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RE: Slightly different Alaska trip

Alaska is huge. The shorter the amount of time available, the more planning that person(s) needs to do ahead of time. No amount of time will allow you to see all of Alaska in one lifetime, IMHO. Give a lot of thoughts to what you and your traveling companions want to see and do. It sounds like the OP has come up with a workable plan for them, with the time available. Fairbanks is about as close a town to the "old time Alaska" as you will find. Lots to see and do but you have to provide your own entertainment. Much of the state visited by most tourists is not unlike Disney. Show up, hand them your credit card and they will entertain you for some period of time. LOL A week day tripping out of Fairbanks will give you a feeling for the Interior of the state, then on south as outlined. I really don't care much for the Kenai area with all the changes in crowds of people over the years. We do go down for a few days to visit friends in Homer but then back north. Most of the day long boat tours are outstanding, from personal and other's experiences, out of Valdez, Whittier, Homer, Seward, etc. The cruise ships only give you a passing view of South East Alaska. It is said that if you drive all the paved roads in Alaska, you will have seen about 5% of the state, throw in all the dirt/gravel roads, and you will have seen about 10% of the state. To see more, a person has to spend time on boats and airplanes. For many visitors, a short first time visit with just inspire them to return, over and over again, as you can tell from some of the comments, it is addictive to many of us. While a week or ten days in the state, followed up with the train trip and the cruise ship, will be less than optimum, it will be so far ahead of not going, etc. Some of the first or second time visitors will try to convince others that the way they made their trip is the only way to do it and enjoy. They don't realize that about 99.99% of all the RVers that go to Northern Canada and/or Alaska have just as good a time as they did. But decide what you want to see and do, then plan your trip accordingly. A lot depends on where a person lives and where they have traveled previously. As a person raised on a ranch in flat land, dry, Oklahoma, anywhere with water and mountains really impresses me greatly. Folks that grew up in Seattle, not so much so it seems. LOL
joe b. 11/18/15 06:00am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Roll Call Alaska 2016

I believe that 2012 was the last year that US dollars flowed to the Shakwak Agreement to fund maintenance and improvements in the Alaska Hwy and Haines Cut Off between Haines and the Border at Port Alcan. This funding was normally in the range of $20 to $30 million dollars per year. Keep in mind the political situations in the world in 1997, when the Shakwak funding first started. It was put in the US federal budget under Gerald Ford and then in late January Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president. During those years it was seen as a need to have an ice free port, such as Haines and a land connection to get goods and services to the US military in Alaska, the same basic reason the Alaska Hwy was built in the first place. Sometimes I think we RVers start thinking it wass built for our personal enjoyment as a way to drive to Alaska and hear the fat lady sing, so to speak. The US no longer has any real need for the Alaska Hwy or the Haines Cut off road as the Alaska military is supplied by air and barge out of the lower 48 these days. I can't remember the last time I saw a US military convoy using either road and probably never will again. The Alaska Ferry system is in much the same situation, it was started as a way to subsidize transportation costs for the residents of SE Alaska, back when they basically controlled the legislature in Juneau, which is no longer true. The power has switched to the Anchorage bowl and the Railbelt region of the state. The latest state budget short fall, that I have seen , is over $3 billion dollars. But with 2016 being an election year, I really doubt that much is going to be done to fix the problem long term. I suspect there will be major cuts in the ferry system for next summer, cuts in the state parks, road maintenance in general, and it may even get so bad that they will have to cut back on building and maintaining bike paths in the Anchorage area. LOL Alaska dollars come from 3 main sources, about 1/3 are from oil revenues which are declining greatly in price and volume, 1/3 from federal spending, which will probably continue declining and the last 1/3 from all other sources, mining, fishing, timber, etc. The only real source of business dollars to the state come from the Alaska Native Corporations, which earn money outside the state but spend it in Alaska. Very few tourist dollars end up staying in state, very long. Very few Alaska owned tourist businesses. Current estimate is that 20% of the Alaska workforce doesn't live in Alaska. All this verbiage to say, expect to see some changes in Alaska and on the way, those of you, that have been to the north country before. It will still be a great trip for 99.99% of the visitors.
joe b. 11/17/15 10:05am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: The good ole days of Alaska travel

That photo of sue is about as adorable as can be. A girl and her dog. And then about ten years later they cross over to the dark side. LOL Always surprised how northern cars can get so dirty, driving on snow covered roads.
joe b. 11/05/15 06:21am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: The good ole days of Alaska travel

