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Old 10-06-2019, 01:50 PM   #1
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Alaska Travelers in 2020 - Main Post

For those of you going to Alaska next summer I would highly recommend you post your questions all in one spot to save confusion and flipping from post to post. It makes for good reading and easy to find recommendations, etc.

Let's have this one as the main post and add to it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's some information to get you started:

Visitors will drive all sizes and types of RVs from the smallest to the biggest.

Look for information on border crossing regulations. There's also a web site that lists all the crossing places and their hours. Read all you can and read others' recent blogs. Forget about the 'scare' stories from many years ago. It's a very safe, easy trip.... just long.

Don't think of it as a long trip with miles of driving. Break it down in your mind to multiple short trips tacked together. For instance, make the route from Texas to Montana or wherever you want to cross. Then make another route maybe up to Banff and Jasper. Then another route from there to Dawson Creek - the beginning of the Alaskan Highway, and so forth.

The best way to do this trip is to plan for all summer. Plan to cross into Canada around the end of May and plan to leave Alaska the end of August.

Go up on the Alaskan Highway and return on the Cassier Hwy.

Run on the top 1/2 of your fuel tank. Don't expect to shop for the cheapest price - just get it.

There are so many helpful people on the roads both those who live along the route and travelers, such as you.

Get the Milepost for history and maps. Keep it open daily to read.

Get Mike & Terri Church's book 'Alaskan Camping' which will include Canada and the Yukon. That's the only guide you'll need. Good information on RV parks, public campgrounds (Yukon has some very nice ones along with Canada's Provincial parks) and they even give ideas for boondocking spots.

Get the TourSaver 2/1 Coupon Book. One glacier cruise will pay for the book and you'll want to do at least one.

The only reservations me made for the whole trip was for the July 4 weekend (Alaskans like to camp, too) and for 5 nights in Teklanika campground in Denali Nat'l Park. For those we only made the reservation a few weeks prior when we could better judge when we'd be there. Don't make a summer full of reservations. Schedules are hard to keep on this trip. Pull in early afternoon and you'll get a site.

It's not a fast, interstate-type of trip. Sometimes you'll even be going around 40mph or slower in the construction areas. The roads are very good but just like in the lower 48 there will always be construction.

You can't get lost. Everyone will be going to the same places once you get on the Alaskan Highway. We even met up with the same folks in campgrounds time after time.

There are some beautiful boondocking spot for a night or two on lakes or rivers. Take advantage of doing this.

Don't expect RV 'resorts'. The parks are basically gravel parking lots. The owners have a very short season so a lot of extras is not put into them. The public parks are great along the whole trip in Canada, the Yukon and Alaska.
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:59 PM   #2
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Sign up for the email subscription from the Alaska Tourism bureau. The from address will be: myalaska@travelalaska.com if you wish to receive this informative correspondence.


GPS, POI-factory.com has a listing of free overnighting spots along the Alaska Highway; basically wide gravel turn-outs left over from when the highway was constructed.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:05 PM   #3
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Thanks very useful info!
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
For those of you going to Alaska next summer I would highly recommend you post your questions all in one spot to save confusion and flipping from post to post. It makes for good reading and easy to find recommendations, etc.

Let's have this one as the main post and add to it.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's some information to get you started:

Visitors will drive all sizes and types of RVs from the smallest to the biggest.

Look for information on border crossing regulations. There's also a web site that lists all the crossing places and their hours. Read all you can and read others' recent blogs. Forget about the 'scare' stories from many years ago. It's a very safe, easy trip.... just long.

Don't think of it as a long trip with miles of driving. Break it down in your mind to multiple short trips tacked together. For instance, make the route from Texas to Montana or wherever you want to cross. Then make another route maybe up to Banff and Jasper. Then another route from there to Dawson Creek - the beginning of the Alaskan Highway, and so forth.

The best way to do this trip is to plan for all summer. Plan to cross into Canada around the end of May and plan to leave Alaska the end of August.

Go up on the Alaskan Highway and return on the Cassier Hwy.

Run on the top 1/2 of your fuel tank. Don't expect to shop for the cheapest price - just get it.

There are so many helpful people on the roads both those who live along the route and travelers, such as you.

