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Old 04-05-2016, 11:48 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Six weeks is an unreasonable time estimate IMO, and causes me concern about your ability to plan a trip like this, however. YMMV

You asked . . .
Funny! Of course longer would be better (perhaps even never coming back ), but we have another commitment later in Sept. and don't want to be in AK earler than Aug. We are long-distance Airstream travlers from way back. Been across the US from Rhode Island many many times over the last 20+ years doing 4-5 week trips each time. We estimate that booking it for 10 days out and 10 days back would leave 22 days give or take to tour what we can of Alaska. Obviously, we're not going to see the whole state, but we can and will focus on a few select areas. Alaska Tourism sent us some brochures highlighting RV routes for what to see if you only have a week, two weeks, three weeks, etc, as a starting point. I think we can still have a great trip regardless of our time limitation. The journey is also part of the adventure, as others have mentioned. I left the original question that started this thread very open-ended so that everyone could feel free to insert their 2 cents worth in whatever way they felt useful, and so far I haven't been disappointed. Keep those tips, comments, and commentary coming!

We knew costs were higher in AK, but good to know that food is especially high. For those who've gone, how was the cost of food in Canada before going over the border? Would it make sense to stock up before entering AK? Perhaps taking a stash of canned goods and other non-perishables from home might be a good idea to reduce food costs? We could make room in the TV (big Dodge Ram diesel w/cap) for such things. We've budgeted up to $10,000. We don't mind boondocking for days at a time and are prepared for such. Our 29 footer is pretty cozy. We'd like to do a few side trips, train ride and a glacier day cruise for example, but otherwise hiking, biking, and exploring the local culture are our main things to do. What about the cost of propane? Both our generator and of course the Airstream furnace and appliances run on the stuff, so I see a fair number of refills in our future....

Thanks everyone for your replies so far! Looking forward to more info.
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Old 04-05-2016, 01:16 PM   #30
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We lived in Kenai 1971 - 73 and drove round trip to Portland, OR camping in a VW pop-top camper and tent. Three weeks (not long enough) and mostly gravel. Got our first flat when we got on the blacktop. Four adults and three kids, had a ball! We never reserved a campground and never had a problem, but didn't need hook-ups.

What about now, do you need reservations or can you just stop early afternoon and find a place to camp, preferably with hook-ups in a national, state or provincial campground? We hope to head north mid-May and return late July.
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:27 PM   #31
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great trip

Went 8 years ago. Average 8 miles per gallon at less than 60 mph. Took the ferry up and alcan hwy home. One thing we learned quick. Gas whe you are at 1/2 tank and maybe you won't run out.
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:00 PM   #32
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Would allocate $20,000 US for the adventure plus really good medical , trailer, towing etc. insurance.

Six weeks is an unreasonable time estimate IMO, and causes me concern about your ability to plan a trip like this, however. YMMV


MSimon....we're scaring you here. I just took the trip from Idaho through BC and the Yukon to Whitehorse, then across the Top-of-the-World Highway (total misnomer, although its on top of the world, its a (somewhat dangerous in rain) gravel road
to Anchorage. Came back out via Skagway and the Alaska Ferry, got out in Prince Rupert, headed over to Jasper, and took the beautiful Icefield Highway through the Canadian Rockies to Montana and back home. Although I left my AS at home for that trip, and camped on the way up, there were no problems getting campsites in Canada's provincial parks, or in private campgrounds. And I bet the entire trip cost less than $5k. Re keeping an eye on the gas gage..you want to fill up prior to starting on the Cassiar highway (which you won't take coming from the east), and in Whitehorse prior to taking the ferry across the Yukon River to the Top of the World Highway. There are sufficient gas stations along the rest of the way.
In sum, the trip up to Alaska USED to be an adventure back in the old gravel days, and you can still get your windshield busted along the inevitable stretches of road repair, but don't let all these warnings you getting worry you. I've been up to AK 6 times now, and your trip in 2016 will go smooth. Don't let us scare you off. No worries. jon
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:01 PM   #33
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Clarification....the Top of the World Highway ends near the (somewhat disappointing) community of Chicken...from there its all paved again, of course. jon
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:47 AM   #34
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We did the trip in 6 weeks from Central Texas. Total cost was just over $10,000. A large portion of the route is through Canada. We found everything in Canada to be very expensive. Things like over the counter medications, such as Tylenol and Mylanta, were 2 or 3 times the price we pay here in Texas.

You definitely want to purchase the Milepost Travel Guide when planning your trip. This book is an invaluable resource.

For us, the trip was well worth the price. It was a wonderful journey which we plan to repeat, someday.
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Old 04-06-2016, 01:24 AM   #35
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To be a true comparison you should calculate what you'd be spending for six weeks if you just stayed at home.
Exactly my thoughts too!


