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Old 10-16-2021, 04:11 PM   #1
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Alaska 2023 from the East Coast

We’re Planning to go to Alaska in 2023. We figure the trip will take 3-4 months if we’re driving from the east coast. We’re kicking around a few ideas and are looking for comments/suggestions/recommendations…

1. Do we take our pristine 30 foot Winnebago class C and tow our car

2. Do we take Amtrak from the East Coast to Seattle (which will include a sleeping car and all meals) and then rent a motorhome in Seattle and spend two months traveling in Alaska. We are not nickel and diming it, but it would certainly cost less to take Amtrak over a four day period than a three week drive from the East Coast when you include gas, tolls, campgrounds and meals. We’d shave off at least 5 weeks of driving time back and forth. Current rental rates are about $8,000 a month so it will likely be even higher in 2023.

3. Do we leave our Class C at home, saving wear and tear, and buy a small travel trailer to get better gas mileage driving from the East Coast to Alaska and then selling it when we get back home at the end of the trip.

Any comments/suggestions? Thanks for your input!
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:33 PM   #2
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Isn’t it about the journey? We went from Long Island in 2017 and spent 90 days doing it. No regrets. Took it with a 36 foot Class A towing a suv.
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Old 10-16-2021, 05:45 PM   #3
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We plan on spending at least a couple months in Alaska next year. It will be in our motorhome so we can bring all of our own things and not just a couple suit cases. Sleep in my own bed on my sheets, use my john, barbecue on my grill, fish with my gear and many more benefits. Doesn't make sense to have a nice coach and not use it.
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Old 10-16-2021, 06:11 PM   #4
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The Alaska trip should be 3 months from crossing the Canadian border no matter where you live. How often are you going to do it?

Plan to explore Canada and the Yukon on the way up as they are just as pretty and in some places, more so. The Provincial parks are awesome.

I'd recommend taking your own RV. You're familiar with it and it has all your own 'stuff' in it. Rentals are bare bones. $8,000 per month is outrageous; plus Amtrak fare.

You didn't say where you're starting from but traveling across the U.S. is cheaper than across Canada. Get yourself to Detroit and head north in Michigan on 25/23 to I-75 at the Mackinac Bridge. Then take Hwy 2 across. Take it to the Calgary area then start heading north into Canada. We've crossed west of Glacier Nat'l Park on Hwy 95 and also in Washington at Sumas.

We didn't get any damage on our motorhome or towed vehicle. The key is not to follow closely and to drive slow. When in construction areas of gravel move over to the right side as far as you can, especially when the big trucks head for you. Many times we stopped completely. If you have a mudflap on the RV you might consider removing it. We came across RVers in Whitehorse Yukon actually removing the big flaps. We saw the layer of rock laying at the base of the towed vehicles' windshield. We had just traveled the same road and we didn't get any rocks thrown on our Jeep. We just had stiff flaps behind our wheels; not across the the whole rear. I wouldn't recommend a 'bra' for your towed vehicle either. Fine grit gets in and can damage your paint job. Honestly, we know of so many who made the trip and didn't get any damage. In fact, our Jeep had a cracked windshield when we left in Arizona. We decided not to fix it thinking we'd just get another. We returned to Arizona with the same crack! No other damage.

Replace your tires if getting close to the age. Get maintenance done and you can also have it done in the bigger towns on the way up.

It's really an easy trip..... just long. Break it up into thinking about shorter segments; not the whole trip mileage.

Have fun planning. Get Mike and Terri Church's book 'Alaskan Camping' which include some of the U.S. border towns. They give RV parks along with public parks and great boondocking areas. We didn't use RV parks. Also get the Milepost for maps and history. We took daily turns at driving so the other could enjoy the scenery. We'd read aloud from the Milepost about what we were driving through. You don't need the current edition as those things don't change - just advertising changes. It's published a year early anyway. With Covid you may find RV parks closed along with fuel stations. Those folks have a hard time making a living in good times and now they've had some bad years. Be flexible.

Drive on the top 1/2 of your tank. You're not going to be able to search for the best fuel price. You don't want to get too low because where you planned to stop may not be open anymore. Things change from year to year.

Get the TourSaver 2/1 Coupon Book online before you go. You'll want to go on at least one glacier tour. We did ours out of Valdez and also Seward. It also includes the Fairbanks river boat tour which is nice.

We only made reservations for 2 places for the whole summer and only made those a couple weeks prior when we could better judge where we'd be. Planning a whole summer's reservations would be a nightmare as you're bound to have travel issues that may delay you at times. We were sidelined around Liard Hot Springs because of a forest fire near the roadway but we enjoy the Springs longer! It has a nice campground. We made reservations for the July 4 weekend and also for 5 nights in Denali's Teklanika campground - the farthest you can drive your vehicle. As it turned out we were a little early so we boondocked at a beautiful place near Denali and drove into the park early morning. We easily secured another 5 nights in Riley Creek campground in the front of the park. We saw 'THE' mountain 7 of 10 days and our days were full with siteseeing. At Teklanika we got the TEK bus pass which is good for your whole stay. Along with big rides we'd pick it up just to go out a couple hours. It runs constantly and you can pick it up anywhere along the road. Sometimes we'd just get off and walk the road for a few miles and then get the next bus that came by.

It's an awesome trip! Have fun planning!!
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Old 10-16-2021, 06:21 PM   #5
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Why the hell did you buy the rv if you aren’t going to use it? Wasn’t it made for trips like this?
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Old 10-17-2021, 06:34 AM   #6
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You are all correct, we should take our own rig! Thanks for the encouragement and weighing in, and twogypsies, thank you so much for the details. We’re starting in NJ. We have friends in Saskatoon who we’ll pick up along the way to share the trip to Alaska.

Yes, we already spoke to the tire place and our tires will be 5 years old when we make the trip so we’ll get new ones before we head out.

I picked up the Milepost and the Church’s book last year so I can start gathering tips and knowledge. I’ll def look for the 2/1 coupon book.

I’m also hoping we’ll have an opportunity to see the aurora before we head back home. Not so easy to see from NJ!
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sueleibo View Post

I’m also hoping we’ll have an opportunity to see the aurora before we head back home. Not so easy to see from NJ!
You might have to change your timing to winter.... but cold in a RV.

https://www.travelandleisure.com/tri...orthern-lights
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Old 10-17-2021, 06:59 PM   #8
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I’m also hoping we’ll have an opportunity to see the aurora before we head back home. Not so easy to see from NJ!
We live in Edmonton and can see them off and on all year round so I'm sure you will see them somewhere along the way as well as in Alaska.
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