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-   -   Alaska Trip (https://www.irv2.com/forums/f295/alaska-trip-504816.html)

dpm91141 09-01-2020 09:56 AM

Alaska Trip
 
Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?

woodworker414 09-01-2020 10:49 AM

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.
Bill

Marcosdad 09-01-2020 10:58 AM

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.

Ray,IN 09-01-2020 01:31 PM

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.

woodworker414 09-01-2020 03:20 PM

Alaska Trip
 
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.

cucotx 09-01-2020 03:26 PM

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. :dance:

twogypsies 09-01-2020 07:06 PM

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!

ivykrewe 09-01-2020 08:27 PM

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.

wolfe10 09-01-2020 08:40 PM

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.

Americanrascal 09-01-2020 09:00 PM

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!

Ray,IN 09-01-2020 11:13 PM

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.

Arch Hoagland 09-01-2020 11:49 PM

https://themilepost.com/

There you go....everything you need to know.

Medic57 09-02-2020 09:57 AM

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?

WorldCat25 09-02-2020 01:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Medic57 (Post 5423724)
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.
https://fms.ws/1B-4f8/63.05195N/145.77183W

If the above link does not work, try this link:
https://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
________________________________________

2Newsomes 09-02-2020 01:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Medic57 (Post 5423724)
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.

tommar 09-02-2020 01:25 PM

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?

jacwjames 09-02-2020 01:27 PM

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).

Medic57 09-02-2020 03:35 PM

Thanks for the valuable info

twogypsies 09-02-2020 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tommar (Post 5423992)
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!

doubleplay 09-02-2020 06:50 PM

I agree with your approach as We have a Garmin mini inreach and travel backcountry frequently. How was the bird hunting? Itís my bucket list to hunt ptarmigan and ruffed grouse in Alaska.
Thanks

rarebear.nm 09-02-2020 06:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Medic57 (Post 5423724)
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.

rarebear.nm 09-02-2020 07:16 PM

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.

Damion 09-02-2020 07:39 PM

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!

laj 09-02-2020 09:45 PM

done it on my own 3 times, wouldnít do it any other way. Keep your money lots of places to soend it up there and youíll get something for it.

There are so many things to see and do you wonít 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 wonít 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.

Tightwadted 09-02-2020 09:49 PM

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

rarebear.nm 09-02-2020 09:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tightwadted (Post 5424522)
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.

twogypsies 09-02-2020 10:31 PM

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.

Ray,IN 09-02-2020 11:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jacwjames (Post 5423996)
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.

rarebear.nm 09-02-2020 11:51 PM

Assuming borders open and we can travel into Canada and to Alaska I think it would be best to be calling ahead and/or checking on web sites for every attraction you plan on visiting. Just because the political folks say it's open won't mean locals may or may not agree.

twogypsies 09-03-2020 12:31 AM

Even in normal times small businesses, including fuel stations, close every year. It's a hard life to make a living up there.

RE: the virus.... I really believe that if the borders are open next summer that attractions will be open. They can't afford to stay closed.

As stated, the Milepost is never current for that type of information. Purchase it for the maps and history; not for campgrounds and fuel as they may have closed permanently.

timjet 09-03-2020 10:02 AM

This has been asked many times with the same replies.
It's cheaper to do it on your own.
You can do everything a caravan does if you do the research.
A caravan does not have a mechanic to fix your RV but with 21 or more RV's, someone is likely to be able to help.
A caravan will have all your campsites scheduled and reserved. Most of these campsites will be gravel parking lots with 30 amp service.

If by yourself summer is a busy time along the ALCAN and you may not find a campsite unless you book well in advance.

A caravan is on a schedule and you can't stay longer at a great place.


With all that being said I loved our SMART caravan. We enjoyed the people, the evening games and dinners. The caravan folks know what you want to see and do and have it all arranged. It will take a lot of research to get it right. Let them do it.

twogypsies 09-03-2020 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by timjet (Post 5424987)

If by yourself summer is a busy time along the ALCAN and you may not find a campsite unless you book well in advance.

The caravan folks know what you want to see and do and have it all arranged. It will take a lot of research to get it right.

Well.. have to disagree. As I stated above, we didn't make any reservations except for the July 4 weekend and for Denali's Teklanika campground and only then a short time prior while we were traveling. We spent 10 nights in Denali where we saw the animals constantly. The caravans stay outside the park for a couple days on a gravel parking lot.

If you pull in by early afternoon you'll get sites.

As far as seeing things with a caravan, they don't do any more than a normal tourist would do. I've looked at the itinearies. They hit all the popular spots but if you have time there's a lot more to see.

johninsd 09-03-2020 12:58 PM

I've made the trip from San Diego to Alaska twice, both trips by motorcycle. Have thought about going again in my RV, haven't done it yet. Just one thing I've noticed over the years is that traveling in a group tends to limit your interactions with the locals. People are often reluctant to engage with a group but if you travel alone or with one or or two other individuals you'll find people more likely to talk with you. At least that's been my experience. Some people may prefer to avoid interacting with the locals (I got to where I tried to avoid it when I had to travel to or through places like NYC, where the only people who talk to you are the ones who want money or something else from you), but to me meeting the locals is one of the primary reasons for traveling (except in a few uncivilized areas as noted above).

drdit92 09-04-2020 02:38 PM

It always amazes me the confidence some people have in speaking about things they've actually not done. I cannot tell you about going to Alaska by myself. I am a single, middle aged woman who works full time as a pediatric subspecialist. I do not have the time to plan out such a trip, do not have someone reading navigation instructions or tips out of the Milepost as I drive alone, nor the confidence and mechanical skills to go to Alaska without any one else.

What I can tell you about is my trip to Alaska last summer as part of the Fantasy 60 day tour. Every single day was amazing. It was the best thing I've ever done.

I got to Coeur d'Alene on my own, though driving in the lower 48 with good cell service along the major routes doesn't intimidate me. Met up with the 23 other rigs. I was not the only solo person. We had 15 fifth wheels, 3 travel trailers, 6 class As. People from PA to FL to CA.

Fantasy has a lot of buying power due to how many caravans they run. They can buy the tickets to the activities for less than what a random person would pay. When you add up all the tickets, campgrounds, and meals the cost is nearly the same. Could you spend less by not camping in a campground on your own? Of course. As one of my friends pointe out, you pay up front and forget about it. If he'd gone on his own, it's likely he'd have skipped some of the museums or such because he'd look up the cost and decide it was too much at that moment. At the Sea Life Center in Seward, we got to meet birds in person in a classroom--an activity not available to the general public. So there are some things we did that you simply cannot do on your own.

