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Old 08-28-2016, 02:23 PM   #1
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Location: Lexington, SC
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A few questions for seasoned RV'ers, especially Alaska travelers

I have a few questions for seasoned Class C RV owners, especially those who have made the trip to Alaska. First, a little background info: We retired in 2010 and took up RV' ing as our principal pastime. We began ambitiously with a 42' Keystone Raptor Toy-hauler thinking that we would have a lot of company. We matched that with a Ford F350 Dually Diesel and I became pretty proficient at driving it. The problem was, we didn't have the company,we were restricted in many places as to where we could get into. I didn't feel comfortable hauling this for great distances so our longest round trip has been probably 1600 miles. I had about 3 years experience with it. This year was our 50th anniversary, I offered DW a cruise to Alaska in celebration, but her, having a morbid fear of boats, stated that she would prefer to drive in an RV. We sold the Raptor and the truck and ordered a new FR Forester 3011DS which just arrived in July. So far we have taken one 8 day shakedown cruise to learn the ropes and make sure everything is working properly. We are planning our next trip next week and when we return, we will add hardware for a Toad (baseplate to our Jeep Patriot and Tow-bar, Patriot Brake System). I have never flat-towed a vehicle before. We are beginning to plan that trip to Alaska next year. My questions:

How critical is the experience factor on a trip like this? Are we being overly ambitious to plan a 10,000 mile or so round trip (we live in SC) with our experience level?

We don't know what we don't know and are planning the trips that we can, before an upcoming winter and an early spring to gain more experience, particularly over mountainous terrain. In your opinion, should we defer this trip an extra year in order to acquire more smarts?

How late would be too late to make this trip during the summer? We would like to sightsee for a week or so.
We welcome any and all replies from our RV family. Thanks!

We are in our early 70's and in relatively good health. My only concern is my road knowledge.

Dave Hammond
2017 FR Forester 3011 DSF

2013 Keystone Raptor TH
2013 Ford F350 Dually TV
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Old 08-28-2016, 02:58 PM   #2
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You'll need to do a little prep work, but you'll have a ball.

Order a Milespost book. And start planning over the winter.

The kickoff for tourist is about Memorial day weekend. If you plan on about two weeks before that, you'll catch most stuff open. If you go to early, nothing is open.

Read the article I wrote:

Not your Father’s Alaska Highway | Alaska

Then you can follow our day by day driving:

Alaska | Alaska Trip Log

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Old 08-29-2016, 06:31 PM   #3
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You'll need passports to cross through Canada so don't overlook those.... Plus - you MUST declare all guns on board.... If you don't and are caught, things can get nasty....

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Old 08-30-2016, 11:51 PM   #4
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Declare all guns or just don't take them at all? I get conflicting stories, but the general consensus us you can't take handguns into Canada...period. If anyone has a different experience, I sure would appreciate hearing the details. We want to make the Florida to Alaska trip but I'm just uncomfortable without some form of personal protection on board.

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Old 08-31-2016, 11:00 PM   #5
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I carry a Guardian 12g pump shotgun loaded with buckshot.... Stopping power for most critters - two and four legged.... Plus - there's just something about the sound of a shell being jacked into the chamber that makes all butts pucker...

Also - it won't shoot through 3-4 other rv's like a glock will....

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Old 08-31-2016, 11:27 PM   #6
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Canada Customs regs

Take a good look at the Canada Border Services Agency website for the latest on what can and cannot be taken into Canada.
My nephew did not and because he had military equipment that they prohibited he got into a heap of trouble.
Wife and I took the Inside Passage cruise out of Vancouver, B.C. last month to Anchorage and had a blast. Gave us a taste of what we want to do in a couple of years when we retire and make a similar drive.
Enjoy the planning and the journey.

Chris in Virginia
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Old 08-31-2016, 11:40 PM   #7
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I don't know how we got off on guns but.. if time is not an issue then the distance of the trip does not matter. Each day you travel a little farther. You said you did a 1600 mile round trip excursion. Well it was only 1600 miles because you turned around at 800 miles. This time turn around at 3000 miles. Go for it. Do your planning and just enjoy the trip. I envy you!
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Old 09-01-2016, 01:17 AM   #8
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We drove to Alaska with our Crusader 270RET fifth wheel towed by a Ford F150 Supercab 4X4 with heavy payload option. This was our second trip, first was to South Carolina from Ohio. It was a 3 month (May-August)15,000 mile adventure. We stopped at several places on the way, including Custer State Park, SD, Yellowstone, Mount Saint Helens, Seattle, up 97 to Dawson Creek, the start of the ALCAN. Spent about a month in Alaska, highlights were Glacier boat tour out of Whittier, halibut fishing in Homer, Denali, Chicken AK on Top of the World highway on the return trip through Dawson City. Drove down to Skagway (tourist town). I recommend driving down 3 out of Haines Junction to Haines, beautiful views and Haines only allows one cruise ship a week, so not tourist trap. There was a food trailer across from the post office in Haines called Big Al's that had a halibut dinner for $11 that was great. Return trip took us down 37 with a stop at Stewart BC/Hyder AK, short drive to Salmon Glacier (photo attached) and the was a bear viewing boardwalk at Fish Creek. Salmon normally run in early August when we were there but they were late so we didn't see any bears in Hyder.

We drove about 300-400 miles a day and campgrounds were easy to find as well as gas but gas was expensive, highest was $7.75/ gallon at Mucho Lake.

I second the Mile Post for information. Roads were pretty much paved except for frost heave areas maybe 30-50 miles total except for Top of the World highway which was almost all gravel.

Enjoy your trip and enjoy the scenery.
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:36 AM   #9
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Posts: 632 That is a blog that is well written by two couples who went to Alaska this summer. You will learn a lot of information by reading it. When we go we want to go with one other couple for the safety aspect. You will need a generator if you go and take a space heater too in case you loose your heater. There are many other blogs on the internet that address trips to Alaska, so read those too. You will be glad you did!

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Old 09-01-2016, 05:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ernest917 View Post
.....there's just something about the sound of a shell being jacked into the chamber that makes all butts pucker...
How eloquent..... and how true. Stopped more than a couple bad guys while working with only a backward and forward motion of the slide. A sound like no other.


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