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Post Info TOPIC: RV trip to Alaska summer 2019


RV-Dreams Community Member

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RV trip to Alaska summer 2019


Anyone have suggestions on RV trip to Alaska, caravans and info

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Butch & Sandy+Boomer & LoBo



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I've just begun my research for our 2019 summer trip to Alaska. My wife ''told'' me we were going a few months ago so I got my first copy of the MILEPOST and will be reading and planning all winter when we are in Mexico.

We are about to begin our sixth year of travels and I have always said ''some day Alaska'' but we have been too busy trying to get through our bucket list. Right now I have realized that it may take 20 years to work through the National Parks and Monuments. We have only made a small dent in the 400-500 locations available.

I think RVillage has groups that are planning for both 2018 and 2019. Check them out.

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Russ & Terri Ranger

Travel since July 2013

5 months - Winters in sunny Mazatlan, Mexico

6 months - Wandering the USA in our Holiday Rambler Endeavor 40' PDT Motorhome

1 month - International Travel -19 countries, so far

http://grandbanksruss.blogspot.com



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If I was going and we really want to go, We would either go solo or with a couple of friends. I would never go with a group. I have done that before and everyone is wanting to stop for some reason while I want to go on down the road.

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2005 Cedar Creek 30RLBS/RV Flex Armour Roof / MORryde Independent Suspension/ Disc Brakes

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Bill and I went in 2016 and I blogged a lot about it, feel free to check it out. If you don’t want to read the whole summer worth - I did 2 summaries that received a lot of good feedback. Please ask any questions you have and if I can help I will!

bkamericanodyssey.com/2016/06/05/getting-to-alaska/

bkamericanodyssey.com/2016/10/15/recap-alaska/

One thing I will promise - it will be a trip of a lifetime!

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Bill & Kelly - with Callie along the ride.  

2011 Ford F350 Diesel Dually 4x4 

2014 Heartland Landmark, Grand Canyon 

"All those who wander are not lost" Tolkien

 BLOG:  http://bkamericanodyssey.com/



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“and will be reading and planning all winter“

Planinning is such fun! Dreaming of the future.

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Winnebago TT 2101DS & Tahoe LTZ, 300 watts WindyNation solar-parallel w/MPPT, 2 Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, USF&WS, NPS, TVA, state/county campgrounds. 14 year Army vet-11B40 then 11A - old MOS 1542 & 1560.



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We are also planning for 2019 to Alaska. I do not want to travel with a group but I don't want us to go it alone on such a long trip. My niece and her husband will be traveling with us. It would be fun to meet up with other RV-Dreamers along the way. We will be leaving from Iowa. Our tentative plan is to be gone 10 weeks as our niece needs to be back in time for school in early August as she is a teacher. Poor thing, isn't retired like us and her husband. 😉

I'm big into research but have just started with a purchase of milepost. I will look forward to more comments and advice as the planning continues.

I have a question for Kelly or anyone else with a long rig; our fifth wheel is 35' and our niece's is 42'. They are extremely concerned about taking such a long and heavy fifth wheel to Alaska. They are regretting buying a long rig because they don't think they will find places to park, not only in Alaska but in the lower 48. They are just starting as RVers. They will be part-timers like us, probably, 5-6 months of the year. I'll read your blog posts regarding Alaska. Thanks for any comments regarding finding places to fit their rig. We haven't had any issues with ours, but we have been RVing since 2001, in our vintage Airstream and now the fifth wheel, so we have had experience all over the lower 48. I keep telling them it's doable it just takes planning. Her husband is not into boondocking unless absolutely necessary.

Candy

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Candy & Dave Jones

2013 Montana 3150RL

1974 Airstream Tradewind Land Yacht

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and 2 Aussie Terriers, KT and Nacho 

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Big rigs are no problem. We took a 40 foot motorhome and tow car up in 2006 and both survived and we still have the motorhome. Others have taken longer RVs and been OK.

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Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



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cejones4210 wrote:


I have a question for Kelly or anyone else with a long rig; our fifth wheel is 35' and our niece's is 42'. They are extremely concerned about taking such a long and heavy fifth wheel to Alaska. They are regretting buying a long rig because they don't think they will find places to park, not only in Alaska but in the lower 48. They are just starting as RVers. They will be part-timers like us, probably, 5-6 months of the year. I'll read your blog posts regarding Alaska. Thanks for any comments regarding finding places to fit their rig. We haven't had any issues with ours, but we have been RVing since 2001, in our vintage Airstream and now the fifth wheel, so we have had experience all over the lower 48. I keep telling them it's doable it just takes planning. Her husband is not into boondocking unless absolutely necessary.