Murray, I hope you weren't driving in 1961 as I believe you were about 3 years old, at that time. LOL This is based upon my thinking that you and Sue T are about the same age and I know she was born in 1958. She and I share the same birthday month and day, but I was 16 years old the day she was born. LOL I tease sue about being a 4 year old toddler, playing in the mud puddles out front of her dads gas station/garage in Beaver Creek, YT that first summer I drove up. LOL I first drove to Alaska from southern Oklahoma in June 1962, as a 20 year old. Have written much more about some of the early driving and flying trips on my web site. http://www.pajbcooper.com/Alaska%20Hwy%20Early%20days.htm I need to learn to use Photoshop to polish up some of these old faded photos. What I remember more than the mud was the noise of the rocks and gravel hitting the underneath side of the vehicle, hour after hour, day after day for 1,523 miles. Fairbanks at the time was considered the end of the Alaska Highway in those days. Big marker there by the visitor center on the Chena River marking the end. The gravel road and the weather were just part of the adventure of the drive. Many times I just stopped for a day or three to let the road dry out a bit, etc. The Tok Cut-Off, usually considered to be part of the Glenn Hwy, was built, using the term loosely, during WWII, about the same time frame as the Alaska Hwy (Alcan project) was being built. At Glennallen, the Richardson Hwy passes through on the way to Delta Junction and on to Fairbanks from Valdez. The Glenn Hwy from Palmer to Glennallen was an extension of the Palmer Road, built to get the homesteaders there from the Anchorage area. The Parks Hwy wasn't finished till the early 70s. The Tok Cut off was put in to save about 125 miles of travel on military supplies coming up from the Lower 48, over the Alaska Hwy headed for Anchorage. The Tok Cut off is normally in bad shape, very prone to earthquake damage at times, permafrost, etc. I suspect the Cut Off was opened for traffic in the real early 1940s. I made 9 RV round trips over the Alaska Hwy prior to it being substantially paved. There was a bit of pavement around Whitehorse in the early 60s. A diffenent group of people on the Alaska Hwy in those prepavement days. Not too many old geezers, like I am now, doing the drive. Now days virtually anyone can make the trip successfully with a good vehicle and a high limit credit card, and reasonably good health. We all carried a lot more vehicle parts back in those days. It is still a super fun trip to make and I hope to get in a few more trips in my lifetime. Like I have mentioned, I have done 13 RV round trips, to/from Alaska, about a half dozen by small aircraft following the Alaska Hwy, landing on it, eating and spending the nights at the roadhouses on the highway and 8 or 10 more round trips by car or pickups. Most of my aircraft trips were one way north, as I worked some as a ferry pilot, flying outside commercially, picking up my ride somewhere in the lower 48 and flying it back to Alaska for a dealer there.
joe b. 11/04/15 01:59pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: More privacy with bathroom window

You are saying that your bathroom door has a window? That is a first for me. A non see through cloth with Velcro could be put over the window at night. OP, you may want to clarify your post, especially the part about the screen door.
joe b. 11/01/15 06:26am General RVing Issues
RE: Propane tank size for Park Model

If you are talking about a park model that will be set up permanently, for me it would depend on where in the country it was to be located. Here in south Florida, the all electric park models are popular, as are houses, mine included. If I was to set up a park model in western Colorado, where we were living prior to moving to the swamp country, I would look at propane or natural gas, for heating, cooking, domestic water heating and a gas clothes dryer. In heavy snow country, the less frequent you have to fill is better IMHO. In western Colorado I saw many park models with twin 200 or 400 # propane tanks, dealer supplied. Some people used 300 to 500 gallon propane tanks so they could fill once or twice a year. The KOA campground in Montrose Colorado, installed metered propane to the seasonal sites they have a few years back. The CG has a very large , several thousand gallon tank, to supply all the users. The campers, I talked to, that were using the metered gas were pleased with it. Probably other CGs in the area have metered as well. Now if the OP is talking about the fifth wheel built by Nortland that they call a park model and promote for full time living, talk to the local dealer to see what other buyers are using.
joe b. 10/30/15 12:07pm General RVing Issues
RE: Disrespect along the Alaska Highway

