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Old 03-07-2023, 01:08 PM   #1
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2022 Alaska Travel Journal and advice for the first time traveler

What follows is a journal of our 2022 Alaska RV Trip via Buffalo. There are several things about our trip that will be of interest to the Newby Alaska RV traveler (2023 etc.)
1. As you can see from the map we traveled across Canada north of the Great Lakes. We have been on I90, I80, and other USA routes and wanted to experience Canada. And we were very glad we did.
2. We left on 20 July 2022 to avoid the crowds. However, August weather is rainier. We had no problem getting into RV parks. We generally made reservations 1 week in advance and this method allowed a lot of flexibility. We were unable to get into Denali over the Labor Day weekend so had to stay 30 miles south. We got into Jasper but only for three days.
3. The weather was quite rainy, but we lucked out as we were able to hike/run every day and see and do everything we wanted despite many rainy days.
4. We traveled with a 14-month-old Labradoodle. I posted information about our dog travels here: Considerations for an Alaska RV Trip with Dogs - iRV2 Forums
5. We have a 600-mile driving range, so we did not have any fuel difficulties. That being said, we refueled whenever our tank was going to get below half before the next stop after the current stop.
6. As Vegans we were careful to carry lots of staples. The fresh vegetables and fruits selection was meager along the ALCAN.
7. Luckily our windshield did not crack. We were careful to not follow to close. Also, there were few trucks on the road.
8. We replaced our front tires before they wore out so we could make one of them into a spare. We carried the spare in the jeep. Luckily we didnít need it.
9. Communications on the road throughout the trip in Canada and Alaska were spotty to non-existent. We carried a Garmin InReach which provided 24 by 7 satellite messaging for emergencies. It works anywhere and cost $40/month. It provided us with the assurance we could always get someone to help us in an emergency such as a tire issue.
10. We were prepared to boondoggle, but we chose to stay in campgrounds the whole way except for a few Harvest Host stays. Of the 30 or so campgrounds we stayed at in Canada and Alaska, we had decent cell service in 25 of them. We used an ATT cell phone hotspot to access the internet with our laptop to make reservations. WiFi at campgrounds was often offered but was rarely useful. Be aware Verizon does not support Hot Spots in Canada.
11. In July the ALCAN washed out, completely blocking traffic. A short detour was available after a week or so. In September a fuel truck crashed into a bridge closing the ALCAN for a couple of weeks. They finally let RVs and smaller vehicles pass. The road was also blocked due to fires for several days. So you should be prepared for extended travel delays.
12. Everyone will tell you to get a current copy of the Milepost and we agree. We also wished we had bought and read along the way ďThe TRAIL of 42Ē A pictorial History of the Alaska Highway by Stan Cohen. This is a great pictorial history of the building of the ALCAN.
13. We posted here Considerations for an Alaska RV Trip with Dogs - iRV2 Forums information about our dog experiences.

On July 20th we left in our 30-foot Class A 2019 Winnebago Vista 29VE RV for a round trip to Alaska. We were 4-down towing a Jeep Trail Hawk Cherokee. It was a 12,200-mile journey that lasted 98 days. The route we traveled is shown below. We visited 9 national parks. You can see from the map we traveled out thru Canada. We were enchanted with Saskatoon in Saskatchewan and enjoyed the trails and waterfalls in Jasper National Park in Alberta. From Jasper, we drove to the ALCAN (Alaska/Canada) highway. This 1460-mile highway is best described as isolated and wild. It passes thru British Columbia, the Yukon, and Fairbanks in Alaska. It is a decent 2-lane road except for the 200 miles between Destruction Bay, Yukon, and Tok, Alaska. This section of the road took us 7.5 hours to travel and had many frost heaves which were very tough on the RV. One note: If you follow another RV you can go faster because you can see when to slow down when the RV in front encounters bad road spots.
Alaska can best be described as BIG! The same could be said of western Canada. We spent 20 days in Alaska and wished we had another 10. The weather was rainy but never kept us from going or doing what we wanted. We did a lot of hiking in Anchorage, Seward, Denali, and Fairbanks. We aspired to run/walk 6 miles a day but sometimes fell short. We both ran a 5k race in Anchorage. Our friend Rebecca put us in touch with her friends in Anchorage who led us on several hikes, allowed us to RV camp in their backyard and even helped change the RVís oil. We went on a 26-glacier day cruise from Whittier and saw, many animals including a raft of 17 Sea Otters in addition to the glaciers. Denali National Park was a high point. During August the mountain is usually clear 2 days per month. The first day we visited Denali was rainy, but the next day, on Sueís birthday, the 20,000-foot-high tallest peak in North America was crystal clear. It rained again the next day. The cloud gods must have given my wife, Sue, a birthday present. From Alaska were went back down the ALCAN to Dawson Springs during which we saw a grizzly and the northern lights. Then down the center of British Columbia and west to Vancouver.
We didnít have any issues crossing the Yukon/Alaska Border either way but coming into the USA we were stopped (in an operation we call Vegigate) because we admitted to having fruits and vegetables. After a 45-minute search and confiscation of half of our produce, we were let go, to continue our journey tomato and pepper less. At least they let us keep the dog food, but told us that if we had not had the original bag, that would have been confiscated as well.
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Old 03-07-2023, 03:35 PM   #2
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Excellent information. Have others used Verizon in Canada without trouble? I know to switch to international.
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Old 03-07-2023, 06:17 PM   #3
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When I tried to register my purpose build Verizon Hot Spot for use in Canada

