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Planning First Trip To Alaska


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#1 OBS66

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 07:58 AM

Good morning,

I have spent months search various forums, web sites looking over the milepost, reading others' advice and, well, I must admit that if my daughter did not live in Fairbanks the DW and I would not be planning this trip. I truly believe the travel up and back will provide some of the best scenery ever, but our my concern truly is the possible damage to the coach.

We will be traveling in our 40-foot diesel pusher towing, which not sure on the towing part, but being that we do plan to be there for a few months and hate to be stuck relying on the daughter to taxi.

Anyways we are currently in Orlando will be leaving here end of March then plan to leave western Pa end of April with intent to be on the Alaskan hwy. the end of May. I have read on this forum and other many of you have made the trip and many have said you would do it again what about the horror story's of chipped windshields marred paint damage?

Would you leave the toad behind? Anyone else planning the trek during our extended time?

The plan when we get there is to park the coach at a campground in Fairbanks for the entire time. Would you folks recommend getting reservations now? We are looking at Rivers Edge RV Resort anyone familiar? Thanks
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#2 desertdeals69

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 09:32 AM

When up there plan on driving slow. On roads with loose gravel when you see another vehicle coming at you slow way down and aim for shoulder to change the angle of attack of the rocks. We did this and had minimal damage.
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#3 lmsooter

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:35 AM

We traveled a little over 7,000 miles this past summer in Canada and Alaska with no damage to our coach - we got a chip in the windshield after we crossed back into Montana on an Interstate highway.

Just slow down and take your time - in May you will have areas of frost heaves on the highways. There will also be sections on road that is gravel - when you meet another vehicle, slow down and get as close to the shoulder as safely possible. We had worse roads between Great Falls and Billings, Montana.

I would definitely take the toad. Camping World and other RV suppliers have protection for your toad.

On our trip we spent 5 days at Rivers Edge RV Resort. I would give them a call to discuss reservations - it may not be necessary at the time of year you will arrive but it is very popular with caravan operators. It is a nice park and close to shopping.
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Leary and Sandra Sooter
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#4 734greg

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:19 PM

Title: Our first trip to Alaska via Canada. Recommend making the trip with another MH RV-er, not a Caravan. Many places to Boondock at no cost. A couple of reasons; firstly you can stop and start at your desire VS caravan where you start, stop, park and camp by directive. We were parked in spaces on occasion intended for 20 foot travel trailers with our 40 foot MH. Secondly, do not, I repeat, do not visit Chicken or Eagle Alaska settlements. If you do You will travel approx 142 miles on a gravel, washboard and severely "dusty" road. You will meet trucks, cars and an assortment of other types running 50 to 60 MPH and they do not even slow down for you even when you are giving the international IQ sign as they meet you. You may expect dust both inside and in the basement of your MH; Like major dust, some will not. You will be unable to see a vehicle traveling this roadway behind you due to severe dust blown up by the vehicle in front or behind you. Seal the doors and windows with AC tape if you really must experience these locations. Some of our 38 Caravanners received little or no damage to their MH or their Dingy. Here is why. They prepared their equipment before leaving home.

They also respected the frost heave signs on both paved and gravel roads. Repairs to those heaves by DOT personnel includes a layer of gravel for perhaps 30 to 50 feet to top off the repair. Meeting another vehicle where they know the "heave" condition at that time allows them to continue their mad dash to somewhere. Bad rock throwing occurs frequently. Watch for the little yellow signs with the little symbols that look like a picture of the Rocky Mountains taken from a distance.

