Gail, we didn't make plans in advance, so you should have no problem touring the factory if they still offer that. It was quite educational - except we couldn't forget all their talk about quality control when our tv fell off the wall on the 3rd day out! LOL!
aviator - I could give you figures from 2 years ago but it sure won't apply much now considering the rise in fuel prices! It's about 65 hours driving from Forest City to Tok, AK - so you could make it in 7 days without much trouble, but I'll allow at least 10 since there's so much to see along the way. The expense to fly home wasn't that bad considering the RV cost was about twice that for the 18 days we spent there (It will be 23 days this year.) We spent $124 on campgrounds - that's a mix of private and public campgrounds along with a little boondocking. Not counting our transportation to Iowa, our total trip cost (including food and 830 for extra tours)was $6056.
...what is a general dollar amount to complete the trip, including fuel, RV rental costs and any extra mileage fees?
We didn't do our trip as a GAH Adventure, so I don't know the cost of the RV rental, but we averaged a little less than $150 per day last summer in our Class C. Of course you need to deduct all your normal at-home expenses except for ongoing bills (mortgage, insurance, etc) since you won't be spending that money in addition to your travel expenses while on the trip. In our case, that brought the net down to around $110-115/day. A lot of the cost depends on if you want to stay at commercial campgrounds with hook-ups, or if you boondock or stay at provincial parks. We were about 50-50 commercial vs non-commercial/boondocks.
What is an average number of days to complete the trip to Anchorage?
Hard to say, since it depends on how much you want to do or see along the way. It took us 17 days to get from Denver to Fairbanks, never staying longer than one night at any stop, including a three-day side trip up and over the Top-of-the-World Hwy. But we only had two months for the entire trip so we were not dilly-dallying too much in one spot. If I were doing it again, I would add several days to that leg and not less than three months overall.
If you're really in a hurry and unless the roads are really bad this year, you could easily average 400 miles a day or more, except for the bad stretch from Destruction Bay to the Alaskan border and perhaps a bit beyond. But that assumes keeping your pedal to the metal and not really enjoying the journey. You can make good time up through Calgary and Edmonton, but once you reach Dawson Creek you'll want to slow down and enjoy the scenery. Realistically, I'd say 250-300 miles/day would be a better estimate overall, because you're going to be stopping a gawking more often than you think.
BTW, unless you want to stop in Edmonton and do tourist things, you can save time by bypassing the city by taking Hwy 19 west to Devon, then Hwy 60 north to hook up with Hwy 16 (the Trans-Canada) on the far west side of Edmonton.
Have not had any news on our Prudhoe Bay trip. Will probably go south to Valdez, ferry to Whitter and Portage Valley RV Park the night before we turn the RV in to GAH. Found a great website for those that are headed up to Dawson City and are planning to take the George Black Ferry across the Yukon River. We have been concerned that the river may not have broken up by the time we get there. So last week I called the Yukon Visitor Center in DC and she gave me a couple of great websites. One is www.yukonriverbreakup.com. The great news for those that are planning a trip across the Top of the World, it looks like it should be open early this year. The lady I spoke with advised that they are having a warmer than normal spring (Not by Florida standards). Cool to watch the river thaw!
Hi, Everyone! GrandmaCarol had given me a heads-up on this forum and I'd like to introduce myself. My husband and I are doing the Spring Adventure and leave in a 32 ft. on 5/12. Headed through Badlands, Devils Tower, Icefields Parkway and the Alaska Hwy, ending in Anchorage to pick up a cruise back to Vancouver on 6/2. It's going to be great and we are very excited to make our first trip to AK.
I have our route pretty much roughed out but have a question I thought someone here who has driven it before might be able to answer, particularly maybe joe b. We will be heading west on I-90 and when we are in MT, both Mapquest and Google maps suggest going north via MT-3, rather than staying on I-90 and I-15 (they put us back on I-15 at Great Falls). According to both, that would save us almost 2 hours over the strictly interstate course. Seems counterintuitive to me but we have no problem going a scenic back road way especially if it would save some time as well. If anyone has driven that particular section, could you advise if that road is a good choice?
And I'd like to add what I've learned about crossing the border with food. Scoured their websites and also called both Canada and US border services. Both were very nice but indicated while we might have no trouble at all and not even be asked re: groceries, if we are asked to declare foodstuffs and cannot prove where it came from with commercial labels, we would have to dispose of it before crossing. This pretty much louses up my idea of traveling with homemade chili, beef stew, etc. that I was going to prepare and freeze at home to bring with us to save cooking/cleaning in the RV. Oh, well, great plans, huh? Not worth the extra expense and worry just in case we get a border guard having a bad day and have to throw things out. So I'm reworking my menus plans a bit.
Don't know if that helps any; just depends on what your willing to gamble I guess.
Your mapping is correct, that to go on west to Butte, puts you too far west. If I am not going to Missoula, in far western Montana, I will normally cut north at one, of a couple of places. Highway 87 going north out of Billings is a nice ride. Goes up through Roundup, turns left to Lewistown and on west to Great Falls to join up with Interstate 15. Or the route mentioned in the above post, Hwy 3 hits Hwy 191 which will hit Hwy 87 and is the same highway to Great Falls.
Going north on highway 89 just before you get to Livingston will keep you more in the mountains though. The sooner you turn north, coming from the east, the more you will stay out in the prairies, while not as scenic to most people, it is a faster trip for me. I used to do a bit of flying out of Conrad Montana, just north of Great Falls.
The Hwy 3 is one I haven't been on in several years but it is in a part of the state where there should be lots of beautiful scenery and forest service type campgrounds. In Great Falls we tend to stay at Dick's RV park. I try to get any general vehicle maintenance done in Great Falls prior to heading on for the border. It looks to be a few miles shorter than going north on 87.
Most of the time, any reasonable amount of frozen food, unless it is fried spotted owl or something like that, won't cause any problems for you. Fresh stuff is more what they are interested in these days. With the new mad cow problem in California, they can change the rules on a moments notice. Over the years I doubt I have lost/had to dump, more than $20usd worth of food going through customs on either side.
Formerly of Colorado and Alaska
2011 Chevy 3500 DRW Dmax CC 4X4- Rockwood 8281 SS 5th Whl & 2008 Lance 845 TC www.pajbcooper.com web site
Alaska-Colorado and other Trips posted
"Without challenge, adventure is impossible".
Thanks so much for the reply, Joe. I knew you were the man to answer my route question and it was very helpful. I'm glad to get feedback from someone who's driven that part of the country. We will probably let our time of day and weather play a part in the decision, but most probably will not stay interstate on that section of the trip. I'd love some beautiful scenery there and the forest service campgrounds are appealing.
I also appreciate the feedback on crossing the border with food. I may rethink my plan once again!
Hi GrandmaCarol and all on this forum. I and my wife Joanna are leaving for Alaska on May 10th from Georgia for our first drive to Alaska and will be traveling the South Dakota, Monatana, Alberta, Alkan Hwy. route. Maybe we will be lucky to meet up with you on the way.
We have enjoyed the posts on suggested hiway routes and the info on the Canadian crossing rules.