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Author Topic: Alaska  (Read 4825 times)
pvcces
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2009, 11:36:46 PM »

Brian, just make sure you have a supply of nearly 100% DEET repellent. If, for some reason, you can't stand that, Avon's Skin So Soft will offer some protection.

Some mosquitos will find a way into your coach, so the repellent is needed if you get into them. They will surprise you, even after the warnings. You will be fairly well off if you are out in bright sunlight; if you need to be out near dusk, be sure to have your repellent on.

We went up in June year before last, and frost heave repairs were underway. At times, you will need to get on the binders to stop for the work areas.

You need to get a Milepost magazine because that will really help a lot. If you want ours, let me know. We were gone about 3 weeks, and did not need to go into a park. The milepost made this easy.

For what it's worth.

Tom Caffrey
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Tom Caffrey PD4106-2576
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gumpy
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2009, 05:15:12 PM »

I'd recommend leaving around June 15, and planning on returning around Aug 15. The kids won't get out of school till early June, and will be heading back to school early Sept. Gives you good time on both ends to get things ready for trip and school, and you're there the best time of the year.

Plan on coming out some night and we'll go over the route and places to stop along the way. Get your Milepost. I can show you some awesome places we found to overnight along the way and discuss fuel stops and such.

I will probably be back home about the middle of next week.

craig
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Craig Shepard
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niles500
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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2009, 09:12:41 PM »

Brian try this route - Do two seperate legs - One going up through Prince George and 37 to Watson Lake (Big grizzly country) then at Mount Lorne head south to Skagway - take the one hour ferry ride to Haines (yeah it costs $$$$ but less than the cost of fuel backtracking and you get to see it ALL - you may only do it once) - a few miles north of Haines watch the Eagles feeding (in october/november there are thousands of them in a few mile stretch) As you head to Haines Junction don't blink or you'll miss the world's smallest desert - Then you head west on Alcan through Beaver Creek (BTW at this point it is important to inform you, not in any special order, that the Alcan and most highways have little travel and huge turnouts (some 200 feet wide and plenty of large cleared spots where snow/road equipment is stored in the winter) that you can pull off anytime - there are huge lakes with no one on them and abandon mines along the route begging you to stop, explore, picnic, or spend the night - All fuel stations in AK are required to provide FREE dump facilities (BTW keep your tanks topped off) - Bring your Sat sys., DVD, plenty of movies, video games, etc.) DId I say keep you fuel topped, there are some long stretches of road - Don't worry about your headlights - you won't be needing them - Do watch the road on your way out, frost heave can put some large fissures in the road that will probably be fixed by the time you head back - Do go through your bus with spay foam and fill in ALL the little cracks, between the Skeeters and dust (alum) you will be sorry if you don't - Stay away from marshy areas or standing water when camping - 98% of my time in AK I had no problem at all with Skeeters, but when you do encounter them they are plentifull and voracious) Back to the route - Head west on Alcan and stop @ Tok and have some sourdough pancakes - continue to Delta Junction heading west to Fairbanks - As others have said Milepost is invaluable - buy one and use it - you'll want to keep it for memories anyway - Fairbanks has many thing to do that you can figure (with milepost) to do for yourself, but I do suggest the 90 mile trip to Chena Hot Springs - they have a lodge, RV park, Hot spring and plenty of wildlife on the route (Even a Musk Ox farm) - also a lot of mushers train here - you now have a choice of making the 2 day trip to Prudhoe (DO NOT take your bus) I thought it was one of the highlights of the trip but may be too much for young children (do have one of the world's best Rueben sandwiches during your Stop in Coldfoot)  -  Now head west to Denali - as soon as you get to the park check-in and see if there are any cancellations at the primitive Teklanika campsite INSIDE DENALI (the park only allows one trip in and out minimum 3 day stay) if available take one as it cuts hours off the bus ride to and from the park interior - to be continued .....
« Last Edit: February 24, 2009, 09:31:35 PM by niles500 » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2009, 10:55:04 PM »

 Embarrassed  I'm breaking this up because I thought I had LOST the last post  Cry

