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

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.


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