Your Adventure Awaits
Get lost in the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.
Your Adventure Awaits
Get lost in the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.
The thought of the adventure alone can be a bit unnerving. It takes quite a bit of planning in order to build a trip of this duration and scale. Even if you are an experienced RVer, you most likely have never undertaken a trip of this magnitude, which is why most RVers will elect to spend a great deal of money on Caravans. Please don't. Enjoy your space and your experience in being a visitor, not a tourist. Your first time in Alaska will be a once in a life time adventure. Do it right and enjoy all that Alaska has to offer.
There are plenty of webpages and blogs on the internet that will describe how to plan your trip. Some are posted by the first time Alaskan tourist, others have taken several trips. This page will give you the information you'll need to take the trip with the added bonus of being written by an Alaskan. Why? Because Alaskan's enjoy playing in our own backyard and we travel quite often. And who better to give you travel tips than a local?
The other difference is that this site is designed for women by a woman. The site is for women who have the spirit of adventure who have always wanted to travel to Alaska. I'm putting out the warning now, for any men who may continue reading, some information here just won't pertain to you. Skip past it and ignore it. Most women plan the trips, drive the RV, and arrange the excursions. More women are traveling as singles or are meeting up with other single travelers. My intent is to take the unknowns out of the process to make the experience less complicated. Throughout this website you will find tips, tricks, and checklists to make your trip easier. The goal is to include everything you may find useful to prepare for your summer adventure. At the very least it will answer some of the unexplained questions and relieve some of the trip anxiety we all tend to experience prior to setting out on a big adventure. And when all is said and done, it's nice to know you don't have to be the expert to have an experience of a lifetime.
Anna Bear Observatory, Stikine River Trip,
Salmon and Halibut Fishing, 4th of July Celebration
“To the lover of pure wildness Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world. No excursion that I know of may be made into any other American wilderness where so marvelous an abundance of noble, new-born scenery is so charmingly brought to view as on a trip through the Alexander Archipelago to Fort Wrangell.” John Muir
Over the years, as a single mom, I camped throughout the United States and Canada. More specifically, I've wandered around every nook and cranny in the Lower 48 and every Province in Canada from the shores of Labrador to Victoria Island. Most of this camping was done with a 4WD and a growing son. We would leave for weeks at a time with little more knowledge about the trip than the general direction of travel and a return date, which just happened to coincide with the night prior to the first day of school.
Our dome tent morphed into a Class C Minnie Winnie, then to a full out 40' Class A with all the bells and whistles. I'm not a full timer. I'm not an expert on RV adventures. I've never taught a seminar at an FMCA or Good Sam's Rally. I don't write for motorhome journals. I'm the one who is still a bit intimidated by the size of the rig, who is still trying to figure out how to use all the nifty gadgets, and still silly enough to venture thousands of miles away from home into the unknown for months at a time, not knowing exactly what I will encounter.
Venturing into the unknown with a 40' RV can be a bit unnerving. I grew up during time when Murphy was always just around the corner. "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, at the worst possible moment." To most, Alaska is a trip of a lifetime and generally the initial thought is to be a part of a group, more to ward off Murphy since we have all been led to believe there is safety in numbers. I've attended a series of several FMCA Rallies where most presenters told the crowd of their caravan trips and what to expect. They sell their books, DVDs, and I would imagine, their caravan trips. After listening to the presentations I can't imagine anyone in attendance would be willing to venture out on their own on such a trip. Their portrayal of Alaska is downright scary. It makes me wonder how we all survive up here in the wilderness. My thought is that you'll enjoy yourself much more if you plan for the area you're visiting rather than trying to make it into where you're coming from.
Most people are more of the "fly by the seat of your pants" type of person. They don't enjoy being locked into anything. They want to be able to cancel what once seemed like a great idea and include or extend plans that unexpectedly turn out to be terrific. They don't always know where they want to go until they get there. They're not followers. They want to explore and experience things firsthand. They need to have the space and time to do their own thing at the exact moment they want to do it. This kind of personality obviously doesn't fit well with cruising and caravanning.
You can find itineraries for caravans to Alaska for just about any interest. Caravans are offered both large (20+ rigs) and small (fewer than 10). Every aspect of the trip is planned and reservations secured, from campgrounds to dinner reservations to shows and museums. You and your rig will be accounted for everyday. The tail gunner will save you if by chance something happens along your route. Your wagon master will have a daily written agenda. Never will you worry there may not be a campground for you. Owners know your group is coming weeks in advance and have the date duly noted on their calendars. All excursions will be planned for your arrival. Everything is paid for in advance except for diesel, some meals, and souvenirs. You won't have to worry about a thing.
Cruises and caravans serve their purpose and fulfill a need. They are very well organized and the wagon master and tail gunner are experienced in their travels. After having said this, I find it rather ironic how many people travel to "the last frontier" by way of caravan. Where is the spirit of adventure to explore the great north? Getting lost in conversation with locals is part of the enjoyment. Another problem I have with the caravans is the exorbitant amount of time spent in Canada rather than traveling in Alaska. And I have nothing against Canada. It just doesn't fit the purpose of this trip. This is, after all, our Alaskan adventure.
Most RVers who travel to Alaska spend a lot of time driving the Alaska Highway. You will hear "Make sure you go to Chicken and Eagle." "You have to go to Deadhorse." "Stop in Dawson City." "Drive the Top of the World Highway." No offense intended to these well wishers, but they are not seeing and experiencing Alaska. They are spending a lot of time driving the roads in Yukon and Interior Alaska to the typical tourist destinations. And the reason I think these destinations are always mentioned is because these are the typical hot spots in travel journals and points of interests included in the caravans. Let's break the mold just a bit, shall we? I've lost count of the number of tourists who have said "I just want to say I've been there." If at the end of three months the only thing you have to show for your time spent is a bunch of selfies do your checking account a favor and learn to use Photoshop.
My ideal trip requires 3 areas of interest: to explore, to learn the history, and to meet locals. In addition to these areas, I want to hike, fish for salmon and halibut, and learn about the Native culture. I want to see the bears and enjoy a dinner out. I want to paddle board and kayak. I want to take advantage of my photography equipment at every opportunity. In short, I want to see what makes Alaska special. But first we need to be able to get into those unique areas. Much of Alaska can only be seen by boat or by plane. If you're sticking to a road system, as "outsiders" tend to do, your experiences will be sorely lacking. The Alaska Marine Highway System is perfectly suited for an amazing Alaskan adventure with your RV. I'll tell you more about this throughout the website. Essentially you will be able to explore all of the southeast islands, skipping around with relative ease, eventually making your way to the Kenai, Homer, Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali, Fairbanks, and anywhere else the explorer in you is destined for.
So let's get started. There's a lot to do. I want you to be well prepared for your adventure. If one topic doesn't interest you skip to the next. (Guys who are reading just skip over the obvious female information.) Much of this information has been written for the 50+ crowd traveling with our furry kids in an RV, however this doesn't mean the information can't be adapted to 30 somethings tent camping with children. It means my information won't be kid oriented, but all areas of Alaska are kid friendly and there are plenty of activities available for families. So whether you travel with a 40' RV or in an Suburban with camping equipment much of the information is adaptable.