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

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 somebody’s else’s 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!


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