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Old 01-27-2014, 08:34 AM   #1
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Caravaning to Alaska

This is our first trip to Alaska. We will be leaving the Atlanta area in early April heading to Alaska. Our plans, not set in stone, are to drive north out of Montana on I-15. We want to experience this part of Canada. At some point we will hit the Alcan Highway and drive into Alaska. If you are interested in chatting about this venture or have information to share, please contact me at nwillis129@gmail.com. Thank you, Nancy
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:52 PM   #2
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Not sure how many days you plan to be on the road before hitting AK, but if you go right up, you may see mor snow than you really need. We hit AK (Tok) last year June 1st, and they'd had a blizzard a week earlier. CG's were JUST opened, but when we got to Valdez 3 days later they had ice over half the CG and we parked backed up to 4' tall snow piles. Winter was late last year, but you just don't know. CG's along the Alaska Highway are usually not open in May or September. We've been up in '06, '07, '09, '11, and '13 and have never found the need to caravan. We plan ahead, keep it loose with absolutely minimum reservations, and have never been disappointed. We boondock at just about any wide spot in the road. On the way up and when you are there don't miss even the smallest visitor's center. Talk to the locals and ask them what to see in their area, as they know best. Read the MILEPOST religiously and don't be afraid to go 20 miles in a day or 600. If you fish, the salmon and halibut are to die for. We brought down 17 cu-ft in a chest freezer and will eat it in 2 years.

Good luck,
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Old 01-31-2014, 03:08 PM   #3
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First, get a copy of the Milepost:

The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner

It's an invaluable resource for travel in the northland, with mile-by-mile details of campgrounds, fuel and food stops, as well as the scenic elements of the trip. We lived in Alaska for a few decades, and wouldn't be without it.

I agree that the campgrounds may not be open for you, or the trip would be uncomfortable in early April. Depends on how long you wish to take before actually getting to Alaska. You may want to plan on getting there in late May or early June. The weather can be highly unpredictable, and travel tenuous, due to weather related issues.

When we moved out of Alaska, it took us 10 days to get from Homer, Alaska, to southwest Colorado, traveling about 400 miles per day on the fully paved highway. (But watch out for frost heaves, typically well marked in advance.) I mention that just to illustrate that it's a LONG way there. Once in the Great Land, recognize that it's a long way from Anchorage to Fairbanks, or the Kenai Peninsula (don't miss that!)

All that said, enjoy! Alaska is a wonderful place! And, if you end up with way too much fish, we'll take it off your hands...
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Old 01-31-2014, 03:57 PM   #4
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We did the adventure last year too. Entered BC May 15th. Did not get to Alaska itself till June 10th. There had been snow in Fairbanks late May.
Take your time and enjoy the sights and the scenery. We had a great time in Whitehorse YT, spent a couple of nights at Million Dollar Falls, between Haines Junction and Haines (btw this highway offers some breath taking vistas).
In addition to Mile Post, get Mike & Teri Church's book Camping on the Alaskan Highway.
Roads were pretty good last summer. The highway for 90 miles before the Alaska border (in Canada) has frost heave issues so prepare to take it easy. The highway for about 100 miles north of Fort Nelson was being resurfaced in August so it should be in good shape.
Have fun.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:41 AM   #5
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OP, take your time to 'stop and smell the roses' and for the most part you do not need a caravan to enjoy our trip. It does take some planning and paying attention to the weather/roads. We go to the 'lower 48' every other year and have not had any major issues. Depending on when you come up through Canada, you can expect to have weather 'issues'. There have been times that it was blowing snow and cold temps in Dawson Creek the middle of April. There have also been times that they were planting the fields and flowers in mid April. For the most part the road system is good with the exception of the area between Destruction bay and the USA border. Lots of frost heaves in this area. You just need to slow down and take your time. There are several areas that you can stay the night and be able to enjoy the area. Be ware of the insects, as they can be a real pain early in the year. Once in Alaska there is lots to do/see and it could get to be a little overwhelming. As others have said 'get a Mile Post' and read it. There is a lot of good information in it and suggestions of things to see. As for fuel and other services, they might be 'spotty' early on, but as the summer goes on there are more abundant. One suggestion that I would pass on is to be redly for any type of delay. Meaning be sure that you have plenty of fuel/water/propane and food. There have been times when floods/forest fire and other events have closed to road for several days to a couple weeks. Just be ready for anything.
As you have more questions, post them and I am sure that you will get some guidance. Plan well and enjoy the trip!
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