sue said, "Use an old toothbrush to remove left-over mosquito carcass from the screen."
Hope your husband, Steve doesn't catch you using his toothbrush. LOL
A lot of good advice give above. Just be prepared for the worst. By staying mainly in the urban areas, you could probably avoid most of them for all summer. But get out into the back country more and in most years, you too, will be able to tell true mosquito stories when you get back home, assuming you survive them. LOL
For inside the RV I like to burn the Pic coils for an hour or so before we hit the bed. Brush your clothes before entering as they will ride in on you and wait till you doze off, for their snacks. (you)
I read some while back, that if you put the US Government in charge of the Sahara Desert, within 5 years, there would be a shortage of sand in that area. The same might work to put them in charge of the mosquitos in Alaska. LOL
There are many ways a person can travel and keep control over many of their costs. Is the ferry too costly for some people's budget? Probably is, as it would be for me to do every trip. I figure a round trip to Alaska with my RV, we have done 13 round trips so far by RV, costs in the neighborhood of $10,000. I burn between 1,000 and 1,200 gallons of diesel on most of the trips we have done recently. With todays cost of diesel, it is easy to see where $4,000 to $6,000 of my $10K goes.
The best way is to look at the official web site of the AMHS and plug in your information and see what you costs would be. Don't get too excited about some of the figures mentioned, as in ten years on the forum, I have never heard anyone mentioned having done a round trip out of Whittier with a 49 ft rig to Bellingham. Put the trailer on the rail barge out of Whittier and then pick it up in Everett Washington at the port. Then do the same on the return trip. Then put your 24 ft RV on the ferry and cut your cost substantially.
Just figure your own costs from where you want to get on and off, then decide it if is worth it to you. Many factors get involved, from costs, to dogs, to some people just don't like boats, or the confinement of boats. But the ferry system is the only good way to see SE Alaska, other than taking your own boat on that route. Most of the people that don't like the ferry system, for whatever reason are, for the most part, people that have never been on the Alaska Ferry system. It is not for everyone, but those that enjoy it normally describe the trip as a big part of the pleasure they got from their trip to the north country.
To some people, the Alaska Hwy is just a way to get to where they want to be, it is the destination to them, not the trip itself. I have known some residents that just consider the highway to be a long, boring dirty drive, to get finished with as soon as they can. I had a BIL living just north of Denali Park, that felt this way. They would leave home on Friday evening after work and drive straight through to Bellingham Washington arriving Sunday evening, in roughly 50 hours, and did this every trip, so far as I know. At least a dozen trips . There was the 4 of them, and 3 were licensed drivers, so they only stopped for fuel and restroom stops. He told me I was just wasting my money to take a week or two, to make that drive in our RV. But we were driving the highway for different reasons, for him it was to get to Bellingham as cheaply as possible and as quickly, for me, the trip was a big part of the summers vacation. Not a right or wrong situation, just different reasons.
So a person has to decided over and over again on a trip to/from Alaska, is the purpose to see how cheap you can do the trip or how much pleasure you can get from the trip. We all have to compromise at times. I have mentioned there have been times I have been so broke on the trips I had to stop and find work to pay for fuel and food for the remainder of the journey.
A couple of places not mentioned in Anchorage, that may no longer be in existence, but did serve some decent meals, one being Josephine's at the top of the Sheraton Hotel, the Captain Cook Hotel had the Crow's Nest on the top, as well as a private club of which I was never in, and on the ground floor, the Whale's Tail.
With the city being so multicultural in population, there is a different place for every night to eat out, it seems. Think I read the figure, of 685 licensed eating establishments in the town/borough. Some of my favorites were those with an Asian type menu and ambiance, of which there were many. At one time, while I was living in the Interior and visited Anchorage, way too often with my work, it was in the paper, that Japan Airlines was keeping 58 aircraft crews in Anchorage. Most had their families with them and the airlines even operated a school for their children, in the Japanese language and traditions. Japan Air, was one of the major carriers, that used Anchorage as a stop for fuel, crew changes, resupply, etc. on their way to Europe, and south down the west coast. Many of their flights were freighters, hauling everything from live cattle to boxes of wine, some headed back to Japan and some over the north pole to Europe. So it was not hard to find a place that served excellent Asian foods, from most of the cultures from that part of the world.