There is hardly anything that can prevent flying rocks from "star-ring, chipping or cracking a MH or Dingy windshield. Just part of the wonderful experience of Canada and Alaska travel. You can possibly prevent "Rock Blasting" the hood, front fenders, head and parking lights, bumper, windshield, outside rearview mirrors, L and R front windows, etc., by placing one of those Fiberglass foils that mount on your dingy tow bar. Their cost is approx $400. I did not and our friend that traveled with us did. End result no damage to their dingy other than maybe a star in the windshield resulting from a flying rock.
In conclusion; our MH only suffered a few dings and "stars" in the windshield from flying rocks and that was to the drivers side. Our MH has a rubber rock/water/mud flap extending the width of the coach directly behind the rear wheels that may have been a contributing factor for damage to our dingy to the tune of $11,104.00.... (It looked like it had been sandblasted). That and coupled with meeting those oncoming vehicles did it in. Our friend removed their factory installed "mud flap" and installed the $400 fiberglass on the tow bar of their dingy and had very little, if any damage, to their dingy. Our Ford Edge looks like a new vehicle with all new replacement items and a full paint job (except the trunk lid).

A positive note about traveling in a caravan; you will meet and make new friends from across the country and around the world. You will always feel safe knowing someone will stop and help you if you have a mechanical or tire problem on the road. I did carry a spare tire mounted on a rim just in case. Did not have to use it. After approx 2,000 miles There are approx 15 porcupine quills remaining in the L/front tire of the MH caused from the animal crossing the road and being scared by the sound of the our oncoming MH. There were 56 quills counted initially. IPads are amazing picture taking technology.
Being able to see Mt McKinley on that clear day, as well as the many, many other beautiful scenes was worth it all. Taking just a couple of actions that we have described may save some heartache later. Our caravan traveled 2500 miles in Canada and 2300 on Alaska roads during the period July15 through September 15th 2012. Good luck and safe travels.
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#5 dalet1945

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:55 PM

There are three rigs ( 2 motor homes & 1 fifth wheel). We are planning our Canada/Alaska voyage starting on June 1, 2013. We are all retired and have no exact date for returning home, other than getting out of that area prior to bad fall weather. We too have been reading Milepost plus other publications regarding the trip to Alaska. We plan to do a lot of one night stays while on the road. Don't have any reservations at any parks to this date. After reading some of the posts we might need to reconsider that thought.


We too would appreciate any posts by travels to this part of the country.

Dale & Nancy Thomas
Jacksboro, Texas
2007 Phaeton Motor Coach
2008 Jeep Wrangler
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#6 desertdeals69

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:26 PM

We protected the front of our toad truck with camping mats and bungee cords. Zero damage and we went through Chicken!
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#7 djpauls

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:39 PM

We made the trip this summer. Traveled 10,200 miles with toad. Wouldn't be without the toad. Our caravan of 22 RVs was a great way to go for us. Plan on at mininum some stone chips. We had 4 in the MOHO windshield that were easily fixed. At least 3 others in our caravan planned on windshield replacement when they got home. My observation is the Protect a Tow provides very good protection. Some minor stone chips to the toad that were not even noticieable until we waxed it upon returning from our trip. I disagree with the previous post about visiting Chicken. We drove the "Top of The World" highway and it is as bad as represented but we were cautious. As long as you are not in a hurry and use common sense you will be OK. We did stay at River's Edge in Fairbanks and would recommend it. Because of the number of caravans making reservations I would think that planning ahead and making reservations would be a good idea. Enjoy your trip!
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Don & Sue Paulson
Hickory Corners, Michigan
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#8 elisowski@sbcglobal.net

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 04:32 PM

We are looking at a trip from upstate New York to Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage.  Any info would be appreciated. I called FMCA and got nothing I could use, including their routing map, worthless.  We try and travel 250 a day in the states, will that be possible in Canada on their 2 lane roads?


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#9 lmsooter

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:00 PM

We are looking at a trip from upstate New York to Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage.  Any info would be appreciated. I called FMCA and got nothing I could use, including their routing map, worthless.  We try and travel 250 a day in the states, will that be possible in Canada on their 2 lane roads?

You did not say what city in upstate New York but I tried my DeLorme Street Atlas program from Watertown to Anchorage and it automatically routes north into Canada and then west across Canada.  I tried the FMCA Trip Routing with just the starting and ending points and the route is completely within the lower 48 until you cross into Canada from North Dakota.

