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Old 03-15-2019, 05:05 PM   #1
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Traveling from Washington state to Alaska

We are currently traveling the USA. We are headed for Alaska through Washington state. We are asking those who have traveled to Alaska for their advice on which routes to take. We have plenty of time as we will be there for the summer. Our plan is to return through Montana or close to it. Your advice will be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 03-15-2019, 05:06 PM   #2
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We will be driving a 40 ft Berkshire motor home.
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:52 PM   #3
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I went through Sweet Grass Montana when I went in 17 to Alaska, I want to go back one more time
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:04 PM   #4
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look at the Alaska Marine Highway System....
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:27 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice

We are traveling in a 40 ft motor home so traveling by ship is not possible for us.
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:33 AM   #6
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I believe that if you check, they do accept Motor Homes.
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:59 AM   #7
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just travel north and eventually connect to the Alaska Highway at Dawson Creek...
-the start of most any travelers entry into the Alaska experience

- there's really only two ways in or out of mainland Alaska
- either the typical Beaver Creek Yukon entrance...
- or, as we went in, thru Dawson City, with a free ferry over the Yukon river, and on to the US Border check, and into Chicken AK...

We came out a different way, though -
-went out Beaver Creek,
-down to Haines AK, to the Alaska Ferry port
-boarded our coach on the ferry(backed in!)for a short and comfortable 45min ride over to Skagway, a beautiful Cruise ship port,
-and out thru Haines Junction Yukon(overnighted at the Million Dollar Fall Campground! you gotta try that!)
-and down thru British Columbia(oh my, Beautiful!)
-thru Jasper, Banff, and eventually Calgary
-and out into Montana at Glacier National Park... Idaho hwy 92 is beautiful, too, try it!


while this is WAY oversimplifying the travels, and it took us two full months, with only 9 days of that actually in the interior of Alaska, it gives you a suggested 'path', if you'd like to try it... what an experience!

- have a night at Walmart in Whitehorse - it's a campground!
- try the Laird River hot springs and campground, you won't regret it!
- stop thru at the NORTH POLE, where Santa sometimes rests, near Fairbanks
- catch a helicopter ride to the tundra mountain near Denali
- stay overnight at Cabellas in Anchorage, everybody else does!
- travel south on the Seward Highway #1 to Portage rd, and the 2 1/2 train tunnel(!) into Whittier, the most beautiful and picturesque sea port you'll ever see
- come back out, and right over to the Byron Glacier - one of the few you can actually easily hike to, and climb right on! Amazing!
- on your way 'out' of Alaska, drive the Million Dollar highway from Haines Junction YK to Haines Ak, and on the ferry for a short ride over to Skagway, where you can debark and stay overnight right next to the Cruise ships and restaurants and shops...
- leaving Skagway back into British Columbia is a trip in itself! These beautiful and majestic mountains will blow you mind! Wow!


and this doesn't even really touch on where you'll be MOST of your trip - Canada!
It's gorgeous, and requires a whole 'nother page of suggestions!
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:11 AM   #8
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now, from a planning point of view - don't overestimate the drive time ... you'll not be doing 65mph thru Alaska, or even most of Canada once you reach BC and the Yukon - this is 'heave' territory, and pay attention and respect the little orange roadside flags telling you to SLOW DOWN! an average of 40mph or less is to be expected much of the way .... if you plan too many miles per day between stops, you'll stress yourself out... the beauty of Canada and Alaska is slow, take it very slow.... there may be times of boredom in some stretches, but believe everyone who has traveled these paths - it's WORTH it!

Plan some stays at some full service campground, plans some overnights at many of the low-cost provincial no-frills campsites(many are beautiful!), and plan for nights at picturesque roadside 'pull offs', as there are plentiful, and RVs are welcomed.
But, also don't get too many advanced reservations, as this can help to pressurize your daily travels. Calling ahead a day before, or even the morning of, is usually plenty of time as most campgrounds or rv parks are not necessarily 'full', even with this being the travel season for most RVs.
There are many mom and pop type rv parks, many provincial or state campgrounds, and even many city or regional campgrounds - some with full hookups, others with partial, and some with none.

Use your generator, make use of your Solar for the 24hours of daylight, and don't be adverse to being off-grid - this gives you a lot more options and less 'worry' about where to park for the night. In any cities, like Fairbanks and Anchorage, or those in-between, RVrs are generally very welcomed, and expected - parking lots tend to have numerous RVs of ALL shapes and sizes!