There was even an excellent bar b Que place on the old Seward Hwy, went by two initials of the owner, LDs or something like that. The owner was also an Ozark American (formerly known as an Okie) that grew up about 30 miles, from where I was raised. I had eaten there for 10 or 12 years, when on one trip to Anchorage, I found the business had been sold. A few years later, I was in Oklahoma to visit my parents and was driving through the small town of Stratford, just west of Ada, and saw a sign on a bar b que place with the same name, so I had to stop and check it out. Turned out to be the same guy from Anchorage that I knew. He had moved back home.
In the urban areas of the state, not much if any difference in the small group of carriers. In between the urban areas, cell service with any of them is very spotty or non-existent. Some locations, I have found a good signal in strange places, such as close to some of the Alaska Oil Pipeline pump stations. Suspect Homeland Security or the oil company paid for a tower somewhere in the area. But for the most part, service between urban areas is zilch, nada, kaput, etc.
I have AT&T for cell service with a data plan with my iPhone and iPad and then have a Verizon data plan for my MiFi device. The last trip, I didn't activate the MiFi plan, a pay as you go one, as I was able to use AT&T everywhere I needed it. One of the state cell carriers put cell service into all the villages in Alaska, but not sure if they are on the same frequency as my phone. Driving by some of the villages, over by Northway, Tok, etc. I have never been able to pick up their signal.
I have a good friend that works for the Alaska Railroad on track maintenance and he carries two cell phones, plus his portable railroad issued two way radio. He claims he can call into the Anchorage office, most places from Fairbanks to Seward, with one of the three devices. Verizon is fairly new to the Alaska market, and were renting tower space from someone else. Latest I have heard is they now have a presence in the state, but whether or not they are installing their own towers or not, I don't know.
With the limited population of Alaska, it is doubtful if the cell coverage will ever get "good", until cell phones can start using satellites, instead of fixed towers. Service is better, if you have good, line of sight, such as driving south of Anchorage, headed for the Kenai. I get a good signal down to about the Hope turnoff, because the signal from the Anchorage tower is passing over Cook Inlet and no mountains or trees to interfere with the signal.
Check with your carrier before using a cell phone or data in Canada, as it can be very expensive. Same applies for Canadians in the US. You can get hit with both roaming and long distance charges if not careful.
Dog, if you remember correctly what you paid for your trip, on the Big Mat from Prince Rupert to Haines, with a 4 berth cabin and I am guessing 4 passengers, plus a 41 ft long rig, you over paid.
I just went to the official state site for the AMHS and ran your given data through their program, with a June 3 departure out of Prince Rupert.
I came up with the same figure using the info in the back of the 2013 Milepost.
Vehicle 41 ft at $29.60 a ft = $1213.60 for the trip
4 berth cabin +$238 for the trip (not by the night)
4 adult passengers, estimate of # and ages, $160 each, so 4 X $160 = $640 for the trip
Total cost of the trip, not counting food = $2091.60
If you do remember correctly, what you paid and still have the receipts, you may be able to get some reimbursement, as you were over charged. Now if you bought your tickets from a travel agent, and not from the AMHS directly, you are probably out of luck.
Run your trip through this site, as it is the official AMHS and should be current. Never hurts to give them a call either as they are good people to work with on any questions you or anyone may have.
There is still room on the first June sailing of the Big Mat, out of Prince Rupert for passengers, vehicles and cabins still available, if anyone is interested. The ferry trips are enjoyable to us, even though they are not cheap, neither is a trip to Alaska. The ferry isn't something we do every trip but it is worth it to us to do occasionally. To see what the cost would be to you, get on the AMHS site and plug in you information. The AMHS web site becomes friendlier every year and easier to use, IMHO.
One of the few redeeming qualities that Anchorage has, is the large number of great places to eat. World wide cuisine is available , from 5 star dinning to fast and greasy. Gwennies is good and then go to Peggy's, across the street from Merrill Field for the best pie in town. I used to fly my Super Cub into Merrill for yeary inspections, often staying at the Mush Inn Motel, also across the street, and down a bit from Stoddard's Aircraft shop. I have been known to stop into Peggy's 3 or 4 times a day for pie, while waiting for my plane to be maintained. The Mush Inn seems to change names every time in drive by there with our RV, on our northern trips.
