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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska  >  Alaska

 > Just beginning to do homework

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Crowe

Merrimack, NH

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Posted: 08/15/21 02:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

How would one prepare for those “incidents”? Bring a spare axle, and maybe a Cummins mechanic with? Lol.
Nice story, but I don’t see the point.


By making sure there's a "Plan B", allowing enough time for setbacks and accepting the fact something could go wrong.

OP, the only reservation (no pun intended) about going to AK next year would be that it will likely be a very popular destination after 2 years of basically being shut down to travelers.

Same can be said for just about anywhere. Life is short. Not enough time to worry about "it might be busy". Be prepared for crowds or travel closer to the off-season if possible.


I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be Douglas Adams

RV-less for now but our spirits are still on the open road.

CA Traveler

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Posted: 08/15/21 03:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

CA Traveler wrote:

Be prepared: 4 incidents that I was aware of. Met a couple in Dawson Lake that was their 19th day there. Drove over a railroad (I didn't ask how fast) blew the tires (no big deal) and bent the 5er hitch (big deal). One in Watson Lake wanted to leave a roadside decoration - one trailer axle. A tour person spend 2 weeks in Fairbands and of course the tour group waited. [emoticon]A MH in Haines could not get his Cummins fixed, he could drive somewhat - He decided to take the ferry to Vancouver Island - 800 ferry miles is $$$$, but what a fantastic diversion.


How would one prepare for those “incidents”? Bring a spare axle, and maybe a Cummins mechanic with? Lol.
Nice story, but I don’t see the point.
Awareness of the road and slowing down would have prevented the first. Periodic inspection could have prevented the axle separation. Maybe pre trip inspections or maintanance would have helped/prevented with the last 2. Having a plan for detours, delays and additional cost is a good idea.


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Bob


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Posted: 08/16/21 12:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sounds like the OP has a plan: couple of thoughts FWIW
- As noted, for summer / shoulder season travel, there's nothing unduly challenging about driving from L48 to Alaska. FWIW, in a 35' class A, I'd recommend planning on a fairly slow pace from Dawson Creek onward...but in years past, hundreds of Class A's come up the highway to AK; it's not a trip to Ultima Thule.
- 2022 might be more crowded than "normal", but "crowded" or not is a matter of viewpoint and always a crapshoot. If 2022 is your timeframe, that's your timeframe.
- Careful driving and a good pre-trip inspection are strong recommendations, but that's not any different just because one is going to Alaska.
- Even in the summer, it's worth (IMNSHO) traveling on the top 1/3 - 1/2 of your fuel tanks.
- Only the OP can evaluate the pro's and con's, but: it will be a slower trip pulling a toad; and a toad will be quite convenient in Alaska if one is spending more than a day or so at any particular location.


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Veebyes

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Posted: 08/16/21 01:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Going to Alaska is not like going to the moon. You don't need a support group behind you but you do need to be prepared.

We have made the trip four times from the Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay. JMO, but you have grossly underestimated the time & distance to get there. Canada is HUGE. Alaska is relatively small. For reference, from the East Coast to Homer, Alaska, about as far as you can go, Edmonton in Alberta is only half way. Let that sink in.

There is much to see in Canada. The Canadian Rockies are more spectacular than even Colorado. There is more wildlife to be seen in Canada roadside, but you must slow down to see it.

Each trip we left the East Coast mid to end of April. Each trip we came back end of July to mid August wondering where all the time went. Each trip we did Canadian provincial parks, Yukon Government campgrounds & Alaskan Recreation Areas. Traditional CGs with full or partial hookups, were only used for water refill, dump or laundry. They are much the same as any CG in the lower 48 & really don't add to the Northern experience like the provincial parks etc. do.