Fantasy does not want nor encourage people to travel in large groups from point a to point b. You could leave a campground as early as you wanted and pull into the next as late as you wanted. The only time limit is you have to leave the overnight campground by their check out time.

There are some group activities on some travel days, like stopping at the Athabasca glacier while traveling from Banff to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway, but most of the time you just take off and do whatever you want on a travel day. If there was a group stop, they would tell us what time we needed to be at the stop--up to you to show up on time. I typically went with friends who drove in front so I didn't have to navigate. But, there were times I just did my own thing. It was easier to follow someone, but not impossible to navigate alone if you paid attention to the trip directions. We'd stop at scenic views along the way, visit museums, restaurants, etc if we wanted to. There are a few caravan companies that do have their group travel together, but that is the exception and not the rule from what I understand.

Having said that, Fantasy is very clear that this is YOUR vacation and your trip. If you don't want to do the activity they arranged (I did not go river rafting in Denali as a close friend died rafting in Colorado a few weeks before our group rafted) you don't have to do it. Your ticket is included already, but there might be times you'd rather go do something else. Or go visit a friend or relation who lives near where you are. I met my aunt, uncle, sister and BIL in Wasilla one day for breakfast as they happened to be visiting Alaska at the same time. Sister and BIL could have joined me no cost--they don't care who is in your rig. But they wouldn't be allowed to do some of the group activities or such without paying towards it.

If you want to go off to the Northwest Territories on your own, have at it! You can catch up later. Again, it's your vacation.

Twogypsies said in a comment early on that if you break down the caravan won't wait for you. This is not true in some ways. My friends broke a spring hanger on the Glenn Highway. I waited with them until the Tailgunners were close, then gave them my generator (it was really hot) and headed for the campground. The tailgunners stayed with them until a tow truck got there 4 hours later. They had to sit in Glennallen for 3 days to get it fixed, but then they caught up to us in Homer. I mean, I guess technically we didn't wait for them, but the Wagonmasters and tailgunners are responsible for getting people sorted out on the trip, and they did a great job helping my friends out and keeping us all updated. You aren't alone in a big wilderness.

The small places we stayed at had some real characters. It was a real pleasure to meet the people who run Chicken, and Lauren, the guy who runs the place at Destruction Bay. My favorite activity was meeting Manuela, the owner of Muktuk kennels. She fed us a delicious lunch and I loved seeing all the dogs and learning about dog sledding.

By the time the trip ended, there were ugly tears as we said goodbye to the people who had become family. Every single person was fun to be with. I loved the camaraderie of the campfires and all the shared experiences. I had trailer brake issues--the guys fixed it. One guy's class A had a belt break in the engine--they all fixed it. We all had such a great time together that I had a reunion in Tennessee in April planned with 22 of the 24 rigs planning to be there. Until something called Covid derailed it. We still email and text each other all the time. I get to see some of the Midwest crew periodically. Every single person says even a year out that they don't regret a thing. I would pay it all over again. No one in the group wishes they hadn't done it. In fact, at least half of us are planning to do another Fantasy tour next fall, to the Albuquerque balloon fiesta. And a bunch are in talks to do the Fantasy Canadian Maritimes trip the next year.

To sum up: I loved every second of my Fantasy Alaska trip. Every part, from not having to do my own planning, to being in the company of others, to the awesome experiences I got to do, to making life-long friends with people from all over the U.S. My email group for all of us who were on the trip is labelled: Fantasy Family. That's what they are to me. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

twogypsies 09-04-2020 04:41 PM

DRDIT92: Good report. Glad you enjoyed it. I was just giving another way to do it.

rarebear.nm 09-04-2020 06:33 PM

It sounds like Fantasy Tours was a perfect fit for you and your needs. Great you were able to do the trip that way and enjoy it so much. I just don't think the tour groups are for me.

Different folks got different needs and wants and that's great.

akeagle 09-04-2020 07:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drdit92 (Post 5426611)
It always amazes me the confidence some people have in speaking about things they've actually not done. I cannot tell you about going to Alaska by myself. I am a single, middle aged woman who works full time as a pediatric subspecialist. I do not have the time to plan out such a trip, do not have someone reading navigation instructions or tips out of the Milepost as I drive alone, nor the confidence and mechanical skills to go to Alaska without any one else.

What I can tell you about is my trip to Alaska last summer as part of the Fantasy 60 day tour. Every single day was amazing. It was the best thing I've ever done.

I got to Coeur d'Alene on my own, though driving in the lower 48 with good cell service along the major routes doesn't intimidate me. Met up with the 23 other rigs. I was not the only solo person. We had 15 fifth wheels, 3 travel trailers, 6 class As. People from PA to FL to CA.

Fantasy has a lot of buying power due to how many caravans they run. They can buy the tickets to the activities for less than what a random person would pay. When you add up all the tickets, campgrounds, and meals the cost is nearly the same. Could you spend less by not camping in a campground on your own? Of course. As one of my friends pointe out, you pay up front and forget about it. If he'd gone on his own, it's likely he'd have skipped some of the museums or such because he'd look up the cost and decide it was too much at that moment. At the Sea Life Center in Seward, we got to meet birds in person in a classroom--an activity not available to the general public. So there are some things we did that you simply cannot do on your own.

Fantasy does not want nor encourage people to travel in large groups from point a to point b. You could leave a campground as early as you wanted and pull into the next as late as you wanted. The only time limit is you have to leave the overnight campground by their check out time.

There are some group activities on some travel days, like stopping at the Athabasca glacier while traveling from Banff to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway, but most of the time you just take off and do whatever you want on a travel day. If there was a group stop, they would tell us what time we needed to be at the stop--up to you to show up on time. I typically went with friends who drove in front so I didn't have to navigate. But, there were times I just did my own thing. It was easier to follow someone, but not impossible to navigate alone if you paid attention to the trip directions. We'd stop at scenic views along the way, visit museums, restaurants, etc if we wanted to. There are a few caravan companies that do have their group travel together, but that is the exception and not the rule from what I understand.

