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Old 09-15-2020, 05:23 PM   #85
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Alaska

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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
We did it on our own twice. It's a simple trip and not many roads so you can't get lost. The tour will not be doing anything that you can't do on your own. Plus, we talked to the residents and they offered us some 'behind the scenes' things that a tour would not see. Most tours want you to follow their route, no deviation. You're told to be a RV park at a certain time. You leave the RV park at a certain time. What if you want to spend days or a week in a special place? What if you don't like the stop and would prefer to move on? You can't do that. Too regimented for us.

We had absolutely no traveling, maintenance or repair issues doing it on our own. The people are very friendly and always willing to help.

All you need is the 'Milepost' book for history and maps (we took turns driving daily so the other could enjoy the scenery and the other would read excerpts from the Milepost as we were passing certain things of interest. Also recommended is Mike and Terri Church's book 'Alaskan Camping' which includes Canada and the Yukon, also. They lived in Fairbanks and traveled to the lower 48 all the time so they know what's along the route. Then there's the 2/1 TourSaver booklet. One glacier cruise pays for the book and you want to do at least one!

I had a nice long post going for this year's travelers but naturally, traveling to Alaska was out for this year. Look it up... it's not too far down the list. Lots of good information.

The only reservations we make for all summer was for the July 4 weekend (Alaskans like to camp, too) and for Denali Nat'l Park - staying at the farthest campground you can drive - Teklanika. For those we only made reservation a few weeks prior when we could better judge when we'd be in the area. As it turned out we were a little early for Denali so on a whim we boondocked at a lovely spot nearby and pulled into the park early morning. We easily secured a spot in the front campground, Riley Creek. We stayed in the park 10 nights and saw 'THE' mountain 7 of 10 days and every single big animal that lives in the park. You can't be that flexible on a tour and I believe they stay at a RV park outside the park... not the same as being right there.

To do the trip leisurely and see a lot more than a tour does, you really need 2-3 months for this trip. How often would you do it? Make it worthwhile.

.... just my thoughts. Yours may be different. Either way.... GO!
------------------------------------------------------------
As I previously mentioned, on your own is the only way to really enjoy your trip. Stay 3 months---1 June through August--after the snow and before the snow. Vary your trip to go to Chicken Alaska. Leave your motor home there and drive the worlds highest road to Dawson Creek in the Yukon. What an experience. Tours don't go there Learn the history of Chicken--population 6 in the winter. Go to Prudhoe Bay and to the warm springs and bask in the water. --tours don't. Take a boat to Juneau. & watch the whales. Go to Whittier-experience the mile long tunnel to go/return and take a glacier/whale watch tour. many many things the tour won't go or do. Spend your money on your desires, not someone elses and you can make just as many friends in Alaska, like we did, as anywhere. Also--get the book by Ron Jones--Traveling to Alaska--he has made several trips. Available at Barnes& Noble @$15.

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Old 09-15-2020, 08:21 PM   #86
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------------------------------------------------------------
As I previously mentioned, on your own is the only way to really enjoy your trip. Stay 3 months---1 June through August--after the snow and before the snow. Vary your trip to go to Chicken Alaska. Leave your motor home there and drive the worlds highest road to Dawson Creek in the Yukon. What an experience. Tours don't go there Learn the history of Chicken--population 6 in the winter. Go to Prudhoe Bay and to the warm springs and bask in the water. --tours don't. Take a boat to Juneau. & watch the whales. Go to Whittier-experience the mile long tunnel to go/return and take a glacier/whale watch tour. many many things the tour won't go or do. Spend your money on your desires, not someone elses and you can make just as many friends in Alaska, like we did, as anywhere. Also--get the book by Ron Jones--Traveling to Alaska--he has made several trips. Available at Barnes& Noble @$15.

Jesse & Anita Janes
42 Tiffin Phaeton
Tours do drive the top of the world highway. Ours was a SMART(former military) caravan. Our 5er had broken a spring, so we drove it by ourselves after completing repairs.
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Old 09-15-2020, 11:58 PM   #87
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If you have never taken an Alaska cruise or ridden the AMHS ferry, an RV tour will miss some of the most beautiful parts of Alaska--the Inside Passage and 4 of Alaska's national parks. The primary road system in Alaska is limited to the south-central part of the state. Those roads can take you to Denali, Kenai Fjords, and a tiny piece of Wrangell-St. Elias national parks. But look at any map of Alaska and you will see what a small region those roads actually cover.

If you plan on at least a 3-month RV trip and go on your own, you have the time and flexibility to park your RV in Skagway, or better yet Haines, and take the ferry to Juneau for a few days. Maybe you could even extend your ferry trip to my favorite town in the entire state--Sitka. Or, when you get to Kenai, Seward, or Homer, you could take a short flight to Kodiak or over to the peninsula to see the bears at Katmai.

