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Old 09-01-2020, 08:56 AM   #1
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Alaska Trip

Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?
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Old 09-01-2020, 09:49 AM   #2
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Alaska Trip

dpm11941,
I will follow this thread. We were wondering the same thing.
I know people who have done it on their own.
I have good friends that did it with a caravan tour.
They said that is the best way to go.So much fun,they made life long friends on the tour. They went on other tours with the same company and their new friends.
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Old 09-01-2020, 09:58 AM   #3
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I have done Alaska on my own, and really enjoyed it. After going on a Fantasy caravan through Eastern Canada, we decided to try them for Alaska. We're signed up for the 61 day tour next summer. I think that the tours give one much more insight into things that might not be discovered on your own. At this stage of my life, I like having others do the heavy lifting and planning for me. You do have to pay for it however.
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Old 09-01-2020, 12:31 PM   #4
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We went in an organized caravan(SMART=former military) in 2012, it was outstanding IMO. We plan to go again on our own, now that we have some knowledge of what to expect, and we've already seen the major tourist attractions, which leaves time for us to see/do other things.
Go to travelalaska.com and sign up for the monthly email from the tourist bureau, it keeps you informed of current events and attractions.
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Old 09-01-2020, 02:20 PM   #5
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Moarcosdad
I agree with you.
Let someone else to the heavy lifting.
Yes, it costs, but that is ok.
At least for the first time.
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Old 09-01-2020, 02:26 PM   #6
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Me too

Yea. I want to follow this thread. I plan to start fulltiming next year and eventually, may be not next year, a drive through Canada to Alaska is in my bucket list.
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Old 09-01-2020, 06:06 PM   #7
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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!
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Old 09-01-2020, 07:27 PM   #8
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We did the 61 day Fantasy tour in 2017. Made some great friends. If this virus ends before i am too old we will be working for Fantasy. Our first trip will be the 60 day Alaskan tour.
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Old 09-01-2020, 07:40 PM   #9
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The question is really more related to YOU than to the trip.


We have driven the Alcan 3 times over the last 40 years. No problems-- enjoyed each one.


But, if you enjoy everything being planned for your, absolutely, go with a tour.



Read carefully to see which of the companies provide the kind of experience you are looking for.
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Old 09-01-2020, 08:00 PM   #10
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Having done the trip twice we come down hard on doing the "buy Milepost and do it by yourself" approach. Yes I agree a caravan can add much more depth to specific points along the way, but the beauty and intensity of the natural wonders of the trip are so fulfilling it was more than enough for us.But we wanted to control our own pace and see the things we wanted to see so we opted to go it alone. So glad we did.

I don't recall anything for us that was out of the ordinary from our normal RV and camping experience and activity in the states. Doing campgrounds or boondocking was all the same and often more enjoyable. We planned a bit more than usual but that kept us occupied and challenged. We drove on the top half of our fuel tank and then stopped when we could to top off and planned our overnight stops a day ahead. The last 100 mile in the Yukon were a bit dusty and sometimes bumpy- but I've seen worse here in the states. Just had to take that slow.

Milepost guided us to points of interest along the way that pushed our button and there were many we decided to pass by so we could just enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Milepost shared what to look for, see and do each mile of the ride.

The slower you take the trip the more enjoyable and the more you see. We had to run hard on one of the trips home due to the birth of a grandaughter. Anchorage to West Georgia for that event took us right at 2 week and we pedalled hard. Really don't want to do that pace again, but 3 to 4 weeks each way worked well for us.

Loved every minute of it!
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Old 09-01-2020, 10:13 PM   #11
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Speaking of Milepost magazine, the roads are permanent, they are the same in all Milepost books. No need to buy a new one unless you think the year-old information about stores, eating places, gas stations is vital
The information for the 2021 issue has already gone to print.
I gave my 2012 issue to some folks going in 2016. They said some restaurants and filling stations looked closed for a long time was the only difference.


P.S. Learn how to read and use the book before leaving the states, it's different.
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Old 09-01-2020, 10:49 PM   #12
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https://themilepost.com/

There you go....everything you need to know.
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Old 09-02-2020, 08:57 AM   #13
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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?
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Old 09-02-2020, 12:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Medic57 View Post
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 done this twice on my own. The 1st time in 2005 when there was almost zero cell coverage except in the largest Canadian cities. Last year, service was much improved (Verizon and had no roaming charges). Every Canadian city had decent coverage. Alaska not so much. Tok, Valdez, Anchorage, Fairbanks had it but it disappeared quickly.

We like to boondock and there was seldom a place we stayed where we had coverage. Rather than a cell phone, I took a SPOT communicator. Every night, I would send an email, with our coordinates to select family and friends. They could follow along and send me texts to the SPOT device if it was REALLY important. Also got the insurance so that if I pressed the alarm, SPOT mobilized a rescue. I did a lot of bird hunting and did carry it in the field with me. The SPOT was difficult to use, if I had to do it again, I would get the Garmin InReach which looks much easier to use. SPOT may have improved since then but not sure.

In all, it was a way to make family comfortable but not encourage a lot of communication.

Here's what the email looked like:

Device Name: Chris spot
Latitude: 63.05195
Longitude: -145.77183
GPS location Date/Time: 09/06/2019 15:21:27 EDT

Message: Got four birds great day

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/1B-4f8/63.05195N/145.77183W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...UTF8&z=12&om=1

You have received this message because "Chris spot" has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

FindMeSPOT.com
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