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Grit dog

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Posted: 08/16/21 02:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

CA Traveler wrote:

Grit dog wrote:

CA Traveler wrote:

Be prepared: 4 incidents that I was aware of. Met a couple in Dawson Lake that was their 19th day there. Drove over a railroad (I didn't ask how fast) blew the tires (no big deal) and bent the 5er hitch (big deal). One in Watson Lake wanted to leave a roadside decoration - one trailer axle. A tour person spend 2 weeks in Fairbands and of course the tour group waited. [emoticon]A MH in Haines could not get his Cummins fixed, he could drive somewhat - He decided to take the ferry to Vancouver Island - 800 ferry miles is $$$$, but what a fantastic diversion.


How would one prepare for those “incidents”? Bring a spare axle, and maybe a Cummins mechanic with? Lol.
Nice story, but I don’t see the point.
Awareness of the road and slowing down would have prevented the first. Periodic inspection could have prevented the axle separation. Maybe pre trip inspections or maintanance would have helped/prevented with the last 2. Having a plan for detours, delays and additional cost is a good idea.


So, the same stuff everyone should do before and/or during any trip...Ok, weird, I didn't make the connection as Alaska specific.
Because it's not.


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accsys

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Posted: 08/20/21 06:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, it sounds like you have done quite a bit of research but I think your timeline is still quite a bit rushed. You may want to look at our 2009 Trip to see how and what all we did on our little over six-month trip. We went from NE Florida so it was a little farther than yours will be but it was still 13,000 miles and that didn't include going up the Inside Passage on the Marine Ferry. Their is an expense summary at the end of the trip report you may also find useful though that was in 2009 when gas was more expensive than now but other things are more expensive now.
As others have mentioned, take your time going through British Columbia and Alberta as that is some of the best scenery on the trip, especially the Icefield Parkway between Banff and Jasper National Parks,

We used the Church book and Milepost for most of our planning as others have mentioned. I would suggest getting the Canada Annual Discovery Pass to save money while in Canada and the Alaska Toursaver Coupon Book to get two for one pricing on most of the tours you will want to take. Between the two, we saved close to a thousand dollars.

Most importantly, just take your time and enjoy it. There is so much to see you will need some down time to just relax and breathe!


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Grit dog

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Posted: 08/20/21 10:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^ 3 weeks up, 8 weeks exploring and 3 weeks back is rushed?

Man I sure hope I get to live the dream some of you are living before I die!

PA12DRVR

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Posted: 08/20/21 05:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

^ 3 weeks up, 8 weeks exploring and 3 weeks back is rushed?

Man I sure hope I get to live the dream some of you are living before I die!


14 weeks does seem like PLENTY of time. FWIW, and even trying to filter out the "I live in Alaska" effect, if the 6 weeks for combined travel to / from isn't enough, I'd suggest sacrificing part of the Alaska time to see BC, YT, and the Mountain West of the US.

Granted I was traveling by car, but it was all the wife and I could do to make the Houston - Anchorage trip last 6 weeks in 2018, even stopping at several NP's and doing a surprising amount of backtracking.

Grandpop

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Posted: 08/21/21 09:56am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Been reading the forum for past 6 months to help make a buying decision, but my first actual post.

It was a long time ago in another life, but the ex and I did that very same trip back in '94, in a 1990 Tioga Arrow 17' class C (remember, no slides back then). We lived an hour north of you, and without much going out of the way, it was 15,000 miles. We were both going to night college, so left after my Drexel final 3rd week in June, and had to be back first week of Sept for her St Joe start. So 12 weeks, maybe 13 (would have to look actual dates up the photo package I put together to be sure).

I had traveled the US extensively at that time (been in 42 states on motorcycle), and would have to say it was the best trip ever. Anyone who can, should try it at least once. Yes, quite an investment in time and $$.

As some of those motorcycle trips involved 600-700 mile days, we set a limit of 350 miles per day. Stuck to it until the last few days home when we were running out of time. Despite the trip being a "relaxed" pace, with rest days as we wanted, or time to explore whatever we saw a need to investigate, I can say that for us, the trip should have been a few weeks longer. Would have liked to stay in AK for another 2 weeks (or NW territories) to see the northern lights. REALLY sorry I missed that.

