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Experience on Alaska Highway with RV?
Old 08-14-2019, 08:23 AM   #1
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Experience on Alaska Highway with RV?

Looking for folks to share their experience driving RV’s in Alaska and on the Alaska Highway (in Canada). Boondock vs. campgrounds? State/Provincial parks vs. private campgrounds? Any other experiences/tips to share?

I’m planning to drive a rental RV south (to be sold in the lower 48) after Labor Day next year - Anchorage to Portland OR. Have a lot of camping/RV experience, but none in Alaska. Plan to hit Denali for a few days, then up to Fairbanks before the turn South. Probably hit Jasper NP on the way down. Looks like 3200 miles in 15 days.

Thanks!
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:26 AM   #2
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I’m sort of glad we never attempted an RV trip to Alaska when we were full-timing. Sounds pretty grueling. These days I’m happy to fly to Alaska.

Have enjoyed a long photography visit to Denali, cruising Prince William Sound, and a few days in Anchorage.
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Old 08-14-2019, 08:26 AM   #3
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Sounds exciting! I do know there is one here that has recently done what you are wanting to do. He would be an excellent person with great advice.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:52 AM   #4
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Lots of miles in just a few days... I have towed a trailer in Alaska and depending on where you are there are some challenges. The big one is cost, imo and then (in remote areas) access to services and stuff. Roads can be slower to travel than in the lower 48 so factor this in to your travel plans.

I'm going to suggest that you spend some time over at iRV2.com reading threads about travel in Alaska. Good start here: Alaska 2019 - iRV2 Forums (and nice pics)
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:54 AM   #5
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My parents did it years ago pulling their trailer. Big difference is they went with a group like Good Sam. They had mechanics handy in case of a breakdown. I thought that would be my only hesitation on doing a trip like you’re thinking of
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:52 AM   #6
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There is a FB group with lots of info.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/rvingtoalaska2019
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:59 AM   #7
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That's an average of 213 miles each day...more if you don't travel a few of those days to sight see. This sounds stressful to keep pushing like that. I have been on plenty of long trips, and really relished the down days where we could hike/bike/relax/fish.

I had planned on doing something similar, but will wait until we are retired, and can spend a month + taking our time getting the feel of nature, not driving by it.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:32 PM   #8
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3200 miles in 15 days does not leave you much time for sightseeing.

About camping, we boondocked by the side of the road at pullouts. A lot of people do this. We did not even bother to do this in Denali, or places where there was a concentration of RV'ers; too many people, not enough boondocking spots.

Many gas stations, even some in town, offer a dumping station and fresh water for refill. We always took advantage of this, and paid them back by buying gas.

Speaking about gasoline, along the well-traveled highways from Homer to Fairbanks via Anchorage and Denali the price is not bad, and can be less expensive than in California. It is along the more deserted highways out of town in Alaska and in the Yukon that it could be more than $5 or $6 per gallon.

PS. By the way, after Labor Day, I expect the tourists will be mostly gone, and the weather will be a bit chilly. In Fairbanks, the high will be below 60F, and the low slightly above freezing.

PPS. The nice thing about late travel is that at the end of summer, all the road repairs are already done. On the way to Fairbanks, I got my RV windshield cracked by rocks at a section past the Sign Forest. On the way south more than 1 month later, the road was just perfect!

The semitrailer trucks maintained full highway speed going through sections that had gravel spread on them but not yet pressed down and sealed. The trucks coming from the direction opposite me threw rocks the same way a car splashes water going through a puddle. My RV got pelted by gravel every time a truck passed me in the opposite direction, causing me to cringe every time.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:14 PM   #9
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We have been to Alaska in our 30 foot motorhome several years ago and we loved it. But we did it differently than the OP--we were gone 4 months, 2 weeks coming and going and 3 months in Alaska. We took our time on the Alaska Highway, staying mainly in Provencial Parks. The road was rough in places and trucks go too fast spewing gravel. We got zero deductible windshield insurance before we left--glad we did, we had a busted front windshield from gravel.

We loved Denali, well worth the trip there. We stayed at the inside Denali campground for a week. Another highlight--coming back we put the motorhome on the ferry and went down the Inside Passage getting off at each stop for a few days. A great trip.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:53 PM   #10
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With only 2 weeks, you do not have much time, let alone straying off the Alcan highway. And the main highway gets the most maintenance.

Outside of the main highway, on some roads we encountered only a car per hour in the opposite direction, if even that. No trucks there, but the roads can be brutal as they are not repaired as often as the main highway.

On the Glenn Highway, I did not spot a frost heave in time to slow down sufficiently, and drove across it at perhaps 40 mph. I swear the front wheels of the motorhome went temporarily airborne. It could be very bad if I lost control. Yikes!

