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Old 08-19-2014, 03:56 PM   #21
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Definitely absolutely interested!!
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:17 AM   #22
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There is some discussion on the web about going N on the Alaskan Highway and coming home on the Ferry. Also, the tour groups, although pricey, may be the solution to seeing all there is to see
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:28 AM   #23
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We are interested. At our age, this will be our only trip to Alaska and would prefer to take all summer. No need to rush a trip of this magnitude.
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:35 AM   #24
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One of the things you're paying for with the guided tours is their research. If we are willing to do that for ourselves , there is a savings in cost. Also - the tours are in it to make a profit. I think we have enough time if we start now to lay out a good itinerary.

While we had proposed a redwood convoy, I think we might also consider other individuals that are friends that might want to go. I have a very good friend for instance that owns a Tiffin Allegro Bus that is also a HVAC tech and good all around wrench.

Topics for consideration:
When to go - we've heard that it's best not to enter Alaska prior to June 1st. Also, it's best to avoid the construction period for the road repairs that take place every year.

Duration - we've heard anywhere from 6 - 12 weeks.

Where to stop, how long at east stop, how long to travel each day?...

Can't speak for anyone else, but we're looking to take our time and to stop and smell the roses along the way.

Tracy and I will be attending the Hershey show in a few weeks. They've had seminars on RV'ing to Alaska in the past and I'm hoping that this will be repeated. If so, we'll collect whatever pearls of wisdom we can and share here afterward.
So a couple of the upside points to the organized tour is local knowledge and having everything laid out for us. I can justify the price based on them covering the camp site costs and the activities as well as the cost of the guide, which if good could be priceless!

That said the down side issues are many. Looking at the tours daily itinerary they move a lot. We too want to smell the roses and have learned the hard way to not move every day. Case in point our first 3 month trek in Australia (Sydney to Cains) we moved sites every other day, give or take. After a while we adopted a rule of thumb that for every travel day there needs to be at least 2 tour days. So drive 1 day, stay 2... Drive 2 days, stay 4... Of course rules are meant to be broken and always have exceptions, but the concept for us still works well.

With the tour posted, they have some extended stays like in Fairbanks but have most days on the move. This can be really bad if there is something that we want to see but gets weathered out the day we are there. We have in many situations either extended our stay or departed early based on weather and other circumstances.

About the redwood convoy, we as RW owners may be starting the convoy but we don't see a reason to limit it only to redwoods. That said I think something needs to be said about having a rig that is in good travel condition and of course people that have the same travel desires working together vs. different travel ideas working against each other. Of course that's just our opinion.

Duration - I think that depends on when you start the clock and are there points that people can join and depart along the way. We were thinking boarder to boarder would be in the 12 week range. Again back to our first Sydney to Cains trek we followed the weather. As things warmed up we headed north. I think the same thing applies here. I would also say I'd like to be as north as possible for the summer solstice 6/20/2016 to experience the longest day possible but that desire may not be supported by weather or road conditions. (This is a nice to have not a need to have) You know what they say, there are two seasons in Alaska, winter and road constructions.....

We are also interested in starting the Alaska trek with a travel up the pacific coast. Basically leave Nashville head west on the I-40 and when we hit the Pacific ocean take a right and head north. So much to see and do heading up the coast through California, Oregon and Washington. We also have some friends in the Vancouver and Emerald Sea area in Canada that we'd like to spend some time with. All said and done 5 months door to door (Nashville) isn't out of the question.

Where to stop, how long and how far - Again I have to go back to our Australia treks. I think a longer travel day and a longer stay at a place is more enjoyable for us. Organizing day trips from a base camp is less stressful than always being on the move. This is one of my reasons for getting my pilots license. I don't know how much flying I will be able to do, but renting a plane and flight seeing is certainly an option.

Piper guy looking forward to you sharing what you learn in Hershey and any other resources you think we
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:54 AM   #25
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Good post and a good way to look at the travel.
Michelle and Ann are on a guided tour as we write this. Will be interesting to get their feedback and opinion.
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Old 08-20-2014, 01:35 PM   #26
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Ken - great post.