Candy


 Concurring with BillJ Big Rigs are no problem as such.  In fact one will find a large selection of Big Rigs all through Alaska.  IMO the one thing that could surprise you is the potential distance between fuel locations - or perhaps locations that have fuel.  Sometimes this is no issue and sometimes it can be with just the standard fuel tank in pickups.  At the very least I recommend carrying a couple of 7 gallon portable totes.  A friend who traveled with us got within 1 gallon of empty once.  Good planning makes the trip go without undue concern.

Second, as in all cases, make sure you have quality tires and a spare. An upgrade is worth it, IMO.

Most all commercial campgrounds have power.  However, it may only be 30 amps and not a particularly "good" 30 amps - meaning you may only be able to draw ~15 amps, or less, before the voltage drops down too far. "It depends." Some may only offer 15 amps "depending" and only ~7 amps is usable due to voltage drop. ("Ask me how I know this.") This is not widespread but does occur. A 30 amp plug doesn't always mean 30 amps of power.

I really do recommend putting in a quality power monitoring / protection system such as the Progressive Industries EMS-30c with in-coach readout for 30 amp rigs or the EMS-50c with in-coach readout for 50 amps.  This will protect the electrics in the coach from low (and high) voltage which is not uncommon on generator locations such as the beautiful Muncho Lake / Liard Hot Springs area.  Likewise for the wonderful stop at Cottonwood RV just SE of Destruction Bay on Kulane Lake, Yukon Territory.  This device is way more then an inexpensive surge protector and worth it.



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



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We won't hit the road until sometime in the back half 2019 so we are not planning an Alaska trip until 2020 at the earliest.... but we shall follow along with your planning with great interest as we have with others who have made the journey since we joined this forum. Always something new to learn.smile

 



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Brian, Cindi & Josie (our fur baby)



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We traveled with our 40’ 5er and drove for road conditions - AKA - SLOWING DOWN WHEN NECESSARY - and had no problems.

I believe one of the things I stress before making the trip - do your proper maintenance - check tires, running gear, suspension, etc. Bill had done all of that and rechecked it again before we headed back out. He ended up replacing our shackles before we left.

We carried 2 - 5 gallon containers of diesel - Bill called it my $50 piece of mind - and he was right - we didn’t use a drop but the low fuel light did come on once, as we pulled into a station. Sometimes there is a station but no one is home, so stay full when you can.

We boondocked a lot (almost exclusively) on the way up and back.

Best advice - relax and enjoy! Ask Bill N - I was nervous but he and Linda (and a few others) put me at ease and they were right!

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Bill & Kelly - with Callie along the ride.  

2011 Ford F350 Diesel Dually 4x4 

2014 Heartland Landmark, Grand Canyon 

"All those who wander are not lost" Tolkien

 BLOG:  http://bkamericanodyssey.com/



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Oh and Brian - Bill and I MAY be ready to go back for 2020 - depends on things out of our control - but we’ve talked about it. If not 2020- prob 2021.

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Bill & Kelly - with Callie along the ride.  

2011 Ford F350 Diesel Dually 4x4 

2014 Heartland Landmark, Grand Canyon 

"All those who wander are not lost" Tolkien

 BLOG:  http://bkamericanodyssey.com/



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We have always planned on going back. For years family matters kept us from being able to, but most of those matters are now history.

Some friends kept deciding not to go to Alaska, even though they had relatives that lived there. The cost of the trip was always stopping them. Finally they decided to just do it and had such a great time, including the visit with the relatives, that they went up two summers in a row. The cost was worth it in their minds and they figure if they had made the trip a few years earlier they would have made the trip more than two times.

We drove on our own and so did the friends that went up two summers in a row. Others we know took caravans and most felt rushed or had other regrets from being so regimented.

We also had friends who arranged to go up with an informal group of about 7 RVs. They made ground rules between them for the trip and learned the hard way that one of the rules, "if someone wants to go out instead of cooking in, we all go", was a code word for "I don't cook, so we will be going out every day". The group only traveled together until they got to Tok Alaska, then they broke up and went separate ways.

If the costs bother you, fuel and restaurants are more expensive and you need to plan your bulk grocery runs, then figure out what a typical summer costs you and only look at the added expense do to higher fuel, groceries and the added cost of tours and other tourist activities that you will do because you are in Alaska. If your summer normally costs you $6000 and going to Alaska will cost you $10000, then the added cost is $4000.

Our trip was in 2006 and at the time I wrote up a guide to help others, http://www.sacnoth.com/2006/AlaskaGuide1/AlaskaGuide1.htm.  Hopefully it still has useful advice and information.



