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Old 07-05-2015, 08:58 PM   #1
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Default alaska etc.

as some of you may know i have a cat with auto immune issues and diabetes. the vet won't give this cat any more vaccinations of any kind. so we were stumped about ever going to alaska.

However since my second cat can't seem to take traveling we have decided to board them when traveling. this solves several issues including worrying about leaving them in the van. we would not have considered this(ok the wife wouldn't) but now with these additional issues she has come around.

So Alaska-here we come-next year hopefully. anyone taken the ferry to anchorage.

we think we would take it from washington to alaska-and drive back thru canada. whats the best time of the summer season to do this?
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:04 PM   #2
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July and August. June is still road repair for frost heaves and bug bites. September tails off fast to winter by mid September. We drove up and back in 2012. First order of business is buy the Milepost book. It covers every mile up and back through Canada and it covers just about every highway in Alaska. Buy used or check out at a library to familiarize yourself with it and to do some preliminary planning. For the trip get a new copy (published yearly) after about April as things change. We may go again next year.

BTW, driving up the Alaska Highway is much more exciting than driving back. It was a camaraderie adventure with a few other Class Bers we meant at the Mile 0 Campground in Dawson Creek. We all went our separate ways and different routes and 5 days later we showed within the hour with two other Bs at the end of the highway visitor center. Some we would see if we stopped at the same campground. Nothing was planned.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:15 PM   #3
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thanks David. have you ever taken the alaskan ferry from or to washington?

are campgrounds in alaska always booked. although i plan to boondock some we actually like campgrounds and use them at least 1/2 the time. do you need reservations?
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Old 07-06-2015, 02:38 AM   #4
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Davydd:
Were you comfortable driving a Sprinter up to Alaska? Seems like if one of the dreaded "10 starts" messages were to appear, you'd be in for a real problem!
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Old 07-06-2015, 02:55 AM   #5
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We took a ferry from Skagway to Haines, Alaska but that was just a short leg of a trip. Keep in mind you cannot stay in your van on the ferries. It is not all that pleasant. If you book ahead you can get a sleeping room otherwise you'll be resting on the floor or in chairs. It is no cruise ship. We did take a Holland America cruise once from Seward, AK to Vancouver over a week's time before our B days. That was enjoyable.

There is so much to see up and down. Going up we hit the cities of Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Edmonton and Calgary. We also went through Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper which is part of the Rocky Mountains. Then we got to the Alaska Highway, deviated to Skagway, ferry to Haines and back up to the Alaska Highway to Fairbanks. Then down to Denali, Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. We spent about a month on all the paved roads. On the way back we went to Chicken, AK and over the On Top of the World Highway to Dawson City, Yukon. We rejoined the Alaska Highway at Whitehorse but then got off again at the Cassiar Highway that goes straight down through British Columbia. We backtracked over to Hyder, AK you can only get to through BC. There we saw the brown bears and spent 3 days observing them. It was actually more remote than the Alaska Highway. We came back through the USA in Idaho and spent a week in and around Glacier NP before heading home via Yellowstone and the Black Hills. Our trip was about 11 weeks and 10,500 miles.

We made no reservation other than about a week ahead for Denali NP once we knew when we could arrive for sure. We lucked out otherwise and had no problems. I would recommend trying to make reservations at Banff and Lake Louise. Jasper was no problem. The Alaska Highway was no problem. Alaska itself was no problem finding camping. Boondocking at turnouts and rest stops is acceptable. In Canada you could have some problems getting into campgrounds in and around July 1 Canada Day. We had to leave a campground after staying two days because it was booked for Canada Day.

Most campgrounds in Alaska are glorified parking lots in Anchorage, Seward, Whittier, Homer and Valdez. Fairbanks and Tok has some good private campgrounds. Denali NP was the best as far as wilderness feel goes. My favorite town was Talkeetna. Great food and it was the model for the TV series Northern Exposure though the TV show was shot in Roslyn, WA (been there too.) If you have boondocking capabilities you have many more options.
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Old 07-06-2015, 03:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Davydd:
Were you comfortable driving a Sprinter up to Alaska? Seems like if one of the dreaded "10 starts" messages were to appear, you'd be in for a real problem!
Not really a problem. We had to add DEF in Jasper. They had a NAPA store that sold it. Other than that I never had to check. If you top off starting out and top off at opportune times you should have no problems. Diesel integrated with the car pumps is a lot more common on the way up in Canada. They recommend always driving on the top half of your fuel tank just in case but we found service stations readily on the Alaska Highway and in Alaska. The toughest area was the Cassiar Highway in British Columbia. It was the least developed. We definitely stayed topped off there. BTW, the Milepost is worth every cent you pay for it and more.
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Old 07-06-2015, 04:48 AM   #7
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Hey Davydd... I didn't know that Saskatchewan is a city. This board is so educational!! LOL
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Old 07-06-2015, 10:50 AM   #8
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David. Are the mosquitoes as bad as reported? If so ; What was your approach ?
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:26 PM   #9
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Hey Davydd... I didn't know that Saskatchewan is a city. This board is so educational!! LOL
Saskatoon. I type as fast as I talk. I see this software doesn't allow you to go back and edit after a period of time.
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Old 07-06-2015, 12:31 PM   #10
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David. Are the mosquitoes as bad as reported? If so ; What was your approach ?
It depends on your perspective.



Actually in mid-July through August they were not as bad as they were made out to be. It may have been a drier year. We were prepared with our mosquito clothes and netting but never used them.
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