Having said that, Fantasy is very clear that this is YOUR vacation and your trip. If you don't want to do the activity they arranged (I did not go river rafting in Denali as a close friend died rafting in Colorado a few weeks before our group rafted) you don't have to do it. Your ticket is included already, but there might be times you'd rather go do something else. Or go visit a friend or relation who lives near where you are. I met my aunt, uncle, sister and BIL in Wasilla one day for breakfast as they happened to be visiting Alaska at the same time. Sister and BIL could have joined me no cost--they don't care who is in your rig. But they wouldn't be allowed to do some of the group activities or such without paying towards it.

If you want to go off to the Northwest Territories on your own, have at it! You can catch up later. Again, it's your vacation.

Twogypsies said in a comment early on that if you break down the caravan won't wait for you. This is not true in some ways. My friends broke a spring hanger on the Glenn Highway. I waited with them until the Tailgunners were close, then gave them my generator (it was really hot) and headed for the campground. The tailgunners stayed with them until a tow truck got there 4 hours later. They had to sit in Glennallen for 3 days to get it fixed, but then they caught up to us in Homer. I mean, I guess technically we didn't wait for them, but the Wagonmasters and tailgunners are responsible for getting people sorted out on the trip, and they did a great job helping my friends out and keeping us all updated. You aren't alone in a big wilderness.

The small places we stayed at had some real characters. It was a real pleasure to meet the people who run Chicken, and Lauren, the guy who runs the place at Destruction Bay. My favorite activity was meeting Manuela, the owner of Muktuk kennels. She fed us a delicious lunch and I loved seeing all the dogs and learning about dog sledding.

By the time the trip ended, there were ugly tears as we said goodbye to the people who had become family. Every single person was fun to be with. I loved the camaraderie of the campfires and all the shared experiences. I had trailer brake issues--the guys fixed it. One guy's class A had a belt break in the engine--they all fixed it. We all had such a great time together that I had a reunion in Tennessee in April planned with 22 of the 24 rigs planning to be there. Until something called Covid derailed it. We still email and text each other all the time. I get to see some of the Midwest crew periodically. Every single person says even a year out that they don't regret a thing. I would pay it all over again. No one in the group wishes they hadn't done it. In fact, at least half of us are planning to do another Fantasy tour next fall, to the Albuquerque balloon fiesta. And a bunch are in talks to do the Fantasy Canadian Maritimes trip the next year.

To sum up: I loved every second of my Fantasy Alaska trip. Every part, from not having to do my own planning, to being in the company of others, to the awesome experiences I got to do, to making life-long friends with people from all over the U.S. My email group for all of us who were on the trip is labelled: Fantasy Family. That's what they are to me. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.



Well said!!! I too am disappointed that there seems to be a lot of people who believe their opinions are the only true and factual ones and that anyone who has a different opinion is wrong or misinformed. Getting the advice of others is all well and good, but we're all adults here and we make our own decisions. Everyone, from newbies to well seasoned RVers, needs to respect that.

WorldCat25 09-08-2020 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drdit92 (Post 5426611)
It always amazes me the confidence some people have in speaking about things they've actually not done. I cannot tell you about going to Alaska by myself. I am a single, middle aged woman who works full time as a pediatric subspecialist. I do not have the time to plan out such a trip, do not have someone reading navigation instructions or tips out of the Milepost as I drive alone, nor the confidence and mechanical skills to go to Alaska without any one else.

What I can tell you about is my trip to Alaska last summer as part of the Fantasy 60 day tour. Every single day was amazing. It was the best thing I've ever done.

I got to Coeur d'Alene on my own, though driving in the lower 48 with good cell service along the major routes doesn't intimidate me. Met up with the 23 other rigs. I was not the only solo person. We had 15 fifth wheels, 3 travel trailers, 6 class As. People from PA to FL to CA.

Fantasy has a lot of buying power due to how many caravans they run. They can buy the tickets to the activities for less than what a random person would pay. When you add up all the tickets, campgrounds, and meals the cost is nearly the same. Could you spend less by not camping in a campground on your own? Of course. As one of my friends pointe out, you pay up front and forget about it. If he'd gone on his own, it's likely he'd have skipped some of the museums or such because he'd look up the cost and decide it was too much at that moment. At the Sea Life Center in Seward, we got to meet birds in person in a classroom--an activity not available to the general public. So there are some things we did that you simply cannot do on your own.

Fantasy does not want nor encourage people to travel in large groups from point a to point b. You could leave a campground as early as you wanted and pull into the next as late as you wanted. The only time limit is you have to leave the overnight campground by their check out time.

There are some group activities on some travel days, like stopping at the Athabasca glacier while traveling from Banff to Jasper on the Icefields Parkway, but most of the time you just take off and do whatever you want on a travel day. If there was a group stop, they would tell us what time we needed to be at the stop--up to you to show up on time. I typically went with friends who drove in front so I didn't have to navigate. But, there were times I just did my own thing. It was easier to follow someone, but not impossible to navigate alone if you paid attention to the trip directions. We'd stop at scenic views along the way, visit museums, restaurants, etc if we wanted to. There are a few caravan companies that do have their group travel together, but that is the exception and not the rule from what I understand.

Having said that, Fantasy is very clear that this is YOUR vacation and your trip. If you don't want to do the activity they arranged (I did not go river rafting in Denali as a close friend died rafting in Colorado a few weeks before our group rafted) you don't have to do it. Your ticket is included already, but there might be times you'd rather go do something else. Or go visit a friend or relation who lives near where you are. I met my aunt, uncle, sister and BIL in Wasilla one day for breakfast as they happened to be visiting Alaska at the same time. Sister and BIL could have joined me no cost--they don't care who is in your rig. But they wouldn't be allowed to do some of the group activities or such without paying towards it.

If you want to go off to the Northwest Territories on your own, have at it! You can catch up later. Again, it's your vacation.

Twogypsies said in a comment early on that if you break down the caravan won't wait for you. This is not true in some ways. My friends broke a spring hanger on the Glenn Highway. I waited with them until the Tailgunners were close, then gave them my generator (it was really hot) and headed for the campground. The tailgunners stayed with them until a tow truck got there 4 hours later. They had to sit in Glennallen for 3 days to get it fixed, but then they caught up to us in Homer. I mean, I guess technically we didn't wait for them, but the Wagonmasters and tailgunners are responsible for getting people sorted out on the trip, and they did a great job helping my friends out and keeping us all updated. You aren't alone in a big wilderness.

