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Author Topic: RVing Alaska  (Read 795 times)

clockdrfla

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RVing Alaska
« on: March 19, 2017, 03:05:58 PM »
Full timing in a 39' fifth wheel.  Currently in Albuquerque heading to California then north to Oregon and Washington.  Would like to go to Alaska from Washington probably late May or early June.  Would like feedback about road conditions and best time to visit Alaska. All tips, advice and info would be greatly appreciated. You can even provide me with an itinerary.  :). My main concern is road conditions.  Would like to go up to Denali and then return.  How long should I plan to do it at a leisurely pace? Thanks.

prfcdoc

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2017, 04:47:47 PM »
I've not been yet but have been in the early stage of planning for summer, 2019. Have you watched the You Tube LoLoHo (Long Long Honeymoon) videos on the subject? They're pretty informative and answer a lot of your questions.
Bob
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ArdraF

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2017, 05:16:42 PM »
You don't want to arrive in Alaska too early because attractions and many places like campgrounds won't be open yet.  Depending on the weather they may not open until mid-June.  On one trip we arrived in Alaska on June 1st and that was too early.

Remember that Alaska has a short road building season, so you're bound to get into some repair areas.  Road conditions vary by year.  In any case, you won't be driving at freeway speeds because of frost heaves in the roadbed.  They're caused by heating and cooling and you don't want to hit them too fast - unless you like to be airborne and risk needing repairs!  ::)  You might average 50 mph on a trip in the Lower 48 but maybe only 35 mph average in Alaska.  But be prepared to be blown away by beautiful scenery and interesting museums where you can learn about building the Alcan, the gold rush, glacial moraine, glacial "flour", the Iditarod, wildlife and much more.  Some of the boat tours are really neat.  On one out of Valdez the captain asked if anyone needed to return early because a fisherman had a big catch of fresh prawns that we could buy.  We handed our money across in a net and the crew handed across our one pound bags of prawns.  Our only mistake was that we should have bought more.  They were yummy!!  If you like fresh seafood, you'll think you've died and gone to heaven!

Do get a copy of The Milepost which is a guide to everything on Alaskan roads.  Addresses are by milepost number so you may see an ad for a business at Milepost 115.  It helps you find places as well as telling you what you're seeing at various locations, such as the Wrangell-St. Elias Mountain range, Denali, or a glacier.  On our second trip we spent six weeks in Alaska and didn't see it all.  Distances are huge and expect to see mile after mile of forest.  The weather also varies.  After wearing jeans and flannel shirts we hit Fairbanks when it was in the 90s so layering clothes works well.  In any case, have a wonderful trip.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Jeff and Anita

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2017, 05:32:50 PM »
We went to Alaska several years ago at the end of May. One suggestion would be to purchase the the Milepost 2017 edition: https://www.amazon.com/MILEPOST-2017-Kristine-Valencia/dp/1892154366
When we went to AK all the roads were paved except where there was construction. We went up the Alaska Highway (Alcan) and back down the Casier Highway. We drove from Southern California. Spent a total of 8 weeks in AK. Should have spent more time. We camped in Denali. Made our reservations at least 6 months in advance. We stayed in the park. You really don't need reservations any where else. There is always room in all the campgrounds. If not, just drive a little further and there will be another campground. Some of our stops included: Liard River Hot Springs British Columbia, Canada, Chicken, Hyder, Fairbanks, Denali, Homer. What we did was look at a lot of RV Caravan Tours and then modified our trip to our needs. Have fun planning your adventure. Would love to go back some day.
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AStravelers

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2017, 08:11:08 PM »
Full timing in a 39' fifth wheel.  Currently in Albuquerque heading to California then north to Oregon and Washington.  Would like to go to Alaska from Washington probably late May or early June.  Would like feedback about road conditions and best time to visit Alaska. All tips, advice and info would be greatly appreciated. You can even provide me with an itinerary.  :). My main concern is road conditions.  Would like to go up to Denali and then return.  How long should I plan to do it at a leisurely pace? Thanks.
If your main objective is to visit Denali NP then fly to Anchorage and rent an RV or car and go to Denali.  It is a long, long drive from the US to Denali. 

