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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Bus skipper, great photos. Love the sharpness, and the color you are getting in your photography. On the photo with the S turn, just below the Idaroda mine, this is looking north for those not familiar with the road, just a bit farther north is the intersection with Ouray County road 14(?) which is a fun , fairly easy Jeep trail type road. Several old mines back that way with lots of photo opportunities available. It comes out south of here at the top of Red Mountain Pass. The Brooklyn Mine and others are back on that road, some of the best high meadows , with wild flowers, in mid to late summer to be found anywhere in the area.
As Lauren said, you can't control the other drivers on Hwy 550 south of Ouray. It is not only other drivers you have to watch out for but large rocks and wildlife. I have probably been involved in as many body recoveries off of Hwy 550, Red Mountain Pass, as anyone on the forum, from all types of vehicles. This past year has had two deaths on this strip of road. One was ruled a suicide but those folks will take you with them if you get in their way.
As a former deputy sheriff for Ouray County and a deputy coroner, I can assure you it is a scenic road and if everything goes as planned, not a problem. But through in some glitch,a driver crossing over on to your side, a run away truck with over heated brakes and there is no where to go other than into the mountain side or off the cliff side. I patrolled that road daily when on duty and I gave it a lot of respect. It is a road that may only give you one oops. Plus I can't begin to count the number of drivers that froze from panic attacks and chose to park on the center line, usually on a blind curve it seemed. Then we, the deputies, had to respond and pry the drivers hands off the steering wheel and put them in the back seat of the patrol car. If a passenger could drive we let them do so or a back up deputy would drive the car with the passenger's permission. (usually the co-owner of the vehicle) or we would get a tow truck up from Ouray to haul it. All the panic attack folks I had to rescue were all men, women seem to be more realistic about their driving ability and skills.
Just be prepared to take what you get, if a deer runs out in front of you, hit it, don't dodge off the edge. If a truck comes around the corner ahead of you on your side, hit him head on, don't dodge off the edge, etc. Some can't do this and very few survive a 300 to 600 foot drop to the beautiful creek running below.
This sign put up by the Colorado DOT says it all.
In some places the white line has fallen off the road. A driver needs to know within 8 to 10 inches of where their front tire is running at all times and where the rear cliff side tire is tracking. Try the trip in a car first, is what I recommend, then decide if you want to take your RV over it.
I think you could get a grass fire going under a bottom venting generator. For a number of years we owned a ranch in south central Oklahoma and had set up a site for our RV, when we were there. One stop, I remember the commercial power, REA, was off so we were running our 4 KW Generac on our Class C. The grass under the generator location was beyond brown after a few hours of running. It had turned black and was charring the grass, with some smoke smell in the area, not from the exhaust. I moved the RV and fired up the crawler tractor and bladed off that area of any grass, then reparked over the same spot where the water and sewer (septic) hoses would reach. The grass in question was really weeds that were a foot or foot and a half high. Was glad to see the REA crew get the power back on later that day.
Back to the Anchorage rentals, there are several other rental agencies in town. The two mentioned are the largest, ABC and GAH, both of whom are new RV dealers. Both the large firms, bring up as many as 150 new class C units a year from the factories in the lower 48. They rent these out one way at a discounted price and several forum members have rented and driven a new unit to Alaska for the rental companies.
Now unadvertised, is the return trip that some of them run from Anchorage to the lower 48 in the fall time. With the Alaska population being somewhat small, the used RV market can get glutted quickly with 300+ two year old Class Cs being put on the market so some are sent back south, some by barge, some sold locally to buyers and others rented one way to folks that want to return them to a variety of cities in the lower 48. Some years they put an ad in the Anchorage papers, since there are so many summer workers in Alaska, they seem to find many of them wanting to drive a used unit back south at a reduced rental daily rate.
I can't remember any of the forum members ever commenting about the company they rented from being unsatisfactory, but the two big companies get great reviews. Most of the smaller companies are mom and pop owned and run. They may provide a great unit, at a bit cheaper price, since they do the maintenance themselves, etc.
Two weeks seems to give most time to run around the tourist circle in Alaska and get a taste of what is available to see. Some like to fly to Alaska, rent for a couple of weeks, then fly to some of rural Alaska, such as Nome, Kotzebue, Barrow, etc. Others prefer to fly back home after their time in Alaska.
