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Old 04-20-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
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Question Alaska or Bust

Hi, all, This is my first venture into the internet with a post, so I'm not too sure I'm doing it right, and I don't understand the terms (what's a thread?) but here goes. I bought a class A motor home in 2006 after about 9 years of attending RV shows, trying to figure out what would be most suitable for the circumstances of our life. We live in a retirement community and this is our "condo in Fla." and *cottage on the shore". I had never owned one before, so it's been a significant learning curve, and there's a lot that still baffles me. There are 17,000 miles on the rig now and I feel confident enough that my partner Babs and I are planning to drive to Alaska starting in mid-May. I do all the driving, which I love, and Babs does all the navigating, choosing parks, making reservations- a splendid arrangement! We are thinking of using a ferry for part of one direction, a three night trip. The gas must be turned off and I am concerned about keeping the refrigerator going. We will have no access to our rig during the ferry trip. I am looking for any useful advice regarding keeping the refrigerator going.

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Old 04-20-2010, 10:39 PM   #2
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Welcome! ...how long will you be on the ferry--hours/days?? If it's only a matter of a few hours, I think you could just leave the refer off and it should be fine. Does it run off battery power? Do you have a big enough battery bank to run it for the time required?

Have a wonderful trip!

John and Lori
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Old 04-21-2010, 02:17 PM   #3
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I think the part about "three night trip" takes care of the timeline.

72 hours is a bit long for a fridge to sit without running. Although it might not be too bad as you won't be opening and closing it during that time.

I'm thinking a chunk of "dry ice" (frozen carbon dioxide is minus 110F) would probably be the ticket to keep things cold for that long. Keep in mind that anything next to the dry ice will freeze and anything that is not well sealed will become slightly carbonated. Try drinking carbonated milk. YUK! Also, you'd have to do a bit of searching near your departure point since the local Quickee Mart won't likely have dry ice for sale.

Perhaps others who actually have proven experience with this will chime in.
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Old 04-21-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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None of my business but why take the ferry at all? I have driven to Alaska three times and I love the trip. The Alaska highway (Alcan) is one of the most beatiful roads in the world. YES IT IS PAVED MOST OF THE WAY... (95%) I am told. I would strongly suggest that you drive this trip and then consider the ferry or better still a cruise on the Inside Passage from Vancover for 14 days. We did that a couple years ago and saw places that the ''road''' will not show you.. There is no problem getting gas on the road and plenty of campgrounds ...... Boondocking is free and a wonderful alternative to campgrounds. There is much to see in Alaska and on the road to Alaska. In my openion the ''trip'' is half the fun of going.
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:41 PM   #5
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We've made the trip twice. First trip we took the ferry back but made two stops along the way, unloading the M/H at each stop for a couple days. We too had to turn off the propane but the temps are cool and never any problems.
You will want to purchase the latest edition of Milepost Magazine once its available. it will advise road conditions, etc.
Provincial Parks fill up early in Canada and you lose track of time from long days of sunlight.
Bug Spray is priceless.
You may want to invest in a bra or similar for your M/H front end. In spite of the fact most of the road is now paved frost heaves/damage are common and can be a source of flying debris. If you tow a car it should also be protected.
Pack plenty of dry and canned food as groceries are expensive and get worse the farther north you go.
You have chosen the trip of a lifetime....enjoy.
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:55 PM   #6
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When we took the ferry to Nova Scotia, it was a 12 hour trip. The coast guard regulations require that propane be turned off. We bought two large blocks of ice and placed it in the bottom of the frige. Twelve hours later, when we got to Portland, it had not even melted. If you keep your frig closed, it should last several days.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:43 PM   #7
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You're going to love Alaska. We've been up three times in the last 4 years and will go again. Iditerod in 2011 and next summer too. Our first trip up we saw the Canadian Rockies, Banff, Lake Louise, Ice Fields Parkway and Jasper, then went to Prince Rupert to pick up the ferry. We went one stop at a time and spent 2-3 days at each stop. Absolutely grand, and each stop was so different. None of our legs were longer than 2-4 hours, so we had no issues about the refrig, and didn't need to worry about a cabin, and the extra expense. Our route was Ketchikan, Wrangel, Petersburg, Juneau, Skagway and Haines, then drove north. If you intend to do it in one big push, pack your freezer as full as you can. If not with food, freeze milk cartons to pack it full. These can also be used in the fridge part to help you keep it cool. Dry ice is available and is another option. The ferry will check and then seal your propane each time you drive on, so definitely no gas on when on the ship. You will have access to your rig when in each port, but will not be allowed to turn on the propane. If you're intending on the ferry this year and don't have your reservations, get them NOW. You could be late as-is. The trips fill up in prime travel periods very early. If your rig will allow, boondocking in the north is great. Alaska allows you to stop off pavement any place that is not marked as "prohibited", and there are places every few miles. A great experience and thousands do it every year. Milepost will give you each turnout to pick from.

If you fish, bring your gear as the salmon, halibut and char fishing is great. Local charters are also available and are an experience to die for. Don't pass up ANYTHING that says museum or visitor center. Some are only one or two rooms, but each has a unique outlook on the local people, history and attractions. In Alaska you probably do not need reservations at most places and times. July 4th, at Seward or Denali or events like the Valdez lady's salmon derbies will be exceptions. Usually an arrival in early afternoon will be sufficient, but a call a day ahead will make sure you get in where you want.

Good luck, you're going to love the trip and destination.

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Old 05-14-2010, 01:33 AM   #8
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Ferrying to Alaska

I hope you've made your reservations on the ferry by now as I know they are filling up . . . but if you haven't, it's cheaper to cruise out of Prince Rupert than Bellingham. It's a thousand mile drive but you save over half the ferry fare . . . . and I have two words to answer the question of "why ferry?" . . . INSIDE PASSAGE! And a few other reasons . . . Ketchikan, Petersburg, Sitka, Wrangell, Juneau . . . places you can't get to except by boat or plane and it's a lot cheaper to ferry up, stop at all these places, than it is to pay for a separate trip to each one.


Bud and Bev
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