Get the Milepost for history and maps. Keep it open daily to read.

Get Mike & Terri Church's book 'Alaskan Camping' which will include Canada and the Yukon. That's the only guide you'll need. Good information on RV parks, public campgrounds (Yukon has some very nice ones along with Canada's Provincial parks) and they even give ideas for boondocking spots.

Get the TourSaver 2/1 Coupon Book. One glacier cruise will pay for the book and you'll want to do at least one.

The only reservations me made for the whole trip was for the July 4 weekend (Alaskans like to camp, too) and for 5 nights in Teklanika campground in Denali Nat'l Park. For those we only made the reservation a few weeks prior when we could better judge when we'd be there. Don't make a summer full of reservations. Schedules are hard to keep on this trip. Pull in early afternoon and you'll get a site.

It's not a fast, interstate-type of trip. Sometimes you'll even be going around 40mph or slower in the construction areas. The roads are very good but just like in the lower 48 there will always be construction.

You can't get lost. Everyone will be going to the same places once you get on the Alaskan Highway. We even met up with the same folks in campgrounds time after time.

There are some beautiful boondocking spot for a night or two on lakes or rivers. Take advantage of doing this.

Don't expect RV 'resorts'. The parks are basically gravel parking lots. The owners have a very short season so a lot of extras is not put into them. The public parks are great along the whole trip in Canada, the Yukon and Alaska.


Good post. I agree with most of this, but after 2 trips to Alaska in the last couple of years I would add the following:
1) Sorry, but I don’t agree that the roads are “very good”. I would say on average, fair at best. The section from Haines Junction to Teslin Junction is mostly poor to fair, with the section from the Alaska border to Teslin quite poor, as well as the southern portion of the Tok Cutoff and most of the Richardson from Glenallen to Valdez.
2) I made reservations in almost every location in Alaska and I am happy I did. Yes, spots are almost always available if you are willing to put up with unlevel spaces, and worse, unreliable electricity. For every good campground there are 2 that are undesirable. I would never advise people to go without a reservation if they are otherwise in a position to do so.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:02 AM   #5
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Also, travelers should consider that there are large stretches of the Alaska Highway, and many places in Alaska, where cellular service is poor or non-existent, so you won't be able to call ahead to see if there is availability.

Plus, if you are towing 4 down, especially with a larger rig, pulling into an RV park that is full means immediately leaving which can be difficult given some tight turns, etc.
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Old 10-12-2019, 08:37 PM   #6
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We made the trip this summer. As mentioned earlier we went up the Alaskan highway and returned on the Cassiar. We found the roads better than expected though you should plan on being cautious and patient.
We had reservations for 9 days at Denali but those were the only ones we had. I was concerned as we left Denali on July 2 but had no problems finding a place to stay and even scored an ocean side site in Seward on July 5th. We made ample use of provincial and government campgrounds in Canada and Alaska and rarely spent over $20 a night.

While not necessarily abundant, dump and fill stations are available in nearly every town and shouldn't be a problem as long as you keep track of of your water use. We tried to travel with a full fresh water and an empty black tank making use of every opportunity to dump and fill.

Gas. . . My biggest shock of the trip. I expected higher prices, but when I pulled into a station in Northern British Columbia that had a sign on the pump that said "No Sniveliing" and ended up paying $7.00C a gallon, I gained further appreciation of the good old USA. I cried the first few times but after a while it was just another day at the pump (LOL).

My advice is to take your time and smell the coffee and enjoy the trip.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:10 PM   #7
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We were thinking about going in the Spring, leaving Texas in late April/early May. Would most everything be open then? We went on an Alaska cruise in late September a few years ago; the weather was wonderful and there weren't as many tourists.
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Old 10-16-2019, 03:44 PM   #8
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We were thinking about going in the Spring, leaving Texas in late April/early May. Would most everything be open then? We went on an Alaska cruise in late September a few years ago; the weather was wonderful and there weren't as many tourists.
late April/early May you would still have the lakes frozen and many places will not be open yet. Better chance of good weather late May. If you want to leave Texas that early plan on killing some time in the U.S. before crossing the border.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:47 AM   #9
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late April/early May you would still have the lakes frozen and many places will not be open yet. Better chance of good weather late May. If you want to leave Texas that early plan on killing some time in the U.S. before crossing the border.
We were thinking about taking a few weeks to get there so hopefully things would mostly be thawed out and open. Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:23 AM   #10
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Checking in - made the last trip with a 32' trailer - planning for 2020 with a coach. Would like to work on some method for windshield protection - any thoughts / recommendations? Maybe something like:
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:33 AM   #11
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Alaska Travelers in 2020 - Main Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lv2Roam2 View Post
Checking in - made the last trip with a 32' trailer - planning for 2020 with a coach. Would like to work on some method for windshield protection - any thoughts / recommendations? Maybe something like:


For the coach or the toad? Assuming you mean coach, IMHO the best way is just to slow down and move over when a truck approaches when you are on gravel. Driven the Alcan and Cassiar twice - in ‘17 and ‘19. Not a single chip in my windshield.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:19 PM   #12
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We made the trip a few years ago with a 4wd diesel truck and 11.5' camper. Fuel was around $5.00/gal everywhere it seemed. Our TC had about a 800-900 mile range (60 gal usable and 16 mpg) so we had no problem with fuel, but some planning ahead is is a good idea.

We went from Prince Rupert to Skagway on the ferry stopping at Ketchikan, Wrangel, Sitka, Juneau, and on to Skagway. We had to schedule several months in advance so once it was in place it would have been difficult to change, but I wish we had scheduled another day or so in Juneau and a trip to Glacier Bay. For all stops we got off the ferry one day, spent the next day exploring/visiting, and got back on the ferry the next day.

With the TC and no toad it was very easy to find a place to "camp" and our only reservations were for the ferry, but looking back it may have been a good idea to have had them at Denali. There we went past the entrance facility where park bus tickets were sold and drove all the way to the campground, only to find out that camping arrangements had to be made at the entrance facility. We drove back there and just "overnighted" in the parking lot with several others, buying bus tickets and boarding the bus to Denali the next morning.

I had been gathering information about AK for years before our trip, from the internet, the public library, and talking with people who had been there. From that and discussions with my wife we decided on the places we wanted to visit. I had a huge (3X3'?) map of AK that I had found somewhere years before. After deciding on the places we wanted to see it was simply a matter of arranging them in the best sequence using the large map and identifying the roads needed to get there. I think it was, for the most part, a series of shorter trips as mentioned by twogypsies. We had the Milepost and Alaska Camping, but I think we used the large map more than anything else.

I also planned the trip using historical rainfall information, shooting for the driest weather. This is pretty much identified by twogypsies in their first post. We planned our trip for June and July, but for some reason that year the rainfall for May and June got switched and we had a bit more rain than normal during June. It's good to have rain gear and some heavier clothing along.

Also, as mentioned, there are some problems with communications to the lower "48". I loved it, but my wife with anxiety did not. During our planned 2 month trip anxiety got the best of her and she decided she was having heart problems after 1.5 months. Because of this I abandoned the returning home Canadian Rockies part of the trip and went directly home to Medford, OR and checked her into the hospital there. After extensive testing they determined the heart problems were all in her mind, but one never knows. This could also be a problem for others with anxiety.

In all it was a wonderful trip with no damage to the TC or tires.

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Old 10-19-2019, 10:15 PM   #13
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That's too bad you had to forego the Canadian Rockies. After 2 months on the road my wife suffered from the same anxiety problems, but she didn't have much choice as I was the driver.
IMO our ride through the ice fields of Jasper and Banff were the most scenic of our trip. Don't get me wrong, our whole trip through Alaska presented us with gorgeous scenery. However, the 3 or 4 days we spent traveling through the Rockies presented us with unforgettable views. It reached the point where I told my wife to put the camera down as we had enough pictures but then we'd drive around the next curve and had to start taking pictures again. Unbelievably beautiful.
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Old 10-20-2019, 07:42 AM   #14
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So I have read a lot of these posts but still have one question. What was the total cost of doing this trip. I would be leaving from a Houston TX. So I know my total miles would be high but still wondering what did you spend to do this trip. More resent trip cost is appreciated.

Thank For replies.

Enjoy the journey
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