For high class entertainment, a person of sofistication and good taste may wish to check out Chillkoot Charlie's and for the real essence of Anchorage, the Great Alaska Bush Company. Anchorage has something for every taste or lack there of.. LOL especially the Spenard area of town. At one time, Spenard was a separate town from Anchorage, up until the unification of the City and Borough of Anchorage, came into existence.
Jack, did Junction 37 appear to be closed permanently or just not open for the tourist season yet? They have had a checkered past, since the current owners bought it and the station about 300 meters down the Cassiar Hwy. The second station was then closed, soon after they purchased it.
We have never camped in Seattle, other than the Olympic Hotel, a comfortable place, but tend to go on north to Bellingham and stay at the www.bellinghamrvpark.com. Nice stop, easy off and back on to Interstate 5, but far enough away so that road noise isn't a problem.
Some of our family live in B'ham so we on occasion will spend a week or so here.
Then we go north and cross at Sumas. There is a real nice KOA in Lynden, we then still use the Sumas crossing. We tend to stay in this area more, on our way southbound, after spending the summer in the north country.
I have had GS for several years, and I remember using it three times. Once for a lock out with our toad, once here in Florida, for a tire blow out and then when I got stuck on a soft road shoulder in British Columbia. We were very satisfied with each service call.
The key appears to be knowing what your contact calls for, on your part as well as GS's part. In general most problems occur when the contract isn't followed. Whoever makes the call, will normally be the one that pays for the tow or service. There are a few exceptions to this, but know what these are before you call anyone but your road service company that wrote your contract. Don't assume anything about your coverage. Call GS and discuss any questions you might have, before you need help.
A year or so back, one of the forum members was very upset that their RV had burned, totaled, in a parking lot. She felt very strongly that GS should tow their burned to the ground RV and shuld pay for their motel and meals. She mentioned the GS plan they had and it was the same that I had. So I got out my policy and it clearly stated that motels and meals were only for a vehicle accident involving another vehicle. The tow was to the nearest repair facility. Their RV wasn't going to be repaired by anyone as it was toast and headed to a junk yard to be crushed and melted into something new.
I think they finally figured out that their RV policy was what they needed to file a claim against, not their road service plan.
I will be renewing my GS Road plan in the next few weeks, for another year.
You are both in one of the best areas of the country to find a used TC, but any from the PNW need to be checked closely for any water leakage damage, due to the climate. The mountain west is another good place to look, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, etc.
I found my current TC, by just doing a google search for the make and model I was wanting. My plan had been to go to Colorado to buy one, or to Texas, but this one popped up on a RV dealer's lot as a consignment unit. Make my deal over the phone, subject to inspection and my final approval. He faxed me the paperwork, I sign it as did the dealer and I gave him a $500 credit card deposit. My previous TC, I found the same way, over the Internet, in eastern Tennessee. Purchased it the same way.
TCs are not all that popular here in the SE part of the US, so not much of a selection but get out west and it seems about every third unit I see on the highways is a TC.
Check out some of the large listing groups, if for nothing else to get a feel for what others are asking for TCs that might be of interest to you. Again just google something like "used truck campers for sale" and you will find many pages of reading material most of the time.
We get up to the Fort 8 or 10 trips a year, and enjoy the place greatly. It is the campground that my wife and I seem to compare all other campgrounds. It is the best, IMHO. Make sure you get your Magic Bands, which will either be sent to you or you can pick them up on checkin. These will allow you to make "fast pass" selections to rides, etc. before you arrive at the park. The Bands become your way to get into the parks, buy stuff at the parks, etc.
WDW will send you material to read up on. Make a plan, subject to change, of what days you will go to which park. Some days we don't even go to a park but hang out at the Fort, just to enjoy the peace and tranquility. Get familiar with the lay outs of the different parks as some people appear to spend much of their time looking at a map, to see where to go next.
This forum is a good place to get specific answers to questions, as well as several others, one mentioned above. www.disboards.com is the oldest of the private Disney sites, but many like the www.fortfiends.com site as well. As with any forums, there are always those that have a need to post an answer, whether they are qualified to answer or not. LOL
We have annual Florida resident passes, so can hop around the parks, but don't do it too often other than to meet up for lunch or dinner. Even with the superb transportation system available at WDW, it takes time to move from park to park. Our young grandsons often go with us, 9 and 11 years old pair, so they will often have our schedule worked out as where they want to go and in what order.