And, just so you don't think that you're too 'big', or you're too 'small', of an RV, you will see even those who are traveling Alaska on BICYCLES! They have a tent for overnighting along the way, and carry their food and belonging in the backpack - we even saw some folks WALKING!
But, yes, every type of RV, hand-built even, or motorhome or travel trailer or fifth-wheel, or customized van - you'll see EVERYTHING!


No one is off limits to the wilds of Alaska.... enjoy : )
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Old 03-16-2019, 10:11 AM   #9
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Itís been 20 plus years so donít know if they still make it but but used to be a book called ď Milepost ď a very detailed book on the AK highway. I was young and always in a hurry. Bought the book thought it was cool but other than flipping thru it when I went to the bookstore to buy it. I never used it but loaned to some friends who swore by it
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Old 03-16-2019, 01:09 PM   #10
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Be advised that "Break-Up" (Spring Thaw), starts next month. As such, the roads will be in rough shape, i.e. muck, mires, washouts, heaved roads and slides. It will take the highway crews the better part of the summer to put them back together. Your travel speed will be greatly reduced and you may encounter delays due to road repairs. The traditional route is via Dawson Creek, BC, but there are other routes. Pick up a copy of the newest Milepost publication, and read it. Yes, you can take the Alaska Marine Highway (Ferry System) to Haines, AK, but you miss the majestic Canadian Rockies. Another thing, it is not uncommon to encounter snowfall around Haines Junction, YT during the month of May.

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Old 03-16-2019, 01:11 PM   #11
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The Milepost 2019 was just published this month. Amazon has it.


We're also planning a first-time trip to AK. Haven't planned the route yet, but will leave from Kalispell, MT in May and return from AK to CA (would like by a different route) before the winter weather hits the road back. We plan for leisurely travel so we can savor the experience. We want to boondock as much as we can.


Tips are appreciated. Thanks.


And, thanks to srcull for starting this thread!
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Old 03-16-2019, 02:44 PM   #12
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Those passing through Dawson City can stop and visit with Tony Beets of Gold Rush fame. Pick up a few new swear words.

Only thing I hear from those who've driven to Alaska is to make sure you have a couple of spare tires and be prepared to end the trip with a broken windshield.

When my work took me to Alaska back in the 70's and early 80's I saw a lot of motorhomes with improvised windshield protectors. A frame attached to the front bumper with a metal mesh fastened to it. The screen hinged in the middle so it could be lowered much like an old WWII jeep windshield. The owners would put the screen up when they were driving the unpaved sections or sections under repair. Much of the windshield damage can be prevented by driving slower and not following too close to other vehicles (especially trucks) but nothing can be done to prevent damage from oncoming vehicles, especially trucks that merely use the posted speed as a suggested speed.

Lastly, make sure suspension is in good shape. Loose king pins/ball joints/tie rod ends will take a beating. Ditto for springs and bushings. If it's bad or starting to loosen up before the trip you may not get home without repair.