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Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



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jrzygrl64 wrote:

We traveled with our 40’ 5er and drove for road conditions - AKA - SLOWING DOWN WHEN NECESSARY - and had no problems.

I believe one of the things I stress before making the trip - do your proper maintenance - check tires, running gear, suspension, etc. Bill had done all of that and rechecked it again before we headed back out. He ended up replacing our shackles before we left.

We carried 2 - 5 gallon containers of diesel - Bill called it my $50 piece of mind - and he was right - we didn’t use a drop but the low fuel light did come on once, as we pulled into a station. Sometimes there is a station but no one is home, so stay full when you can.

We boondocked a lot (almost exclusively) on the way up and back.

Best advice - relax and enjoy! Ask Bill N - I was nervous but he and Linda (and a few others) put me at ease and they were right!


 I was reading Kelly's post and thought I would comment - "Listen to Kelly." Then got to the nice ending. Thank you.  Very kind.

Nonetheless, listen to Kelly.  If you're REALLY nervous, then go with someone.  If not, just go.  But take reasonable precautions and one of them is some version of aux fuel for pickups, excellent tires and flexibility.  The main thing is just remember, "Its not a trip down I-95 to Ft. Lauderdale.  Thank goodness its not, and I like Ft. Lauderdale. LOL

We're planning to go back in 2019.  We'll take the same precautions we took for our first trip but we will go alone as it now stands. Believe it or not Linda said, "Well, what do you want for your 50th wedding anniversary?"  "Ah, go to Alaska again?" (Now you all know our age, but we don't act it.)  After a while the Alcan becomes an old friend. Make it yours.

Bill

 



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



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Hairtriger wrote:

Anyone have suggestions on RV trip to Alaska, caravans and info


 First off, did you questions get answered in the replies so far?

Secondly, are you specifically asking about caravans?   If so have you been on a caravan in the past to have a feel for what they are like? 

Some thoughts about caravans.  In general, my impression of caravans: the good thing is, everything is planned for you.  Where to stay, what to do, etc is pretty well set up.  You don't have to make much planning or decision making.  The down side: with minor exceptions, you have to move when the schedule dictates.  You can't stay a day or two longer or leave a day or two later if the driving weather is not to your liking.  Also if the weather is kind of nasty, not unusual for the far north, and an activity is planned, you either go in the unpleasant weather, or just for go the activity. 

Travel by yourself.  You get to take you time.  If you want to stay longer, or leave earlier you can.  You may have to space out your RV Park reservations to accommodate a looser schedule.  It also may mean you will stay at your second or third choice of places to stay.  However you are not on this trip to stay in a really fancy RV Park.  Besides, an awful lot of the RV Parks are gravel parking areas and not all that fancy.  

If you dry camp or boondock, or make the effort to learn how to travel w/o hookups, it really opens up the opportunities for traveling on your schedule rather than being tied to RV Park reservations.  

Plan on scheduling plenty of time for the trip.  3 to 4 months at least from the time you cross into Canada until you cross back into the lower 48 states. 

We never saw a situation where there was any lack of fuel availability. The towns along the Alaska Hwy and also the Cassiar Hwy coming back were spaced no more than 150-200 miles apart. Sometimes there was fuel available in between the towns.  We also traveled up early in the season, crossing into BC on April 27th and arriving in Fairbanks about May 18th. 

Our trip in 2016 was different from many other folks.  We spent 4 1/2 months, made no reservations other than at Denali NP, where we made reservations about 2-3 weeks before we arrived.  We boondocked or dry camped for 137 of our 139 days of travel. 

We have a blog of our trip if you are interested.  http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/2017/01/alaska-trip-index-april-26september-6.html

 



-- Edited by alflorida on Sunday 17th of June 2018 07:11:02 AM

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We are planning to make the Alaska journey in 2019 as well.  We do not have a generator, but we do have a 95 watt solar panel on the roof and a Zamp 160 watt portable solar panel (with 30’ of cabling to move it around).  We have not had any problems keeping our batteries fully charged with solar only for over a week at a time but then we have stayed in the southwest Texas desert areas for the most part.  The sun is always shining.  We would like to stay at Provincial Parks during our trip, but those parks do not appear to have hookups.  Since our boondocking experience is all southern US and primarily desert, I would like to hear about experiences with boondocking and using solar on the road to Alaska.  Is it enough, or should we think about getting a small generator?  We are not heavy power users when boondocking, so the electricity we need is primarily to run the refrigerator on propane and a few lights during the night when necessary.  We also need to charge our electronics, which we are able to easily do with the portable solar.  We are worried about how weather, sun angle, and tree cover will affect our solar only plans.  Please share your experiences using solar on the road to Alaska.



