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Old 11-01-2010, 06:30 PM   #1
ccc
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Alaska---First trip

We are planning to go to Alaska this spring.
Several questions:
1-anticipate leaving the Seattle area abt June 1
2-Arrive Alaska, July 1
3-Depart Alaska about Aug 15
4-Arrive Seattle area Sept 15
(All dates approximate!!) This is for plannign purposes.
5-Should the tow vehicle be fitted with a rock screen over the radiator?
Ford F-250
6- Should the sewer connections and pipe be wrapped to protect from rocks and or freezing?
7-Any other suggestions?
8- I have ordered MILEPOSTS.
9-Leaving Louisiana for the trip, which is better for this trip Good Sam or Passport?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
CCC
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:26 PM   #2
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Take a ''patient pill'' and sit back cause this could take a while....
I have driven the Alcan 3 times in the past. Once in a 30 foot A class and twice in a 33 foot A class. both gassers.
One. You will need to make yourself a ''rat wire'' shield over the front of your coach or your ''tug'' vehicle. You can fabricate it out of pvc pipe, wire ties, radiator clamps and rat wire. you will need to be able to raise the hood on your vehicle. I have seen all kinds and as long as it works that is all you need.
Two. Boon dock along the way. You can stay along side the road in many many places just DONT LEAVE A MESS. there are also provential parks along the way that are really cheap. Some provide fire wood, some sell you fire wood.........
Three......GO SLOW... again....GO SLOW.. If you are in a hurry go to San Fran on the freeway. the frost heaves are usually marked with red triangles along side the road. After you hit one at 60 you will GO SLOW.
Four....... Watch for wild life. Lots and Lots of wild life on that road about everywhere. You are in their house and you are a guest there. GO SLOW.... You will see Bears, Mooses, Raindeer, Foxes, Rabits ''Peek-a-Boos''... (I threw that in to see if you were reading) and tons of wild animals along the road. TAKE YOU TIME........ If you hit a large animal like a bear of a moose YOU WILL LOSE. NOT GOOD... ESPECIALLY 50 MILES FROM NOTHING........ GO SLOW.....
Five. When you get down to half a tank of fuel FILL IT UP.... DONT WAIT ON A 2 CENT DROP PER LIETER .... FILL IT UP ........DO IT ....
Six .... GO SLOW... (i already said this)
Seven...... Taste the local food. Moose burgers and Raindeer sausage Yummie......... do it and eat slowly .....
Eight...... Have a good mechanic check out your coach or tow vehicle. Put on new belts hoses and wipers if necessary. CARRY A SPARE TIRE ....ONE IS ENOUGH......
Nine....... Go to Dawson City and go to Gold Tooth Gurties and gamble, drink and watch the show. Make a fool of yourself cause no one knows you there...... HAVE FUN......
Ten........ Go up on to of the mountain behind Dawson City. Hell of a view....
Eleven..... take the gold mine/dredge tour... Its worth the money....
Twelve...... check the weather and cross TOP OF THE WORLD.......
Thirteeen...... Really DO Alaska... Do it slow and look a lot and smell the earth and taste the water and breath the air and enjoy the world just like God made it a long time ago and see the road we put thru it for you.
Fourteen.......... TAKE YOUR TIME, STOP OFTEN, RESEARCH YOUR TRIP AND TAKE TOURS ON BOATS AND AIRPLANES AND THE TRAIN. DO IT..
Fifteen...... there are a million more things but my fingers are gettin tiard and I got to go ''tinkle''.....................
In Summation...... You have never seen anything like the Alcan Highway and beautiful Alaska. No where No time No way.........
the best ''planner for this trip is YOU''.......
If I can get my heart to workin right I will be on the road to Alaska about that time...... time will tell on this and I will post on here when we leave so maybe we can ''bunch up'' if you like .....
Hug a vet on nov 11
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Old 11-02-2010, 11:04 AM   #3
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ccc:

G'morning from Casa Grande, AZ.

Whenever someone enters a post like your's, about heading to Alaska for the first time, I get re-excited all over again, just like our first trip up there. You're about to experience one of the greatest events of your life, and as SeaJay said...."take your time and stop often"...and...oh yeah...that "patient pill" will greatly enhance your trip.

There are SO many suggestions regarding routes to take, things to see, experiences to try, that it's hard to list em all. One thing,... don't get so overly concerned about driving the roads, getting a campsite, keeping your equipment from damage, etc. . We took our pretty new 40 motorhome towing a Honda Element with our canoe on top, and had ZERO problems. Do the usual maintenance stuff before ya leave as SeaJay mentioned, but, he kinda made it a little over dramatic as some Alaska travelers tend to do. For example, his repeated caution to "GO SLOW" makes it sound SO ominous to RV'rs who haven't been to Alaska, that I'm pretty sure such overly stated emphasis has actually scared some folks away!!! Yes, there are places where you'll end up driving at, say, 25-35 mph for extended periods due to frost heaves, etc. but simply sit back and enjoy the view. You'll do fine !!

