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Old 09-02-2020, 12:12 PM   #15
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For those that have made the trip, is it worth renting a satellite phone, or is there frequent cellular signal along the route through the Yukon?
I've thought about it but not enough to know what expense is involved. For us if we broke down in an area with no service we could disconnect the toad if need be. No doubt there are areas along the Alcan as well as Montana with limited to no service. If the price was right and the package flexible I would consider even buying a Sat phone for a backup.
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:25 PM   #16
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What's the advantage of a caravan? What happens if you breakdown on the trip? I think it would be nice to have the commaderie of new friends and follow them on such a trip. How much is the cost and why that cost?
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:27 PM   #17
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I got laid off from my job in early 2009. We had just bought out DP. After a couple short trips I decided why not Alaska. Actually called my wife and told her my plans and said I was leaving June 1 with or without her. Eventually she agreed. With this last minute decision we did not have any firm plans. We only made reservations at key stops a day or two in advance. We pretty much did everything on the fly.

We did not have any problems finding attractions to stop at. On our travels we would talk with other RVer's who offered advice. In most cases it was spot on with only a couple bum leads.


Under the circumstances with COVID I would recommend buying a Milepost at the last minute to make sure you get the most up to date information. My guess there will be businesses that will be closed (fuel stops, restaurants, campgrounds, attractions).
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Old 09-02-2020, 02:35 PM   #18
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Thanks for the valuable info
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:27 PM   #19
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What happens if you breakdown on the trip?
If you have a major issue the caravan is not going to wait for you. You're still going to have to be towed to a service facility.


.... and no, you don't have to rent a satellite phone. You just get used to not using a cell phone except near towns. It's libertating!! The visitor centers along the way usually have service and internet, also. Any business will be willing to help you. If you break down in an area without service just wait for a passing vehicle who is most likely to stop - they're good that way - and it's been known that they will stop at the nearest phone and call service for you. People in Canada, Yukon, Alaska help each other.

Our first trip we didn't even have a cell phone. We just gave the kids our driving route and said we'll call when we get near a phone.

The likelihood of a major issue is small. Before you cross into Canada have a complete check over of your vehicle - hoses, oil change, etc. We also had all new tires put on as ours were 5 yr. old anyway. We had absolutely no mechanical issues and no vehicle damage. We drove slow unlike some who drive much too fast for the conditions. You can't be in a hurry for this trip.

It's really no worse than driving in a remote area of the lower 48 or in construction zones. The only thing different is that the trip is long. You really need to have a good chunk of time to do it or you're going to be exhausted; won't be enjoyable and won't be safe.

If you don't have the time consider flying and renting a RV in Anchorage. Two weeks is plenty of time to do Alaska but you'll miss out on Canada and the Yukon where some areas are even more spectacular than Alaska.

You can also get to Washington state and taking the ferry up to Alaska. It doesn't take long and it's very enjoyable seeing the animals close to shore and the whales playing alongside you. You are riding with a fun group of people and mingling with the people living on the islands. That's their form of transportation for shopping and visiting family. We had a group of school football players going to the next stop to play a game. We rode through a narrow passageway where big ships can't go. The townspeople only see the ferry when the tides are right. They all ran down to wave, smile and talk to us as we slowly passed by. Awesome! It makes some stops in small towns & gives you time to explore a little. None of the towns are accessible by any other roads so you're seeing places that few see. You could then rent a RV and fly back.

Lots of options for doing the trip!
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:50 PM   #20
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I agree with your approach as We have a Garmin mini inreach and travel backcountry frequently. How was the bird hunting? It’s my bucket list to hunt ptarmigan and ruffed grouse in Alaska.
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Old 09-02-2020, 05:58 PM   #21
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For those that have made the trip, is it worth renting a satellite phone, or is there frequent cellular signal along the route through the Yukon?
We had some level of phone service in most places on the trip. Not streaming quality, but good enough to talk with family. The only large area without coverage was the Dempster Highway in NE Yukon to the Aritic Ocean. We tough about renting a Sat phone but it would have been a waste.
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Old 09-02-2020, 06:16 PM   #22
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We did Alaska in 2018 and took just short of five months starting from New Mexico. As others have said take it slow. The roads don't allow fast anyhow.