Whether you drive your own rig, or fly and rent, or take the ferry system part way, there just is not a bad way to get to Alaska. In my 13 round trips to/from Alaska by RV, I have never found the trip any harder on my rigs, than driving cross country on some of the lower 48 roads.A driving trip to Alaska is just a series of 300 to 500 mile days for most of us, just more miles that what most have ever done sequentially on one trip before. Whatever makes a person more comfortable on their first trip, is probably the way they should go about it.
We all have to use the time we have available. While two weeks may not be optimal for all, it should be a great introduction to the state. I have often said on here, that I would fly to Alaska just to spend a weekend if I could afford it, which I can't.
I put a bit of verbiage about what I would do with two weeks, in Alaska, on my web site.
Must have been a slow news day for a 6.4 quake in Alaska to get TV coverage. Sue, I just realized the Good Friday earthquake was the day before you turned 6 years old. The 9.2 quake in 1964, made a real mess out of lots of south central Alaska, especially Anchorage over towards Valdez. They moved Valdez to it's current location on deeper water to prevent future tsunami damage. The old location was at the head of the bay, in shallow water.
Perhaps the building codes in Alaska have improved, but most of the people I know that live in the Anchorage area are no better prepared for a disaster than they were in 1964. Much of the geography of Alaska was formed from being part of the Ring of Fire, with the accompanying volcanoes, earthquakes, etc. most of the valleys north of Mount McKinley, the Minto Flats and the Tanana valley toward Fairbanks were formed from long ago quakes. Small quakes are very common throughout most of Alaska. Very few cause any serious damage, but one day another 9+ quake will hit the state.
On my last truck, a 2002 Dodge Cummins, I put a set of Firestone 5,000 lbs lift bags on it, on board compressor and in cab controller. From normal travel pressure of about 45 psi, I could raise or lower the rear of the truck about 2 inches either direction, front to back or side to side. Many nights all we used were the air bags to level the TC. The next morning after I fired up the 5.9 Cummins and let it run for a minute or two , I would use the in cab control to get the bags back to travel pressure.
The same camper, a Lance 845, isn't heavy enough to justify putting air bags on my Chevy dully diesel, which has a 4,000 lb greater GVW than did the Dodge 3/4 ton.
When our daughters were young, birth to preteens, we lived in Nenana Alaska and had a truck camper, a Class C bunk house model and a 35 ft. 5th wheel. Very seldom did we let the girls ride in the truck camper while on the road, but early on we only had regular cab pickups with a bench seat. Four people was a bit crowded. IN the Class C, the girls road in the overhead much of the time and we never gave it a lot of thought as to safety. My philosophy has always been to not have an accident, whether driving or flying my airplanes and so far it has worked. I have over 3,000 hours of Alaska bush flying experience and we made, I believe, 6 round trips from Alaska to the lower 48, usually to Florida where my wife's parents lived. Not sure why the idea of the girls riding in the overhead of the Class C seemed OK but not so much in the TC? Must have been, we could see them better in the C.
Would never have allowed them to ride in the 5th wheel when on the road. But we soon set it up permanently on our lot on the Kenai River just upstream from Soldotna. We would then use our TC/truck to pull our jet boat down to fish and play.
Probably why families used to be larger in numbers, get that heir and a few spares and you didn't have to be so careful. LOL I still remember riding on the front fenders of my dad's pickups as we drove down the back gravel roads of rural Oklahoma where I grew up or started growing up. LOL
I know I am a lot more careful now with my grandsons than I was with my daughters at their ages. But that goes for everything not just riding in vehicles.
Whether or not the dealer will deliver, they will have access to companies that will. Probably the same ones that bring them new units from the factory. There is a storage place on Hwy 19, between Crystal River and Homosassa that does pick up and deliveries in that area to campgrounds. When we were full timing, and spent most of one winter at Nature's Resort RV park, many of the seasonal snowbirds from out of state used the storage place. The Snowbirds, many of them, would drive their cars to Florida and didn't even own a truck to move their 5th wheels. They told me the storage place was reasonable on their charges, much cheaper than owning a truck. Probably a similar type business in the Ft Meyers area that would do a delivery to the Keys. Any dealer in the area should be able to put you in touch with the haulers.
As Tony mentioned the Polaris Hotel, in Fairbanks, it had two bars in it as I remember. The Polaris Lounge was on the ground floor and the Tiki Cove was on the top or ninth floor. A real sky scraper for Fairbanks. The Tike Cove start out in the basement of the Mecca Bar down on Two Street ( real name is Second Avenue but locals have always referred to it as Two Street. LOL. We used to fly into Fairbanks from the bush, taxi to the Nordale Hotel ( which burned in the early 70s) which was within walking distance of all the drinking/eating establishments mentioned.
