Alaska Trip? - Luxury Coach Lifestyles
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:54 PM   #1
Brad Townsend
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Default Alaska Trip?

We are in the consideration stage of going to Alaska maybe next year.
Wondering if anyone has taken their newell there.
We are also considering not taking the newell but something small enough to tow behind the Toyota FJ cruiser.
Any input is appreciated.

Brad


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Old 07-15-2013, 11:10 PM   #2
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Well Brad & Karen, It just happens we are planning a trip from Florida to Alaska next year, you are welcome to join us for the whole trip or part of it, whatever works for you. You can read up on it and comment if you like, we are open to suggestions as well. http://www.luxurycoachlifestyle.com/...ach-rally.html
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:35 PM   #3
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I'll keep that in mind. We would be leaving from Yuma az area. Unless I can be convinced the coach would not suffer from rough roads I am currently leaning on purchasing a small trailer like a Casita or an Aliner in order to go off road and camp in free spots. It would be a big change to get used to going from this big rig with shower large fridge, and Freezer. The fuel savings would be huge. Not sure on anything just yet but doing a whole lot of research.
I see you are a former welder/machinist.
I am a former toolmaker/welder and carry with us a Miller Dynasty 200DX which I can stick and Tig. Looking for a nice Mig welder probably will be a miller also but I want it to run on 110 volt. I do a lot of thin stuff in our winter spot in Winterhaven Ca. Just north of Yuma on BLM land where we are off grid for the winter.
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Brad & Karen & Mena
Coach Name BIG BLUE
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1988 40 ft 8v92 TA
2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser,1990 Jeep Cherokee 4/WD now a desert rat
25 ft Haulmark trailer
730 watt solar panels, Full timing.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:29 AM   #4
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Brad, we do plan on taking nice highway, there has been plenty of big rigs that go up there, it should be a good time.
Thats cool you are a toolmaker/machinist. I still go out welding with the truck but mostley in the winter, mostly oil and gas pressure piping and structural welding. I have 3 trucks I try to keep busy, it gives me more time to tinker with toys etc. I also have a 200dx, I have never tried to plug it in to the Newell but I would imagine it would work fine. They are small enough to stash away in a compartment somewhere. Too bad they dont make a cc/cv with ac to tig aluminum and still mig/stick steel, had a 302 gas powered miller that would, but they dont make a plug in machine that I have found that would do everything. I have a lathe and a cnc mill in my shop and use them when the need arises.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:53 AM   #5
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Sounds like you have a neat set up. I miss the trade but it's not like it used to be with the new trade agreements. I do like the fulltime life and am able to work as I need/want to in different places.
We have more folks from Canada in our winter spot than US folks.
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2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser,1990 Jeep Cherokee 4/WD now a desert rat
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:06 AM   #6
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The ALCAN itself is pretty smooth sailing, even the last time I took the Cassiar Trail, it was mostly paved, I believe it must be pretty nice all the way now. Man, are there some nice campgrounds along that route. I seen plenty of big rigs. Now I know some the off the beaten path could be another story. But I guess that would make for some nice day trippin. Just watch out for those feisty little man eating deer flies. Dang, I was running for our vehicle in a hurry when those varmint came attacking. But I love that route. The whole Frazer River is one heck of a nice spoilers run. I enjoyed that place by the Jade mine, it was pretty cool too.
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Old 07-16-2013, 10:01 AM   #7
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I have read that the dear flies are bad. Are they all over alaska? Are they more a certain month? Did you take a newell? Any damage, windshield etc.?
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Old 07-16-2013, 04:51 PM   #8
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The flies were worse going into winter or during the spring and early summer. Late summer and Fall they didn't seem to be a problem. I know one year coming back from Fairbanks in the later part of October going through the Yukon I believe it was a couple hours North of Whitehorse I stopped at a campground where you will see bear of course and long after most RVers have long headed south I experienced the little varmints. I never really got heavily bit by them but I did feel them while others say you don't really feel it. I beg to differ on that. I just finished my business and ran for the vehicle swatting them away. I'll tell ya, when they are not a bother during the summer it is really a fantastic place. Something that locals had told me was they use muskoil to ward them off or I guess DEET will still work. I was also told that they favor running water areas unlike mosquitoes.

In a regular vehicle we didn't have much issue with the rocks flying or damaging anything. But in the Winni Chieftain we did have a screen guard on the front for those portion of the run. Never had any issues with damage there either. The only time I experience damage was in a car while driving up there back in the late 80's and roads have much improved since those days. I'm told its pretty much paved now. Of course the ALCAN will be fine anyway. There is plenty of beauty without going off the beaten path like I'm talking but it's just a pretty cool run.

