Alaska.how do you go about............

Discussion in 'Destinations' started by parigi, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. parigi

    parigi Member

    Hello fellow campers!
    How one goes about planning for a trip to ALASKA
    the beautiful!!!!!.I've been traveling by myself fot the las two years and I'd love to do alaska,but fell a bit intimidated.I have a small
    Nash 5thW,and I'd love to hear some input from the "the old timers"
    ;) who have done the trip.Where do I start?Do I need to prepare much in advance?Is there a best time to go?Are there many risks along the way?Looking forward to your replies,who knows,I may be taking off
    next season,Also very IMPORTANT and I know that as always it depends on what do you want to do.How much money will I need!I heard that gasoline and food are the most expensive part of the trip is it so?
    Should I be concern to do the trip alone?Thanks.parigi
     
  2. Gary B

    Gary B Senior Member

    Alaska.how do you go about............

    Hi parigi, there are many of us on the forum who have made the trip, we've done it three times by rv. It is a great trip so much to see and do, main thing is to just start out and take your time. While fuel is some what higher then here in MN. for the most part its not that much more and food is about the same if you cook in the rv, if you eat out in resturants then it'll be alot more. We ate out less then 10 meals on our trips and on one we never ate out at all. As for where to start that depends on how much od Canada you what to see ( Very large beautiful and friendly country). You could go north from Fl. straight to Canada or you could west to MN., ND, or Mont., we have always gone to Mont. to Glaicier NP and then accross the border into Canada, up thur Banf & Jasper and then on to Dawson Creek, BC. the start of the Alaska Hiway. Then its mostly a matter of following the hiway and enjoying the breath taking sceniery. There is fuel available everywhere along the road, generally every 50 miles in the most remote areas, same with food, and campgrounds. I recomend a good tow service like Good Sams, about $300/400.00 Canadian cash, a couple of good credit cards like MC or Visa, Discovery card is not acepted in Canada, but will work in Alaska. Cell phone service can be spotty in the reomte areas. Don't worry about taking extra tire other then the regular spares, there are tire shops all along the way. DO NOT take any firearms in to Canada, you won't need them and are for the most part illegal (long guns can be taken with a license, but its not worth the hassle). You can do a google search for advice for crossing the border/ check with US and Canadian customs sites. Don't worry about going by your self its easy and fun, I know a fellow that went by hiself this summer was gone for 7 weeks and had a great trip and is planning his next trip up. Any time from the middle of May until the middle of August is fine but August means your stay will be sharter unless you like driving in snow (like in late Sept-Oct.). Hope this hepls and have a great time planning going. :) :laugh: :cool: :bleh: ;) :approve:
    I should add we went 2 times with a slide-in truck camper and once with a Class C, but you will see ever rv ever made coming & going.
    PS if you have more questions just ask. :)
     
  3. Poppa

    Poppa Member

    Alaska.how do you go about............

    Sounds like a trip Precious and I need to but we are still in the talking stages.

    My suggestion would be to decide which route you want to take then go to http://www.randmcnally.com/ using the trip planner you can get your mileages from place to place. With the total mileage and knowing how many mile to gallon you get will be a starting place for monies. Through in your normal on the road repairs with your grocery money and camp site rentals should give you a good idea. (We play the dickens at 6 MPG sorta of a handicap). Hope this helps :clown:
     
  4. rphelan

    rphelan New Member

    Alaska.how do you go about............

    Hi!
    My family and I (5 total) travel Alaska for 1 month - tent camping. My only suggestions are to go in Late June,-July or-August. These are the best "warm" months. Buy the "Milepost" book. It was one of the most valuable guides we had for Alaska. We traveled from Anchorage to the Kenai Pennisula, Back thru Anchorage and up to Mt. Denali (where it snowed in August) and to Fairbanks, down to Valdez, back to Anchorage. Enjoy! You'll love it....please listen to all the bear stories and properly store food and garbage...it will make your trip the most enjoyable!!!!

    Rich
     
  5. sepisllib

    sepisllib New Member

    Alaska.how do you go about............

    Poppa - would love to see a photo of your Nellie Belle. Bill & Judy
     
  6. srobbins

    srobbins New Member

    Alaska.how do you go about............

    To amplify on rphelan's comments, if you don't travel in the June to August timeframe, you will find many of the campgrounds along the highway closed. The Milepost comes out every year (this way they get to milk the advertisers more frequently), so try to get the most up-to-date one.

    The most spectacular part of the highway is probably Muncho Lake. Consider leaving the highway and going down to Skagway, and then taking the short ferry ride to Haines and back up to the highway. Other highlights include Valdez (mediocre town, great for getting out on the water), the Kenai Peninsula, and around Denali. On the topic of Denali, in summer the mountain is usually shrouded in clouds, but the best view points are to the south. Denali STATE PARK, just south of the national park, is worth some time but often overlooked.

