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Old 12-05-2015, 03:04 PM   #15
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Family health issues and hospitalization forced us to cancel our original 2015 vacation plans which was to start in April in Arizona. One night in May, sitting on the couch, DH said "Wanna go to Alaska?" We live in New England! May 18 we left and returned home September 1. We "winged" it across the states, crossed the border in Montana, visited Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Kluane and everything in between with no reservations. We stayed at state and provincial parks, all just beautiful with lakes, rivers, bogs, and mountain views. Being Denali and being summer, we thought it best to try and make a reservation at Tek. No problem, reserved three nights there just 5 days prior. Something like 105 nights out, that was the only reservation we made. In Alaska we stayed mostly at their well maintained state parks, a Federal park in Coopers Landing and Army CoE in Fairbanks. What a wonderful adventure!
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Old 12-05-2015, 03:09 PM   #16
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We planned and did an AK trip a few years ago with a diesel/11.5 TC by ourselves with a few books, one of which was a campground book. I don't know about you, but we've always carried a firearm of some kind because we boondock a lot and didn't take one on this trip because of Canadian restrictions. I later found out that is possible to take along a shotgun if you apply for a permit several months in advance and go through the required "hoops".


We included a ferry trip from Prince Rupert, BC to Skagway as part of our trip with 5 one day stops along the way. I wish we had stayed several days at Juneau because one day there just wasn't enough. Other memorable places were Homer, Kennicott Copper mine, Talkeetna (home of one of my aviation heroes, Don Sheldon) on the way to Denali, Denali (the sun shone for us there), Gold panning at Chicken, and Dawson City. At Denali we stayed in the parking lot where you buy tickets for the bus trip for several nights coming and going. Also at some Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer, and another place in YT I can't remember the name of, parking lots. We also stayed at FS and BLM campgrounds a lot and it did rain. We picked June-July because they seemed to be dryer, but folks up there told us that year May and June got switched as far as the rain was concerned. Just our luck.


I've never gone with tours because to me it takes away much of the individual freedom of choice.


We saw a lot of bikes when we were there and in my mind it would be fine to have it along for the times you chose to ride it, but I'm not sure I'd like a bike trip without the other "rigging" you have. I do have a friend who went up there from MA and enjoyed it, but then he rides the thing from SC to OR and back each year routinely. For me, a few hundred miles on a bike is enough. I would take it if I were you though, especially if it is a dual sport machine.


There is no way you won't have a very memorable time either way you choose to go.


Best of luck.


Steve
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Gladie View Post
Family health issues and hospitalization forced us to cancel our original 2015 vacation plans which was to start in April in Arizona. One night in May, sitting on the couch, DH said "Wanna go to Alaska?" We live in New England! May 18 we left and returned home September 1. We "winged" it ..
Now THAT'S the way to travel!! Just pick up and go. Good for you.
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Old 12-05-2015, 05:54 PM   #18
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Thanx. What I'm trying to do is find a date my sis-n-law and husband can join us at Tek. Was thinking about making my reservation in January or February. Their kind of busy doing music camps in Fairbanks, but I know they would enjoy roughing it inside the park.
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Old 12-06-2015, 07:12 AM   #19
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I'll agree with going on your own. We've been twice. Once on the bike alone going from Maryland & back, the second with the coach and bike. Be sure to plan on getting rained on, because it WILL happen. But by all means GO, and take the bike.
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Old 12-07-2015, 04:02 PM   #20
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Drwwicks, we did the Fantasy FMCA 48 day tour in 2014. We left May 28th from Cape Cod, returned September 15. If you want the particulars go to www.capecodtoalaska2014.com. My first observation about Fantasy is that they planned side trips we would NOT have done ourselves, and we are both glad we did it with Fantasy. I can not begin to tell you what we saw, look at the website, that gives you route, CGs, distances, etc. We made trip from Dawson City to Chicken. I am glad we did, but I would not do it again in MY RV, a rental, maybe. The trip on the "Top of the World Highway" is real up close and breathtaking, well worth the trip. Just be aware it is ALL gravel, except the first 2 miles across the Yukon via ferry. 2 years later I am still finding Chicken dust in the coach. I loved it, my wife, not so much. After we left Chicken our next stop was Tok where there is a coach washing station.