The small places we stayed at had some real characters. It was a real pleasure to meet the people who run Chicken, and Lauren, the guy who runs the place at Destruction Bay. My favorite activity was meeting Manuela, the owner of Muktuk kennels. She fed us a delicious lunch and I loved seeing all the dogs and learning about dog sledding.

By the time the trip ended, there were ugly tears as we said goodbye to the people who had become family. Every single person was fun to be with. I loved the camaraderie of the campfires and all the shared experiences. I had trailer brake issues--the guys fixed it. One guy's class A had a belt break in the engine--they all fixed it. We all had such a great time together that I had a reunion in Tennessee in April planned with 22 of the 24 rigs planning to be there. Until something called Covid derailed it. We still email and text each other all the time. I get to see some of the Midwest crew periodically. Every single person says even a year out that they don't regret a thing. I would pay it all over again. No one in the group wishes they hadn't done it. In fact, at least half of us are planning to do another Fantasy tour next fall, to the Albuquerque balloon fiesta. And a bunch are in talks to do the Fantasy Canadian Maritimes trip the next year.

To sum up: I loved every second of my Fantasy Alaska trip. Every part, from not having to do my own planning, to being in the company of others, to the awesome experiences I got to do, to making life-long friends with people from all over the U.S. My email group for all of us who were on the trip is labelled: Fantasy Family. That's what they are to me. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

As I posted earlier on this thread, I've done this trip twice on my own and enjoyed them both.

This post is the best promotional piece ever. If I were able to do it again I would certainly consider doing with Fantasy. Fantasy should ask permission to use this. Thanks for posting.

PA Storm 09-13-2020 11:05 AM

Fantasy Alaska Tour
 
Also signed up for Fantasy ultimate Alaska tour for 2021.Coming from PA. Have never been to Alaska & never done a tour before.We are about 2100 miles from Coeur D'Alene ID, giving us 2 weeks to travel there basically taking RT 90 across & stopping at Mt.Rushmore. What are some other not to miss places of interest along the way? Anyone have any good campgrounds? Have been to Yellowstone previously been to Yellowstone, thinking of visiting Glacier.

denverh 09-13-2020 03:07 PM

We’re doing the same thing in June heading out from southern nj to lake Louise and then to Dawson’s creek to meet up with our tour. Gonna do the Canadian Rockies since I’ve been to glacier np a few years ago.

TravelTrak 09-13-2020 04:12 PM

Make sure you have a plan B!
 
If you are planning to go to Alaska next summer, I suggest you also have a plan B. It would not surprise me to see the border closed even then. The only way it will be open is if there is an effective vaccine and the rate of infections is way, way down.

Canoso 09-13-2020 04:27 PM

Does the ferry allow you to take a small travel trailer ? My thought was ferry north and then drive south. Best of both worlds maybe .

Trucker 50 09-13-2020 04:29 PM

We are planning on going in 2021.

Trucker 50 09-13-2020 04:30 PM

Watching

glenthompson 09-13-2020 04:38 PM

We did the Fantasy “Alaska Your Way” tour in 2015. Great concept but the wagon master was an idiot. This tour didn’t have many planned activities so you didn’t feel pressured to do everything. Nice not to have to make all your own reservations or worry about issues on the trip. Didn’t like having to move every few days. Met some great people and are still friends with some. Some of the campgrounds were great and some had major issues like bad power.

Want to go back and will do it solo or with a small group of 3 to 5 RVs. Will plan to stay in one place for at least a week or more and make day trips instead of moving every 3 days.

Lighting bug 09-13-2020 04:58 PM

Alaska trip
 
We went with Fantasy RV tours last year. Did 61 days in Canada and Alaska with 24 rigs. We made friends for life and had a blast. Check our fantasyrvtours.com. We loved it so much we became tour ambassadors also. Feel free to text or email with any questions. 910-880-1818.

Escape42 09-13-2020 05:04 PM

We joined a small caravan through AdventureTrek out of Grapevine TX.



There were just 15 RVs scheduled, including the Wagon master and Tail gunner. On party couldn't make it for medical reasons and another had planned for only half the trip.



We got to know everyone and subsequently have had a number or "reunions". The friendships we developed have become long-lasting, presently staying in touch with nine of them on a regular basis. In just the past three years we've visited with si of those couples.


Greatest trip we've taken ... and we've traveled just shy f 95,000 miles and visited every state at least twice (Hawaii by air as the bridge was out and the Alaska panhandle by ship as there are no roads to get there).


Whatever route a caravan or individual odyssey to Alaska takes, your take you through some magnificant landscapes in Alberta and British Columbia.


Recommend a caravan!

vgolec 09-13-2020 05:16 PM

My wife and I had planned on doing Alaska during the summer of 2020 but as everyone knows that was not possible. We decided to do the trip on our own due to the following reasons:
1. In talking to Fantasy Tours we realized we would be on a schedule very similar to a cruise. We would get a sampling of some areas but would not be able to stay longer if it were an area that we enjoyed.
2. We wanted to have the flexibility to go at our own pace. As mentioned above if we found an area we really enjoyed we would stay longer.
3. And the most important reason, we have another couple to travel with. If we had to do it on our own we would have most likely gone with Fantasy Tours.
We are now planning on going during the summer of 2021 if the borders are open.

Fanrgs 09-13-2020 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canoso (Post 5438872)
Does the ferry allow you to take a small travel trailer ? My thought was ferry north and then drive south. Best of both worlds maybe .

Yes, the ferry takes everything from semi-trailers to pickup campers. As others have said, it is the Alaska Marine HIGHWAY.

So the ferry hauls everything needed for the stores in all those tiny villages on those big islands that bound the Inside Passage, as well as the passengers traveling to those villages. We have taken the ferry on multiple routes, with and without our trailer, and it is a great way to travel. The only caveat is, if you travel with pets, you must leave them in your RV and cannot access your vehicle except when you are in port.

JD4x4 09-13-2020 05:33 PM

Absolutely depends on your RV'ing preferences, imo.
Wife & I have done it from Maryland to Fairbanks, Anchorage, Homer on two occasions just the two of us. 2005 on motorcycles and 2015 in our 2004 Winnie 24F.

We enjoy doing our own pace as well as taking advantage of the MANY boondocking opportunities that begin west of the Mississippi river, which only get more plentiful the farther north & west you go.

