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Old 09-11-2016, 10:07 AM   #1
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Caravan Alaska 2017

I'm looking for recommendations for companies that organize caravans thru Canada and Alaska and if in fact it is worth the money to take the caravan route for booking campgrounds. Any thoughts on unit size restrictions since we have a 44 footer with motorcycle carrier on the back.
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Old 09-11-2016, 10:24 AM   #2
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I would just go on my own. We went in 2014 and had a great time. We never had any problems getting into the campground we wanted and only made a couple of reservations, mainly Denali. We preferred dry camping to many of the full hook up campgrounds. So many beautiful places to camp. Just plan you stops for mid afternoon and you will be fine. And you meet the same people over and over because there is really just one way to travel. I know you asked about caravans but if it is for the security or socialization, you will find that on your own at exactly the same campgrounds that the caravans use. And you can spend all the time you want at a destination. We are going again in 2017. The trip is amazing!
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:37 PM   #3
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We have done a few caravans with Adventure Caravans. Good people. Enjoyed the trips. However, we decided to do Alaska on our own in 2014. Best decision we ever made. We spent 100 days in Canada and Alaska. We had no problem getting good campsites, campgrounds were very accommodating. Even on Holiday weekends! Do your research on where you want to go and take your good ole time getting around. Alaska is an RV'ers dream. Do it on your own.
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Old 09-11-2016, 08:50 PM   #4
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Thanks for your input.
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Old 09-11-2016, 11:12 PM   #5
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It's very easy to do the trip on your own. Pull into a RV park early afternoon and you'll get a site without having to make tons of reservations.

The only reservations we made for our whole summer trip was for the July 4 weekend and for Denali Nat'l Park. For those we just made them about 3 weeks prior when we could better judge when we'd be there.

It's so much more pleasant to travel casually without deadlines to be somewhere.


There aren't many different roads you can take and the other thousands of RVers are going the same places. You'll meet up with them over and over again.
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Old 09-13-2016, 09:40 AM   #6
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Great info Twogypsies.
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Old 09-13-2016, 08:42 PM   #7
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If you want the true Yukon / Alaska experience wing it yourself. Get the 2017 milepost. Also Mike & Terri Church's Alaskan camping guide. Most of the BC, YK and Alaska state and provincial parks are well built for large rigs. Alaska offers many forest and BLM parks too. I would make a reservation for Denali.
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:38 PM   #8
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Alaska you will have available National Forest, State Parks and private campgrounds. Many boondocking opportunities including National Forests. So reservations are not a must. The exception as others have mentioned is Denali National Park, without reservations not likely you will get in. But, there are a few private CG's close by. If you want to spend the 4th of July in Seward (very popular) reservations will be a must. There will be little or no boondocking there. Kenai during the salmon run, gets a little on the crazy side. Reservations is a good idea. You cannot bank on boondocking at Fred Meyer or Wal-mart. They are a first come, first serve and you would not believe how many RVs are jammed into those parking lots. Most rigs will have Alaska plates on them. None of this is to discourage you go visiting these areas, just a heads-up as to what to expect. Expect some roads to be rough. Of particular note is the Tok Cutoff, it will beat the H out of your coach
Traffic in Anchorage and north and south can be heavy. Particularly south heading to Turnigain Arm. Do not expect much by way of campgrounds in Anchorage. None too desirable. Cabela's is a good location with a fueling station about a quarter of a mile away with wide island access, air, potable water and a dump station all at no charge. Costco is also close by
The popular destinations are worth visiting, however, there are countless places in between those destinations that are absolutely spectacular. Keep in mind, Alaska is nearly two and a half times the size of Texas, so you will not run out of places to go and see. Especially if you consider taking in charter air tours, ferries, backpacking, tour cruises, etc.
Be sure to do your homework before crossing into Canada. Know with to expect if traveling with pets, produce and guns. Found Idaho a very easy crossing point. One last note, in Canada, one of our favorite boondocking spots is Muncho Lake. Well worth a nights stay. Expect a memorable trip [/B][/B]
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:15 AM   #9
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All good advice above. We went this summer for just 40 days. Definitely liked being on our own. The dry camping opportunities are the best. We tried to avoid campgrounds unless we needed to do laundry or pump out. No reservations, except near Denali.
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Old 09-14-2016, 08:06 AM   #10
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Again all great info. Thanks guys.
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:14 PM   #11
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We mostly see Fantasy and Adventure operating caravans in Alaska. There have been others, just don't know who.

Campgrounds run about $35 per night in western Canada and Alaska, and some are higher. Most of the government parks will be difficult to impossible as they were built with the truck camper sized vehicle in mind. Boondocking is pretty available in many areas.

Start by looking at the itineraries for the various length tours offered. They are all pretty much the same, meet in Dawson Creek and go north on 97 to the Yukon, Continue on 1 to Alaska, arrive in Tok and go left or right. Make the loop, detour to Seward and Homer out of Anchorage and Valdez out of Glennallen, return to Watson Lake, take the Cassiar south.

Some things you might miss on a Caravan include a trip across the Denali Hwy between Paxson and Cantwell. One of my favorite roads anywhere, but first take it as a day trip. Hatcher Pass out of Palmer or Willow, another good day trip. Take the tunnel to Whittier, the City has a gravel Boondock campsite at the head of the bay for around $10 per night. From Whittier you can take the Ferry to Valdez , get a hotel, and drive back to Whittier. Take the ferry to Kodiak out of Homer as walk-on passengers, get a hotel and car in Kodiak, tour the WWII military bunkers, drive to the rocket launch site, and take the ferry back to Homer. Times can be a bit strange due to Ferry schedules. Dive to Haines or Skagway and take the Ferry to the other. Stay on the beach at Anchor Point and watch log skidders launch and retrieve 30' charter fishing boats in the surf. Stop at Trustworthy Hardware in Soldotna and get a fishing license and a suitable rod and fish for red salmon off the beach for 1 or more days in late (after the 20th) July from Centennial Campground. I doubt any of the above are on a caravan schedule.

