's Law hit us on the way back down to Fort St John, a oil worker in a big 1 ton felt we were going to slow - pulled around and passed us and then cut in real close to our nose (to make sure I knew I was going to slow, in his opinion) - and he peppered our windshield and front of the coach pretty hard. Two chips, one in each piece our two piece windshield. A few new hits to our front end paint. And, he gave me friendly one finger salute wave out of his window!

No windshield shop could get us in for a repair in Fort St John until two days out. So we called around back to Dawson Creek, and they said if we got to them before 4:00PM, they'd take care of us. So again headed South, yep the wrong way, and they had us out by 5:00PM. (Just a patch with one documented as no guarantee, as it was about a 50 cent piece size ding.) We drove back North to St John, and spent the night in the Walmart parking lot.

So that is what I grin when you talk about power. We were glad to find a 15A site after 5 days of now power!!!

(And note, for those planning their trips. 30A is quite prevalent, with 50A sprinkled here and there along the way. We were so early in the season, crossing over into Canada on May 1st, that we reduced the number of campgrounds available to us!

Gosh darn it, now you have given me the Go North! fever again!

Best,
Smitty
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Old 12-16-2015, 12:11 PM   #10
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To the nearest airport then rent one in Alaska. 1) you save about 5-6 k miles on your motor home. 2) you don't get blisters on your hind end from the 80 + hours you'll spend driving up and back. 3) you get a lot more time in Alaska exploring. 4) if something breaks you just call the rental company and tell them where you left it get and get on a bush plan and fly to your next destination. 5) If you find some place you want to spend more time you can because you don't have to stick to your schedule. 6) you can take a cruise ship back and check out the coast down to Seattle (or do that on the way up.) Good Luck and safe travels what ever you do.
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Old 12-16-2015, 01:16 PM   #11
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Can't say which is the best, only the route we took.

We made the trip in 08 and went up from the east side of Glacier Park to Calgary and Edmonton. From there went over and did the standard Alcan Hwy to Delta Jct then on up to Fairbanks (along the way, we spent some time in Whitehorse and Skagway). Down to Denali and Anchorage. From there we went to Seward and then back up and over to Homer. From Homer we went to Whitter, got on a ferry over to Valdez. From there, over to Tok and down to Haines and caught the Alaska Ferry to Juneau, Sitka, Ketchakan and then off the ferry at Prince Rupert (we spent a week each at those three stops on the ferry). From Prince Rupert back down to Washington and Oregon coast.

Our trip started from home in mid May and got back home in mid Oct. Being 2008, the diesel fuel prices were at the all time high and we spent more $$ for fuel than we did everything else put together.

But, it was a great trip and would do it again in a heart beat.

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Old 12-16-2015, 07:16 PM   #12
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Any way you go to Alaska is the "best" route. Really, it doesn't matter which way you do the "loop". In 2013 we went Seattle, Dawson Creek (start of Alcan), Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, Homer, Tok, Seattle.
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