Yes Milepost is good, but we found that there were not very many Mile(Km) posts along the highways to matchup with in the book. Also the campgrounds listed in the Milepost are only those advertise in the Milepost. There are many, many other good places to camp. We found Church & Church's book was much better to help find camping places.

We do not find planning any real burden. Also we very much enjoy being able to stay somewhere extra days if we like it. I'd find a tour group to be too regimented and very $$$$. IMO what you get in tour is the planning done for you and lots of social time. So that choice is much more about YOU than it is doing Alaska.

If/when we do it again we will still do it on our own.
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Old 09-02-2020, 06:39 PM   #23
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Did it last year on our own, 50 days, 10,000 miles, No schedule, No reservations, No problems. Yes some area's no cell service, but the toad is there if you break down. Beautify Scenery and people!
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:45 PM   #24
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done it on my own 3 times, wouldn’t do it any other way. Keep your money lots of places to soend it up there and you’ll get something for it.

There are so many things to see and do you won’t be bored looking for anything. If there is a certain attraction your looking for all. you have to do is ask and lots of people will point you in the right direction. Alaska is one place you need to go at your own pace. No matter how much time you take you won’t be able to see it all. Good reason for going back. I figure on going as many times as possible the rest of my life.
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:49 PM   #25
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Likewise, did it last year on our own, used the Milepost and Church's book to plan in advance, only reservations were Denali (Teklanika) and 4th of july. did it with two other couples ( 3 5th wheels) some of the best places we camped were boondock spots, pullouts, wide spots in the road. Never would have gotten to enjoy those with a caravan. Milepost does list many pullouts and for the most part very accurate. As to the social part of it we ended up running into many of the same folks from time to time. JMHO
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:57 PM   #26
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Likewise, did it last year on our own, used the Milepost and Church's book to plan in advance, only reservations were Denali (Teklanika) and 4th of july. did it with two other couples ( 3 5th wheels) some of the best places we camped were boondock spots, pullouts, wide spots in the road. Never would have gotten to enjoy those with a caravan. Milepost does list many pullouts and for the most part very accurate. As to the social part of it we ended up running into many of the same folks from time to time. JMHO
Reminds me of an RV we first encountered on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, Utah. We crossed paths another four times that summer. There were other people we saw multiple times as well.
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Old 09-02-2020, 09:31 PM   #27
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I just looked at Fantasy's 61 day tour. It spends 1 or 2 days at a place and moves on. We stayed many more days in some areas because we liked it so much. We went to all the highlighted attractions listed easily on our own. The only things we didn't have were the social gatherings.

However, we had fishermen share their catch with us.. inviting us to their table. We had a woman in Homer inviting us to lunch and a chance to explore her beautiful gardens. (We were admiring the hanging baskets in town and she stopped and talked with us.) We asked a question to a local about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. He invited us to his house far back in the boonies to visit with his sled dogs and to take us for a ride (sled on wheels). We asked the park attendant at a glacier on the way to Valdez if we could spend the night. She said no, it's not allowed but if you want to volunteer for a night you can. We did and it was neat to have the glacier to ourselves.

I'm not trying to push going by yourself. I just want to give you a glimpse of doing it another way.
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Old 09-02-2020, 10:13 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by jacwjames View Post
I got laid off from my job in early 2009. We had just bought out DP. After a couple short trips I decided why not Alaska. Actually called my wife and told her my plans and said I was leaving June 1 with or without her. Eventually she agreed. With this last minute decision we did not have any firm plans. We only made reservations at key stops a day or two in advance. We pretty much did everything on the fly.

We did not have any problems finding attractions to stop at. On our travels we would talk with other RVer's who offered advice. In most cases it was spot on with only a couple bum leads.


Under the circumstances with COVID I would recommend buying a Milepost at the last minute to make sure you get the most up to date information. My guess there will be businesses that will be closed (fuel stops, restaurants, campgrounds, attractions).
The Milepost book information for this year was gathered and compiled and printed late last year. It will not have any information about this virus affecting businesses.
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