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Old 01-17-2015, 07:15 AM   #1
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Retiring this summer and thinking of an Alaska trip in July. Anyone have any experience with a Caravan tour? There are several companies that offer them. Would like to hear feedback, recommendations from RVers that have done the trip either with a caravan or solo.
Gary and Norma Goldman

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Old 01-17-2015, 07:23 AM   #2
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I go solo because I always plan to get there the middle of May and leave the middle of September.

I plan to leave this April for our third trip to Alaska.

Get the latest edition of Milepost and have a great time.

BTW I am not a professional caravan type RVer. I prefer traveling solo or with friends.

Dr4Film ----- Richard

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Old 01-17-2015, 07:39 AM   #3
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If you want everything planned and scheduled, go for the caravan. If you want to go as the breeze blows, go solo or with a friend. I say, whichever you think would most suit you. Have a great trip!
Jerry and Barbara,
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:49 AM   #4
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We went last summer from Florida and had a great time. I reviewed the caravan itineraries to get an idea of things to see and do then laid out our own trip. Don't be afraid to go solo. The roads are generally good if you use caution. Get a copy of the Milepost as it has great information on all the roads. It takes a while to get there from Florida so you might want to consider a departure earlier than July.
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:55 AM   #5
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We went solo in 2009, great trip. We looked at various caravan sites, couldn't rationalize the added cost since you still have to cover all the fuel etc. Get a copy of the Milepost, a good GPS, and have fun.

We took the long route starting in TN. Went to the Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Part. We then drove through the Canadian Rockies via Banff and then onto Jasper before hitting the Alcan Highway. We left in early June, arrived in Alaska July 8th, spent a month, and then headed back via the Cassair Hwy, stopping off at Hyder Alaska, Vancouver, Washington, Oregon, California and then home through Colorado. ~+14K miles.

We did not take a toad, wish we would have, we missed out on a lot of side trips. Maybe next time

Good Luck
Jim J
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:56 AM   #6
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We'll already be in BC when we start. Leaving FL in June.
Did anyone who went solo have any problems with campgrounds being booked?
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:50 AM   #7
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We did it on our own and it's easy to do. You can't get lost as there are few major roads and everyone else is going to the same places. You'll meet up with the same folks over and over.

Reservations: We only booked two for the whole trip and that was done only a couple weeks prior when we could better judge when we would get to that area. We booked for the July 4 weekend (Alaskans like to camp, too) and for our 5-night stay in Denali Nat'l Park's Teklanika campground - the farthest one in that you can take your RV.

As it happened, we got in the Denali area sooner than we expected so on a whim we boondocked close by at a gorgeous place right off the highway. We went into Denali early morning and easily secured a site for an additional 5 nights - without reservations - for the front campground - Riley Creek. There was so much to do for our entire 10-night stay in Denali.

For Denali's Teklanika campground we purchased the TEK pass which allowed us to ride the tour bus whenever we wanted. It stopped at the campground and sometimes we would just ride it a couple hours and return and other times we were on it all day. We saw every one of the major animals in the park and we saw 'THE Mountain' clearly 7 out of 10 days. Some visitors never see it because of clouds so we were very fortunate.

Please don't make reservations for your whole trip. It's unnecessary and it really hampers your traveling. Sitesee as you drive as the distances are great. Pull in early afternoon and you'll get a site. Also, there are fabulous boondocking spots along the highway for a night's stay. Many folks do this.

Purchase the Milepost and Mike and Terri Church's book 'Alaskan Camping' which includes Canada and the Yukon, also. They lived in Fairbanks and travel the roads often so they know the campgrounds. Still, some close down each year. It's a struggle to keep campgrounds open for a few months in Alaska so always have a backup.

Same goes for fuel stations. Always drive on the top 1/2 of your tank. When you see fuel, buy it. It's not a trip that you're going to be able to search for the cheapest price.

Another thing to purchase is the TourSaver 2/1 coupon book. One glacier cruise (a must) will pay for the book. All of the three publications I mentioned can be bought online.

Also, if you have a motorhome, do tow a car. You'll have a better time. We didn't get any vehicle damage and we made no special precautions. It's not a fast driving trip so just go slow and you'll be fine. Sometimes the semi trucks go faster than they should and if you see one approaching just move over as far as you can and slow way down until it passes. Sometimes we even stopped if no one was behind us.

There's a great ongoing post over at RV.net under the Alaska forum of those taking the trip this summer. Check it out. Also, at the very top of that forum page is a 'Clicky' on helpful hints - well worth reading.

