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Old 10-09-2014, 02:06 PM   #1
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Long trip to Alaska

My wife and I are planning a long trip from St. Louis to Alaska. This a trip we have been wanting to take. It will be about 10K miles round trip to Denali national park depending on which way rout we take. I don't even know where to start from planning the trip? When is the best time of year for the trip? what are some of must visit areas? what is the best rout to take? what about reservations, how far in advance? what are some of the recommended RV parks?

I need help, appropriate sharing your experience with us.


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Old 10-09-2014, 03:24 PM   #2
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I've never done it, but we were planning it in the next two years...the only advice that I received talking to some old-timers at an RV park was - prepare to purchase a new windshield when you return. Apparently, many of the roads either have gravel shoulders, much of which ends up in the road and flies all over the place.


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Old 10-09-2014, 03:37 PM   #3
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Get the Milepost guide...it's a must.

We did the trip from FL 2 years ago. If you go just after the last freeze be prepared to face a lot of road work with a gravel slurry mix that is not good. Drive SLOW! We didn't do much timeline planning and only made reservations in 2 places, Homer and Denali. Without reservations, we were always able to find a place that could accommodate a 45-footer.

There's too much to cover. We took the ferry back from Haines. We didn't take the over the world highway, but did take the car from Tok to Chicken. If you don't take the ferry, consider driving from Whitehorse to Skagway, take the short ferry ride to Haines and rejoin the Alaska Highway at Haines Junction.
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Old 10-09-2014, 03:42 PM   #4
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We went the quick way,by plane to visit my daughter,sil & granddaughter who live in Anchorage & had a great time.There is a transportation museum in Wasilla that was very interesting.We also went to the zoo in Anchorage & also went to Seward which is a nive little town.Take plenty of spares like,oil,filters,a couple of tires too.I read a lot about driving up there & the summer months would be the only time to go.
Have fun & I plan on driving there sometime myself,I just have to get my better half on board.
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:12 PM   #5
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We drove our 40MH and toad up in 2012, wonderful trip. Used the Milepost as our guide and it will give you route options, camp grounds etc. Most campgrounds do not open till end of May and close mid Sep. Have you MH serviced before you leave if your concerned about that. The key is take your time, enjoy the sights. We only had camp ground resverations in Alaska, other than that stopped when we wanted stayed as long as we wanted and used the toad to sightsee. We were gone 14 weeks and also hit Banniff and Jasper NP on the way back. just a note, we did not even get rock chip on the motorhome. Have good tires, well maintained HM and throw some extra food supplies in the basement, food cost are high the futher you go up north.
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:03 AM   #6
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We did it from NY on Long Island. We have a log book of 55 typed pages. When I can condense the info to something that won't make my fingers bleed I'll post the high points. For now, we crossed the Canadian border in North Dakota. The International Peace Garden. Were inspected, paid my gun permits and from there worked our way north to towards Brandon,MB. First stop Rivers Provincial Campground. Leaving there we worked our way north to highway 16 the Yellowhead Trans-Canada Highway. Don't worry about paying the camp fee. Use your check and make the adjustment for the exchange rate. Most are self registration. Never had a problem doing that. The Yellowhead is an interesting way to go. Starts out flat like you won't believe for many miles. It's yellow. The canola is in bloom and stretches for miles in all directions. Very impressive but could be boring.

Enough for now but one piece of personal advice. Throw away iron clad plans forcing you to be anywhere at any particular point in time. I (the planner) figured it out in Wisconsin. No details but I was taking the fun out of that trip with my plans and attempting to stay on time. From then on it was just we're going to Alaska let's have some fun.

It sounds like this is only about Alaska. Canada is a great place too. Take your time.
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:19 AM   #7
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Start here:

The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner

LOTS of information on traveling from the lower 48 through Canada and throughout Alaska.
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Old 10-10-2014, 11:46 AM   #8
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We never had any reservations. We dry camp most places and this made us more flexible in where we stayed. No, not in the woods, she's too scared. Milepost came along with us but many mile markers are missing. Quite a few campgrounds were shuttered. Same thing with gas stations. Most commercial campgrounds have minimal electric power in Canada. Watch for frost heaving. In Canada they are sometimes marked with flags on the side of the road. One flag not bad but three flags you will be airborne if you don't brake.

Because we dry camped we stayed in places like Hope(16 mile dead end)Ninilchik (state campground),Deep Creek (state campground), Hotel Alyeska parking lot in Girwood (10 bucks with concierge service at the hotel), Homer (city campground), Eagle River (state campgroud) in Anchorage,Chugach/Williwaw federal campground) near Whittier. Don't dare miss the tunnel to Whittier. Denali Riley Creek campground. Rose Hip campground on way to Chena Hot Springs. There's more.

Just for fun we brought all the episodes of Norther Exposure. Watched one each evening.

Many people think of going to Prudhoe. When you get there, you have to take a bus to the ocean! What? We killed the MH for that?

We took the Tok cutoff to Anchorage. Take the road to Valdez. We bypassed it but later travelled Prince William Sound out of Whittier. Valdez next year for us.