NOTE: I am not saying there isn't a lot to see on the drive through Canada.  Our Alaska trip took almost 3 weeks going up and 4-5 weeks coming back for Canada part of the trip.  Our entire trip was 4.5 months (139 days) from Portland, OR to most every place in AK and back.   

We also crossed into Canada from Washington on April 27th, arriving in Fairbanks on May 17th.  True not every CG was open yet, but some were. 

Link to the blog of our Alaska trip in 2016 if you are interested:  http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/2017/01/alaska-trip-index-april-26september-6.html
Al & Sharon
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SeilerBird

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 08:28:17 PM »
My advice would be to take the ferry from Washington to Alaska and back and save the wear and tear on the RV. Unpaved roads are hell on an RV.
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AStravelers

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 09:08:29 PM »
Except for some construction areas which range from a 100 yards to 10-15 miles, the roads from the US to Alaska are all paved, all the way.  The only exception is the Top of the World Hwy from Dawson City, YT to Chicken, AK. 

BTW we also drove 230 miles (460 miles round trip) of unpaved road on the Dalton Hwy (the haul road along the AK pipeline) and 40 miles (80 round trip) on the Dempster in YT.  No damage or undue stress on our RV.  We did drive slow and carefully. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

SargeW

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2017, 09:12:57 PM »
We went to Alaska in August of 2012 and I wrote a blog here on the forum that documented the stops, costs, and routes we took on the way up and back.  Take a look for lots of good information.  http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,54670.0.html
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Jeff

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 09:33:12 PM »
We RVed back to Alaska for the second time two years ago and while we did use The Alaska Marine Highway System it was not to avoid roads but to see SE Alaska which is only accessible by sea or air.


If you decide you want to use ferries you can cut the time and cost by 40% by driving to Prince Rupert, BC on great roads with beautiful scenery north of Prince George.


As many have stated we had no damage and learned on the first trip to Slow Down! Alaska by RV is the best trip we have taken and RVing Alaska is the absolute best way to see this great place.

clockdrfla

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2017, 07:14:23 AM »
Appreciate everyone's input.  Another concern is diesel fuel availability.  How common are service stations?  Thinking I might have to install an auxiliary fuel tank in tow vehicle. 

AStravelers

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2017, 07:20:06 AM »
Appreciate everyone's input.  Another concern is diesel fuel availability.  How common are service stations?  Thinking I might have to install an auxiliary fuel tank in tow vehicle.
Fuel is available at least every 100-150 miles.  People live in the towns along the Alcan Hwy and they need to buy fuel in the winter.  Just be sure to fill up in every town along the way and don't try to extend your travel to the last 1/4 of your tank. 
Al & Sharon
2006 Winnebago Sightseer 29R
2009 Chevy Colorado 4X4

http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/

clockdrfla

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2017, 08:10:42 AM »
Fuel is available at least every 100-150 miles.  People live in the towns along the Alcan Hwy and they need to buy fuel in the winter.  Just be sure to fill up in every town along the way and don't try to extend your travel to the last 1/4 of your tank.
Thanks.  That was a big concern. 

Frank Hurst

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 07:55:48 PM »
If you are around a diesel station and your tank is approaching 1/2 full, fill up your tank and you will be alright. There were places in Canada where the roads were worse than the roads in Alaska. Just be aware that you may have to slow up in Canada too.

Frank
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wasroop

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Re: RVing Alaska
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2017, 02:59:03 PM »
We lived in Alaska, do not expect August to be the warmest month!  August is fall and rain.  Plan your trip so you are there for the Summer Solstice June 21.  Almost all the caravans go over the Top of the World Highway, but we would not take our RV over that road and the fuel prices are the highest in the US.  Most businesses along the Alaska and Cassiar are open by May 15 and there are fewer mosquitoes and more bears out. 
Alaska State Parks almost always need volunteer camp hosts and Anchorage Schools have host positions at many elementary schools. 
The advice to fill up your tank every time you see a station on the way up and down is good.  Also, you need to buy the newest Milepost; Costco usually has it at a discount.
Summer is from May 15 to July 15...maybe.  Fall can be beautiful, but rainy.  The Kenai Penninsula is where Alaskans go to play.  If you are planning to go on the ferry, you better already have your reservations made for this summer. 

 

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