If you go in earlyish May You will see ice on some of the Lakes, snow on the mountains, and ice along some rivers. If you return in September, the fall colors can be spectacular.

Lots of people like the caravans, so take one if you like it. Just wanted to point out that there are alternatives. Above all, enjoy the trip.
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Old 09-15-2016, 06:21 AM   #12
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Caravan Alaska 2017

Thus far there have been 10 posts telling you to go by yourself, but you asked about Caravans. Well there are several good reasons to do the caravan thing, and several not to. If you like doing your own thing, don't go the caravan route. If you want to be sure that you get to see the highlights of Alaska, take a caravan. We found that with Fantasy RV www.fantasyrvtours.com you will see and do things that you otherwise would never have done. If you want a full review of our trip go to www.capecodtoalaska2014.com that is day by day coverage of our trip in 2014. We were on our own from Cape Cod to Dawson Creek where we met up with 18 other coaches on the Fantasy tour and traveled with them for 48 days, and then again on our own from Smithers home. Yes, if you go it on your own you do meet folks at camp sites along the way and you will occasionally run into them again, but with a caravan you will meet them each night and have a chance to develop lasting friendships. Fantasy is what I would call a "loose" caravan, you are together each night, but free to go where and when you like during the day, you do NOT travel nose to tail, you stop and go as you please. There is a wagon master and tail gunner, each travel day the wagon master leaves first, the tail gunner goes last, doing a "sweep" along the route to assist any members that might have problems. When you are in a place that has enough to warrant it, you may stay multiple days, other times you travel, sometimes 50 miles, some times 200, it just depends upon where you are. You meet each night before a travel day for a route briefing that covers the next day's travel. We found Fantasy had planned activities that you could attend if you wanted that were not what we would have picked on our own, and we were glad we did them. We went to an Iditerod sled race training facility, a salmon bake that was HUGE, an ice sculpture display, a river boat trip, halibut fishing, a Musk Ox research facility, a boat trip to Juneau during which we saw whales bubble fishing, a glacier trip, the list goes on and on. What we also noticed was that Fantasy had arranged all the excursions for us with the best people, we were not trying to figure out what we needed/wanted to see or with which vendor, they have been doing it for years and know what is worth it and what is not, they have also negotiated group rates.

Is it expensive, sure it is, but you get what you pay for, is it worth it, absolutely. We did the trip two years ago, since then we have had 2 couple come visit us, we are going to visit another couple this winter and travel with them for a month. At FMCA rallies since then we have had mini reunions, meeting several couples at each rally, in fact at Perry this spring 5 couples were there, we all went out to dinner one evening and "remembered when". One couple we have met up with 4 times in the past 2 years, only once at a rally. A caravan is a great way to meet folks with like interests and develop lasting friendships! Our trip combined the best of both worlds, we did our own thing for the first 6 weeks, the caravan thing for the next 6 and then our own for the rest of the trip. We did13,000+ miles in almost 4 months, it was a phenomenal trip that we will be able to say "I remember when" not, "I wish I had".

With the above I have tried to give you to have a peek at the caravan side, going your own way and boon docking is great, but there are reasons to join an organized group, we loved our Alaska trip with Fantasy so much, we are joining them for the Rose Parade rally this year, primarily for the organization and activities they bring, best seats, group transportation, etc and as yet unmet FRIENDS. Only you can decide what is right for you, I hope this forum will get you the information you need to decide how you want go. If you want more information PM me.
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Old 09-15-2016, 07:46 AM   #13
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Great information 😃
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Old 09-15-2016, 11:47 AM   #14
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We found Fantasy had planned activities that you could attend if you wanted that were not what we would have picked on our own, and we were glad we did them. We went to an Iditerod sled race training facility, a salmon bake that was HUGE, an ice sculpture display, a river boat trip, halibut fishing, a Musk Ox research facility, a boat trip to Juneau during which we saw whales bubble fishing, a glacier trip, the list goes on and on.
It sounds like your really enjoyed your trip...and that's great. Your blog pictures are very nice. Folks have different ways of travel. I think what the other posters were trying to convey is that you don't need a tour to do this trip. We did all of the above on our own plus many, many more. Everyone traveling to Alaska travels the same roads and have the options to do the same major things. For us, most were done without reservations including the river boat trip out of Fairbanks.

You did all the big named things that are advertised. We did those in addition to many, many small things that tours don't take you. We take time to talk to the local people and in doing so we were invited to a sled dog owner's home where we were offered lunch in her kitchen and then gave us a tour of the nitty gritty and then for a sled ride - on wheels. She needed to run her dogs daily - even in the summer.

On the way to Dawson City we stayed in a Provincial campground and across the road was a small café. The owner cooked and served us and joined us for coffee. He then gave us a tour of his garden and his huge generator building which powered up the café. He didn't have electric. He generated his own power. He grew his own vegetables for the café.

All along the way we'd stop and talk to fishermen(women) and we were offered so much free salmon that we actually got tired of eating it.

We mentioned fly fishing to a group and were immediately offered to go during that week to their 'special' place.

We were admiring the town flowers in Homer and a woman who lived there invited us to her home to see her flower and vegetable garden which was awesome. It was up on the ridge overlooking Homer, the water and distant mountains - a beautiful setting.

We took a drive on a gravel road and got to an area where folks were kite soaring off a cliff. We joined them and they were enthusiastic about explaining everything about this sport.

We had many more small things like this that added to our trip greatly.

Our trip is just a different perspective of the fantastic trip......
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