Roads are all good (the road to Chicken is doable if you are slow & careful, as is to the Arctic Circle) and fuel no problem other than $ in Canada, as long as you stay aware of where the next fuel is & your fuel gauge.

I recommend picking a different way going north and coming back south into/out of Canada to Alaska as the scenery is different and all of it breathtaking.

You'll never forget it regardless of what you choose!

Tjzfla 09-13-2020 05:34 PM

we're going too
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcosdad (Post 5422373)
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.

We are signed up for that trip also. Leaving June 14th

Don Juane 09-13-2020 05:35 PM

What is they say about caravan-ing, three hours for a gas stop and two hours for a bathroom stop LOL.

I'd stick with a cruise if you need togetherness, planned activities and someone beside you at all times and you want someone to offload the planning, cooking, etc. On the other hand, go to Alaska alone to get away from everyone but good luck with that one because you'll find everyone is there once you arrive.

Heading out with a caravan you've defined your destiny and you are stuck with it, good or bad. Just like a sea cruise.

Tjzfla 09-13-2020 05:37 PM

We are also going next year on the 61 day caravan. Leaving June 14th

36PFT 09-13-2020 06:56 PM

Hi. We did Alaska with HHRVC. Great tour and a lot less money then Fantasy. Just $50.00 to join and a lot of other activities(rallies and other caravans and get togethers). Stanley

fantasyisle 09-13-2020 07:12 PM

Hi,


We did the caravan. Wouldn't do it on my own. Our tailgunner helped 2 loners who couldn't make contact because of the lack of cell phone access. They had started to walk to town and left her behind with the coach. Our group got them help.
Not worth the trouble, the price of security was worth it.

mickey53usa 09-13-2020 07:13 PM

Wife and I went on our own in 2019. We had a very enjoyable time and did the things we wanted to do. Check out our trip at (grossienet.blogspot.com). It starts in the month of November 2019 - we travelled in June, July and August - but the blog did not get done until later in the year. I also have a lot of video of the roads - very large files.

JerryTaylor 09-13-2020 07:18 PM

We went on our own a few years ago. Get a copy of the Alaska highway guide known as milepost. It is a wealth of information. There are other guides for Alaska and you should get at least one of them as well. We left from South Carolina and went to Glacier NP and up from there to the Ice Field Parkway which runs from Banff to Jasper. From there up to Dawson Creek and the Highway starts. Do not go up to Glacier ntilthe second week in June or h going to the sun roan may not be open. We spent three months Left home June 8 and got on Alaska Highway Jul3 took abou a one week Getting to Alaska. Do not miss the museum in Fort Nelson, especially the cars. Whitehorse has a great steamboat and some good food in restaurants. Worth a few days.

We spent a month in Alaska and came back down by the Casiar Highway into Washington and home. Take some patch kits for dings in the wind shield and slow way down when oncoming vehicles approach. Your speed determines the damage from gravel.

dejams 09-13-2020 07:19 PM

Alaska.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dpm91141 (Post 5422287)
Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?

__________________________________________________ ___
We did it on our own in a Allegro 40 Bus toad was 2002 GMC 1500 Truck, We arrived there on June 1 and departed on Sept 1. Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. A group tour can be great fun also because of the friends you make. Lots of driving after you're there. We loved Kenai and Homer the most. We stayed in famcamps as able (military)

Recommend reading book by Ron Jones on going to Alaska. Available at B&Nobles. Lots of essential information and places to go to see bears eating the salmon. Rough it smoothly.

Duner 09-13-2020 07:26 PM

My concern about going next summer is the accumulation of folks that didn't go his year plus the folks that already planned for next year ..... just might be way overcrowded.

We were scheduled to start June 24 on a 48 day "All Alaska" tour with Fantasy (starts at Mile Marker 0). But March 26 they wanted $8500 balance and by then my 401K's had dropped 30%. With the international shutdown, I expected them to cancel and return my full $1500 deposit. But they wanted to be paid in full, then keeping the money and postponing til next year. Cost me $1000 cancellation fee. Last year we did the 13 day Baja whale watching tour and had a ball. That was our test run to see if Fantasy RV Tours would be worth the ten grand to see Alaska. Maybe the summer after next.

Tee Jay 09-13-2020 07:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canoso (Post 5438872)
Does the ferry allow you to take a small travel trailer ? My thought was ferry north and then drive south. Best of both worlds maybe .

Yes. Check the cost.

photraveller 09-13-2020 07:46 PM

We drove to Alaska in 2018 by ourselves, just under 10,000 miles total (home to home). Loved just about every minute of it.

No issues at all being on our own other than that initial withdraw of no internet/ no cell service for a few days on the Alcan.

Comes down to your desire to travel and plan things on your own. Compared to having everything laid out and planned by someone else who does not know and can not possibly line up with your desired travel style and preferences of what sights to see. Though, I have to admit, sometimes when I do something that I normally wouldn't do I find a real gem.

I agree about spending more time in the Yukon. We found places in the Yukon that is well worth much more time to explore and is just as beautiful or more so than places in Alaska.

We literally did the whole trip with no advance reservations. The only place that cost us was in Homer. We would have preferred to stay in Homer longer but literally no spots available. So we made do with only five days there. We had to go to our second or third choice campground a few times, but other than Homer it never made us change our desired time to stay.

Finally, besides mechanical issues, there could be medical issues that cause you to get "left behind". When we went in 2018, I had a kidney stone that took me off the road for 10 days in Whitehorse. Even if it's not serious illness, you might find a day that you just don't feel like driving that day.

Either way you choose, DO IT, and have FUN ! It's an epic trip because of the distance and sights. But really not much different from the lower 48 two lane highways. Except running into a much higher percentage of fantastically nice people.

Steve

photraveller 09-13-2020 07:53 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Forgot to attach a picture.

Here is an average Alcan highway picture. The road is mostly like this. I.E. not that big of deal. This is north of Haines Junction in the Yukon.

happy2rv 09-13-2020 08:05 PM

I don't believe there is a "right" answer here either. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and each traveler has their own style and needs. For many, the structure of a caravan tour would feel confining. For others, its comforting.



I think it also depends on how much time you have. If you're not on a schedule, personally for Alaska, I would lean toward doing it on my own. I think there are a lot of benefits to the caravan approach, but I also think I would find myself bored in some places and wanting to stay longer in others.



I might have unreasonable fears, but I think if I were going to tour Mexico I would do it with a caravan. My perception of the safety issues may be unfounded and my belief that the caravan would provide any safety benefit might also be unfounded.