I wish I was nearby the monument the OP first listed. With a Mr. Clean Magic eraser and a can of spray paint I would have it as good as new. Getting something like that writing off as soon as possible is the best way to keep additional from being added. If a person can't take care of the problem, then call a government agency to see if they can help. Several years ago I was staying at the Hi Country RV park in Whitehorse, for a few days. I was so impressed with the way the men's shower/rest room was maintained, I made it a point to talk to one of the owners, Mrs King, I believe was her hame. Told her how much I appreciated the cleanness and especially the fresh flowers that were setting around in there. She said she grew the flowers herself and they had found that the better they kept the restrooms, the less mess they found. Almost zero graffiti to deal with compared to when they first purchased the campground. Later when my wife and I owned a gift shop in western Colorado, we tried to adopt the same philosophy with our public restroom and it really works. Keep the place spotless, keep fresh flowers out, plenty of supplies available to the users and they will help take care of the place. Disney World has sure figured out the same idea for the way they keep Fort Wilderness Campground. No flowers by they keep the place spotless most of the time, multiple trash pickups a day, comfort stations cleaned multiple times a day, checked hourly by management, roads vacuumed every morning, etc. I too have seen some real messes in Alaska, usually close to towns but not always. Some of the biggest messes have been caused by the US Government, mainly the military and their civilian contractors. There are so many remote, secret type bases/stations, scattered throughout the state, mostly dating back to the cold war days with the Soviets. To close them, they loaded the personal on a plane and were gone, leaving most everything behind, soon to become a real mess as folks from nearby communities would come to salvage what they wanted. Wild animals wandered through, windows broken, doors torn off, just a real mess. In most cases way beyond the size/ability for private citizens to clean up. In the Galena area, about 300 miles west of Fairbanks where I lived for several years, there was a military installation (s) and several outlying smaller facilities, mainly radar dome station. Galena was originally build as part of the WWII Lend Lease Act with the Soviet where we would lend them military aircraft, etc. The Alaska Hwy was part of this scheme and one of the reasons it was built. At first the US pilots, many of them women, delivered the fighter aircraft to Ladd Field in Fairbanks but due to so many of the Soviet pilots taking over there to fly back to Siberia and crashing. It was decided for the US to deliver the planes on 300 miles west to the refueling station at Galena and on to Nome. This worked better for the Soviet pilots as it make two less landing for them to have to make successfully. But the surrounding area, around Galena from the days of the Soviet pilots, is scattered with the remains of wrecked WWII fighter aircraft. I have prowled around through many of them. Finally was able to get a map of known wrecks from the Air Force so we didn't have to keep reporting when we found them. Some still had the machine guns on board and personal gear (govt issued) but no human remains as I am sure the wild animals removed them long ago. Most of the fuel for these planes was sent in on summer barges in 55 gal metal drums. Galena was an area that floods frequently (it sits on the banks of the Yukon River) so prior to them building a dike around the base, like New Orleans does, the drums got washed down river. We would find numerous old drums back in the willows at times, some still full of 30 year old gasoline or diesel. Never tried to use any of it. Not a lot different than the ranch country of southern Oklahoma where I grew up and everyone had their own dump. Ours was an old dry creek bend which the previous property owners had used and the owners before them and so forth. We used burn barrels for trash and when they got full, they were emptied over the edge. Probably considered littering these days as we are all supposed to throw our trash together into one big pile and call it a landfill and that makes it OK I guess. Anyway I hope some local will go clean up the monument and make it look good again. Someone go do it and post a photo and we will give you lots of "at a boys" or "at a girl" pats of the back.
joe b. 10/30/15 11:19am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Working on the road

Some of the full timers I know use the internet for work and some don't. Anyone wanting to make sone money while living in their RV, need to take a hard look at what job skills they have to sell. I have friends that are RNs, live in a 40 ft class A and work the west coast as travelers, doing 3 month contracts with various hospitals. An Okie friend works as a traveling radiologist doing fill in work in OK, TX, MO and AR. Lives in his motorhome and works contract in those 4 states wher he keeps his medical licenses current. Works about 6 months out of the year. Some Colorado friends work out of their motorhome, she does medical billings for several medical clinics in Colorado. They don't know if she is at her home office or her RV office as everything is done over the Internet or by cell phone. Her husband makes music CDs for radio stations, Oldies but Goodies type. He has contracts to make X amount of hours per week for them to plug in and broadcast. He has duplicate equipment set up in the RV, the same as in his home office in Colorado. He is a retired radio DJ and former station manager. Others work oil refinery turn arounds , so he and his family move 2 to 4 times a year to the next job. Met an employee at one of the Camping World stores here in Florida that works seasonal for them at different stores around the country. Michigan in the summer, Florida in the winter, etc. A few years back in Jackson MS, I stopped for fuel at the Flying J and decided to spend the night in their parking lot. Noticed, not too far away from me, a large Class A parked. There were three young women with it, dressed like they were going clubbing There were 8 or 10 truck drivers gathered around talking to the women. Every once in a while one of the drivers and one of the women wound go inside. Suspected the women were financial advisors or psychic readers, as I know many truckers are interested in such. Recently saw a Class A with a painted sign on the side, DOT Physicals to Go. Curiousness got the best of me so I went over to ask. Husband and wife team, doctor and nurse did on site DOT physicals for company drivers. Said they could do 20 or 25 a day. I doubt they worked over a week a month and just enjoyed life the rest of the time. Bottom line is a person has to have something to sell. After retiring from my office job, I did some internet consulting with former clients in the fields of finance and also in security matters of interest to them. I had fiber optic cable at home and had AT&T and Verison hot spots for when we were on the road. Down side was keeping clients in different time zones happy and having some time for myself, to do things like sleep, eat, shower, etc. LOL
joe b. 10/30/15 10:20am General RVing Issues
RE: Another recall