If ya want to, post some specific questions about what routes to take and things to see here on iRV2, and I'm pretty certain you'll get some good ideas. Here's one: learn how to and then build a few Inukshuks here and there along your way. (Look up Inukshuk on Google). Here's another: stop at Walmart (or the like) and each of you buy a pair of those knee high rubber boots (lot of em have red soles, etc.), then, pick up a couple of those little trench/foxhole digging tools from some war surplus or camping store, and then each of ya get a GOLD PANNING pan (the smaller, not the giant sz.). When ya get into the gold country, ask locals for a suggestion as to where a spot might be to do some recreational panning, then pull over for the night, set up, grab your shovel tool, gold pans, put on your boots, sit your wife on a rock in the middle of the stream, scrape some gravel from the stream bottom into your pan, and while she swirls the pan, step back and take the picture of your "OL SOURDOUGH" !!! aHHHHH....ya won't make enough to buy a new Prevost, but what you'll take away will be much, MUCH more valueable !!

Enjoy. Steve & Lynette
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Old 11-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccc View Post
5-Should the tow vehicle be fitted with a rock screen over the radiator?
We've been to Alaska twice: once carrying a slide-in truck camper, once pulling a fifth wheel with an MDT. Neither time did we put any kind of rock screen over the radiator and neither time did we have a problem.
Quote:
6- Should the sewer connections and pipe be wrapped to protect from rocks and or freezing?
Based on your beginning and ending dates freezing isn't going to be a problem. If your sewer connections and pipes are on the exterior where they can be hit by rocks, then it would be a good idea to wrap them...on our fifth wheel, we used several layers of the same non-slip rubberized stuff that you use for shelf lining.
Quote:
7-Any other suggestions?
8- I have ordered MILEPOSTS.
In addition to the Milepost, pick up a copy of Mike & Terri Church's book on traveling to Alaska...much better campground information that the Milepost because the information isn't written by advertisers.

Also, if you plan on going on any tours, consider buying the Great Alaskan Tour Saver (Google it). Many two-for-one tours...take one tour, and you'll earn back the cost of the coupon booklet.

Additionally, if you don't already have an emergency roadside service plan (Good Sam's ERS or the clone from Camping Word, or...better yet...CoachNet), then be sure to get it before you leave!
Quote:
9-Leaving Louisiana for the trip, which is better for this trip Good Sam or Passport?
Assuming that you want to stay in RV parks all the way up and back, then I'd guess that there are more Good Sam parks along the way than there are Passport America parks. However, check the Trailer Life Directory against the Passport America Directory (or their website) to see which has more.

There are some great Provincial parks in Canada, as well as USFS, National and State park campgrounds in Alaska. No hookups, of course, but you won't be crammed together like sardines in a can, not to mention beautiful scenery!
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:35 PM   #5
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Follow all those suggestions already posted.

One More book... Travelers Guide to Alaskan Camping by Mike & Terri Church.

Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping by Mike and Terri Church
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:57 PM   #6
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THANKS,
Thanks for all of the great info. What a forum.
By the way, we spent the last 5 yrs (seasons) aboard our boat on the Great Circle Cruise around the Eastern US and Canada----no schedule and we stuck to it, did it real slow. Boat cruised at 8 mph---max.

See our web page charlesculotta.com

A grand time, we expect to repeat in the RV. Did the central US this summer 4 months and 9,700 miles but on travel days we averaged 151 miles and were at our destination, generally by lunch time.
I have copied all of the above along with the links and put in my ALASKA file.
Thanks again,
CCC
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:29 PM   #7
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Please understand that I was not trying to scare anyone with my tirade about GOING SLOW. Here is what I personally observed on one of our trips.
We were traveling along about 45 mph in an area where there were scattered frost heaves. Another coach passed us doing at least 60. Now bare in mind that the road was straight with no traffic except us and the pavement was dry. 60+ looked like a safe speed considering the situation. The coach eased back in front of us after the pass and then he hit two really nice ''frost heaves'' kinda close together... As I sit here I do swear that the rear end of his coach cleared the ground about two or three feet. He had no toad behind thank goodness. the coach slammed down and wobbled all over the road and the driver just barley maintained control. I really thought we would see a accident because I got on the brakes real quick to soften the ''heave''. He got it under control and pulled off the road so he could ''repack'' all his goods and change his shorts.
One other incident concerned a moose. The road was kinda curvy and the shoulders are cleared back a good ways from the road so you can ''see'' what may pop out after you. I was watching forward, Willa was watching right and the moose came from the left. I was doing maybe 30 mph. the moose is as fast as a race horse and as big as an elephant (not really but he looks that big)
I saw him just as he touched the left shoulder of the road and got on the binders real hard. I was glad we had breaks on the toad. He cannon balled across the road like a steam roller and disappeared into the brush on the right side of the road. I had missed him by maybe two feet.
Again, I am not trying to frighten any one. Alaska is the trip of a lifetime and you cant do JUST ONE. I want you to please BE SAFE and enjoy your trip and to TAKE YOUR TIME, LOOK AROUND, STOP OFTEN AND ENJOY WHAT GOD HAS GIVEN US.
Hope this helps.
There are a million other things that I could suggest to you but if you will read and plan you will have the time of a lifetime going and coming
One more thought. You might consider coming back down the Cassiar highway when you come home.
Be safe on the road...
Pray for our service people that they might come home soon and safe .....