I haven't done a caravan tour, so I can't speak from a position of direct experience. We do like to cruise though and I see some comparisons. The only time our family has been to Hawaii was a cruise that started in the islands and ended in Mexico. It was a great time, for the most part, and we might do it again someday. But, it was way too rushed. I believe if we return to Hawaii, it will be on our own with enough time in the locations we want to visit. The cruise was a great sampler, but with many days having less than 10 hours in port, it was not enough time to get a real feel for the islands. We have been to Alaska many times, but so far we've only flown in to Anchorage and rented vehicles. My wife was born in Anchorage and we have family there. We've driven from Anchorage to Denali, cruised the inside passage, done the land tour with RCI, flown from Anchorage to Fairbanks and driven quite a ways out of Fairbanks. The land tour was a combination of bus and Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Fairbanks with stops in Talkeetna and Denali. Alaska is full of beautiful scenery and interesting destinations.



If you're on a firm schedule and want to see lots, by all means do the tour. If you're uncomfortable on your own, do the tour especially if its the only way you or your traveling companions will go. But if you have time and want to see things on your own schedule, IMHO go it alone.

Useitagain 09-13-2020 08:17 PM

50 years in Alaska
 
Born and spent 50 years in Alaska. I made countless trips down the Alcan but not as many as some I knew. It is a long trip from anywhere and road are much improved over the roads of my youth but I recommend a caravan or a another RV to travel with. Alaska is a big place and that seems to be the first thing new visitors realize after a 300 mile one way trip to the next town with any real services. I am thinking about heading back myself in June of 2021 if the virus thing is over but I am flying.

FYI Travel earlier in the spring/summer like May/June the weather is better and their is less travelers.

Harley47 09-13-2020 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dpm91141 (Post 5422287)
Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?

Buy a current MILEPOST and tour on your own or with a friend. We have done the trip twice enjoying each time. Probably do again next year for 5 weeks. Forget the caravan as way to expensive for little benefit in my opinion as crossed path with caravans on both trips. :dance::banghead:

Beabop 09-13-2020 09:00 PM

We went by our selves, used the milepost to plan the trip. Talked to the locals and saw many things that were not listed on any caravan itinerary. That said, we have done tours, we did Calgary and Rose Bowl with Fantasy and Branson with Adventure.

Destination tours suit us but we did not want to be tied down to traveling with anyone.

After the Calgary Stampede, we toured Canadas National Parks by our selves.

Steve 716 09-13-2020 09:36 PM

Drive it or take a cruise, then rent an RV once there
 
Several years ago we drove Route 10 from Georgia to San Diego, then straight up into Canada, then on to Alaska. We came back into Glacier Park, then back to Georgia. The trip took seven months, although we could have set it up for a shorter length of time if we wanted to. We briefly considered a caravan, then rejected it. By driving we could schedule when we wanted to go, stop where we wanted for as long as we wanted, and see things we would not have seen in a group. For example it was daytime for 23 hours a day when we arrived. We stayed at a campground that had an air strip and trailers for winter workers. We spotted alot of wildlife. And we visited several interesting museums.

An alternative is to take a cruise from Oregon or Washington and rent an RV once you get to Alaska. Another is to RV to Alaska, then take a cruise to visit otherwise inaccessible places.

I would not have driven there, caravan or not, with my Entegra. We had a Bounder at the time so we were less concerned with road conditions, RV weight, etc. And I would drive it again, not as a part of a caravan.

If you are going to take a trip to Alaska it makes sense to decide what you want to see in both Alaska and Canada and use the method that works best for you. Keep in mind that this will likely be your only trip north.

augerdogger 09-13-2020 09:36 PM

We did a 61 day Fantasy Tour and have been on our own since then. I recommend an organized tour to get the lay of the land. The tour will go places you might not think about going and they make all the RV park reservations. We had a 45' RV which was problematic since few campgrounds can accommodate a big rig, think asphalt parking lot while others are in a campground with full hookups. Each time we have made the trip home with a very dog eared copy of the Mile Post, an essential.

Ray,IN 09-13-2020 09:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Duner (Post 5439231)
My concern about going next summer is the accumulation of folks that didn't go his year plus the folks that already planned for next year ..... just might be way overcrowded.

We were scheduled to start June 24 on a 48 day "All Alaska" tour with Fantasy (starts at Mile Marker 0). But March 26 they wanted $8500 balance and by then my 401K's had dropped 30%. With the international shutdown, I expected them to cancel and return my full $1500 deposit. But they wanted to be paid in full, then keeping the money and postponing til next year. Cost me $1000 cancellation fee. Last year we did the 13 day Baja whale watching tour and had a ball. That was our test run to see if Fantasy RV Tours would be worth the ten grand to see Alaska. Maybe the summer after next.

Bill, if you are former military, check out S.M.A.R.T. RVing, they are usually about $3K less than Fantasy, and we are usually in the same CG's and tourist traps on every caravan.

Hollardawg 09-14-2020 01:00 AM

For our first trip to Alaska, in 2008, we obtained a copy of a couple of the company's tour booklets, outlining their Alaska trips. We then bought a copy of the Milepost. Using those tour booklets as a guide, we created our own itinerary. It worked like a charm.


In 2011, we worked the summer at a campground in Haines, AK. We talked to several people who were on Caravans. A fair number of them remarked that they were a bit tired because of the tight schedules, lack of flexibility, long days, and lack of rest.

freestyle_freddy 09-14-2020 06:38 AM

Depends on your personality. My wife & I are a little more on the private side, though we get along great with people & have made friends on the road over the last 10 years. We also enjoy the process of planning our own travel routes & stops. We also wanted to spend an entire summer in Alaska. So, the three trips we took to Alaska were self planned. On the first trip to Alaska, we searched for every geocache in Alaska (35 at that time). The second trip, we stayed for the whole summer, moving all around the state. The third trip, we hit a few spots we had missed previously or re-visited our favorite spots, like Denali. If the weather prevented us from doing something we wanted to do, we just waited out the weather or returned a week or so later to do it. Perfect example is Mount McKinley, which is not visible most of the time. We were able to be patient & circle back to Denali NP again & were able to get a stunning view of the mountain You can't be flexible like that with canned trips. Also, the trip thru Canada is as interesting & sometimes more so than Alaska itself. We boondocked near Fort Nelson one night & watched 2 black bears & a pure white "spirit bear" playing on the two track trail behind our rv. Priceless!!

ldfeat 09-14-2020 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dpm91141 (Post 5422287)
Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?