I keep getting letters from GMC on my 2011 Chevy Dmax 3500. Not recalls but notices that I MAY have a problem, more like a service bulletin. They tell me not to take the truck to the dealer unless I have the mentioned problem. Each time they extend my warranty out to ten years or 100,000 miles on that item. Must have 6 or 8 of these letters stuffed in my glove box now. Got one last week on a potential exhaust leak
joe b. 10/27/15 08:43am Tow Vehicles
RE: Alaskan brand truck campers--Pros and cons??

Check to see if the interior height is acceptable to you. I checked one out in Colorado some years back, and found at 6' 4", I couldn't stand up in the unit with the roof raised. An automatic deal killer for me.
joe b. 10/25/15 05:23am Truck Campers
RE: eagle, alaksa

A trip up to Eagle is a good drive, if you want to say you have done it. For a number of years there was a passenger ferry/tour boat running from Dawson Town to Eagle and back to Dawson. Think I remember hearing it had ceased operating due to a lack of customers. I enjoy taking some of the side roads when we aren't in any hurry. Drive out to Manley Hot Springs, perhaps do the Haul Road or a part of it, go over to Chitna, visit Atlin BC for a few days, drive up to Circle, to Chena Hot Springs, etc. hot springs fascinate me for some reason, it appears. LOL
joe b. 10/17/15 07:05pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Attacked at Kitwanga

That area around Kitwanga has been a troubled place for some time. Young women have been disappearing, never to be see again. The last time I stopped at the restaurant at Kitwanga Junction, there were signs up inside warning young women not to hitch hike or be by themselves outside at night.
joe b. 10/14/15 06:08am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: I'm on the dark path many others have followed........

Having both works well for us. Our TC is our traveling machine, if we are going to be on the move most days, such as our trips to Alaska. If we are going to stop for several days or weeks, especially if our young grandsons go with us, then we take the 31 ft bunk room 5th wheel. The 5th wheel seldom gets out of SE US, as the summers we spend in Colorado, we will normally tow our Jeep behind our TC. We use the same truck for both rigs. Currently we have the TC on the truck as we plan to run over to South Texas for a couple of weeks, once the weather cools off a bit. Then the 5th wheel hitch will go back in the truck for a ten day Christmas time stay at Disney World with our daughters and their families.
joe b. 10/06/15 02:08pm Truck Campers
RE: When to leave for fall colors

The colors along the Alaska hwy will not be as dramatic as you would find in the North Eastern part of the US and Canada, just because of the type of trees, IMHO. Most of the trees of the north west are coniferous, such as the spruce, hemlock, fir, etc. which don't turn colors but stay green all year. The only turning trees, the deciduous ones. poplars, willows, birch, alder, etc are very quick to turn yellow and to shed their leaves in the fall. Altitude seems as times to have more to do with the color change than does how far north you may be. A dry fall or a rainy fall will speed up the lose of the leaves Now the tundra areas of the north, will change into all sorts of beautiful colors, such as on a late fall trip, over the Denali Hwy between Cantwell and Paxson, etc. Not sure you will find anything in the west that will rival places like West Virginia in the fall time. You need places with trees such as maples, oaks, hickory, pecan, walnut, more of the hard wood deciduous types.
joe b. 09/17/15 10:31am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Top of World Highway boarder station