one more thing. Be very careful while panning for gold. If or when you happen to find a pinch of ''dust'' you will instantly be infected with GOLD FEVER and there is no cure for that. A ''BB '' size nugget will make you lose all prospective of time and space and you will not eat for a week or so or until your back will no longer work so you can stand up. Your bladder will bust because you will not go ''pee'' for fear you might miss another ''pinch'' of dust and you will slowly starve to death and not even know it.
You have been warned ..........
Panning is fun. Been there Done that, found a pinch worth about 60 dollars and paid a chiropractor about 300 to get me standing up straight again ......lol ..............
There are ''marked'' gold panning areas in Alaska. Just ask the locals .....Have fun......
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:17 PM   #8
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I agree with Seajay--GO SLOW. I guarentee that there are MANY roads in Louisiana that are worse than the main roads through Alaska, though.

BE SURE and go Salmon fishing in later August. Funny River SRA just south of the river out of Saldotna is a good place to go.

Go as early as you can----stay as long as you can---go as many places as you can---see as much as you can.

Be sure and go to the Raindeer farm and the Musk Ox farm.

Be sure and go gold Panning. The people who have the sternwheeler "Discovery" (a good excursion) have a gold mine where you can go panning.

Be sure and go to Valdez, Homer (don't stay on the spit---expensive!), Seward, shucks---just do it all!


Eat as much Salmon and Halibut as you can ;~D
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:43 PM   #9
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We hit BUGs Bugs and more Bugs, what saved us was a simple alum door screen, 3 inch in front of the radiator behind the grill.

No glass chips on MH or toad

Go slow and enjoy
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Old 11-03-2010, 09:25 AM   #10
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Hey, SeaJay:

GREAT reply. Yup, I used to think that "gold fever" was a joke!! NO LONGER!!....it's REAL....dang!! We're wintering down here in the desert (Casa Grande area) of Arizona, and....I'm already lookin longingly at those metal detector thingys to use on long hikes in the desert.

Re: "GOING SLOW" caution when thinking about an Alaska trip, you ARE of course right, but I've visited with alot of RV'rs wondering about traveling to Alaska who have actually said they'd never go because the roads are SO BAD. Now I find they usually base this idea on things they've read, and often, RIGHT HERE on iRV2, and similar RV forums. That's all I meant.

Steve
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:14 PM   #11
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Do not forget your bug repellant. Deep Woods Off works just fine. There is a size with a pump spray that is not much larger than a cigarette lighter. Just right for the pocket.
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:26 AM   #12
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were heading there next june,lot of good info on this site.can,t wait to go. we have maps and planing are route now.
safe travels bob,linda& missy
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:59 PM   #13
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CCC
You already have more advice than you can absorb; however, to offer a little of our experience - all of the above advice is good. We used Canadian Provencial Parks and Alaska state parks as much as we could. We tried to limit our commercial campgrounds to about every third or fourth night - to dump, fill fresh water, etc. The Canadian Provencial parks were wonderful - not at all crowded, always on a stream or lake, well maintained, usually had free firewood, and inexpensive.
Most of all: ENJOY - we surely did.
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Old 11-21-2010, 04:40 PM   #14
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Date to Cross Into Canada and Date to Re enter US

Several have mentioned to spend as much time in Alaska as possible and that is our intention----along with going SLOW. As I mentioned we are slow, boat traveled at 8 mph!

Any way, how about the dates of entering Canada and re entering the US? Also the latest "reasonable" date to exit Alaska headed south?

I have, unsubstantiated, thought of spending a month in Canada on the way up and a month in Canada on the way back?? We like to leave about 8 ish in the morning and be at our destination by lunch. We do understand that this time will have to be extended sometime?? This summer, a 4 month trip that is what we did, averaged 151 miles on days that we pulled the TT, usually spent 2 nights (or more) at each stop. Toured the areas as thoroughly as possible. Only on three stops during the trip did we stay only one night.

Printed all of the above posts, and more from the suggested web pages, we really appreciate the effort so many have put forth. Even the conflicting info----just like on boats!

CCC
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