The way Fantasy works, there is a Wagon Master and a Trail Gunner. There is no fixed schedule, just an itinerary. The Wagon Master leaves the CG first, the Tail Gunner 2 hours later. You can leave whenever you want, if you are going to make side trips just let the TG know, otherwise he is sort of a sweeper, they will stop for anyone along the way to render assistance if required. Fantasy has a trip book that is updated each year so it is fairly accurate, so is the Milestone, but both can be wrong about what is open this year. One absolute rule, drive on the top half of your fuel tank, some of the fuel stops listed in both the Fantasy and the Milestone were closed.

Be sure to visit Stewart BC/Hyder, AK. The National Forest Service has a bear watching station that is NOT to be missed.

Oh, someone said the caravan won't stick with you, that is NOT true with Fantasy. The tow bar on our toad broke 5 of the 6 mounting tabs. The Tail Gunner stay with us in Skagway 10 hours while we got it repaired. No, he would not have stayed overnight, there were 18 other coaches in the group, but he was they under the car helping me so we did get back on the road that day.

There is extra cost for the caravan, we are glad we paid it! Yes you can do it yourself, but Fantasy will show you things you will most likely not do on you own, and they can get you into those places that are not open to most folks. Would I do it again, absolutely, in 48 days we made friends we will never forget. 1 couple met us in Gulf Port, AL last January, another from CA stayed with us on the Cape this summer on their way to the Fantasy fall tour of the North East. We are going to meet them for the Rose Parade next year. Is the Fantasy tour worth it, YOU BET.


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Old 12-07-2015, 04:04 PM   #21
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Oh yeah almost forgot, we brought back 40 pounds of Salmon AND 40 pounds of Halibut I caught on the trip.


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Old 12-08-2015, 01:08 PM   #22
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I would certainly agree with DrDaveMA about the Dawson City-Chicken trip being worthwhile. We spent several days panning for gold and touring the gold dredge at Chicken. The town was originally planned to be named Ptarmigan until the prospectors naming it determined they couldn't spell Ptarmigan so they settled for Chicken, or so the story goes. There is a campground there and panning equipment, sluice boxes, etc., can be rented as well as transportation to the mining area.


We also spent several days in a campground along the Yukon River across from Dawson City which was very nice. Instead of a bridge to get to Dawson City from the campground/hwy. there was a ferry which went back and forth at least all day. There was a lot to see for us in Dawson City including re-creation/restorations of Robert Frost and Jack London cabins who lived there or nearby. There is also a "steamboat graveyard" a short walking distance below the campground that we visited where several wrecked steamboats lie that were washed away in a flood many years ago.


I decided not to go fishing at Homer because getting the fish home was just too complicated and we didn't have a freezer large enough to store it in. Perhaps the Fantasy Tour provided that service which would be a good one.


And again, don't forget the Kennicott Copper Mine which was another memorable side trip for us. We stayed very near, almost underneath, one of the old very high wooden railroad trestles overnight on the way in. The mine produced almost pure copper ore that was transported by railroad to a seaport. The story about how the mine was discovered and developed as well as how the railroad was built were both amazing to me, as was a tour of the processing facility. Most of the road in is over the original railroad bed. This road is gravel also.


However you take the trip, you'll never regret it (IMHO).


Steve
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:24 PM   #23
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One comment on Hyder, the friendliest little ghost town in Alaska as their sign says, be sure to go when the salmon are running or the bears won't be there. Perhaps the tour people take care of that timing, but on our self guided tour we spent several days at Hyder without a bear being sighted. This was during a time when the salmon were SUPPOSED to be running. Perhaps we should have checked about that with the FS, or someone, before going there.