In '94 there were no hand held cell phones (we had a bag phone, think it only had reception 3x in AK)), and there was no such thing as mobile internet, so you needed to know everywhere you wanted to go, or had to ask locals once you got there. We had a AAA trip-tik, and we used the Milepost. Never had any trouble navigating (not that many roads up there), and were fortunate that we did not have any MH issues.

As we were driving a LOT of dirt roads, I did string up a heavy wire screen attached to poles clamped to frt bumper, and that extended 10" above the hood. A rock catcher. Wasn't all that pretty, but stopped a few rocks from the trucks going the other way; grill, radiator, and windshield were not damaged.

We took it slowish, but there never any grass growing under the tires either; we were not the fastest nor slowest thing on the roads. A few times we hit the frost heaves at speed, and once I honestly thought we would flip on our side (but didn't).

Seem to remember it took us entire month to get to AK, but we did spend 5 days in Glacier Nat Park (anyone with limited time can just visit the east side of Glacier - it is very close to Alaska scenery). As I recall, from Glacier we went to Banff, Jasper, then west to Stewart and up the 350 mile dirt Stewart-Cassier highway. About half way up you can duck across the CA/AK border to Hyder,AK, then get back on the S-C and headed north to Al-Can at Watson Lake. At White horse, we headed south to Skagway AK (mostly dirt), took the ferry to Haines, then drove back north to the Al-Can and to Tok AK. They said the salmon run was just starting in Valdez, so we headed down south. Stopped at McCarthy, then Valdez. Great camping on the rocks right at the bay. As I recall, that was the 1st 7,000 miles and took 4 weeks.

Next back up to Palmer, Portage Glacier, Seward, Soldatna, and camped at the tip of the spit on the beach at Homer for 3 nights. Went Halibut fishing here, and mailed the frozen fish home. Tried to get a flight to Kenai to see the bears, but the weather didn't cooperate so we bought the video (funny, never watched it). Then worked our way back up to Anchorage, Denali (camped in the campground inside the park for the max 4 days), and then Fairbanks. Took a bus trip up the haul road to the Arctic Circle, and got the photo in front of the sign.

Went back south to Valdez to see the end of the salmon run. Back up to Tok, then up the (another 400 miles of dirt) Taylor highway (Top of the World highway) to Chicken, over the ferry to Dawson, and down the AL-Can from there to Vancouver. Took a week in the Olympic Nat Forrest, down Oregon coast, visit the redwoods in CA, then right home.

We drove almost every road in AK we could. Even if the town was one way in and same way out, we drove it (dirt or not). Didn't think we would ever get back, so wanted to see it all. We spent as little time on the Al-Can as we could. Saw a LOT of class A rigs with blown out air bags at the Al-Can stops, and did not see many A rigs (of any size) on the dirt roads. Sure it is very different up there today.

My advise is to go to for it. I still remember most of that trip like it was yesterday. Most of the folks I met there from lower 48 were 60s and up (I was early 30's), and more than half were doing the trip alone. It was their "together" dream trip, but one got incapacitated or died, so remaining spouse was doing it with friends/family. Do it while you can!!!!!

With current wife, we are looking at buying a MH and traveling in retirement (starts at end of the year). Probably won't get back to AK, but do plan to get back to Glacier and at least share that beauty with her.

CA Traveler

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Posted: 08/21/21 10:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grit dog wrote:

^ 3 weeks up, 8 weeks exploring and 3 weeks back is rushed?
For us the trip turned into an adventure that included Canada. We spent 12 weeks after entering Alberta until we exited BC.

For us it was like no other trip that we have taken including Newfoundland. 3 weeks from Phily to AK will limit some fantastic time in northern Canada. But just go and enjoy the trip. [emoticon]

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