Golf carts, available to rent, are fun but not really necessary IMHO. We like to stay in one of the loops of the campground, closest to the boats you can take to the Magic Kingdom. I will sometimes take most of a day and just ride the WDW transportation system, the monorails, the trains, the buses, think that is about it.
Last trip up a few weeks back I decided I wanted to walk the old track bed of the now defunct, Fort Wilderness Railroad, which ran inside the campground, mainly in the 1970s. But the old road bed is so overgrown in places that my beagle and I gave up on making the entire 2.6 mile trek. Sure wish I had gotten to ride on that train at least once, but didn't stay at the Fort till after they had closed the railroad there.
A normal day at the Fort, for us, is to visit one of the parks in the morning, then return to the campsite in mid afternoon, to spend a few hours at the Meadows Swimming pool area, then dinner somewhere. After dinner, this old guy usually will head back to the RV to spend some quality time with my beagle and the wife, daughter and her sons will head back to the parks.
If you make any despairing remarks about the owners or management of a park, it will not be posted. We went through this a few months back with one of the rvparkreviews administrators/censors, person. You are only allowed to describe the park. But most of us seem to understand that the best park in existence can be ruined by bad management. Also keep in mind that the rvparkreviews is owned by a private company and they make their money by selling ads on the site.
I had a post up and running for several days and was approved by the first administrator, but then a second one didn't like it and took it off the site. I was given all sorts of excuses as to why, but generally I mentioned that the owner/manager was in way over his head and doing a lousy job with the campground. Not allowed to say that on that censored site. It is their site, so they can do what they wish. They sure need to be clearer about what can be written and what can't, IMHO. I suspect you can say all the nice things about an owner/manager that you wish. About the only things you can say on the rvparkreviews site is the same stuff the campground puts on their web pages or advertisements.
Possibility the articles referenced by AKsilvereagle
Not sure if I was the owner trying to sell the place I would be giving such info, to a news reporter, about how business didn't look good for the future.
The reviews on the lodge, back when it was still open, would give a new owner something to work on. I have no idea of which set of owners I would have run into on my last stop there. My Dodge truck, had a large enough fuel tank to run on to Delta for diesel so that is what I did.
I had a problem with my 2011 Rockwood Signature 5th wheel. The street side propane tank wouldn't feed to the two way regulator, on the curb side. When I removed the street side pigtail, to check out the one way valve in it, it was all clogged up with a sticky substance that looked like tar. The high pressure regulator (30psi) was also clogged and the hose that carried the propane over to the low pressure regulator, as well at that regulator.
Upon checking I found that all the parts that were clogged were stamped, Made in India. Now I know that India makes many high quality products but the ones used on my 5t wheel were not in that group. The best we could tell was that the pressure hoses used, were leaching some sticky oily substance out of them when exposed to propane. The same propane supplier was being used with both our RVs but this was the only one that was having problems.
The solution was to start at the street side 30# tank and replace everything in the propane system that was stamped made in India. Two new pigtails, new cross over hose, new high pressure regulator, new Marshall brand, low pressure auto switch over regulator was put into the system. Now 2 1/2 years later not a problem with the system and still using the same propane distributer.
The only contamination problems I have every had with LPG, was in growing up on a ranch in southern Oklahoma, where the distributors were prone to pump butane into your large farm tanks, for summer use. It was cheaper for them to buy than propane. The first cold snap of fall would let you know how much butane was mixed in with the propane as the butane had freezing characteristics close to the same as water. In cold weather, you could be showing a half tank and still not be able to get anything to come out of the tank.
The last 13 years we lived in Alaska was in Nenana, where every fall a trip across the Denali Highway (using the term highway very loosely, LOL) was normally the last trip we made with our RV for the summer. Then it was put it away for the winter and get out the winter toys, the boat got pulled from use and winterized as well. The snow machines came out and the airplane got changed over from wheels to skis. Alaska weather in the Interior of the state is more controlled by the tilting of the earth and the resulting angle of the sun, than weather fronts, such as in the Lower 48.