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Linda & Larry Pearson Thefreedom2roam.blog


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My blog posts are linked above, we have 1120 watts of solar on the roof and 6 6 volt batteries. On the way up and back, we almost exclusively boondocked. (We Workamped the whole summer and had FHU’s). On the way out we were very glad to have our Honda generator (we actually have 2 but only needed one at a time) because there was not enough sun to keep batteries charged enough. I might also mention we do have a residential refrigerator, so it is an energy hog.

Keep in mind you will be very far north, so you will not get nearly the amount of sun as it is low in the sky. The only positive is there is longer daylight, but not sure it will be enough.

I’d suggest investing in a portable gennie, a Honda or Yamaha. Better safe than sorry or you may end up needing a plug.

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Bill & Kelly - with Callie along the ride.  

2011 Ford F350 Diesel Dually 4x4 

2014 Heartland Landmark, Grand Canyon 

"All those who wander are not lost" Tolkien

 BLOG:  http://bkamericanodyssey.com/



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Following up on Bill and Kelly's comment about a generator.  We have a Honda EU3000iS generator that we bought way back in 2003.  It doesn't get used a lot since we don't boondock, but we keep it in case of emergencies.

When we were boondocking, we would go from Oklahoma (elevation around 1200 - 1500 ft) up to around 5000 in Colorado.  I could run the generator about 4 hours per day (morning and evening - 2 hrs each) and after about 3 days, it wouldn't start.  I realized that the gas engine was running rich at the higher altitude, so it was fouling the plug.  Not having the tools needed, I had to go to 3 different businesses in two different towns to get the tools and spark plugs that I needed to change the plug.  I still have those tools somewhere in the coach, but I'm just not sure where.

At any rate, have the tools needed to change plugs and have extra plugs, just in case you go up in altitude.

Terry



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Terry and Jo

2010 Mobile Suites 38TKSB3
2008 Ford F450
2014 Ford Expedition 4X4 as Tag-along or Scout

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Our photos on Smugmug

Ignoring the Barking Dogs  -  Terry's Blog



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Expanding a bit on Bill&Kelly's and Terry's generator comments for those thinking about generators, all very true.  Terry's comments are correct about high altitudes and gas generators.  However, if one is considering a built in generator in a fiver just be aware that LP generators don't have this high altitude problem with plugs fouling or with mixture issues, etc.  They don't even have a mixture control.  

We've run our 5500 watt LP Onan at 9,000 feet under load without issues.  LP is not quite as efficient as gas but it is a lot less trouble, the fuel doesn't go stale siting in the generator carburetor or tank, and the LP generator starts easily after sitting for extended periods.  While they have their drawbacks in motor homes they, IMO, make much more sense in a 5er if one is purchasing a larger, built-in unit.  Ours still going strong after 12 years installed in two different rigs.  

Just info.



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Bill & Linda
2014 New Horizons Majestic F37RLTSS 96

2016 RAM 5500HD \ 4-Wheel Drive \ Link Air Ride
Classy Chassis RV Hauler Bed Conversion \ Aux Fuel Tank 



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LPinTX wrote:

We are planning to make the Alaska journey in 2019 as well.  We do not have a generator, but we do have a 95 watt solar panel on the roof and a Zamp 160 watt portable solar panel (with 30’ of cabling to move it around).  We have not had any problems keeping our batteries fully charged with solar only for over a week at a time but then we have stayed in the southwest Texas desert areas for the most part.  The sun is always shining.  We would like to stay at Provincial Parks during our trip, but those parks do not appear to have hookups.  Since our boondocking experience is all southern US and primarily desert, I would like to hear about experiences with boondocking and using solar on the road to Alaska.  Is it enough, or should we think about getting a small generator?  We are not heavy power users when boondocking, so the electricity we need is primarily to run the refrigerator on propane and a few lights during the night when necessary.  We also need to charge our electronics, which we are able to easily do with the portable solar.  We are worried about how weather, sun angle, and tree cover will affect our solar only plans.  Please share your experiences using solar on the road to Alaska.


 I would recommend a small 1000 watt Honda or Yamaha generator.  You can expect to have 3-5 days of cloudy weather maybe once a month, plus a day or two of clouds every week maybe more.  Also most provincial parks are pretty heavily shaded, limiting solar.   If you will boondock outside of developed parks you have better chances of finding places to camp with exposure to the sun.  We boondocked or dry camped for our 4 1/2 month trip.  Details in our blog http://downtheroadaroundthebend.blogspot.com/2017/01/alaska-trip-index-april-26september-6.html

 



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Al & Sharon Florida Fulltiming with two cats 2005 HitchHiker 33.5 CKQG 2004 Chev 2004 Duramax
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