Unless someone comes up with some way to make a dollar with the Polaris building, I would guess it will be demolished in the near future sometime. Last I checked it was set up as apartments. It is steam heated with steam purchased from the city's coal fired power plant, located a few blocks west on the banks of the Chena River. I considered buying the Polaris building, years ago but could never make the numbers work out for what I had to have to make it profitable.
But when you get your RV parked in or near Fairbanks, go park your toad or take a taxi, to downtown and walk the length of Two Street, and soak in some of the history of the town, which is what Fairbanks is all about. It is not very much of a tourist place, as you have to search out your own entertainment, ride the riverboat, photo the oil pipeline north of town, pan for gold, visit Alaska Land (now called Pioneer Land, I think), stop in at the Malemute Saloon in Ester, drive out to Chena Hot Springs early in the morning, usually lots of wildlife to photo.
Good eating available at the Pump House on the Chena River, that Turtle Club in Fox, and the Three Rivers on Chena Rd. if you enjoy quirky bars, and I do, stop in at the Howling Dog Saloon, also in Fox(north side of Fairbanks). There is a good eating place owned by the same people that own the a Rivers Edge RV Park, located in walking distance of the campground.
In Anchorage, for steaks give Club Paris a try - never had a bad meal there
Steak or sea food - simon & Seaforts - prime rib is great
For a great view of town and excellent food - Crowsnest atop the Capt Cook Hotel
Where I feel Anchorage really shines, is with the large number of high quality Asian restaurants - Most all the Asian countries are represented with fine eating establishments, some mom and pop places, others much larger.
Anchorage has a very diverse population and many of the residents of the city consider their heritage to be from Asia. Japan Airlines does about 65 crew changes a week in Anchorage, of their over the pole flights, from Europe to Asia and visa versa. Most of these crew members live in Anchorage with their families. The airlines even runs a school, in Japanese, for the crew members children.
Anchorage has over 1,000 listed restaurants, so the choice is yours, for all tastes. The Arctic Roadrunner for burgers, is a guaranteed hit, take them and a blanket out to Lake Hood and watch the float planes take off and land while you picnic.
Here is a photo from about 2004 of the signs. They only have so much space and poles to use for hanging signs. So I was told at the center there, that every so often they go through and remove many of the older signs, the dilapidated ones, unreadable ones, etc to make room for people to hang new ones. How long your sign will last before removal, is anyone's guess. I hung my first sign there in 1962 and was never able to re-find it again, even though I made the round trips again in 1964, 1965, 1969 abd 1974 plus many more round trips later on. Over the years I probably hung signs a half dozen times, but never found them later, that I can remember.
Still it is a fun thing to do, great to stand in front of your sign and get your photo taken by someone. Better than leaning on your car fender, blocking most of the view in front of the camera, to prove you had been somewhere. LOL
The photo of the signs taken by Sue's dad, Jack, was how I remember it looking in the early days. This was about 5 years before Sue was born. The building in the back right is the old Watson Lake Hotel and Lounge before they added the motel onto the hotel building. The entire complex burned a few years back but had been closed to operations for a number of years. Had some real good times in that old building, on the first four trips I made before getting married in Anchorage in 1973. On a Friday or Saturday night it was the place to be.
There has never been an in flight structural failure of any Dehavilland Beaver or Otter, that I am aware of. Most/many of the planes have been converted over, to a turbo prop engine, by Viking Air out of Vancouver, the STC holder for this modification. Dehavillands are built like tanks, and look it to me, LOL. This crash will go down as a "pilot error" as do most crashes in Alaska. The mountain they hit didn't move, just the airplane and the pilot was in charge of where it flew. In poor visibility, it is very easy to get disoriented as to your exact location when flying. I have just over 3,000 hours of Alaska flying time, most of it in the bush. In my 20+ years of flying in Alaska, I think I talked to an FAA employee about twice and both of those were when I was on trips to town, Fairbanks or Anchorage. The FAA is pulling out of many remote areas to work out of centers, in the urban areas. Very little actual supervision, by FAA employees, usually from a designated person, that works for the company, not the FAA.
While the tour deaths is a tragic happening, I try to keep things like this in prospective, by remembering that over 4,000 people died in auto accidents in Florida last year. Flight seeing is a great way to see parts of Alaska. Each flight starts new each take off, just because you have flown in an airplane for the last 20 days, your odds of being in a crash are no different than the other people on the plane taking their first flight of their lifetime. But before you get on any flight, look around at the weather, and remember only take offs are optional.