I realize I am one of very few residents of the Lower 48 fortunate enough to have worked and played in Alaska since 1972. And to have traveled by bush plane, helicopter, boat, train, jet airliner, RV, or car to almost every part of that huge state. I have seen Alaska from Hyder to Kotzebue, Chicken to Shemya Island near the western tip of the Aleutians, Skagway to Nome, and Kodiak to Bettles.

It's taken me 50 years and more trips than I can remember to see all that. But, if you are only planning to go to Alaska once, try to spend as much time as you can possibly spare and take at least one trip off the "beaten path" (the circular highway route from Tok to Fairbanks to the Kenai Peninsula to Valdez and back to Tok or Chicken). You will always remember any trip you take to Alaska, but memories of brown bears fishing the falls at Katmai, a float plane camping trip to Lake Iliamna, or a visit to the Russian capital of Alaska at Sitka will be memories very few other RVers will ever have!
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Old 09-25-2020, 08:16 PM   #88
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Absolutely!! Greatest trip we ever took!! 36ft Montana 5ver. Top of the world highway

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Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?
Greatest trip ever! Took 6 weeks in a 36ft Montana 5th wheel!! Do it your way!!
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Old 09-26-2020, 04:28 PM   #89
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The latest from https://www.travelalaska.com/?utm_source=PROMO_SEP20
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Old 09-27-2020, 06:46 AM   #90
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This thread was a most awesome read. At first we were thinking caravan. Probably fear of the unknown for a first-time venture, but reading this convinced us to doit solo and do it our way. Thanks!
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Old 09-27-2020, 12:56 PM   #91
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This thread was a most awesome read. At first we were thinking caravan. Probably fear of the unknown for a first-time venture, but reading this convinced us to doit solo and do it our way. Thanks!
There's nothing difficult about the trip on your own. It's just a long one. Don't think of it as from A to B. Break it up in smaller chunks of destinations and it won't seem so long. There are plenty of fuel stations (but get into the habit of driving on the top half of your tank; this isn't a trip to hold out for a better price), food, campgrounds, RV parks or awesome boondocking spots. Many fuel stations also have RV dumps and water fill. You'll meet up with some of the same people as you travel. Everyone goes to the same major places. Going on your own and on your own time you can easily explore further. Hope you're able to go!
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Old 09-27-2020, 04:36 PM   #92
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I am not sure the details of a caravan tour but I think it is fun to explore Alaska by yourself. I finished a fishing season in Juneau Alaska and took a ferry from Juneau to Haines and drove a large part of Alaska in about 10 days. I could have used more time but wanted to explore and had a great time.

Fishing for samlon in the Kenia Peninsula and fishing for artic grayling on the Denali highway were highlights for me. Bring a fishing rod and bear spray is a must!
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:09 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by TexasJeff View Post
This thread was a most awesome read. At first we were thinking caravan. Probably fear of the unknown for a first-time venture, but reading this convinced us to doit solo and do it our way. Thanks!

As Alaskans ourselves, we have made the trip many times since the mid- 1970s. In many ways its the same every time, and in other ways its always a bit different. As others have mentioned, its a LONG trip. Under normal conditions takes about 5 days from the U.S./Canada border in Montana to Anchorage. The spectacular scenery more than makes up for any monotony.

All of the specific advice in this thread are excellent, but I think I can sum it up with two recommendations:

1. Expect the unexpected.

2. The old Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.

Actually, there is a third thought to keep in the back of your mind: Alaska can be very harsh on the foolish, the careless, and the uninformed.

Anyone remember the saga of the young man who sought out the "magic bus" in the middle of nowhere? He had the idea he could easily live off the land and ended up starving to death.

There was another young man and his girlfriend who thought they could commune with the bears. They wound up as the main course for lunch.

A couple in their RV stopped to let their little dog out for a walk and to do its business. An eagle swooped down and introduced little doggie to the Alaska food chain.

Many Alaskans like to think they are the world's best drivers, but they are also very impatient and bristle at being "held up" by slower and more cautious drivers, particularly tourists in RVs. Unfortunately those drivers (the Alaskans) are prone to speeding and passing in inappropriate places, and often, in addition to inconveniencing or killing themselves in accidents, they occasionally take an unsuspecting tourist with them.

Tourists themselves are almost always good drivers, but the awesome scenery can easily become a distraction. In the aviation world there is a saying that the first priority is to fly the airplane. For drivers the first priority is to operate your vehicle SAFELY, not just for yourself, but for everyone else on the road, which may or may not be in great condition.

I know some of this may sound negative and off putting, but just apply Rules 1 and 2 and you'll be be able to have a safe and very enjoyable trip.
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Old 09-28-2020, 10:34 AM   #94
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The point is people have been driving this road for over 60 years with no issues. You want a problem, get a flat on an urban interstate at rush hour. In the North, people stop to help rather than blow the horn and give you the finger.

It is sometimes wide, sometimes narrow, some hills with steep grades and some more gentle. The road beyond Whitehorse can have frost heaves. It is all paved, but there are reconstruction
How true! From personal experience, there is a "small-town" neighborliness in Alaska and western Canada that you won't find too many places in the Lower 48. We towed our trailer through a construction zone just on the Alaska side of the border on the Top of the World Highway. It was being rough-graded by a D-8 and the broken rock was still angular. Two miles into Canada, both rear tires on our truck went flat.

