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Old 11-01-2022, 12:42 PM   #1
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My Alaska Adventure

My Alaska Adventure.

The trip

113 days, 13,213 miles door to door from north Florida 10 boarder crossing

We traveled north and west from Florida to Montana. Crossing into Canada at Sweet Grass. Mt. We then traveled north to Banff National Park and on to Jasper through the Icefield Parkway Then north to Dawson Creek and the Alaska Highway.

Once in Alaska we headed to Valdez, the Kenia peninsula and up to Fairbank. We then headed back south and picked up the Cassiar Highway for the trip back to the lower 48.
I traveled with my life partner and longtime girlfriend and another couple who had their own RV.

My equipment

2012 Tiffin TGA 34 class A motorhome towing a 2012 Honda CRV. For this trip I installed 2 100-amp hr. lithium batteries and a 200-watt solar suitcase. I also purchased a spare tire for the RV but did not have it on a rim. Other than that, I did all my standard maintenance to assure everything was in working order.

Canada

Canada is beautiful. Banff and Jasper National Parks are stunning. We will definitely return to explore the area more. We found no problem with fuel or camping. I used a Master Card for most all purchases on the trip. It was excepted everywhere in Canada. I got 200 Canadian dollars when we arrived and we really only needed it at Provincial parks. We made a special stop before crossing back into the U.S. to spend the last of it.

The roads

I had read about how bad the roads to Alaska can be. Over all I found them to be in good condition. There was construction along the way that slowed us and some of those areas were very rough. For the most part that was only for a mile or two. I think the Alaska Highway and the roads in Alaska and the Cassier Highway are not any worse than many roads in the lower 48. EXCEPT, the 200 miles or so between Destruction Bay and Tok AK. That stretch is like a bombed-out air field. Our speed was slowed to as low as 15 mph in some places
.
The Towns

I had watched a lot of videos about RVing to the last frontier. May of the people made all these stops sound so exciting. I found that many of them were no more than a gas stop. Not much to do and after gas we were on our way. I do have some that I really enjoyed. Valdez was great. The ride in is pure magic. The town is a fun fishing town. You can drive to a glacier just outside of town. We spent 4th of July there and enjoyed the local parade and town festivities.

Soldotna was nice, a real town with all the needed supplies. It had a Walmart and a Fred Myers which had a free dump station and water fill. The big draw was the salmon fishing. We went with a guide and I am still enjoying the fish that I caught.

Homer and Seward were nice too. They are all about fishing and tourism. Our halibut trip was canceled due to weather. We took a boat trip from Seward to Kenia Fiord National Park and saw a huge glacier and a lot of wild life. There is also a glacier we hiked to outside of Seward. Hader was cool because they have a bear viewing station where we watched grizzlies catch salmon. The bear count for the trip was 37 There was also a very exciting drive up to yet another glacier.

A lot of people say that Anchorage and Fairbanks are not worth spending much time at. We spent 4 days in Anchorage visiting museums and local attractions. We also fished the river right in downtown Anchorage. We also stayed 4-5 days in Fairbanks. Again, visiting local attractions.

Between Anchorage and Fairbanks, we visited Denali National Park. We did see the mountain and it is awesome. We drove as far as we could into the park and did some hiking. We did not do the bus tour not wanting to spend that much time on a crowded bus. I talked with people who did it and the reviews were mixed. I’m sure I am leaving some places out but these are the highlights. They are not towns but Liard and Chena hot springs were both great stops.

Camping

Our camping was split a few different ways I would say more than half of it was dry camping, no hook ups. I was concern about this but my lithium batteries really shined here. We could easily go 4-5 day on our tanks and running the generator for an hour our so every couple of days. Dump and water fills were never an issue.

We used all kinds of places, Provincial Parks in Canada, pull outs a few times, state and city parks Walmart’s and Cabela’s and true boondocking. The camping experience was one of the best parts. We never really concerned ourselves about where we would stay. We camped in forest and by lakes and so many beautiful places. Dry camping is now my favorite type of camping. I wish there were more places to do it in the eastern U.S.

The weather

We experience a variety of weather. Some of it was very exciting and some of it was a bit scary. Most of the time the weather was good. The skies are often overcast and we did get a fair amount of rain but nothing that stopped us form enjoying outdoor activities. We could be in shorts and tee shirts one day and jeans and jackets the next. You need to bring clothing for all kinds of weather.

Here are a few of our weather experiences.

We boondocked outside of Wall S.D. on the cliffs above Badland National Park on a beautiful sunny day. That evening a weather alert went off for 80 mph straight line winds. The wind blew so hard we had to leave the RV for fear it would blow over and off the cliff. It was a very scary night.

