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Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

Lawrence, Kansas
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Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

Thanks to the input of many posters my wife and I have scheduled our Alaska trip. I am 74, my wife 60. Some minor back issues will limit hiking, though I expect we could comfortably walk a mile or so. We have rented an RV and our main interests are photography, viewing wildlife, and just seeing the magnificent sights of Alaska.

The purpose of this post is to outline our itinerary, and to get advice on anything we may have given too much time for, or any "don't miss" sights we may have overlooked. So....

6/10 arrive, pick up (2:30) and provision our RV then drive to Talkeetna.

6/11 K2 Aviation Grand Denali tour 9:00 a.m. Afternoon hang out in Talkeetna

6/12 Drive to Denali. Drive the public area of the road, check in to our campsite.

6/13 Shuttle bus to Wonder Lake

6/14 Free day in Denali. Perhaps a shuttle to the visitor's center

(The trip to this point is booked, though the last day in Denali could be cancelled if necessary)

6/15 Drive to Fairbanks. Dinner with a friend of my wife.

6/16 Drive Richardson Highway to Glennallen. 250 miles/5 hours driving time)

6/17 Drive to Valdez. Hang out in Valdez

6/18 Lulu Belle cruise to see glaciers/wildlife

6/19 Drive toward Seward. Overnight along Glenn Highway, view Manatuska glacier

6/20 Arrive Seward

6/21 Kenai Fjords tour--Either Captain's Choice, or Northwest Fjord. Input?

6/22 In/around Seward

6/23 Drive to Homer

6/24 Explore Homer area

6/25 return to Anchorage for overnight

6/26 return RV 4:00 pm. Leave for home at 11:30 p.m.

If time could be found I would like to consider a fly/drive to McCarthy/Kennicott. It seems that the most flexible parts of our schedule are the 3rd night in Denali and the final night in Anchorage. A glacier cruise and the Kenai Fjords tours are high priority for us, so we don't want to eliminate them.

So, back to the essential question; Have we allocated enough time or too much time to the elements of our trip? Am I missing some great vista or attraction?

Thanks to the wonderful posters who give so much of their time giving guidance to folks like me.

Anchorage, Alaska
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1. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

You've a comfortable schedule with time built in for seeing the many sights at and in-between your listed destinations.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

>>>6/16 Drive Richardson Highway to Glennallen. 250 miles/5 hours driving time)<<<

Not likely to be a 5 hour drive! There are a lot of sights to stop to see along the way. I don't recall being able to do 50mph average when we did that drive by RV in 2010.

Lawrence, Kansas
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3. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

Yes, I realize that. I was noting driving time. I expect I will take more like 8 hours to make the trip. Would you agree, or do you think it will take longer?

USA
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4. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

6/25 One thing Anchorage does not have is decent campgrounds or even RV parks.

You might want to consider Williwaw campground on the trail of blue ice down by Portage for that last night. Reservations needed. Great location for seeing Portage glacier.

Another option is Eagle River campground just north of Anchorage which also takes reservations.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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5. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

>>>Yes, I realize that. I was noting driving time. I expect I will take more like 8 hours to make the trip. Would you agree, or do you think it will take longer?<<<

Eight is about right. As I recall our trip that would be about what the drive took in the reverse direction. (We overnighted near the junction of the Glenn & Richardson (Boardwalk Estate RV Park for $20 including full hookups & free wifi) and had dinner plans for 6pm in Fairbanks.)

I'm not sure what the views will look like driving in the opposite direction, but assuming you have the Milepost, you shouldn't miss the best views along the way.

If you are interested in reading about our RV tour, I did blog from the road every day or two . . . bennettsgreatalaskanadventure.blogspot.com/ . Lots of photos included.

Edited: 05 May 2013, 19:38
Lawrence, Kansas
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6. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

Timeshare Von, I did look at your blog, including photographs. What a great trip you had. I hope ours is as full of scenery and wildlife as yours seems to have been. What is SCCL? I am interested in bear viewing, so any information you could share would be appreciated.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

SSCL = Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clark Nat'l Park . . . only accessible by plane from either Anchorage or Soldotna. Day trips for bear viewing run about $600pp and overnights about $800 (including overnight lodging and meals). If you are thinking about doing a bear viewing fly-in trip, you should seriously splurge for the extra $200pp for the overnight trip.

There are a number of threads here on the AK forum if you do a search.

Wasilla, Alaska
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8. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

Instead of the Valdez drive to Seward--can you do the Alaska Marine Ferry from Valdez to Whittier, then drive from Whittier to Seward. I've taken my mom & my inlaws separately on this loop including the Valdez to Whittier ferry and they loved it. The marine ferry is cool, relaxing & you get to see huge chunks of ice floating around your boat--plus not driving for that part of the day. Arriving in Whittier is beautiful and the drive through the Whittier tunnel is unique. Then you are off to Seward.

SEWARD: I would upgrade to the best Fjords tours you can manage--it is truly beautiful and most of my family & friends count is a one of their favorite sights. Major Marine & Ciri both offer great cruises. Take the larger boats for more stability and easier cursing.

HOMER: The drive to Homer is long--save some energy for this. But well worth the trip. RV right out on the spit. The one farthest down the spit has a bathhouse with hot showers.

I'm wondering if you could overnight in Girdwood on your way back & just drive in to the airport & RV drop off without having to overnight in Anchorage. Maybe wouldn't work with your RV return date. Anyway, the Millenium hotel is incredibly close to the airport if you want to turn your RV in & enjoy a nice night in a comfy bed and you need a night in Anchorage. Good food & they've just renovated. Awesome views from their deck & lounge of the floatplanes landing on Lake Hood. It might also be really close to your RV return location.

Have fun!

Lawrence, Kansas
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9. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

Embult, thanks for the suggestions. I've looked into taking the ferry from Valdez, but it's just too expensive with the RV. I'm couinting on our drive across the Glenn Highway and our overnight stop near the Mantuska Glacier will compensate for the long drive.

We are leaning toward the Captain's Choice cruise out of Seward. It is a 9 hour trip that caters its route to photographers and birders (we are the former, not the latter). It limits capacity to 16 or 18 people, which appeals to us. We realize the trade-off may result in a rougher ride but hope that won't be too bad for us. Our alternate is the 9 hour Northwest Fjord tour.

I am looking forward to a couple of nights on the Homer spit, and appreciate the recommendation on Girdwood. I will probably take your advice and overnight there for our last night out.

I appreciate your input.

Edited: 06 May 2013, 12:51
USA
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10. Re: Sanity test of 16 night Alaska RV vacation

This is the closest campground to Girdwood:

…alaska.gov/parks/…birdcreekcamp.htm