Well it depends on the individual. If you are resourceful, mechanically-inclined and physically mobile, I'd say go for it. You can save a lot of money and have more control of your agenda. But many like the security and camaraderie of a group and may be OK with the fees. My wife and I did it in our 2014 25' Itasca Reyo in 2017. We had two flat tires. The first one (inside dually) was easily repaired at a nearby shop. The second flat-tire (outside dually) I had to do myself on labor day weekend. Luckily we had a spare and my 70 year old body was up to the task. Would we we do it again? Probably. The wife is ready to do it now. Me, not-so-much but I can probably be talked into it. It was a really fun trip. We saw tons of wildlife, mostly just from the road. Plus, the scenery was so breathtaking all the way through Candada and Alaska. One way or the other (solo or group), we say go for it. Larry, 2014 Itasca Reyo.

ldfeat 09-14-2020 08:41 AM

Well it depends on the individual. If you are resourceful, mechanically-inclined and physically mobile, I'd say go for it. You can save a lot of money and have more control of your agenda. But many like the security and camaraderie of a group and may be OK with the fees. My wife and I did it in our 2014 25' Itasca Reyo in 2017. We spent 6 weeks in the state of Alaska and had two flat tires (etc). The first one (inside dually) was easily repaired at a nearby shop. The second flat-tire (outside dually) I had to do myself on labor day weekend. Luckily we had a spare and my 70 year old body was up to the task. Would we we do it again? Probably. The wife is ready to do it now. Me, not-so-much but I can probably be talked into it. It was a really fun trip. We saw tons of wildlife, mostly just from the road! Plus, the scenery was so breathtaking all the way through Canada and Alaska. One way or the other (solo or group), we say go for it. Larry, 2014 Itasca Reyo.

Excursion04 09-14-2020 08:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dpm91141 (Post 5422287)
Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?

we did the trip on our own 3 years ago and it was the best trip ever!! Did a lot research on in it including reading all posts on IRV2. About 6 months before start of our trip I purchase the latest copy of Haines Milepost. It gives you different route options. We took the Canadian Rockies route. Left St Louis first week June back to St Louis first week of Sept. No RV park reservations except for Denali National Park (minimum 3 nites) we stayed for 5 nights. Haines Milepost was the best guide for our trip, studied front to back. I definitely recommend a RV bra and a good rock guard for your tow vehicle. Safe trip

llzirv2llz 09-14-2020 08:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dpm91141 (Post 5422287)
Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?

Buy the Milepost book and do it on your own.
When we travel we want to take time and not be on somebodyís elseís schedule.
We have done only one caravan and would never do another.
Take your time and watch out for bears.

HardTrvln 09-14-2020 09:41 AM

Want to go to Alaska next year. Should I do it on my own or do a caravan tour?
 
Go on your own! Much more flexibility, and you will meet other independent travelers doing the same trip. You won't be alone!
Made the trip in 2011 in 5th wheel. Returned from Haines to Pr.Rupert on ferries getting off for a few days each at Sitka, Wrangle, Petersburg, and Kettchikan. A video of me backing my 5th wheel onto the ferry in Wrangle is still on You Tube - posted by friends we met in Sitka.
Larry and Jeanne Hanes and Pico (big orange cat)

sirpurrcival 09-14-2020 10:36 AM

All the most valuable points have been covered I think. For me, I tend to want to do my own planning and work my own schedule for trips. And in truth, much of the research you do in that planning is as illuminating as actually being there. And you don't have to do it all before you go. You can go part of the way, stop, hang for a couple of days, do some reading, exploring, move on, rinse, lather, repeat. There is no wrong answer. Like people have said, it depends on what you like or not. Just know that the trip is quite doable as a solo.

Just make sure that your rig is ready to go, tip top. Tires, brakes, motors what have you and take your time. I have done the trip 3 times and security was never an issue. Didn't feel the least bit threatened anywhere in the journey and truth be told, there are generally far few people to encounter up there that might have bad intentions than in any urban environment. I'll qualify the last statement a little. In Fairbanks, came out of a theatre on a Saturday night and sort of walked smack dab into a group of intoxicated locals. Now there are some frictions between certain groups and sometimes the alcohol can let that anger bubble out. I have always been the respectful type and that usually diffuses anything I have ever encountered. Saying hello with a smile will often go a long way. As it was, nothing bad happened, really just a moment of discomfort on my part. And in three trips, that was the closest I ever came to feeling a uncomfortable. I have faced bigger challenges with road washouts, not figuring out fuel stops well enough, that sort of thing.

The wildlife is spectacular and honestly just keep your food locked up. The few smatterings of bad human/animal interactions are more often than not because someone did something silly like went right up to those baby bear cubs to get that cute picture.

As a solo or as part of a group, you will still have and wonderful journey. Take care of your, trash, leave places as good or better than you found them and the world is happy.

dude49 09-14-2020 10:44 AM

We drove from Reno Nv. to Anchorage Alaska 3 years ago on our own towing a 28 tag a long and we found everyone we encountered on the way super super accommodating and friendly. Our tow rig, a suburban, blew a rear end seal and had to have the differential rebuilt in Wildhorse in Yukon it only took a week at the Chevrolet Dealership after having parts flown in. I would highly recommend that Dealership again. The Service Mgr. very friendly and helpful !!!

bill.sahlman 09-14-2020 01:15 PM

Alaska
 
I have gone alone 9 nine times in last 10 years. Get a Mile Marker magazine and going alone is pretty easy. Done it twice on motorcycle and now know lots of the places to stay. Even boondocking is pretty easy. Dawson Creek is usually crowded so there is a little Provincial Park About 20 miles north. No hookups but a longest curved wooden bridge in North America call Katchimak. Worth the stop.
Fort Nelson a good campground and always stop at Liard Hot Springs. Over flow parking across the street. Tok RV park is always good. Mike is a great guy to deal with. We loved walking along the river in White Horse.
Biggest issue with the tours is trying To get by them as they tend run slow and together.

partygrrl 09-14-2020 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Canoso (Post 5438872)
Does the ferry allow you to take a small travel trailer ? My thought was ferry north and then drive south. Best of both worlds maybe .