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Originally Posted by EdJodi View Post
Excellent information. Have others used Verizon in Canada without trouble? I know to switch to international.
use in Canada, Version said they did not have an agreement for it to work in there. This is a year later so might have changed. Also, I have ATT cell service so I didn't check to see if a Verizon phone would support the Android Hot Spot function in Canada. I am speaking to purpose-built Hot Spot only.
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Old 03-11-2023, 05:19 PM   #4
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More communications Information about Alaska and the ALCAN

We traveled from Buffalo to Anchorage in Aug/Sept 2022. Along most of the roads starting in British Columbia, we did not have service. Out and back on the ALCAN we camped at 10 different campgrounds. Using our ATT cell phone, with ATT hot spot service activated, we had decent connectivity in 7 of them. We didn't do video streaming but otherwise OK. We didn't boondoggle just so we would have cell. WiFi in campgrounds was next to useless for all but the shortest of text.
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Old 03-13-2023, 06:46 AM   #5
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What an amazing trip! Thank you so much for sharing the details and your map. It's a great reference!
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Old 03-25-2023, 05:38 PM   #6
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My reviews and tips for Campgrounds along the ALCAN

This URL should get you to all my reviews.
https://campgrounds.rvlife.com/profi...39#userReviews

I reviewed every campground we used and posted pictures and tips. I also noted exercise opportunities and communications available.
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Old 03-30-2023, 09:46 AM   #7
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Here is the most current Verizon Canada Info I could find. These guys are usually very spot on. https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/ver...ta-to-2gb-day/


The last two years I had a Verizon 100GB Data SIM ($90). It worked great in Mexico while down there, I also asked if it worked in Canada and they told me "Yes". But I never got to try it. Last time (2019) we used CricketWireless phones which roamed on Bell up there and worked whenever there was a cell tower in the vicinity, which was when close to small towns. We also used a Google Fi SIM (T-Mobile) which worked, but not as good a signal (crappy hotspot hardware) After getting back from Alaska that year I upgraded to a Pepwave Max Transit (CAT-18) with a roof mounted cellular antenna. In the last 30k miles of travel since, we have always had good connectivity, even in the most remote places.



For this summers Alaska Trip I picked up a Cricket 50 GB hotspot SIM for traversing Canada both ways installed in an Netgear MR1100 Hotspot. (1 month up and 6 weeks on the way back down) Cricket says it won't support the Max Transit with their SIM.

I am also installing a Starlink In Motion Dish for data when we are not near any towns. (we will know more about how that works that when we get there) and should be able to use WiFi calling via the SL if necessary.



We hit Canada on May 13th and get back to our border on October 4th.



-Bill
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Old 03-30-2023, 05:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BigBillSD View Post

The last two years I had a Verizon 100GB Data SIM ($90).

Last time (2019) we used CricketWireless phones which roamed on Bell up there and worked whenever there was a cell tower in the vicinity, which was when close to small towns. We also used a Google Fi SIM (T-Mobile) which worked, but not as good a signal (crappy hotspot hardware) After getting back from Alaska that year I upgraded to a Pepwave Max Transit (CAT-18) with a roof mounted cellular antenna. In the last 30k miles of travel since, we have always had good connectivity, even in the most remote places.



For this summers Alaska Trip I picked up a Cricket 50 GB hotspot SIM for traversing Canada both ways installed in an Netgear MR1100 Hotspot. (1 month up and 6 weeks on the way back down) Cricket says it won't support the Max Transit with their SIM.

I am also installing a Starlink In Motion Dish for data when we are not near any towns. (we will know more about how that works that when we get there) and should be able to use WiFi calling via the SL if necessary.
My how things have changed. When we went we used a pay phone when we could find one..... just to call kids occasionally!
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Old 03-30-2023, 09:27 PM   #9
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Really enjoyed your post. Curious to read about your experience traveling with dogs. Do you have a link to that thread?
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Old 03-31-2023, 09:41 AM   #10
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My how things have changed. When we went we used a pay phone when we could find one..... just to call kids occasionally!

I'm sure there are still folks that do that. If there are still pay phones.. I do see them every once in a while, but they are extremely rare. These days pretty much everything we do is done online. -Bill
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Old 03-31-2023, 12:40 PM   #11
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Considerations for an Alaska RV Trip with Dogs

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Really enjoyed your post. Curious to read about your experience traveling with dogs. Do you have a link to that thread?

iRV2 Life Styles, RVing with Pets, Considerations for an Alaska RV Trip with Dogs
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