Firstly my experience of Alaska is entirely from cruise ships, albeit fairly extensive. I completed 2 seasons while Navigator with Princess Cruises back in the 70's and lately we have completed a number of cruises mostly in June. From this experience I know only too well the extremes of weather and how quickly it can change. June 2014 we had 95F in Skagway, but have also seen fog, heavy rain, gale force winds and even almost snow.

The organised tours are generally rigid with the scheduling and due to potential weather changes would not be our preference. In the northern climates you really have to maintain a flexible schedule.

Crossing Canada to the Rally we did the travel 1 day followed by a rest (tourist) day. This schedule was not conducive to seeing the countryside and we do not believe it is sustainable for a 3 month period. Therefore, we agree a 2, 3 or 4 rest days is required for each travel day.

Land of the midnight sun - back in my cruise ship days I always wanted to get the annual Baltic cruise and work Midnight to 0400 in daylight, alas it never happened. However, we have been in Whittier (Anchorage) a few times about June 21st and it still gets about 3 hrs of semi darkness. I estimate the Arctic Circle (66N) to be 90 to 120 miles North of Fairbanks.

Regarding the return by ferry option, this is something I have already researched. You can pick up an Alaska State ferry in Skagway and about 2.5 days later be in Bellingham. Downside is the cost - about $70 per foot, plus cabin and also we would have challenges with the dogs and cat, as they must remain on the car deck.
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Old 08-20-2014, 02:18 PM   #27
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This is our dream trip and are very interested in doing this.

However have to have a couple of days between moves to just catch your breath and give opportunities to take in other things of interest that may not be on the schedule. Also despite the best of maintenance and preparedness things happen and having a couple of days of not having to move would be good
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:06 PM   #28
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Rhonda and I were planning on Alaska for 2015 or 2016
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:56 PM   #29
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First, let me say that this is coming from Piper Guy's Gal (Tracy). I tried to register so I could speak in my own voice and not ghostwrite through Vaughan, but I'm getting an error message that refers to spam and my country. WTH? Okay, we'll deal with that later.

My thoughts on our Alaskan adventure are this: this trip is not a race. And we are, as Redwood likes to point out the baby boomers. I don't know about the rest of you, but my back and hips can only endure so many hours in the dually at a time. What I foresee is a couple of days of driving, during the hours of say 10 & 2 or three, with a couple of bathroom breaks along the way, for ourselves and our canine companions. And yes, we travel with cats and a dog so we'll have to keep that in mind also.

Maybe 2 or 3 days of trekking, followed by a few days rest at a location to rest and explore. A great deal of this will depend upon finding suitable campgrounds that can not only accommodate our "big rigs," but that can accommodate what I hope to be several of our big rigs. This will require considerable time with planning and research, but I think I can say that at least both Ken and I have an interest in doing that.

There are other considerations. I personally would like to see everyone travel with two spares (need Piper Guy to chime in on that one) and Coach.net, Good Sam's or another reliable service company. It's probably a wise idea for everyone to have a generator or a good battery bank (that was Piper Guy chiming in).

I'm sure there will be plenty more to discuss, but it's nice to know that there is interest and that, at least for the most part, we are pretty much on the same page with how we envision this taking shape.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:49 AM   #30
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I was talking with a guy while we were camping in Maine that has been on tours to Alaska. He said that the way that they did the tours was......

They took off in groups so everybody could travel at their own pace within reason. They all didn't start off on the same day but they all ended up at the same place. The fast movers started out first and then called back to the others so they knew what to expect while in route.

In each group they had some handy people that helped put things back together that broke. Tires and springs apparently the most troublesome on the RVs. This way if someone in the first group had issues, they knew another group of friends would be along to help too.
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:49 PM   #31
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I would be willing to look at the trip as my wife and I have talked about it for a couple of years.
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Old 08-22-2014, 01:40 AM   #32
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We're in too
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:56 AM   #33
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Thanks all for supporting this concept. Iím starting to feel like this is growing legs and may soon stand on its ownÖ.