Have a great trip!
Full-timed for 16 Years . . . Back in S&B Again
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& 8 yr in a 33' Travel Supreme 5th wheel
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:08 AM   #8
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Concur with all of the above. With a Milepost you'll be able to pick out what you want to see and you'll have a list longer than you can do in one trip. We go up for the whole season, June thru Aug and still have things we want to see and do. We've been up in 06,07,09,11(twice, flew up for the Iditerod), 13 and will be up this summer. The place is addicting and the fishing is to die for.
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:14 AM   #9
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To each their own, we went with a caravan operated by Adventure Treks and enjoyed every minute particularly the interaction with the other members of the caravan. You end up with a real diverse group of people.
The itinerary was great. We saw things we would never have thought of. Would we have liked to stop here or there a little longer? Yes, but there is only so many days to make this trip if you want reasonable weather.
Would we do it again? Not to Alaska but certainly would consider others such as a Kentucky Derby Rally I have been eyeing.
It all comes down to what your expectations are. Want to travel and have the planing done for you while you just enjoy the ride? Go Caravan.
Dennis & Carol
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Old 01-17-2015, 11:33 AM   #10
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We did a combination of boondocking, public, and private campgrounds. Never had a big problem finding spots.

Alaska has a lot of State Campgrounds, we never had any trouble finding a site. Most of these are without amenities but if you have the right rig that isn't a problem. Get a list of these or a map. We would just stop at convenient intervals.

Private campgrounds that are near sought after destinations may be more difficult to get a site but if you call ahead and book you should be OK. Some of these parks charge high $$$ for basically an average place but with the limited choice you just have to accept that. I'd start doing some research on the private camping grounds in areas you may need them to make sure you will get what you pay for, never assume Wifi actually means Wifi.

When we got to Whitehorse Yukon we had call ahead and settle for the number of days we could get. We used this stop to do laundry, check the internet etc. We then spent at least 1 night at the Walmart before the next leg of the trip. We did the same thing in Fairbanks, stayed at the Walmart that had designated spots for RV's.

We spent nights boon docking in Anchorage but they wouldn't let you boon dock at Walmart but across the street there was a large shopping center that had +75 RV parked so we just saddled in between them. If you go outside the invisible line the police will kindly tell you to herd in with the others. You'll have to check ahead of time if this is still since as you know communities are passing ordinances to restrict this.

Good Luck
Jim J
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Old 01-17-2015, 02:56 PM   #11
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If going with an organized caravan makes you more comfortable, which is what we did, and you are a veteran of any branch of service; I highly recommend S.M.A.R.T. RVing club.. You will not find a lower priced caravan for what is included, and you'll be with a group that has common backgrounds.
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA 1SG, retired;PPA,Good Sam Life member,FMCA."We the people are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts - not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution. "Abraham Lincoln"
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:22 PM   #12
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Wow, what a great wealth of information! Thank you all for taking the time to respond. We are picking up Milepost tonight and start planning.
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:39 PM   #13
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We made the trip in '12--left from Glacier in late May and returned via BC in late Aug. A great trip--some reservations made, most not. Canada has some nice, large turnouts and they can be used to save money. Going again in '16, 2 couples/fifth wheels first time, 4 couples/fivers next time. Got passed by several caravans, and couple of times found the desirable local CG full with those who passed us.
Get used to using the Milepost--it is an invaluable asset for planning/mileages/stops. Also, google Alaska trips and send off for all the free brochures. Do the same for Canada, you have to go thru it to get where you are going--lots to see as you go north and return.
For anyone who enjoys RVing, this is really THE trip...
Not sure what you are driving, but I have a 60gal tank in my PU bed and it really helped on choosing fuel stops--gasbuddy.com worked most of the time up there.
Need to check on your cellphone plans, or you will go broke making calls on US rates.
By the way, study the rules for crossing the border into Canada--bring everything they might ask for, even tho they usually don't. We only got asked about FIRE--FIREarms--no, FIREwater--some, FIREwood--no.
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:01 PM   #14
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We traveled to Alaska in 2012 up the Alcan highway and back on the Intercaostal Waterway. The only reservation was a Sheldon Air in Telkeetna for an air flight and glacier landing in Denali. We used Adventure Videos by John Holod to help plan our trip. You can see the sights and make plans from the videos. See our blog (starting at entering Canada) below and Adventure Videos web site below.


RV Adventure Videos with John Holod Productions

Take your time to enjoy the sights
Safe travels and THE JOY IS IN THE RIDE

See Mt. McKinley in the picture.
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