    If you feel adventurous, consider driving the Dempster Highway to Inuvik, NWT. It's 450 miles of good gravel road--each way; with one gas station halfway up! You can stop at the top of mountain passes and see no sign of human existence as far as the eye can see. Inuvik has a lot of eskimo residents, so it's kind of cool to visit the local supermarket and be see women cruising around in beaded mukluk fur boots! Also, towards late July/early August they have an eskimo art festival, with artists coming in from the remote villages and even some of the islands in the Arctic Ocean.

    The Alaska Highway pavement between Burnaby Landing YT and Tok AK is notoriously bad, due to the permafrost in the soil thawing during the summer, breaking up pavement. Otherwise, the roads are pretty good. Figure you'll probably end up with one or more rock chips in your windshield from this trip. Also consider going one way on the Cassiar Highway, which runs north-south through BC, to avoid retracing too much of your route.

    I would suggest leaving a "toad" behind, as parking is plentiful for large rigs. However, if you have some kind of boat and enjoy fishing, you might want to bring it along instead.

    Like others have said, getting firearms through Canada can be a real hassle. Declare all your alcohol--duties are surprisingly low, but the penalties for getting caught severe. For example, several years ago we entered the US with something like 10 cases of Canadian beer and several cases of Canadian wine, and the duty was under $10.

    Inland and the farther north you go, the more mosquitos become a problem. Many of the campsites up here look rather spartan--more like gravel parking lots than the wooded and secluded campsites you probably covet. There's a reason for this, besides being cheap! Open campsites have more airflow, and thus fewer bugs. In some locations, a wooded campsite in a valley along a stream will be so bug-infested that you'll not want to leave your unit!

    Up north you get ridiculous amounts of sunlight in the summer. Thus, inland temperatures are surprisingly warm, even above the Arctic Circle (1000-plus hours of nonstop sunlight can eventually heat things up). Along the coast, the weather is milder and moister. You may want to find ways to really darken the inside of your unit so you can sleep at night. Many people use sheets of a silver foil/bubble wrap insulation cut to size and put it between their windows and blinds at night.

    As the season is quite short, some campsites do sell out. Therefore, I would suggest planning an itinerary and making reservations. Most campsites have very liberal cancellation policies. The primarly scheduling chokepoint typically is getting into Denali Park. You have to reserve a spot on a shuttle bus into the park if you want to see anything--you normally aren't allowed to drive very far into the park. Campsites in the NP are your typical hookupless (is that a word?) sites, but there are full service campsites within a few miles of the park entrance. There are only a few campsites in and around Anchorage, but you can overnight in the parking lot of Sams Club or WalMart if you can't find any space. Finally, on the Kenai Peninsula, campsites can be next to impossible to find when the salmon are running or there is a fishing derby going on, so plan accordingly.

    In summary, it's a very doable trip, just make sure your equipment is working, and plan your trip well. You can get parts and repairs up here, just remember that everything is expensive, and you'll sometimes have to wait for parts to arrive by air. Plus, I can't think of anything that's cheaper in Canada than the States, especially now that the US dollar exchange rate is so bad.
     
  7. hessey

    hessey New Member

    Alaska.how do you go about............

    Besides the "Milepost"
    Get this book from Amazon
    Alaska Camping.......its excellent, tells you about every campsite, and whether they are good or not best places to buy fuel and highlights on the road.

    Alaskan Camping by Mike Church

    Dont listen to sad sacks about bad roads....there are no bad roads...some may be under construction, but only for a few miles.
    We travelled EVERY highway in Alaska and to Alaska and we encountered 50 miles of gravel going from Dawson City to Chicken. This gravel road was OK though.

    Now the highlight of Alaska was the seaplane trip to KATMAI from Homer. You will see many bears close up. The plane trip is expensive....but if you budget for it you will be taken to the WORLD's best place for bear sightings.

    Call in at Safeway in Whitehorse on your way up and purchase their Alaskan coupon book for $99. It will save you a packet all over Alaska.

    If they do not have the book try at Anchorage or Fairbanks as this book is a must.

    Make sure you spend a good full day doing the BUS TOUR in Denali National Park.
    Take a flight over Denali if you get the chance. If you have the coupon book you will get one flight free.

    Allow plenty of time at Homer.....great fishing and I am not a fisherman.

    Valdez is well worth the deviation.

    Best Glacier cruise has to be out of Whittier and again you have a free coupon for one person.

    Haines and Skagway are so much fun...dont miss them and GO to Hyder...its well worth the extra deviation....take the gravel back road out of Hyder and see the most fantastic glacier.

    Alaska is the best place I have ever travelled to and I am going back 2005.

    One final thing, get the Toursaver Booklet. It is well worth it.
    http://www.alaskaone.com/toursaver/index.html


    Enjoy...its great

    If you want to see pics of Alaska have a look at my web site here
    http://www.hessey.net/
    and select North America

    :) :) :)
     

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