Just a thought.


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Old 12-08-2015, 05:58 PM   #24
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We were in Hyder the first week of August and the Bears were running, I took this picture at the FS site (all 4 of his paws are in the air jumping for a salmon, which he caught).Click image for larger version

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We have a residential refrigerator in the coach, we also brought a vacuum sealer so within hours of swimming, the filet was flash frozen and in our freezer. Last winter fresh fish, WONDERFUL!

In Homer there is a company that works with many of the charter boats, the boat filets the fish, the other company will freeze, and ship it for you. We took our filets, vacuum packed and froze them within hours of coming out of the water.


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Old 12-09-2015, 07:55 AM   #25
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And if going to Hyder by all means plan on a drive up to Salmon Glacier it's not to be missed. It might be the only place where you can get high above a glacier without an airplane.
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Old 12-09-2015, 08:55 AM   #26
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Dix39

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And again, don't forget the Kennicott Copper Mine which was another memorable side trip for us. We stayed very near, almost underneath, one of the old very high wooden railroad trestles overnight on the way in. The mine produced almost pure copper ore that was transported by railroad to a seaport. The story about how the mine was discovered and developed as well as how the railroad was built were both amazing to me, as was a tour of the processing facility. Most of the road in is over the original railroad bed. This road is gravel also.
Dix39....

Where you camped under the bridge, was that just a pull off? or was it a campground. The so called campground at the end of the road, is it really anything or is it just a parking lot next to the river?
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:53 AM   #27
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I would certainly agree with DrDaveMA about the Dawson City-Chicken trip being worthwhile. We spent several days panning for gold and touring the gold dredge at Chicken. The town was originally planned to be named Ptarmigan until the prospectors naming it determined they couldn't spell Ptarmigan so they settled for Chicken, or so the story goes. There is a campground there and panning equipment, sluice boxes, etc., can be rented as well as transportation to the mining area.


We also spent several days in a campground along the Yukon River across from Dawson City which was very nice. Instead of a bridge to get to Dawson City from the campground/hwy. there was a ferry which went back and forth at least all day. There was a lot to see for us in Dawson City including re-creation/restorations of Robert Frost and Jack London cabins who lived there or nearby. There is also a "steamboat graveyard" a short walking distance below the campground that we visited where several wrecked steamboats lie that were washed away in a flood many years ago.


I decided not to go fishing at Homer because getting the fish home was just too complicated and we didn't have a freezer large enough to store it in. Perhaps the Fantasy Tour provided that service which would be a good one.


And again, don't forget the Kennicott Copper Mine which was another memorable side trip for us. We stayed very near, almost underneath, one of the old very high wooden railroad trestles overnight on the way in. The mine produced almost pure copper ore that was transported by railroad to a seaport. The story about how the mine was discovered and developed as well as how the railroad was built were both amazing to me, as was a tour of the processing facility. Most of the road in is over the original railroad bed. This road is gravel also.


However you take the trip, you'll never regret it (IMHO).


Steve
We also stayed at Kennicott at the hotel. Are you saying you drove your rig down that railroadbed/ gravel road. We left our rigs at the campground at the beginning of the McCarthy road and drove a toad in to the footbridge. At the time the vehicle bridge was for locals only.got a flat on the way in and got a flat on the way out.A worthwhile adventure, hiked the glacier. toured the mine bldgs. Cant say the Hotel was luxurius but we spent 3 nights there and enjoyed it. At the time accomadations at the hotel were offered in the Alaska coupon book.Thats also worth getting.
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:08 PM   #28
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Alaska

We have been on two caravans--0ne to Alaska for 42 days and one to the Maritimes with Fantatsy. By far Fantatsy was the best.
We are signed up for the Fantasy Alaska You Way starting in June for 62 days. The format provides extra time along the way and avoids the common tourist traps. I take a spare tire.
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