Hereís what I hear the consensus building so far and some of my own questions/ideas:
- Organized/Structured tour not desirable because we want to (1) have flexibility on the schedule (2) have more tour time to travel ratio.
- Even with our own schedule we need to figure at least a 2 or even 3/1 tour/travel ratio to make this enjoyable all around
- There needs to be a minimum coach equipment list and support requirement to be part of the caravan but so far I donít hear any push back that it has to be Redwood only. Personally I donít see any reason why a non Redwood Coach canít join our trek if they wish to, but they need to be prepared to be more pro-active on the support side for their coach (more on that later in the post)
Iíve been thinking a lot about Piper_GALS post and support all what she says with the understanding that all rules have exceptions. More specifically Iíll throw out:
- Everyone having 2 spares gets me nervous about the road conditions and start me thinking more Iíll upgrade my coach to ďHĒ tires + Mor/Rid IS + 8k axles, but that would be my choice. I fully understand we are taking on a HUGE liability heading north, but as a group can we manage that better then everyone using the limited towable weight hauling 2 spares? Perhaps as a group we can organize everyone having 1 spare and then for each 3 vehicles we have another spare to be used as needed. There will be plenty of other cargo such as water, fire wood, frozen food, that can be distributed so not everyone has to haul 2 spares.

- Regarding the generator, Iíll say first I have already provisioned our coach with a battery bank that should power the coach w/ our usage for a week off the grid and have the ability to charge it using solar and a gas generator for extended stays. I am just now figuring out water requirements to dry camp but this begs the question, will we plan on boon docking or just jumping full hook up to full hookup? This is something we need to decide before we can figure how to lay out the route or perhaps we have off shoot routes for those who want to dry camp and those that donít.

- Does anyone have any sense how good coach.net, triple ďAĒ or Good Samís is in Alaska? We should do some more research what services they provide up there. At the moment we travel with all 3, but that is more by chance than planning.
This is complicated but not undoable. If people are willing to all work together and understand we wonít plan the perfect trek we have something that could be amazing!

Next step for me is to gather the people we have so far responded and see how many people we have. Once we establish that perhaps we can start to leverage these resources and delegate some of the research.

Now we need is a team name. All Iíve got is ďAlaska Redwoods 2014Ē, any other thoughts?
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Old 08-26-2014, 01:50 AM   #34
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We would be interested in joining the trip.
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:11 AM   #35
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I am in the process of doing some more detailed planning. Will post things as things progress but let us know if you are interested in joining so we know how many rigs to plan for.
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Old 08-26-2014, 04:24 AM   #36
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I think one thing that needs to be determined is right off the bat how much travel time is it going to take to get to the destination and back............just driving days/mileage. Then you could use that figure to determine how much free time one would have, because I think you need to have an overall trip window of not much more than 90 days...........Does that seem reasonable. Depending on how long the drive is might influence how much free time you would have to fit into the available weather window.........Just a thought
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Old 08-26-2014, 01:45 PM   #37
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Jim,

Are you thinking of 90 days doors-to-door?

Ken and I have been doing some preliminary research. We're going to work on mapping out a trip that allows for a comfortable travel pace. One of the things we're discussing is aiming for a June 1st starting date in Dawson City, Yukon. One of the points I've come across in the research is to be alert to highway construction work, which takes place every year. We may have to tweak the actual date once we see how severe the 2015-2016 winter is.

We will be coming from Baltimore. I would love nothing more than to take our time working our way to Dawson City and seeing all the sights along the way. But as I had mentioned to Ken, we don't have the luxury of taking an open-ended trip at this time. With that in mind, I plan on our leg to DC being as quick as we are comfortable doing and saving the bulk of our time for the caravan.

~ Tracy
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Old 08-27-2014, 12:53 AM   #38
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Tracy - I'll chat with the Marilyn when we get to Indio in November and get her recommendations, but when we discussed an Alaska trip with her last winter, I believe she said June 1st to Sept 1st, give or take a few days, for crossing the Alaska/Canada border.

She has lived in Alaska for many years.
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:09 PM   #39
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Great idea Dave and Ginny! They do bike rides the same way with the faster riders starting earlier!
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Old 09-02-2014, 07:12 PM   #40
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Lot's of variables for the groups...

some have 100 gallon fuel tanks, some have 26 gallon, some drive 40, some drive 60 (or more )

some equipment is sufficient, some is not

the crossroads forum has a guy that just got back, may not be all inclusive, but some good points --> http://www.crossroadsowners.com/foru...5104#post85104
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