PLANNING FOR ALASKA — REVISITED
Dear Julie, See what you started when you asked about your 2012 trip to Alaska as newbies. We received comments galore to our rv.net blog posted November 1, filled with good advice. In case you or any other readers are planning a first-time trek to Alaska, I suggest you check out all the comments, but let’s revisit some of the advice given by fellow travelers.
I think the most important guidance mentioned by many is to spend as much time as possible testing your RV before taking off on an 8,000-mile or more journey. These castles on wheels have come a long way for dependability in the past 20 years, but there are so many systems and so many chances for human error in construction, it’s best to go on the road to check that everything is working – and for the arduous Alaska trip, you want to start out confident that everything is working right.
The second most mentioned suggestion is to see the Canadian Rockies. Commenter John recommended following the Rockies up from Las Vegas, New Mexico. When we make our return visit, we might try that.
I’ll cover informational resources in a minute, but there are two items that came up worth further discussion. One is the Alaskan ferry system along the Pacific coastline and among the islands. We haven’t experienced it, but I’m sure it’s spectacular. What I believe are the two major problems with that are, 1) it’s pricey, and 2) you’ll miss the driving adventure.
On the other hand, if the thought of being miles from civilization and often miles from the next RV on two-lane roads with “frost heaves” scares you, maybe the ferry is the best choice for you.
The other point I want to make is about caravanning. The idea of being regimented and herded along with a group is repulsive to many of us – it was to us until we sat down with a caravan leader (a wagonmaster) and asked numerous questions. We didn’t feel comfortable with what he said, but we contacted a caravanning company and got more information. I suggest for first-time Alaska adventurers you do the same.
Yes, it adds to the expense, but for most itineraries, you’ll go on cruises and visit attractions you would probably pass up because of cost. And there’s added security involved. Plus, if you’re partial to full-service campgrounds, you’ll have that luxury.
Several commenters mentioned informational resources worth checking out. I recommended “Milepost” Alaska Trip Planner in the November 1 blog, which was echoed in the comments.
Other suggestions were:
1) Barbara is an instructor at the RV Owner’s Lifestyle Seminar at Okanagan College in Kelowna, B.C., June 22-25. She describes it an introduction to living in your RV and all aspects of RV life.
2) John has posted three videos about how to travel by RV to Alaska with a free 30-minutes seminar at www.rvadventurevideos.com
3) Two folks mentioned Mike and Teri Church’s ‘Traveler’s Guide to Alaskan Camping.”
4) And don’t forget about the Rv.net Alaska Forum.
We can’t attest to the value of any of these; however, I trust our readers for good recommendations.
Click on the Preparing for Alaska blog again [http://blog.rv.net/2011/11/are-you-thinking-about-alaska/] and look at the comments for more complete information. There were 21 comments at last count, many of which will help prepare you for your “TRIP OF A LIFETIME,” as many of us call the Alaskan adventure.
From the “Never-Bored RVers,” We’ll see you on down the road.
© All photos by Barry Zander. All rights reserved