Yes, but keep in mind that the ferry charges by the foot and the longer your rig, the more expensive it is. Definitely not cheap, but if price isn't a concern I would definitely recommend it! The ferry ride is awesome!

vipalaska 09-14-2020 10:22 PM

Avoid Roaming Charges by Requesting a Day Pass From Your Cell Phone Provider
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Medic57 (Post 5423724)
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 made the trip in May 2020 in our Class A 30 ft Itasca. As Alaska residents returning home, we were allowed to transit Canada in 4 days. Being totally self contained, except for gasoline, and having a plan to get through as quickly as possible, we were considered minimal Covid risk and allowed to go through Canada.

We have AT&T and we asked for daily service in Canada that costs an additional $10 per day, thus avoiding roaming services.

If you are the adventurous type, I would highly recommend the trip by yourself and a Milepost. In four days, we saw, hundreds of wood bison, 35 black bear, a couple of brown bear, antelope, caribou, fox, stone sheep, deer, and a partridge in a pear tree :). If Canadians allow you to sight see, you must stop and soak in the Liard Hot Springs in BC. A perfect way to relax after a long day of driving.

Happy Trails

Tee Jay 09-14-2020 11:55 PM

FWIW, in 1965 the wife and her sister drove it. No map, no Milepost, no cell phone, no issues. I drove it in 1969 in a Chevy PU with a shell. No issues. It was more like a Jeep trail than a road in a lot of places. My mother and wife drove it in 1981 in a Toyota camper with dog and cat. Have made 20+ trips since then.

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 zones.

An older Milepost is just as good as a new one. The roads are still in the same place. Some places open, some close, do not depend on anything being open.

Fuel in Ft St John. Ft Nelson has a M-F Card Lock at the last blinking light, turn left and it is on your right about a 1/2 mile down. Go in the office for help. Contact Creek is a small lodge about 20 miles short of Watson Lake. Good fuel at good prices, and a pleasant owner with good stories if you draw him out. He will fuel tour RV. A small discount over about 40 Gallons,

Campgrounds or boondock, it is all gravel. Power is 30 amp, who needs 3 air conditioners. Free dump and water on the north end of Ft Nelson near the visitor center.

It is a drive in the country. Relax and enjoy it. Planning is overrated. Stop where you want as long as you want. Hit the small town Visitor Centers for local info.

We have been doing it long enough to have preferred stops, but we are on a drive to an objective, in Sterling Ak. Have fun and enjoy the trip.

Retired FF 09-15-2020 10:23 AM

Alaska
 
Did trip 2018, 26ft gas Winnebago Class A: spend some $$$ on suspension & steering, w/ Geo toad. I can't think of a bad way to do Alaska. We had a cousin who did the trip previously, which was a great help. However we came, we separated, we would meet again. If you go into bad weather, it is invaluable to adjust your schedule than follow a fixed schedule. After dragging the Geo through "remove road, drive through whatever was left" at Haines, the Geo front bearings were toast 50 miles off the ferry at Skagway. Crisis attempting repairs across border returning to Whitehorse, turned into a blessing seeing Aurora in August (very unusual).

First major trip for wife. When we left she was nervous whenever we boondock or parking lots. Half way through Alaska with the help of Milepost (necessary companion, if toad attached learn to look for note: two entrances), she would determine wilderness night stops when seeing a place offering morning views over a glacier.

If you go schedule weather delays, take advantage of the same boat day cruise offered Kenai ports. Not guaranteed, but words can't describe seeing glacier calving rocking the boat. Amazing!!

Only real problem we had, after two months traveling free in Canada/Alaska, upon returning to lower 48 you just can't park anywhere the rangers get upset. But noticed just mentioning Alaska to an experienced ranger created an instant bond:)

Regardless enjoy. We definitely have this once in a lifetime adventure on our bucket list to do again!

linnemj 09-15-2020 03:44 PM

Lots of great information here! We did our journey in 2019 and had a wonderful experience! We went with another couple we were friends with in separate RVs. It was nice to take turns cooking and we pushed each other to try different experiences in Alaska. My wife and I agree that traveling with friends made the trip better.

We planned out our trip and reserved campgrounds for most nights. We found that the beautiful National Forest campgrounds and popular RV Parks we stayed at were fully reserved. For another trip, I would only reserve where needed and do more side of the road camping. We enjoyed the drive up the Alaska Highway and back the Cassier Highway.

I would encourage all RVers to make this trip!

dejams 09-15-2020 06:23 PM

Alaska
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by twogypsies (Post 5423070)
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.

Jesse & Anita Janes
42 Tiffin Phaeton

Ray,IN 09-15-2020 09:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dejams (Post 5441974)
------------------------------------------------------------
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.

Fanrgs 09-16-2020 12:58 AM

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!

Stanley.13 09-25-2020 09:16 PM

Absolutely!! Greatest trip we ever took!! 36ft Montana 5ver. Top of the world highway
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dpm91141 (Post 5422287)
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!!

Ray,IN 09-26-2020 05:28 PM

The latest from https://www.travelalaska.com/?utm_source=PROMO_SEP20

TexasJeff 09-27-2020 07:46 AM

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!

twogypsies 09-27-2020 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TexasJeff (Post 5457318)
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!

cbw5007 09-27-2020 05:36 PM

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!

akeagle 09-28-2020 11:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TexasJeff (Post 5457318)
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.

Fanrgs 09-28-2020 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tee Jay (Post 5441075)
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?

dejams 09-28-2020 08:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TexasJeff (Post 5457318)
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

Jesse James
42 Tiffin Phaeton
Sivlerado Toad

Hollardawg 09-29-2020 12:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by akeagle (Post 5459088)
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.

Useitagain 09-29-2020 08:48 AM

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.

Excursion04 09-29-2020 09:34 AM

We had no problem with our cell. It may depend on service provide? We ha Verizon

Excursion04 09-29-2020 09:48 AM

We did the trip on own in 2017. Had a brake down 50 miles south of Calgary on a Sunday afternoon. Had it towed to Frieghtliner service center. Took them 4 days and $6500 Canadian dollars to get back on the road. Fortunately our service contract covered including hotel and meals except for $500 deductible. We had chance to spend a few days checking out Calgary

bill.sahlman 10-05-2020 01:33 PM

Alaska.
 
Do everyone a favor and donít stop I. The middle of the road to look at animals that has been the scariest part of my trips. As they often do it on a blind corner. Even worse when you get one stopped in both directions


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