..... If you can't get in there is another NP RV park at the entrance, some commercial sites and boondocking north of the park entrance - Continuing toward Anchorage you have a choice to go to east to on 8 to the town of Denali - or head south to Talkeetna - Talkeetna is the town the TV show "northern exposure" was based upon and the airport is the "road" in and out of the bush and the way the climbers get to Kahiltna glacier and base camp - quant and quirky filled with tourists, climbers, and bush people in transit - It is well worth the money to either take a pressurized plane to the top of Mckinley or as we chose non pressurized to 13k feet and landing on Kahiltna (if you've never landed/taken off on a glacier it's the !@#$% and I guarantee you will not meet too many that have) - From there head south  stop in Wasilla and meet the Palin's - then take the Glenn highway into Anchorage - let milepost be your guide on what to see there - by this time the weather on the Kenai should be getting better and you can check to see if the "salmon are running" - If they are, hurry to places like the Russian River where you'll be knee deep in them - Kenai has two backtracks, one to Homer and one to Seward so you will have time on the way back to see the rest of the sites if you hurry for the salmon run - there are many campsites along the Seward highway at Turnagain - they can be noisy as Seward highway has more traffic - a stop in Portage is good (inland icebergs) Whittier has a road to it now - Hope is a nice town - Just outside of Seward is the second most user freindly Glacier in AK, a short park and walk to the base of the Glacier - Seward has a great Aquarium, fishing on Resurrection bay, day boat trips, etc. - The Sterling highway will take you through great fishing (aforementioned Russian River) to Saldotna and the towns along Cook Inlet - Towns like Ninilchik and Clam Gulch offer King Salmon fishing off the docks or by beach launched boats - Homer Spit offers parking/camping along its 7 mile stretch - if you take the kids Halibut fishing on Cook or Katchemak they will wear themselves out hauling them in - keep your biggest, keep some for the trip and have the rest shrink wrapped, flash frozen and shipped home - DO NOT leave without having a beer/cocktail @ the Salty Dawg (BTW the bartender knows the best deal on charter boats) - On your way back to Anchorage you have a choice of going to Whittier and taking the ferry (very $$$$$$) to Valdez or the Glenn Highway - the ferry avoids some backtracking, you get to see oceanfront glaciers at a distance, ocean icebergs, and plenty of seals - On the Richardson Highway there are plenty of places to camp - Near Ptarmagin is the most accessible glacier in AK, right on the highway - the Town of McCarthy is a great side trip located within Wrangel St. Elias - don't ask them about the massacre as they are all related to the victims and as can be expected quite emotional - When you reach Gakona ask how the Tok Cutoff is - if bad DO NOT take it as it can be 100 miles of miserable rollercoaster at any speed - Just east of Tok at Tetlin Junction you have the choice of taking the Top Of the World Highway to towns like Chicken and the Spur to Eagle on the Yukon river - parts are paved parts are gravel, but H5-60's have been making the run for years - plenty of wildlife, abandoned dredges, and you really do feel like your On Top Of the World - the road takes you to the loneliest boarder crossing in North America (they don't even have utilities) and is only open 7 to 7 - this brings you the back way into Dawson across the Yukon on a ferry (beautiful campsite on the west side of the river) plenty of choices for you in Dawson and lots of history - don't forget to take the kids panning for gold at the free site southwest of town (the hardware store in town sells the "professional" pans) - On the way to Whitehorse on the Klondike highway you may choose to meander a bit down the Dempster highway, stay in Carmacks, sidetrip the Cambell highway or stop at the Hot Springs and RV park north of Whitehorse - By the time you get there the Salmon may have made up the Yukon to the fish ladder for viewing - It's a big town with plenty to do - When you head east home this time stay on the Alcan to Dawson Creek -

This route should get you to the right places at the right time without backtracking - I've only made a few suggestions as the best part of the trip will be the discoveries of your own along the way - there are many other side trips you can make by plane, but this route will take you to almost all the places you can reach by road - I guess you can see that I love this place - BTW - I took this trip for a summer (we also went to Inuvik) by myself with my boys age 11 and 15 and we had a great time - HTH
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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2009, 07:07:15 AM »


 Only one minor point to mention. When using Deet..sun lotion diminishes the
 effectiveness of Deet. When we spent a week floating down from Denalli others
 in the group would spray on Deet then sun screen. By the end they looked like
 the had the measles. I was already dark enough not to require sun lotion and
 only was pimply around the ankles.