I had one spare, a 12v compressor, and a tire plug kit, so was prepared to repair them myself. But the driver of an empty lowboy semi passed by headed for the construction zone. Somehow he turned his rig around on that narrow road, came back, and asked if we needed help. He offered his on-board compressor (with a 50' hose) and a large-diameter plug kit, so we put two plugs in one tire, five in the other, and inflated both tires in ten minutes (instead of the 45 it would have taken me with my little compressor). We offered to pay and to fix lunch for he and his two hitchhikers, but he refused both and headed back west.

Just a few years ago, a friend and his wife drove their 1974 GMC motorhome to Alaska. On the trip home, their Olds Toronado FWD transmission gave out in Smithers, BC, just after traversing the Cassiar Highway. The owner of the RV repair shop there took him out in the forest to his fishing cabin, took the tarps off an old pickup-bed trailer, searched through the transmissions until he found a 1973 FWD Cadillac Eldorado transmission, and hauled it back to his shop. The following day, he replaced the transmission in the motorhome and our friends were on their way after only two nights in a motel.

Where are you going to have memories like those on any RV trip in the Lower 48?
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Old 09-28-2020, 07:53 PM   #95
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This thread was a most awesome read. At first we were thinking caravan. Probably fear of the unknown for a first-time venture, but reading this convinced us to doit solo and do it our way. Thanks!
======================================
Be sure to get Ron Jones Book on traveling to Alaska. Many important tips in it. Available at Barnes & Noble @ $15.00
2
When you are down to 1/2 tank fuel--start looking for a gas station. Some are up to 140km apart.
Important=Learn to recognize upheaves traveling over permafrost. Prepare for many dirt roads while under repair. RV wash is in TOK (and one in Fort Williams RV Park).

Safe and smooth traveling

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Old 09-28-2020, 11:28 PM   #96
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As Alaskans ourselves, we have made the trip many times since the mid- 1970s. In many ways its the same every time, and in other ways its always a bit different. As others have mentioned, its a LONG trip. Under normal conditions takes about 5 days from the U.S./Canada border in Montana to Anchorage. The spectacular scenery more than makes up for any monotony.

All of the specific advice in this thread are excellent, but I think I can sum it up with two recommendations:

1. Expect the unexpected.

2. The old Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.

Actually, there is a third thought to keep in the back of your mind: Alaska can be very harsh on the foolish, the careless, and the uninformed.

Anyone remember the saga of the young man who sought out the "magic bus" in the middle of nowhere? He had the idea he could easily live off the land and ended up starving to death.

There was another young man and his girlfriend who thought they could commune with the bears. They wound up as the main course for lunch.

A couple in their RV stopped to let their little dog out for a walk and to do its business. An eagle swooped down and introduced little doggie to the Alaska food chain.

Many Alaskans like to think they are the world's best drivers, but they are also very impatient and bristle at being "held up" by slower and more cautious drivers, particularly tourists in RVs. Unfortunately those drivers (the Alaskans) are prone to speeding and passing in inappropriate places, and often, in addition to inconveniencing or killing themselves in accidents, they occasionally take an unsuspecting tourist with them.

Tourists themselves are almost always good drivers, but the awesome scenery can easily become a distraction. In the aviation world there is a saying that the first priority is to fly the airplane. For drivers the first priority is to operate your vehicle SAFELY, not just for yourself, but for everyone else on the road, which may or may not be in great condition.

I know some of this may sound negative and off putting, but just apply Rules 1 and 2 and you'll be be able to have a safe and very enjoyable trip.

No truer words were ever spoken. Words to live by.
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Old 09-29-2020, 07:48 AM   #97
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Travel to AK

As a long time Alaskan I enjoyed AKEagle post. I was in Valdez Alaska when the eagle incident happened as mention by AkEagle.

The eagle flying off with the dog happened at a Valdez service station when the motorhome was being refueled. Valdez is a small town and everyone knew the kid that witnessed the incident.

Eagle are in abundance all over Valdez and there had been a eagle that took up residents in a tree with a view of the station.

The witness said that the lady of the mh exited the mh with the dog off leash and with a few seconds the eagle pounced. The husband consoled his wife and got her back into the MH, the witness claims that when the husband came back around the MH to return to fueling he saw the guy give the "yes" fist pump.

The incident got around the state in a hurry when picked up by the local newspapers and radio stations.

We all joked that fellow was going to be begging for forgiveness for a long time when his wife heard the story.

The eagle attacking a dog has happened before and after this story, I knew the retire police chief and his chihuahua was grabbed but he managed to scare off the bird before it could get the dog airborne. That dog had nasty talon scars on its back for the rest of its life.
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Old 09-29-2020, 08:34 AM   #98
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We had no problem with our cell. It may depend on service provide? We ha Verizon
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