While working in Alaska I drove from Anchorage over to Tok and even being on paved roads it was a real experience flying across a frost-heave that was installed during the previous winter. Some will put plenty of air between your backside and the seat.
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Old 03-16-2019, 03:35 PM   #13
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Yes sir-ee, just because the speed limit sign says 55 MPH, it doesn't mean that you can do 55 on that road! Heaves and cracks will use up your rig and your tires real fast!
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Old 03-16-2019, 04:01 PM   #14
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their are essentially 4 ways to reach Alaska by RV from Washington State. by the Marine Hwy on the Ferry and yes they do take RV's. Then their is Hwy 5 just east of Vancover to Hwy 97 north to Hwy 16 that turns into Hwy 37. Yo can also take from Washington out of Osoyoos Hwy 97C to Hwy 5 in Canada and g further east thru Kamloops to Hwy 5 north to Hwy 97 and all of these take you thru Watson Lake where you have the choice of then going west either thru Hwy 1 or Hwy 4. You can also take from Calgarly and Edmnton Hwy 2 to 43 heading north and return this way ending up in Mntana and Helena. Enjoy - its a fantastic trip. Be aware traveling thru the Yukon past Watson lake of the road closer to Carmaks of extensive road heave where suggest you reduce your speed to 15-20 mph. Beware these roads are all heavily traveled with 18 wheelers who do not slow down much. Enjoy its a great trip and you have a choice of taking a different watk going up to Alaska most of the way to the Yukon and returning a different route (two ways on returning.
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Old 03-16-2019, 06:19 PM   #15
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I made the trip from MA in 2014 and went up the Alcan (Alaskan Highway) and returned on 37. I recommend you just reverse that. If you do 37, make sure you do a side trip to Hyder/Stewart to see the bears and Salmon Glacier. Loved that trip and it's calling me again.
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:02 AM   #16
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I live in Eagle RIver Alaska, suburb of Anchorage and have traveled the ALCAN for years in a car, PU and My RV. I would second everything on here so far including the advice of getting the book "milepost sold regularly and annually a new version each year. I would even agree on the ferry as an excellent adventure. get a cabin though because you are only allowed in the vehicle about 2 tie s a day to check on pets etc. but from Whittier or haines it is a pleasant 3-4 day cruise thru mother nature. I have done it 2 ties, though I wouldn't advice early april do to storms. May was flat and beautiful. Weather is everything here in AK. June is beautiful and sunny, July starts some rain, Aug starts turning to fall , and sept is fall with oct either season, and don't even think of having a great ride in nov,. It is the urn of slush in day light (4-5 hours) and freezing at night especially in the rocky mountains. Ice on rear wheel drive is pucker season!! Done both, now in later nov thru Jan when it is really cold below freezing (I did -28 for the whole trip) the road is great except for blizzard conditions. Worst road 90 % of the time is when road crews are constructing and fixing the winter damage (heaves). Tae it slow and enjoy the scenery and lots of animals. Buffalo, goats, caribou, elk bears, wolves, etc.
Try the cassier Highway (hwy 37) for one way in and out really beautiful and not as boring as fort nelson gas fields, but it bypasses Dawson creek and fort nelson. Page 10 of the Milepost book.
Start from mid may and visit til mid sept and bring your fishing pole, its a once in a lifetime visit. This post has been great advise and if you need more info drop me a phone call 907-862-4094 or email 05pickjr@gcci.net
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Old 03-21-2019, 03:03 PM   #17
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Traveling from Washington state to Alaska

We went in 17 and had a great time. I didnít take extra tires, I didnít have any tire issues, got a chipped windshield but nothing bad. The truck had def problems but that wonít happen again. We stayed in full hookups. We only made one reservation two months ahead and wish we had not made that. I had two copies of Milepost and didnít open either one the entire trip. We had a great trip. I wanted to return this year but I may wait until next year. When we go again there are some other stops we plan on doing. I want to drive to Coldfoot when stopped in Fairbanks. Also maybe drive to Circle, also take a river cruise. We went to Seward, a great campground is the city campground. I want to visit Homer, I want to fish for halibut. I want to drive Top of the World Highway just maybe not take my Cedar Creek. On the way back I want to take a detour. We drove Highway 37 coming back. This time we want to take Haines Junction to Haines ride the ferry to Skagway back to the Alaska Highway. Then to Highway 37 to Hyder/Steward to hopefully see the bears. I plan on staying three months. I thought the highways were really good in Canada and really bad in Alaska. I was stationed in Alaska in 1973 and we drove back home from Alaska on the Alcan. I was stationed at Fort Greely at Delta Junction. I went on post and everything had changed but one thing, Fort Greely was the Northern Army Test Center and they tested a atomic generator for generating electric power. We had a great time. If you get the chance by all means go
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Old 03-21-2019, 03:58 PM   #18
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And just one more tip . . . when things break down or you need stuff take advantage of Amazon.com (Prime Member) in concert with the USPS's General Delivery Service. We used it at least a half dozen times . . . just decided where we were going to be a week out and shipped goods to the nearest P.O. Even though we gave it a week for shipping, the goods always arrived beforehand. Great service especially when you need stuff outside of Anchorage, Fairbanks, Palmer, Eagle River, etc.
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Old 03-21-2019, 04:40 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by spock123 View Post
... I was stationed at Fort Greely at Delta Junction. I went on post and everything had changed but one thing, Fort Greely was the Northern Army Test Center and they tested a atomic generator for generating electric power. We had a great time. If you get the chance by all means go
Ft Greely has undergone numerous reorganizations & realignments since the early '90s. At one point is was scheduled for closure under BRAC until the idiots in D.C. realized that closing it probably isn't in the best interests of National Defense. The Cold Region Test Center (CRTC), still operates, but the premier unit is the active Missile Defense Battalion. Alaska has always been a strategic location for missiles. The old abandoned Nike-Hercules silos are all over Alaska.
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Old 03-21-2019, 04:59 PM   #20
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The military would have probably had a hard time removing that atomic reactor in Greely. There is a lot of things that donít work right at 60 below zero. We didnít even count the temperature unless it dropped below 40 below zero. I enjoyed my time at Fort Greely, I had a blast. DW caught cabin fever, she didnít like the outdoors.
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