In those Nenana days, we had both a Class C bunk model and a truck camper. When the four of us were headed to camp on the Denali Hwy with my wife's two sisters and their families, we took the Class C and often pulled a small trailer to haul all the junk needed for a weeks stay.
The road can be smooth or rough, dry or wet, but especially in the fall, it is one of the more beautiful drives in Alaska with the tundra vegetation turning colors, the brisk air of fall, lots of wildlife out, and good fishing in the Tangle Lakes area.
The last time I stopped in to camp at Tangle Lakes, just west of Paxson a few miles, I came in from the Paxson side. Good road on that side to the free BLM campground there. As mentioned, take your bug dope and lots of it. The mosquitos are everywhere, including down in the outhouse hole, so a quick job should be planned if using them. LOL There are several campgrounds along the road, the one at Brushkana usually has a volunteer host for the summer. There are all sorts of sights to see, from the mountains to the north, the west, etc., there are pingos, that are in the process of thawing out from being cut into decades ago, and many great photo opps. A couple of lodges on the road, the Gracious House, good food and they have a bar license if you new a toddy or three. The roadhouse at Paxson, was somewhat falling apart the last time I stopped there. No diesel available, paint peeling off the main building but they did have a sign out by the gas pumps offering free religious services on request. I didn't request one, as I find, just being out on the Denali camping is one of the best religious experiences I can find.
The Tangle Lakes are good grayling fishing, especially the third lake south from the road. We normally carried a Folbot kayak with us to us to get back there. Paxson Lake in the spring time just as the ice is melting will offer some good lake trout fishing as well. If a person times it right, there is also a steelhead trout run on the Gulkana River where it leaves the Paxson area, headed south. Most of the land from Paxson south to Glennallen is privately owned by the local Native Corporation but they do sell use permits at a reasonable price, IMHO.
Fall time, on the Denali Hwy looking south. The 3 RVs in the center of the photo was our group and it appears I took our inflatable Zodiac on this trip.
The Tangle Lakes chain together and are interconnected so great boating. Taken from a hill top north of the road.
The Paxson Lodge
Ice pingo melting
If a person is used to driving on gravel roads from time to time, the Denali will seem just like any other gravel road, in a beautiful wilderness area.
Tangle Lakes CG sign
Tangle Lakes CG sites are not well marked, no services.
We have stopped in both directions in the past and except for the bears at Fish Creek, not much difference. I am not much on bear watching, unless it is a Redfield 6X scope. My wife likes to take a few photos of them so we go out to the viewing platforms. One trip we stayed in Stewart at the Bear River Campground (name something like that) and it was real nice. They don't allow tents or soft sided popups. (known as meals on wheels for the bears) LOL.
On our previous visits we had a lot of rain to contend with so in 2009 we decided to stay at the provincial park at the junction of Hwy 37 (the Cassiar, the Dease Lake, the Stewart Cassiar or what ever you wish to call it) and the turn off Hwy 37A, going into Stewart and on to Hyder.
Mezeadin Lake Provincial park in one of the three provincial parks on the Cassiar Hwy and all three are just outstanding and in some of the most beautiful locations in North America. Boya Lake PP, on the north end is our favorite but the other two, Meziadin and Kinaskin are close runners up.
So we stayed at Meziadin Lake PP and then drove into Stewart and Hyder from there. The weather is much nicer at Meziadin Lake PP most of the time. The coastal region of Stewart Hyder is much like SE Alaska where the sunshine arrives in liquid form.
The lower sites on the lake shore, we like the ones about one terrace up from there on the hillside.
Great campground to walk around in, host on property, just well run and peaceful.
There is no longer fuel at the Meziadin Junction so fill up at the south end at Kitwanga.
The old, now closed, Lodge gas station at Meziadin Junction on the Cassiar Hwy.
The next station north is at Bell II lodge, a real nice place that caters to European heliskiers in the winter time.
Bell II Lodge
There is fuel in Stewart, but the station operates on a daytime schedule only, so check when they are open, if you plan to buy fuel.
Do stop at the Bus and have lunch, the fish and chips are the best every. The meals are cooked one at a time so it can make for a lengthy lunch but so worth it.
The bus, is about one street west of the main drag in Hyder, that leads out to the bear platforms. The guy in blue at the table is my BIL and then my wife and me standing. The zip lock bags hanging around are to keep flies away, I was told.