Never actually made the run a Newell, the Winni was a 36' and was fine.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:07 PM   #9
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Great info Ken. The deer flies are bad in a lot of states. Didn't know they were in Alaska.
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:09 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input. I would like to get off the beaten path and do some Kayaking. We have a 14 ft inflatable.
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1988 40 ft 8v92 TA
2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser,1990 Jeep Cherokee 4/WD now a desert rat
25 ft Haulmark trailer
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Old 07-16-2013, 05:27 PM   #11
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You would have the ability to Kayak galore up there. There are so many great places like the Bonnet Plume and so forth. That would be Kayak or canoeing heaven. Many years ago we had went on a rafting expedition on a portion of the Frazer. Unbelievable adventure. I think I prefer a tad more calm nowadays. Do prefer rougher waters or the more calm of the lakes and quieter river areas?
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:31 AM   #12
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Born and raised in AK, I've traveled that route many times. In my opinion it's best experienced in an RV, anything smaller and you just want to rip the bandaid off. My fastest run was less than 48 hours nonstop Seattle to ANC.

Amenities are well marked but often seasonal- sometimes a hotel or fuel station is shut down for a few months out of the year. That can gum up the works, as sometimes you have a couple hundred miles to the next one. The internet has helped a bit, as you can easily find B&Bs through trip advisor, etc. but you can't count on cell reception for a good portion of the trip, so planning ahead is essential. Now you can rent Sat phones on the cheap, which wouldn't be a bad idea if it's your first trip.

The road itself has been paved for some time, but maintenance is forever lacking. The worst part is typically a five mile stretch near the border. Potholes are one thing, but we get earthquakes up here, as well as flooding rivers. A few years back I went into a corner at 65mph and found half the road missing partway in. I was able to swerve into the opposite lane, but no road crew had marked the area yet. If you are heading north in June, July or August you should be able to find a spot between the constant line of RV's and caravan up in style. All the Frost Heaves will have settled down by then, and most road work should be attended to. I once lost a rear window to a frost heave- it was big enough where the front wheels left the ground, the back window shattered on impact. Now I watch for tire marks in front of frost heaves- the big ones have skid marks from the wheels locking up in air, then leaving a mark upon touchdown. By late spring most are marked with orange flags. If you watch for the flags you should be fine. I drove up with a friend from Ohio once who couldn't see the color orange, for whatever reason. He left his exhaust, cat-back on the highway.

Other than mechanical trouble, you should watch out for wildlife- most the big rigs up here have bumpers with bull-bars that extend a good seven feet up to cover the front well, as well as "moose lights." Again, if you are traveling up in July, by the time you get far enough north to hit a Bison or a Moose, it'll be light 20 hours a day. I've never hit anything, but I don't outdrive my headlights or stopping distance. I've braked for moose more than I can count.

Rock chips are going to happen, a chipped windshield is called an Alaskan windshield. Add the coverage to your insurance and take it off when you get back home, or just factor the cost of replacement into the trip.

It's a fun trip to do slow. Hit the hotsprings up north, stop a lot to have lunch and take pictures. If you are an early riser you will see much of the wildlife between 4 and 6 am. I once counted a bear, wolf and herd of deer all in one morning's stretch of road. It's much more tame than it used to be, but with the fact that much of it is still remote and Murphy's Law combined, it pays to be prepared. I'm heading down in April to prep my rig for the trip North from PHX. If I can get everything worked out, I'll head north this spring. If not it'll winter another year down south.

As far as things to do the sky is the limit. You mentioned watersports. I'd suggest a packraft from Alpaca Rafts. It won't take up much space, and you can hike with it, inflate and then kayak around. It really opens up the possibilities, esp when you want to see the real Alaska. Fishing is huge, so it has to be mentioned. With a full freezer of fish heading south, you can compensate for some of your trip expenses. I can walk ten minutes from where I am now and catch a Red Salmon all summer long... we have crab, snapper, cod, halibut all here on the Kenai Peninsula. I've never had a winter without fish in the freezer, it costs me the time spent, which most people would consider therapeutic. There is a lot of boating, salt, swiftwater or lake. The trips out of Seward allow you to see the Glaciers up close and the marine life, killer whales, etc. You can leave your coach in ANC and take the train up to see Denali. Keep us updated and if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:57 AM   #13
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Sounds awesome!!!
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Old 04-05-2015, 02:59 PM   #14
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Were planning a trip up there in July,
Ill have to stock the freezer!!
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