Once the Yukon River starts to freeze at Dawson, they will pull the barge out of the water for the winter. Once that happens they soon close the Border crossing station as there is no longer traffic on the road to speak of. Once he river freezes solid enough, they will make an ice road over to the far side from Dawson Town. There will be several weeks where the people that live on the far side can't get to Dawson Town until they can drive over the ice road. The Top Hwy or 60 Mile Road, as it is known locally, is not maintained once the barge is pulled and the border station is closed.
joe b. 09/12/15 12:11pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Love Bugs Fla Turnpike

May and Seotember, are the two problem months for love bugs in this part of South Florida. My wife just came back from Orlando and the front of her car was covered. I have tried the dryer sheets, both new and used with no success at all. We find that a kitchen sponge covered with nylon mesh and a cleaner, Spray Nine, works for us. Whatever a person uses, get them off before they dry and damage the paint. A heavy coat of car wax before the trip helps also, smear it on but don't buff it off. I bought a couple of boxes of the Love Bug Sponge Erasers a couple of years back and they work well with a good cleaning liquid. They seem a bit rough to the feel, bot don't appear to scratch the paint. We use them for all sorts of general cleaning around the house. http://www.lovebugeraser.com A couple of years back we ran into swarms of love bugs on the turnpike around Yeehaw Junction, between Orlando and Stuart, where we live. Had to stop at the rest area to clean off the windshield, so I could see to drive. http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/18536416/387437766.jpg http://pic100.picturetrail.com/VOL621/2555455/18536416/387437779.jpg
joe b. 09/08/15 08:58am General RVing Issues
RE: Roll Call Alaska 2015

I wouldn't expect the roads to improve anytime soon in YT as the money just isn't there for the maintenance needed. As Susie mentioned for many years much of the Alaska Hwy in YT was maintained by Canada and the US provided most of the funding. We are the ones that mainly use the road, not the Canadians. There was for many years an agreement, the SHAkWak (sp), that provided the money, but the current administration in Washington D.C. decided to cut that funding a few years back. Yukon, is a territory that depends heavily on moneys sent from the federal government in Ottawa, but the political problem is that they already sent something like 10 times the dollars to the Yukon per Canadian citizen that they do to the provinces of BC and Alberta,etc. I would doubt that the politicians in Ottawa are going to be interested in sending even more money to the Yukon, just to maintain a road used mostly by US citizens and companies. Alaska is much the same in that the federal government is the largest employer in the state. The federal dollars spent in Alaska far exceed the amount the few citizens of Alaska pay in federal taxes and they have no state taxes to speak of at this time. On one hand I doubt that the Washington politicians are going to be willing to send anymore money to Alaska but on the other hand the US military has signed a plan to expand the early warning radar base at Clear (Anderson, Alaska) just north of Denali Park. They are looking at spending about $1 billion dollars from what I have read. A three to five year project, that will bring in 1,500 to 2,000 skilled workers to the area. Not sure where they plan to house that many workers in that area, Fairbanks? build a large camp? who knows? but it will change that part of the state forever.
joe b. 08/31/15 02:36pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Alison Pt., Valdez

Did you guys get rid of your cabin/home that you had just a short ways from Sheep Mountain. ? Can't believe it has been three years since you quit spending your summers there.
joe b. 08/19/15 11:25am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: How many GB's?

I have found the time of day to have a lot to do with WIFI speeds at many campgrounds. Between 6 PM and midnight, mostly non-usable, but after midnight till mid morning or noon, they are much faster. Until a few years back, I still had a few clients that I worked with as a consultant. When traveling and I needed WIFI connections, first I tried the campground one, then I also had a Verizon prepaid MIFI device and account. Plus we have our cell phones with AT&T with a 30 gig, with roll over family plan. Currently we have 7 devices on that family plan. As the billing month would progress, I might find I needed to add to my prepaid Verizon plan which was easy to do by credit card. My wife likes to stream movies and I tell her to figure about 2 gigs of data to do so. During my consulting days, when traveling, I found we needed somewhere between 30 and 50 gigs of data a month available. When not traveling, I don't activate my Verizon MIFI device
joe b. 08/11/15 01:44pm Technology Corner
RE: NO Drinking Water SW Colorado NW New Mexico

Yes the EPA will clean it up using tax dollars, no one at EPA will be fined or lose their jobs. If they do a good job at the cleanup, there could be promotions and possibly salary bonuses. At least no man made chemicals involved, all organic in origin. Straight from Mother Earth.
joe b. 08/11/15 10:33am Roads and Routes
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