A hail storm in Spearfish S.D. It was not bad, maybe pea size. I read that the same storm had baseball size hail in Wall S.D. and caused a lot of damage in the town.

We had to leave a campground in Montana because it might get flooded.

On the Icefield Parkway we woke up to 6” of snow. We had to wait for snowplows to clear the roads before we could get down the mountain.

So, what else could possibly happen. How about an earthquake. Yup, 4.5 on the Richter scale. It woke us from our sleep.

And a knock on the door to prepare to evacuate due to a RV catching on fire and causing the forest to also catch on fire. The local fire people were able to put it out.

Needless to say, mother nature kept us on our toes. None of these events cause any damage for us but sure made for some excitement.

Repairs

This trip did not leave our equipment unscathed. I had to replace the brakes on the Honda in Fairbanks. The water pump quit but I had brought an extra so no big deal. My brake buddy kept draining my car battery. I replaced it but it kept doing it. I drove the last 2000 mile without it. The rear brakes went on the RV, we had them repaired in Wyoming. I don’t know if my brake issues are related to the trip but they all looked good before we left.

Our exciting damage came on our return on the Alaska Highway a 100 miles from the nearest town. The bracket that holds the front sway bar broke and flopped over onto the AC compressor scoring the outer casing of the serpentine belt. It only damaged the outer casing so we drove all the way to WY and had it replaced with the brakes. I had the sway bar bracket welded in Watson Lake and reinstalled it. These repairs held us up for about a week overall and we made the best of it exploring the local area. We were only out of the RV for one night.

Conclusion

This was a trip of a lifetime. It was more than that it was an adventure. I felt like the pioneers of old as we traveled the wilds of this great land. If I was to say what was the best part it would be the trip itself. Canada and Alaska are unbelievably beautiful. The adventure is never ending. I am also grateful that I did this with the people that I did. These memories will be with me for the rest of my life.

People have asked if I would do it again. If I do, I will do it differently. I would maybe do it in a van (class B) without a tow. Or maybe fly in and rent an RV and do the Kenai during the salmon run.

I know this is a long post and if you have read it and are planning to do this great adventure, I would say go for it. I have been RVing for many years and no trip I have done has compared to this.

Plan your trip and prepare as best you can, expect some problems along the way and take each day as the adventure that it will be.
I hope you have found this post interesting and helpful.
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Old 11-02-2022, 12:32 AM   #2
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Thanks for the awesome trip report! I'm sure it will help others making the trip.
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Old 11-03-2022, 07:53 AM   #3
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We’ve lived in Alaska going on 50 years but enjoy reading about other peoples trips and perspectives about Alaska. I’ve been from the North Slope to Kodiak and all places in between and generally take for granted this beautiful state. Reading about these trips just reminds me how fortunate we are to live here. We are starting to spend some of the winter in the lower 48 traveling and enjoying the warm weather but will never leave Alaska .
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Old 11-03-2022, 08:28 AM   #4
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Thanks for your report!
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Old 11-03-2022, 11:15 AM   #5
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Thanks for sharing your adventures. The north is truly beautiful!
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Old 11-03-2022, 11:25 AM   #6
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Sounds like you had a great trip. We've lived in AK for 50 years and had an RV for nearly 45 of those years. Lots of cool places to visit in Alaska. Glad you had a great trip and thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-03-2022, 07:22 PM   #7
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Thank you for this report! I have enjoyed the previous thread, and it has me wanting to make the trip also.

I’d definitely stop in Haines, a small town where I spent my childhood.
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Old 11-04-2022, 06:01 PM   #8
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Thanks for sharing your trip.

It sounds like dispute the mishaps you had a fabulous time.

I live in Canada have never been west of Ontario so this is definitely on the bucket list but have to wait for retirement.
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Old 11-08-2022, 12:28 PM   #9
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Nice review! Enjoyed reading
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Old 11-08-2022, 06:15 PM   #10
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Looks like a great trip. We are thinking about next year. If it happens it will be our fifth trip to the north. This year we did our second trip to Newfoundland, spending five weeks on the island with no particular agenda.

Thinking of 5-6 months from MD if we do it next year.
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Old 11-08-2022, 06:38 PM   #11
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Thanks for posting. Sounds like a real adventure
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Old 11-10-2022, 09:33 PM   #12
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Really a good recap of your trip. Thanks for taking the time to write it down so others can enjoy!!
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Old 11-26-2022, 04:30 PM   #13
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Great story. We did a similar trip in 2014 which covered 32,000 miles over 10 months. We are trying to plan another trip for 2023 to get as far as Coldfoot and the Arctic Circle.
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Old 12-05-2022, 12:11 PM   #14
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Thank you for your detailed reflections, report and recommendations! We are planning a similar trip for spring ‘23, and are learning from you and others.
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