Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thoughts on traveling in Alaska

I'm sad to see my Alaska adventure come to a close.  There is so much to see and do, and I'm anxious to return someday but at a much slower pace.  There were many places I would have liked to stay longer, like the Keni Peninsula or Anchorage, but with so much to see and do it is hard to judge time.  I met one RVer who had taken two whole summers to see Alaska.  He traveled one summer in the Northern areas and when I met him in Anchorage he was exploring the south and south eastern areas.  This sounded like a good plan if one has the time. 

I’m really glad I had a smaller RV (26’), because many of the Provincial Parks and State Parks in Alaska easily accommodate 30’ or smaller.  Larger rigs (like Bill’s at 35 plus ) are a little more challenging.  When I return, I think I would like to have a truck with a camper slide.  There were many places I could have explored but didn’t.  

For the most part the roads were paved. Some parts were gravel and others  had terrible frost heaves, but these were rare.  All but one of the dirt/gravel roads we took as side trips were suitable for passenger cars.  There was only one road where I was glad I took the Jeep, and that was because there were stream crossings.  
Free dry camping gets a little more difficult in parts of BC.  There are few places to pull off and often rest areas are posted "no overnight camping".  The Yukon was a little easier at the beginning of my adventure, but towards the end I noted new signs posted with no over night camping at the rest areas.  
Many of the visitor centers in BC are only open week days, which I found odd since BC really pushes tourism.  
Cell coverage in the Yukon is terrible; I have AT&T which was really bad  in the Yukon but Verizon seemed to be just as bad.  BC was a little better for AT&T but not much.  Add the North American Plan when entering Canada.  Most providers charge a small fee and will prorate the subscription.  It is well worth the $8-$10 extra.  You can turn it off just before leaving Canada. 
Internet is sketchy.  I found free internet advertised, but it usually was dial up and extremely slow.  A few places I actually paid for internet.  Some libraries have free wifi but in the rural areas the library has internet but only on their computer and no wireless or wifi.  In BC, Safeway usually had free wifi.  Some of the visitor centers had wifi also. Air cards are expensive, usually $2.00 per MB in addition to the regular month fee.
Gas is very expensive, averaging more than $4.25 a gallon in Canada, and about $3.30 in Alaska.  
The Border crossings were uneventful, but if you have a pet be prepared to show current rabies vaccination paperwork.  The Canadian Border Patrol asked for Sadie's, but US Border Patrol so far haven’t asked so see the paperwork.  Although all of the information I read stated a health certificate would be required, I was never asked for it, even though I had one for Sadie. 
Liz and I had trouble getting cash out of some of the Canadian “ATM” machines.  Apparently some were private and not affiliated with a bank and would give cash based on a credit card with a PIN number...basically a cash advance.  Those ATMs affiliated with a bank were no problem.  Most establishments in BC and the Yukon took US dollars.  Some gave change back in US currency and some in Loonies.  Rarely did they bother with an exchange rate, mainly because it was so close.  Liz had trouble with debit cards in some of the stores  in the Yukon and ended up using credit cards. I carried very little Canadian currency and used a credit card with a good exchange rate most of the time. 
Traveling with a group can be challenging.  We were lucky in finding a congenial group of four to travel with even though our interests weren’t always on the same page.  But, the main thing was the size of the group.  Four is a good number and we were lucky because we had two smaller RVs (26’) ONE 29’ one 35’, and three toweds.  More rigs  and longer rigs  would not have worked as well, as it was it was sometimes tricky to find pull outs that would fit all of us, and turn arounds were not always available for the longer rigs. We were very lucky that when ever we needed a campground we were able to find four sites. In any event, less is more in this case.  

Finally, no trip to Alaska is complete without purchasing the Mile Post  .  It was invaluable.  I also purchased Camping in Alaska by the Church's which proved very valuable in finding camp sites when we needed them.  Another resource was the Escapee's Days End. Planning is important but I'm one not to over plan too much because then I over schedule myself.  Research enough to determine priorities and then be flexible..a very import word.

So as I posted before I'm off to a rural farm which will be a whole different type of adventure.  

1 comment:

  1. If I ever go to Alaska, I'm just going to print out your blog. It's been excellent!