Brad, it was the KOA where I ran into the grumpy lady.. It apparently did sell for we stopped in the following year, 2005, and they had a sign up that the place was under new mansgement. We still stop in there if we get that far on Interstate 70. However the last 4 or 5 trips we have stayed at the Limon KOA and cut south to the Springs, where my wife grew up. Then up to Woodland where she went to high school and on west to Ouray or Montrose.
The last time we stopped in Strasburg, a Canadian custom wheat harvesting crew was camped there. There were about 75 workers, all young men and the bosses and their wives. It was quite the operation. The had custom built bunk house 5th wheels for the crew, a dozen or so combines, all fairly new John Deere machines and the trucks to haul them, plus mechanics, grain trucks, etc.
the owner, a guy probably 35 years of age, told me he worked under contracts with farmers, starting in Oklahoma, the moving to eastern Colorado, then north to Nebraska, then the Dakotas, over to eastern Montana and finally back home to Alberta.
He must have had ten to twenty million dollars tied up in equipment. My wife and I had noticed how clean cut all the young men looked, short hair, clean shaved, clean clothes, very pleasant to talk with that evening. When I mentioned this to the owner, as we were visiting, he said those were his rules. He explained them to the crew before leaving Canada, and enforced the rules all summer. He then said any of the crew that didn't wish to follow his rules were welcome to catch a bus back to Alberta.
He also had a curfew time set for them and no drunkenness was allowed. They had a three beer per night limit. The crew really respected the owner and knew he was serious about their behavior.
The slip in part of my tie downs has a bit of slack in them. So I would get a large adjustable wrench and see if a little left and then right, then left, and so forth might work the removable part loose. If it is just rust, it may break the bond loose enough to be able to squirt some lube up in there and get it to slide out. If that doesn't work, or a few good taps with a large hammer, I would take the entire part off as it would be much easier and safer to use a torch on it out from under the truck. Twisting and heating it should work. Other possibility would be to just leave it in place and use it. I keep my tie downs installed all the time, even when I an pulling our 5th wheel as they don't get in the way of anything. However they sure hurt to walk into them though. LOL
We bought our first TC about 40 years ago and are currently on our 5th one. We all need to keep in mind, that much of the general public considers us all to be trailer trash, no matter what RV we own. Now in the pile of trash, there is a hierarchy of sorts, with the Class A units at the top, (containing a much higher grade of people, then at the bottom are us TCers and us hard siders, are a bit above the popup/soft side units. Travel trailers are not much above us, but some. Then come the 5th wheels full of old people, but they go to bed early so they don't cause much of a problem. Now the Class C units often are full of kids, noisy critters that they are, lots of parents yelling so this rig is also closely watched. The Class A units are at the top of the pile, as you can tell these people have money or at least did before they purchased their Class A. Now again these are full of old people, like the 5th wheels, and sometimes drink too much and stagger around the campgrounds, but they have money. LOL
We have run into less than half a dozen campgrounds that prohibit TC and usually tents. A couple of the old age type places in Arizona. We pulled into one of these in Arizona, back when we also owned a Class A rig, and found the park to be 55 and up only, and our daughters were teenagers, so we couldn't stay. My oldest daughter did comment about the cemetery located next door to the campground, about it being the most full service campground she had ever seen. LOL
There was one in Colorado, up near Breckinridge, Tiger Run, I think was the name of it. (Class A rigs only here) There is one we have seen here in Florida down toward the Keys, Blue Water CG, a real nice place but no riff raff like us allowed in our TCs. Just too offensive to the fancy folks that stay there I guess. Just not enough of them to worry about though. We put in about 100 nights a year sleeping in our TC and have done so for several decades. So places don't like TCs, IMHO, but they let me stay. I ran into this in Strasburg Colorado one summer. My wife was flying into Denver International and I stayed in Strasburg to be semi close. The woman owner/manager let me know she didn't approve of my rig. This was in 2004, my TC was a 2001 and my truck was a 2002. As I was filling out the registration form, she walked outside and around my TC, then came back in, wanting to know the year of both. So I told her. Her comment was "looks a lot older to me." But she took my money. I saw she had a "for sale" sign or two posted for the business and I told her I sure hoped she found a willing buyer, as I thought she needed a break from the job.