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Old 08-11-2016, 08:26 AM   #1
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2017 Alaska Trip

In the early stages of planning. Thinking about using the ferry from Washington to Haines City, then loosely following one of the itineraries in the Milepost. Total trip from Florida and back will be about three months. Would love to hear from anyone who has made this trip.

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Old 08-11-2016, 03:08 PM   #2
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For one of our trips to Alaska we took the ferry from Bellingham, WA. It was a very pleasant ride and unlike the big cruise ships it goes through the narrow passage for most of the way - just one section of open water and that was traveled at night. We made stops at Juneau and others, including Ketchikan (loved it). At Juneau there were small vans waiting if you wanted to tour Mendenhall Glacier - recommended. The tides were just right which doesn't always happen so we were able to ride down a different waterway. When we were nearing the tiny town the townsfolk ran down the hill to the water so excited because they rarely see the ferry. The captain stopped and we were so close that conversations were flying back and forth. It was a neat experience for us and for the townspeople.

The ferry is the only means for some people to get from place to place. We even had a whole football team come aboard at one stop and they were off to play another team at another stop. It was great talking to the natives and finding out about their lifestyles in such remote areas. Santa even travels by ferry.

We got a room (extremely tiny) and we wished we didn't. The lounge chairs indoors were very comfortable and that would have been sufficient for us. We got off in Skagway.

Since you have a long period of time for your trip, I'd advise driving back rather than the ferry. Both ways are so different and enjoyable. In fact, you might consider driving up to Alaska and the relaxing ferry for your return. The quietness and easy time would be welcomed on your return. Driving up you will be so excited for the trip and more animals will be along the roadsides early in the summer. After touring Alaska you might not be as excited when you drove back on the highway. Just a thought..... Enjoy the planning.

Get the Milepost for history and maps but get Mike and Terri Church's book 'Alaskan Camping' for all the campground/RV park and boondocking site information. It includes the Yukon and Canada, also. There really aren't that many roads to drive so getting around is easy.

The only camping reservations we made when we drove up and back on another trip were for the July 4 weekend (Alaskans like to camp, too) and for 5 nights in Denali's Teklanika campground - the farthest you can drive in Denali. We only make those a couple weeks prior when we could better judge when we'd be there. As it turned out we got into the Denali area early so on a whim we boondocked nearby at a lovely spot the previous night and drove into Denali early the next morning and easily secured an additional 5 nights in Denali's front campground, Riley Creek for our 40' motorhome and Jeep. With 10 nights in Denali we saw 'THE' mountain 7 of 10 days and saw every one of the big 5 large animals living there - many time after time. It was an awesome stay. We were in Denali mid-August and the color was just starting to turn and the fireweed flowers were gorgeous.

Bottom line - don't make a lot of reservations for camping. If you pull in by 1pm or so you'll get a site.

Full-timed for 16 Years . . . Back in S&B Again
Traveled 8 yr in a 2004 Newmar Dutch Star 40' Diesel
& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
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Old 08-11-2016, 09:29 PM   #3
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We just completed a trip to AK. If you travel with an animal be sure and check out the procedures and commendations aboard the ferry. It just wouldn't work for us.
Also the cost was pretty high for coach and toad.
Dust intrusion in the coach and toad was a surprise along with rock chips on both.The trip put a lot of wear and tare on everything.

All in all we had a great trip. You will find yourself using the word WOW alot.

good luck
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Old 10-25-2016, 04:55 PM   #4
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Look back at the post from the 2016 Alaska trips, there are many with up to date road reports, and experiences. I will be heading South in April and back by June 1, if you are interested in road conditions at that time of the year PM me and I will be glad to help.

Two Gypsies always provide good information. Sue Thomas, photo site (http://yukonsights.ca) can give you a good idea of the areas especially BC and Yukon Canada.

Churchs and the Mile Post are good references but they rarely change much so if you have a 2016 you will have plenty of good information.

The only road construction that I felt was really bad in the fall was at Burwash, Yukon. I travel thru that after 6 P.M. it is quieter with no construction vehicles to throw rocks at my toy. Stay at a provincial campground on either side before or after crossing. Lake Creek on the North side or Cotton Wood near Destruction Bay, there are others but these a both very nice.

I would drive both ways and take a cruise if you want to see the inside passage, you will save money and enjoy the trip more. Use any of the three routes one up and a different one heading South. Most people are in a big hurry to get to Alaska; take your time coming and going the trip in Canada is well worth the time to stop and enjoy. Drive slowly in the construction areas or frost heaves and you will save your vehicle and Toad from a lot of damage. If crossing the Top of the World Highway take your time make it a two day trip to save your vehicle from dust and rock chips.
It is a tossup between dust and rain, the dust gets into everything, mud coats everything (calcium chloride) either way you can wash up at Tok or Dawson City.
Dawson City; stay in the Provincial campgrounds they are much more pleasant experience than a gravel parking lot in down town. On the N side just after the Ferry crossing, foot traffic back to Dawson on the Ferry. On the S side out near the airport actually very quiet after 9 P.M. no one is flying.

Have fun.
S Bradley
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Old 10-30-2016, 08:56 AM   #5
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Thank you for your reply, we have decided to forgo the ferry and have signed up for a 37 day caravan starting June 1, a little pricey but we think worth it as all day trips and campgrounds are included. As for the rest of the trip we plan on taking our time, whole trip will be about 4 months from Fl and back.
Thanks again
Jack & Marie
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