PS. I need to replace all 4 shock absorbers of the motorhome before I go on another trip.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:23 PM   #11
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I have a friend who ran it a couple years ago! Part of his Kenai to Key West run in 98 days. https://ultrarunning.com/featured/pe...0-mile-ke2key/

Sorry, I know that's probably not the kind of trip you are looking for.
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:46 PM   #12
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The best reading on traveling to and from Alaska is in TheMilepost.com

Wondering who you're going through to arrange driving the Class C back to the Lower 48?
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:19 PM   #13
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The best reading on traveling to and from Alaska is in TheMilepost.com

Wondering who you're going through to arrange driving the Class C back to the Lower 48?
Alaska Motorhome, Inc out of Anchorage. They offer “drive north” in the spring from Indiana to deliver new motorhomes and “drive south” in the fall to take used units to auction (Portland or Sacramento). Flat fee for fixed days (15 north/10 south) with ability to add on some days for a fee.

I need to be in Portland for a wedding anyway in late August next year. No need to haul camper from East Coast and to put miles plus wear on my camper and tow vehicle. Have heard Alaska trip can be brutal on equipment.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:50 PM   #14
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Been there, done that...

In 2015, we rented a 32' RV for 3+ weeks and put over 3000 miles on that puppy...all within Alaska

1. To fill up with gas/diesel, you may need 2-3 different credit cards or a bucket of cash. You credit card may be limited to $75-$100 each fill-up and you may need $300 to fill the tank.
2. You can safely pull off the road at a scenic overlook and spend the night ($0). We also stayed at National Parks ($15 honor system). For waste dump, fresh water, laundry, etc, you can stop at an RV park (prices vary based on services offered)
3. I would strongly recommend extending your time so you can enjoy your trip and see some of the things you will be driving past.
4. Having the Milepost book with you will really help you as it tells you what is available around you at almost every mile marker on the Alaska roads. Since you may not have cell service for a good portion of your journey, hard copy works really well. We got the book when we picked up the RV.
6. Most highways are good quality, but some are just gravel, and they develop washboarding (is that is a word?) and you have to travel extremely slow (7-20 mph) to keep things from falling out of the cabinets, and it may also affect your fillings.

I can answer more either publicly or via private message.
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by harllee View Post
We have been to Alaska in our 30 foot motorhome several years ago and we loved it. But we did it differently than the OP--we were gone 4 months, 2 weeks coming and going and 3 months in Alaska. We took our time on the Alaska Highway, staying mainly in Provencial Parks. The road was rough in places and trucks go too fast spewing gravel. We got zero deductible windshield insurance before we left--glad we did, we had a busted front windshield from gravel.

We loved Denali, well worth the trip there. We stayed at the inside Denali campground for a week. Another highlight--coming back we put the motorhome on the ferry and went down the Inside Passage getting off at each stop for a few days. A great trip.
Were you able to use/sleep in your camper while on the Marine Highway ferry?
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Old 08-14-2019, 06:26 PM   #16
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This couple has been RVing in Alaska for a couple of months now, I enjoy their blog. you may as well.
https://rv-dreams.typepad.com/rvdreams_journal/
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:39 PM   #17
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Were you able to use/sleep in your camper while on the Marine Highway ferry?
Definitely not. You can visit your vehicle only when the ferry is in port. And the propane tank must be turned off, meaning the fridge better be empty.

See: RV and Trailers on the Alaska Ferry, Alaska Marine Highway, Viking Travel, Inc..
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:00 AM   #18
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Were you able to use/sleep in your camper while on the Marine Highway ferry?
No you cannot sleep in your RV while on the ferry. We had fairly short trips since we got off on every island. I think we only had one overnight trip and for that one we rented a small cabin. I think if you have a dog you can go to your RV to check on your dog but I am not sure as we had no dog. You do have to cut off propane so your refrigerator is cut off but that was not really a problem since we did short trips.

We were in Alaska for 3 months and only had 2 reservations for the entire time--one was for the inside Danali campground and one was for the ferry. You really need a ferry reservation, especially if you are getting on and off like we did.

The ferry was expensive (the bigger the Rv the more expensive plus I think getting on and off added some expense). But it was a great trip, well worth the money.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:50 AM   #19
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We put the class C and the towed car on the ferry from Haines to Skagway. The 20-mile trip cost $230 last year. The other option is driving 350 miles.

The roads to Haines and Skagway had spectacular scenery, which we already drove on. Not taking the ferry would mean we had to backtrack these roads. The fuel cost would be the same as the ferry toll.
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:42 PM   #20
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in the 80's I drove a friends van from Portland to Anchorage. So not any recent experience. My only advice? If you see a gas station....stop & fill up. They seemed to be spaced 1 tank of gas apart

Was not the AlCan (do they still call it the AlCan highway?) highway but my favorite stretch was the Fraser River Valley in BC. Just beautiful. I did not have any papers from my friend requesting transport. So the border guards had a pretty good look at the van.
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