 Good luck

 Skip
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Brian Diehl
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« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2009, 07:11:19 PM »

Wow Niles!  You wrote a book!  Thank you so much.  I will be printing this off and putting it with the MilePost I'll be ordering sometime this weekend.  Craig, I will take you up on that offer.  Not sure exactly when at this point, but we will get together!  Thank you all for your thoughts.  Keep them coming!
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« Reply #21 on: February 26, 2009, 07:42:13 AM »

Camping World probably has the Milepost on the shelf.

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2009, 08:39:14 AM »

We bought a copy of the Milepost last month at the local Barnes & Nobles.

We are also hoping to take a trip to Alaska this summer. We can only spend two weeks in Alaska, plus one week driving each way from Michigan. It will be a rushed trip, but better than not going at all.

Niles, the information in your posts is great. It will make planning the trip more productive. Thanks.
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« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2009, 09:20:03 AM »

For what it's worth, coming from someone who has spent the last 40 years in Alaska, and drives a 45ft MCI J4500, touring throughout the summer season, I would pick the latter dates, as a lot of the motorhomes have gone south. The weather is still pretty good during August and it's much easier to get around without all the other tourists, who drive. As for headlights, Canadian law requires them at all times on the "Alaska Highway". Many good suggestions about where to go and things to do and see. I would suggest a side trip through Dawson City, Yukon on your way up, but be very careful on the "Top Of The World Highway. It's very narrow, gravel, and can be treacherous if it's raining. If I can be of any more help, please let me know...Bill
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« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2009, 07:05:09 PM »

I thought of something else that you should consider. Hand guns are illegal in Canada and will be confiscated, if found and you will be asked at the border. Shotguns and rifles can be carried, but each one has to have a permit, issued by Canadian customs and each permit costs $25.00.
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« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2009, 07:19:14 PM »

I thought of something else that you should consider. Hand guns are illegal in Canada and will be confiscated, if found and you will be asked at the border. Shotguns and rifles can be carried, but each one has to have a permit, issued by Canadian customs and each permit costs $25.00.

Like I said earlier, semi-auto long guns were prohibited when I drove through in '93 and would land you in jail if you had them.
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« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2009, 07:32:50 PM »

Hi Gumpy,
Do you remember how far it is from your house to Anchorage? My neighbor wants to go and when I said it would be about 4000 miles by road he wouldn't believe me.
Thanks, Sam 4106
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« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2009, 07:43:45 PM »

Google maps says it is 3192 miles from my house in Maple Grove to Ankorage.  :-)  When are you going?  :-)
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« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2009, 07:09:24 AM »

Hi Gumpy,
Do you remember how far it is from your house to Anchorage? My neighbor wants to go and when I said it would be about 4000 miles by road he wouldn't believe me.
Thanks, Sam 4106

We didn't take a direct route, but it was close to 4000. We crossed ND and MT, and went up through Radiant Hot Springs, backtracked a bit to Banff, and up to Jasper, and then more backtracking to Edmonton, before starting up towards AK. That probab added several hundred miles as opposed to a direct route.

We then went down the Kenai to Homer, up to Fairbanks, and up the pipeline haul road to where it crosses the Yukon and back, over the Top of the World, and then came down the western route through Prince George and into Spokane and back home alone I-94. Total mileage was something like 9400 miles according to the bus odometer. Didn't have a GPS at the time.

So, it's probably somewhere between Brian's 3200 and 4000 if you take the most direct route.

craig

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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2009, 08:28:04 AM »

Hi Brian and Gumpy,
I am not going, but my neighbor wants to and we were discussing distance to Anchorage. I based my estimate on the fact that four couples that I know that have gone and put on about 10,000 miles for the round trip. I thought my neighbor just wasn't being realistic about the distance and the cost. We are good friends so there were no ruffled feathers. I tried ask.com and all I could get was the "as the crow flies" distance of 2625 miles. I'm not very computer literate so I thought Craig could give a better answer. Thank you both for your help.
Sam 4106
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