I cannot speak about the highways in Saskatchewan but those in Alberta and British Columbia should not present a barrier to traveling 250 miles per day.  Our rule of thumb is 300 miles or 6 hours, which ever comes first.  We were in Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta and Yukon this past summer.  You will have some stretches that will slow you down to 15 to 20 mph but those are not common.

If you have other specific questions, feel free to send me a message.


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#10 elisowski@sbcglobal.net

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 12:13 PM

I also did the FMCA routing, but that does not tell where we will be in 250 and what if any RV parks are in the area.  The one I printed up from Water town had us going right into Canada then up and across, and looked like we were making a turn every few miles.  Also there were NO notations of where we could get diesel along the route.  I tried the good sam site, but they only show their parks and no truck stops in Canada.  Guess I miss our inter-state freeways.  We did drive from upper Michigan to Victoria with a 5th which was fun, but that was on one highway, trans Canada not too bad especially going through Bamff.  I tot5ally agree with not going with a Caravan, but if I can find one of their travel maps they usually have mileage and parks listed on their program.any help would be appreciated.  My email address is:  elisowski@sbcglobal.net


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#11 DickandLois

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 05:00 PM

elisowski,

 

We have traveled from Niagara Falls to Toronto then to Barrie to Sault Ste Marie To Thunder Bay . That is a long trip by its self. The North side of Lake Superior is lacking in fuel stops. We just found places to park if we could not find a campground.

 

Thunder Bay to Winnipeg- Note do not drive through the city !!!! old narrow streets and traffic. Use the 100 bypass.

 

West of Winnipeg you can pick up Rt. 16- The Yellow Head Highway if you have driven The Trans Canadian Rt. 1 should you want a change. Rt. 16 is flat across the country until you reach BC.

 

At Edmonton you need to decide if you want to drive the AlCan Hwy. or continue on Rt. 16 to Prince George. We needed to get some parts at an RV sales center there on our last trip, not may places west and north of there !!!

 

West from Prince George things are getting more rustic all the time !!! not many top end campgrounds Period !!!

 

West to Smithers ( Interesting old mining and logging town) Just west of Kitsegueda You can take Rt.37 North towards Watson Lake, Yukon Territory. This a desolate Rt. an few if any services and definitely not a super highway !! but some pretty country.

 

At Watson your back on the AlCan.

 

Another possibility is to drive over to Prince Rupert and take the Ferry up to Haines to Haines Junction  or Skagway and drive up to Whitehorse.

 

There are some cliff edges that protrude out over the highway as you start towards Prince Rupert, they could do some major damage to ones coach if hit !!! The sign for them is different then any I have ever seen.

 

I have never Driven Rt. 7 from Haines to Haines Junction towards Beaver.

 

You will need reservations for the ferry well in advance to get a space at times. Two nights and a day or more, one needs to figure in price and time too make all the stops, but they are only assessable by boat or plane.

 

Order a Mile Post publication for information !! it is well worth the price.

 

NOTE ! All the roads in Northern BC, the Territory's and Alaska are used for emergency runways for small aircraft and they have the right of way. So if you get buzzed or see a low flying aircraft coming at you, your road has turned into a runway !! Very interesting !!

In Alaska if you see a motorist broken down on the highway you are obligated to stop an offer assistance. When out in the bush country one becomes bear food and the authorities (Police) can ticket you if you do not offer assistance should they get information that you did not stop..... Long stretches of road with few or no people or cars for extended periods of time.

Remember it's called the Last Frontier for a reason. Once you have been there it will keep calling you back or just make you say its to wild for me.

 

Rich. 


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#12 dougallman

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:14 PM

Does anyone have any expierence  on TOTEM OCEAN bringing their RV back from Anchorage to Tacoma? I know it is a 5 day trip and therefore we will take a cruise on Holland America back to Seattle but wanted to hear about anyone using their service.


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