Don't forget Skagway. Steep 11 % downgrade brake burner (gas MH). Stop at Carcross. Take the trainride from Skagway to Carcross.

Don't forget your passports.

In Alaska, oftentimes you will have to stop for roadwork. Sometimes for 1/2 hour or more. Shut her off, eat lunch, make coffee and relax. You're not late for work.

Gas is more expensive in Canada. BC is the worst. The Canadians told us before we got there BC means bring cash. Watson Lake was our most expensive gas.
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Old 10-10-2014, 05:12 PM   #9
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There are several companies that run caravans from the states to Alaska. Search for them on the web and then check out their itinerary. Some of them tell you each stop along the way, and that can make a good starting point or give some good ideas of where you want to stay and for how long.
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Old 10-10-2014, 06:07 PM   #10
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Well,,, some of the above I agree with, but definitely not the gloom and doom stuff. We've driven up 6 times since 2006 and will go again in 2015. First, get the MILEPOST, then decide what level of services you need and make your plans accordingly. Canada prices are what they are so plan for it. In Alaska just about all things you see in a supermarket or eat must come up on a barge or in a ship. Just be prepared for higher costs. If you want cheap, go to Quartzsite and camp on the desert. Drive with your fuel gauge in the upper half. It's a long way between towns so just fill up instead of trying to get a bit further and paying $.50canadian MORE a liter for fuel in the bush. Just about ALL Canadian towns have free dump sites and free water, Ask for and use them. We pay for NO campgrounds going up and back. Most are closed in May and Sept when we travel, but we wouldn't use them anyway. Turnouts are nice, many have toilets and are more than adequate.

Roads north of Whitehorse are subject to frost heaving and breakup with the thaw. Repairs are all tar and chip, using local materials, so go slow. the further north, the slower. When the road is bad this may mean 10-20mph. Just do it. I carry an unmounted spare so I don't have to wait for service if we have a flat. We've had one and it took 2 days to get us back on the road because the service folks had to drive from Palmer to South Anchorage to Glennallen for us. Although you will not have cell service except in the larger towns, people are very helpful. A breakdown will get you MANY offers of help and suggestions. Repairs are available in most towns. It won't look like the mega service centers you see in the lower 48, but that's what it is. Also, be prepared for RV parks looking like gravel parking lots. That's what they are for the most part.

We call ahead for reservations a day or two. If my choice is full, I go elsewhere. July 4th Denali and things like Women's Salmon Derby in Valdez are exceptions.

Alaskans and Alaska travelers are an unending source of information. Use them. They are willing to share. Never miss a visitor's center, no matter how small. They are far superior to places like the Denali center with it's plastic animals and staff that doesn't like tourists. As was stated, construction or crashes may close roads for a few minutes to hours. Hang loose and talk to your fellow drivers. It will open. If you want to go to places like Prudhoe, do your research and ask. You need a security check to get on to the oil fields and that needs to be done 2 or more days ahead of time, and YES, you will be in their bus. Security, you know.

Take the boat tours out of Seward, Valdez and Homer. Watch the fishing and the boats in the harbors, and enjoy the local salmon runs on the Kenai, where fishermen are shoulder to shoulder. Watch the midnight baseball game at Fairbanks on June 21 and see a gold dredge. Take a tour or drive to Kendicott and see the state's copper mining past. Take in the museum in Anchorage or ride the Alaska Railroad. It's a wonderful state and there are way too many things to see and do for one trip. If you fish, bring your gear and you'll think you've gone to heaven.

Needless to say, I love the place, and yes, I have been up to see the Iditerod in winter.
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:42 AM   #11
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is Milepost free service or paid serive?
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:59 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by excurion04 View Post
is Milepost free service or paid serive?

Paid. $19.99 for electronic version or $34.95 for print

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Old 10-11-2014, 12:16 PM   #13
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We went in 2010 from NC. The round trip was 13,571 miles and we took 3 months.

I agree with those that said to get Milepost Book as it is the bible of the trip and explains a lot. Order it the December before you go and you will get a reduced price.

We went in at Glacier Nat'l Park and headed for Calgary then North from there. It was the most scenic area and we stopped a lot to take it in.

As far as campgrounds there is no need to make reservations as there are a lot of campgrounds and if really pressed you can stay at pullouts on the side of the road. We even stayed in Wal- marts and back of gas stations.

It is a trip that you want to take your time and savor everything. Bring your fishing poles too as Salmon fishing is a must. In Homer take a charter fishing boat to fish for Halibut which is some great eating fish. I caught 2- 25 pound ones, ummm good.

THe best time to go to Alaska is between May and Sept and watch out for the frost heaves which are well marked. When they say 25 do 25 mph. If you have to drive on gravel road when they are paving stay as far right as you can when trafic oncoming and don't follow anyone to close and you will not have any windshield problems.

Common Sense goes a long way and enjoy your trip!

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Old 10-11-2014, 12:34 PM   #14
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what about Canadian gun laws? would there be a problem with having a hand gun with you in your RV? as long as you have a US gun permit

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