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Old 10-29-2011, 11:49 PM   #1
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Driving to Alaska 2012

Hi from GA. . . Couldn't find a discussion on going to Alaska in 2012, so I thought I'd start one. We hope to leave ATL around Memorial day and go back thru the Black Hills to Glacier the 1st couple of weeks. Then on up the Alcan to AK, with exact route to be determined. May drive the 'other' way back, Cassier to Prince Rupert, etc or do the ferry. May have to save the Inside Passage for next trip, as we need to be back 1st week in August. I hope everyone who's planning to go too or has been recently will sing out and we'll have us a gool ol discussion ! The planning is fun to me & I'm looking forward to the whole deal. Thanks, Craig
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:41 AM   #2
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Hi, have a great trip; We just got back, this August. We went over 10,000 miles and were gone for 50 days. You can read about our trip in "Bob and Lee's random trip" in "On The Road" section of this forum. Our Alaska trip starts on page #26 and post #362.
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:17 AM   #3
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*are sooooo jealous* - we've been to Alaska in cruise ship style and look forward to doing what you are doing - best of luck and take LOTS of pictures!
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:49 PM   #4
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We just pulled a 25 ft. Airstream from Anchorage to Seattle in late August/early September. It was a good time of the year to travel the Alcan. The weather was mostly excellent, and most of the roads had been repaired. We took the Cassiar south. If you need any specific information about the roads. please ask. We purchased a copy of the Milepost. It gives very detailed information about the roads, campgrounds, and things to see and do. It's made for traveling northbound, so you will have to read it backwards when heading back south.

The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner

One travel tip: If you see little orange flags on the side of the road, slow down. They indicate rough spots in the road.

Have a safe trip. You're going to have a great time.
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:51 PM   #5
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Want company?

I am also interested in the trip. I have a 2000 motorhome. Are you interested in a caravan?
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Old 01-13-2012, 03:53 PM   #6
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I am planning to leave Calif. by second week of May 12 returning back by July 1st. Have not decided on the route in Alska. Ferry is one option, initial route is I-15 to Calgary stay in Banff/Lake Louis for 3 days and then to Dawson City
We can hook up either in Jasper or Dawson City
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:37 AM   #7
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Hi from GA. . . Looks like we're going to be about 2 weeks behind you. I can't get out of ATL till May 27. For now, route looks like 1st to Glacier,then Canadian Rockies to Alcan. 10 days to 2 weeks IN Alaska, then probably the ferry with several stops to Prince Rupert. The way home is anybodies guess at this point. The hardest part of this for me is plugging people in & out at various airports, on THEIR schedule ! I don't have any one person to do the whole trip & 7 who have professed interest in sections. Sorry, a tad wordy, but thanks for the post & stay in touch, Regards, Craig
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:25 AM   #8
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My husband and I (and our dog) did Alaska summer of 2009 -- it was truly the trip of a lifetime. Four months and 16,000 miles. We left Nashville the first week of May and were home in time for SEC football (the first of September). Our route up was through the Canadian Rockies and then we came back through Yellowstone.

Your "10 days to 2 weeks" in Alaska seems pretty tight. Particularly if you're accommodating seven other folks' airline schedules. The distances are great; travel times can vary due to road conditions. I'm concerned that you will spend all your time pushing to get from one airport to another.

I think a traveling companion is definitely a good plan. It's not a trip that I would want to do totally on my own for several reasons. And it's so amazing that you're doing to want to share it! I'd keep working on that aspect of your planning.

Keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion and it's worth exactly what you're paying for it!

Would be happy to answer any questions -- just send a private message.

I'm excited for you -- I think I'll look look back through our photos and relive the joy!

Debbie
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:36 AM   #9
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I agree with dm that you are not allowing enough time to enjoy what is going to be "the trip of your lifetime".
I would say 30 days minimum once you cross the Canadian border. Canada is a big country and British Columbia and the Yukon go for miles and have lots to see before you ever get to Alaska. If you try to rush it you will only remember the burden of the schedule.
ps When I travel this fantastic route, the last thing I ever do is look for airports or cities.
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Originally Posted by dmoore View Post
My husband and I (and our dog) did Alaska summer of 2009 -- it was truly the trip of a lifetime. Four months and 16,000 miles. We left Nashville the first week of May and were home in time for SEC football (the first of September). Our route up was through the Canadian Rockies and then we came back through Yellowstone.

Your "10 days to 2 weeks" in Alaska seems pretty tight. Particularly if you're accommodating seven other folks' airline schedules. The distances are great; travel times can vary due to road conditions. I'm concerned that you will spend all your time pushing to get from one airport to another.

I think a traveling companion is definitely a good plan. It's not a trip that I would want to do totally on my own for several reasons. And it's so amazing that you're doing to want to share it! I'd keep working on that aspect of your planning.

Keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion and it's worth exactly what you're paying for it!

Would be happy to answer any questions -- just send a private message.

I'm excited for you -- I think I'll look look back through our photos and relive the joy!

Debbie
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:18 PM   #10
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Lynn and I put our camping stuff in the back of our Dune Buggy and headed for Alaska in June of 1983. We drove the Cassier north from Prince Rupert before it was paved. That was a blast in the buggy. On the way back, we caught the ferry in Skagway and enjoyed the inland passage back to Seattle.

