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Old 01-13-2015, 02:57 PM   #1
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Do I need a GPS in Alaska?

I am planning a trip from Victoria BC to Alaska and was wondering if I need a GPS Navigation unit for use in Alaska? or is it map friendly enough.
thanks
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:10 PM   #2
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No more so than anywhere else. Maybe less, since there is typically just one road between any two towns or attractions. The maps are fine and most people carry a copy of The Milepost to tell them where everything is along the way.
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:22 PM   #3
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The only time a GPS is of use is if you're going off road to snow machine or hike in the back country. There are so few roads, that you can't get lost. Lived in AK for almost 20 years. I definitely recommend the Milepost, as stated by Gary, above.
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:29 PM   #4
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Gary, thanks for the info on The Milepost. I will be checking this out. Maybe a good chance that we will head to Alaska in 2016. Which brings a question to mind. What are the best months to be going there. Certainly don't want to run into any snow storms.
Thanks
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:39 PM   #5
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Snow can happen in Alaska as late as June/July, and as early as September, although not typical. Best months would be June - September. Later in the year, fewer bugs are out that want to drain you dry. Mosquitoes are a perpetual pain. Have a fun and safe trip if you go! It's a beautiful place!
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:48 PM   #6
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We went to Alaska in 2009, at the time I just had a small vehicle GPS and found it useful for planning purposes to calculate distances etc. The newer GPS tailored specifically for RV are great, I have a Garmin 760 now. It provides points of interest info that also helps in planning. I would recommend taking one. Knowing the distance from point to point especially for fuel is important. Never assume that a fueling station listed in the milepost or internet will be opened, a high number were closed on our drive north.

We drove into Canada in early July out of Montana, it took us ~7 days to arrive in Alaska from there, arriving on July 8th. We spent a full month there, the weather was good, not snow but some cool nights. Bugs were not a problem.

Do some research and find out where you can find active forest fires, when we first arrived in AK there were a large number of fires near Fairbanks which was going to be our first destination so we rerouted through Valdez and then Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, Seward, Denali, Fairbanks and then back south.

On our way back we took the Cassiar Highway and stopped off in Hyder Alaska (look it up) to do some bear viewing. We then went down to Vancouver, Washington State, Oregon, California before heading back to TN. Put on +14K miles, what a ride.

I'd do it again but I can't convince my wife :(
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:55 PM   #7
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Funny thing when updating my Garmin GPS. It now requires a memory expansion card for "all states". Otherwise it will only load east of the Mississippi river, or, west of:, or Canada, or. I'm like wow. Life time to update maps and $200.00 later I'm so impressed.
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Old 01-13-2015, 06:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scomike View Post
I am planning a trip from Victoria BC to Alaska and was wondering if I need a GPS Navigation unit for use in Alaska? or is it map friendly enough.
thanks
GAry's correct. No you don't really need one but they are handy and do provide useful information such as how far to the next stop or for example if you happen to be in Fairbanks and want to visit the university museum (or anything else) directions are most often correct and easy to follow. Most of the newer GPS's will have RV parks, fuel stops, stores, gov't offices and many other locations even in Alaska. I used mine for many locations this past year traveling to and in Alaska.
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:05 AM   #9
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I would say June thru August for the best months. We encountered snow in both Alaska and Canada starting about Sept 1, though nothing serious. And you will find some fuel stations and many campgrounds closing about that same time. Some fuel stations along the travel routes stop buying fuel in mid-August and close when they run out of stuff to sell. I would want to be heading south thru Canada by very early September, but might not actually hit the lower 48 until October. Lots to see and do in lower BC and Alberta.
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Old 01-14-2015, 12:47 PM   #10
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Thanks all for the input, I think I am going to get a GPS and now need to research which one would suit my needs. The Garmin RV 760 looks like a good unit with a nice size screen and some useful information on it like RV parks. Do they all have fuel stops?
Other suggestions would be welcome as well.
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Old 01-14-2015, 06:41 PM   #11
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HAVE had GPS for more years than most have been able to spell GPS and only have four or five now. Prefer Garmin and have had most models through the years. HAVE just a thousand miles on the new 760rv and it is a step above. With lane assist which I find a must and all the RV related data it has done a good job. Voice command is nice for finding something ahead, fuel, rest area, food the normal, with out touching a thing. And the big screen.
As far as in Alaska not needed but nice. And for me June July before the bugs get a head start. Mile post book keep the fuel full until you can make the last jump to the border.

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Old 01-14-2015, 09:38 PM   #12
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If your DW reads a road map like mine does, you should use a GPS. we did the Ca-Ak. Trip a couple of years ago, and we enjoyed having it. Oh, it was the best trip we ever took!
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Old 01-14-2015, 09:54 PM   #13
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Never leave home without it. My DW still uses maps, but once off the main road, our Garmin takes over and gets us to the CG.
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Old 01-15-2015, 07:09 AM   #14
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For many years people navigated in all 50 states and more without GPS.. I know it's hard to remember that far back but I am a coffee-holic.

GPS makes it easier however, epically if coupled with paper maps and a working brain.

IF you lack the working brain part.. GPS makes it easier to get in trouble.

(See Commercial where GPS says TURN RIGHT, man turns right into a flower shop, IN 800 FEET) (He lacked a working brain)
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