George
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Old 04-06-2016, 04:26 AM   #36
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. . . We just want a bunch of ballpark estimates to make sure what we have budgeted seems reasonable. Thanks.
Sorry if my "unreasonable time estimate" post was a bit blunt, but the time factor still seems way too optimistic for the task, if you have to be back in late September.

Ballpark -- using nice round figures just to make the point -- let's say you are going to drive 10,000 miles total including sight-seeing in Alaska. Six weeks is 42 days, which means that you will be driving an average of 238 miles per day. This equates to roughly FOUR hours per day every day.

Let's say you need to take 1/3 of the days "off" from driving (14 days off), to enjoy life and the sights, which would then leave you 28 days for 10,000 miles, or 357 miles per day, the vast majority of which will be towing! Not including setting up to spend the night, breaking down camp to move on, and so forth.

Is is physically possible to do such a Herculean task? Yes, of course, but do the rewards outweigh the human cost of undertaking it? Not in my book at all!

Other posters have talked about their trips to Alaska in terms of months mostly. A vast cushion of time comfort IMO -- to have a few more weeks for this trip.

For comparison -- in the 1990's, towing a 25' AS during a cold winter, we went from NYC to San Diego via Texas, then to Napa, back through Texas and NY in 6 weeks. It was fun but we were sure sick of driving for months afterwards. A total of about 7,000 miles as I recall. Add another 3,000 miles, much rougher and challenging roads, few repair options in some spots, etc. etc. -- all in the same time frame? No way (in our book) . . .

Obviously, as is said, "your mileage may vary" and "different stokes for different folks" and "the journey is the trip" etc. etc. -- so "go for it" may be the prevailing mantra here. So be it . . .



I hope you will post the details of your trip and what you are able to accomplish in six weeks, and I do truly hope that you have fun!

Peter
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:10 AM   #37
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We live in Fairbanks and some of the costs mentioned for food at restaurants, especially those catering to the tourist trade are accurate the cost for most groceries/household averages somewhere around a 5- 10% premium over lower 48 prices. However we are in the 48 now and have seen prices higher than we pay at home so things do vary. Also remember there is no state sales tax in AK and only some community's have a sales tax. Energy costs at home are high at home but right now diesel in Fairbanks is under $2.20, lowest in years.

My primary question is why don't you want to be in Alaska before August? Summer will be pretty much over in the interior and you will probably have a lot of rainy weather all over by then.

Rick
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:47 AM   #38
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I should also add to this to figure in costs for some side trips if you really want to experience the state. Lots of options including fly/drive combo from Fairbanks to the slope, flightseeing Denali, boat trips from Seward or Valdez.
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:37 AM   #39
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My Alaska Trip

We went 3 years ago, on a trip we planned by ourselves. From Ohio we went to Bellingham, WA boarded a ferry to Hanes AK, then to the Alaska Hwy in Hanes Junction and on to Anchorage. We visited our son for 10 days doing day trips to Seward, Kenai for fishing and Denali. traveled back home via the Alaska Hwy coming back in through Montana. Took I-90 going out and I-94 back home. We spent about $11,000 using mostly MC and Visa using about $800 in cash, the ferry was about $3600 for the car and 22' Bambi. We camped at private campgrounds and Provincial Parks, buy gas when it is available as sometimes fuel is far between stops. We spent 8 weeks for the trip. We just bought food at the grocery stores along the route and mostly ate in the camper. Take your generator along as even some of the campgrounds do not have reliable electric. The trip was fantastic and don't try to feed the bears or the Bison along the hwy.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:11 AM   #40
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Since you are on a limited amount of time this may not work for you. We took our '89 Excella to AK last summer. No troubles at all, even though there was an extremely rough stretch of construction about 40 miles long on the Alcan. We did most of the spots already mentioned. The prettiest scenery we saw was along the ~40 mile stretch of road from the Cassiar Hwy into Hyder, AK. The glaciers are numerous and breathtaking. If you have time I highly recommend this side trip. By the way, the Cassiar is all paved or blacktopped.

Dan
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:30 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by kscherzi View Post
To be a true comparison you should calculate what you'd be spending for six weeks if you just stayed at home.
Although we've factored this into the equation in the past, this time there won't be much in the way of significant savings to offset our travel expenses. We'll still have family living in our home while we're gone.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:36 AM   #42
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My primary question is why don't you want to be in Alaska before August? Summer will be pretty much over in the interior and you will probably have a lot of rainy weather all over by then.
Thanks for the info. In answer to your question, we don't want to be there at the height of the tourist season--we really dislike being around hordes of people. We always vacation during off or shoulder season. Just find it much pleasanter and generally cheaper.
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