That was before we got into Airstreams.
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:01 PM   #11
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There are a number of threads on Alaska trips and they are rich in information. The search function is imperfect, but with a little work, lots to be learned.

LIke others have said it is a very, very long drive. For example, Fairbanks is 3,500 miles from Colorado. If we drove 500 miles a day, that's one week, and we arrive ready for a rest home. If you can drive 500 miles a day over frost heaves in Yukon and Alaska, you will be driving fast enough to mess up your trailer. Distances within Alaska are long, so seeing things requires a lot of time. And a lot of your trip will be in Canada (it is really big too—provinces are territories are larger than most states) and there's lots to see there too.

We've been there 3 times ('02, '06, '10) and each trip was wonderful. They averaged 10,000+ miles. The first two were 6 weeks, the last (the one with the Airstream) was 8. Each time we didn't come close to seeing everything we wanted to. The first trip is exploratory—you have time to identify what you want to see right away and what you'll want to see on the next trip(s). For ex., on our 3rd trip we finally got to go into Denali NP and spent several days there. We could easily go back to Denali and do it again.

A lot of planning is necessary. The Milepost is a start, but there are tour books on Alaska, BC, Alberta, Yukon and NWT. It is good to read as much as you can. If you plan to take the Alaska state ferry, reservations for an RV are a good idea. Note that you will have to back through in ferry in narrow aisles or even up the ramp—this is not fun. You will have to turn off the propane and the fridge will not stay cold for a long ferry trip.

You also have to learn customs rules for the US and Canada. US customs/immigration people are generally unfriendly and in recent years are obsessed with fruit bought in Canada. Leave fruit labels on fruit. You will need passports.

Find out whether your credit cards charge extra fees for Canadian money conversion. The only one I could find 2 years ago was Capital One. We get some cash once we are there from a Canadian bank, but unlike the US where banks are everywhere, it is harder to find one in Canada and then find a place to park a tow vehicle and trailer. Mostly we use the credit card. Make sure your cell or data plans do not rip you off in Canada or Alaska—well, all of them rip you off, but roaming and other charges can be very expensive. Arrange to pay bills by internet or automatically because sending bill payments from northern Canada and Alaska can mean as much as a week before they get where they are going. Cell service in Alaska and northern Canada has improved substantially in recent years and campgrounds mostly have wifi, though some wifi is super slow. You can call in payments but you have to be sure you can connect.

Bring lots of tools. A tire repair kit and compressor are good because it may be many miles before you see a garage if you get a flat. There are no Airstream dealers that far north. Dealers for your tow vehicle can be far, far away and parts arrive slowly. Make sure your vehicles are in very good shape. A good insurance plan for breakdowns is a very good investment—you can get them for around $100-125/year. If you have to get towed 400 or 500 miles, it will have paid for itself for the next 10 years. We have Good Sam.

Trips to western Canada and Alaska are wonderful experiences. To get the most out of it and make it easier, preparation is essential. Here is my thread from 2010. It covers our Alaska trip and more. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...0-a-64080.html

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Old 01-14-2012, 02:52 PM   #12
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Hi again from GA. . . thanks for the replies, I love them all.
let me clarify a couple of points. This is is a work in progress ! And not 7 people anywhere, just 7 who expressed interest. Probably 4 IN Alaska for a couple of weeks & just 2 of us on the rest of the legs. And airports w/comm'l flights allow that. Probably Missoula or Calgary, then Fairbanks or Anchorage and finally Seattle or Spokane. I'm thinking 3 weeks for Calgary to Fairbanks ( sight seeing, fishing for supper kinda thing) What do y'all think I see the mileage, but? ? ? thanks again, CRAIG
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Old 01-14-2012, 03:19 PM   #13
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Craig, you have 6 weeks for the Alaska leg if you spend 2 weeks in the Black Hills and Glacier NP (you'll see a lot more glaciers in the drive from Banff to Jasper and in Alaska). Those are good places to visit, but I'd leave them to another time and then you'll have 8 weeks total. The trip from Ga. will add 4 or 5 days driving (maybe 2,000 miles more) vs. coming from Colorado.

You can leave the trailer in Haines, Skagway, or Valdez and take the ferry to Juneau or other towns. We went to Cordova from Valdez to see the Child's Glacier and spend several days there (ferry doesn't come all that often). You can rent a wreck in Cordova, but if I were to do it again, I'd take the truck even though it would cost more. Right now Cordova is buried under megafeet of snow and Valdez has even more, but it should melt by summer.

Coordinating with others will also complicate things, but anything can be done with enough planning. I'd build in extra days with no plans along the way to make up for problems that may occur or things you decide to see at the last moment. If all goes well, you'd have those days to rest up. For ex., one time we decided on our way to Alberta to go to Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell Museum to see the dinosaurs—one of the best museums for that anywhere. It is SE of Calgary maybe 100 miles.

Calgary is a very busy place and every time we go through there we get lost or run into bad traffic. Last time it was snow, rush hour or the Calgary Stampede traffic. Edmonton was much easier to get through.

By the way, it is easy to spend $10 K on this type of trip. Gas will be the biggest expense.

Gene
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:13 PM   #14
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I am planning Alaska 2012 also! Just picked up my first Airstream this weekend (first trailer)! Though I have been to Alaska 5 times -backpacking and cruising and to see the northern lights-I am really looking forward to this trip. I plan to fish my way through British Columbia.... Hope to see you on the road. Gypsy Rose
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