Just a Dream for Some - An Awesome Camping Trip for Us

Every time we tell somebody that we drove to Alaska in the summer of 2015, camping all the way for 106 days, they brighten up, listen to our story, and then say, "We want to go there". Yes, everybody wants to go to Alaska, someday. To many fellow campers, it may be just a cool idea or even a fantasy, a dream, realizing that a proper Alaska camping trip is going to take a long time. Maybe too long. Let's face it, if you're a working stiff, you will need to take a lot of time off from work and have an emplorer who is willing to hold your job until you get back; if you get back. Oh, and you may have forgotten how to do your job. You'll be exhausted, broke, and lost part of you mind caused by exposure to too much daylight in the land of the "Midnight Sun". The beautiful scenery will definately mess up your eyesight for a long time and cause you to daydream a bunch. But, it will be worth it!

Of course, there is the quick way to get to Alaska via a cruise ship. That kind of trip is over too fast and you really won't see Alaska, but you will get a chance to visit the most popular gift shops and pick up Alaskan souveniers made in China. Actually, there are a lot of nice arts and crafty stuff available from the local folks. Now, I'm pretty sure that this kind of trip (for two) will cost about the same as our camping trip and you can tell everybody , "We went to Alaska". Not the same!

Anyhow, another way to get there is to fly into Anchorage or Fairbanks, rent a car and do a road trip thing. Or start from home in the lower 48 and drive lickity-split the whole trip, staying at motels, eating in restaurants and stopping at all the tourist traps along the way. These kind of trips will require a boatload of cash unavailable to old folks like us. So we decided to go for the cheapest plan and rough it, so to say, and do the whole camping thing. We are gluttons for punishment and camping is our thing anyway with over 42 years of outdoor fun with our little 1973 Lark trailer that we bought new. You just can't beat the awesome accomodations that God has laid out for us.

Our Camping Trip to Alaska and Back - June, July, August, September, 2015

Just click on the links below to follow our adventures. Be sure to read the Planning and Preparation page so that you know who the main characters are and all the stuff we took with us. The text on these pages was written by both Alan and Diane. You can probably tell who wrote what. Diane doesn't use colorful language.

Week 8 has a small map showing the location of Homer. This was an experiment to see if I can make maps. It seems to work. I'm not promising anything here, but keep an eye out for a complete set of maps. Here we are in 2018 and I am still editing this site.

Where the hell is Alaska anyway?
Alaska Map

Well, Alaska is about 4500 miles from Detroit.
It's big. Just drive northwest from Michigan and you'll run into it somewhere beyond Canada.

Did you know that the U.S. paid Russia an astronomical $7.2 million for Alaska in 1867? The oil companies make that much money in about 3 seconds. That purchase deal is known as Seward's Folly. But, just think about the millions in gold that Alaska made available and all the Alaskan movies and TV shows like Northern Exposure (which was actually filmed in Roslyn, Washington). Folly? I think not.

Russia didn't want Alaska because it was too far away, 55 miles, and building a vodka distillery there was too much trouble. Besides, they already had plenty of mountains with bitter cold weather and lousy cellphone reception.

All Americans should visit Alaska at least once. It became our 50th state on January 3, 1959. But, travel the lower 48 states first and don't just go to Alaska on a cruise ship and brag that you were in Alaska. Spend at least a month there. Better yet, make it two months. It's expensive, but the locals need the money to fund another reality show about the hardship of living in Alaska.

Did you know...
Alaska's official motto is "North to the Future"
Good news, there is no Poison Ivy in Alaska
It is illegal to wake a sleeping bear
The moose is the state animal and it is illegal
  to push a moose out of a moving airplane

Here's a good one for you, let's drive to Juneau.

Alaska's state flag was designed by a 13 year old student in 1927. This is an interesting story.
Alaska flag

Alaska Trip Travel Log Index

It will take you a long time to read this entire log.
Click on the Week # button to go to that page.

The Plan ~ It's all in the planning and preparation

Maps ~ The route we took to Alaska and back to Michigan

A Week by Week Summary of our major stops at points of interest and the 75 different campgrounds where we camped. It's not just about the destination, Alaska, but a lot about the journey there and back.
The yellow highlighting below shows that we were in and out of Alaska three times for about five weeks total.

Week 1 ~ Days 1 to 4 - Wednesday, June 3 to Saturday, June 6
Wednesday afternoon - started from home
Camping at Otsego Lake State Park, Otsego, MI
Fumee Falls, Quinnesec, MI
Camping at Apostle Islands View RV Park, Baywiew WS
Amnicon Falls, Amnicon State Park, WS
Big Manitou Falls, Pattison State Park, Superior,WS
Camping at Pattison State Park, Superior, WS
Lake Superior Railroad Museum, Duluth, MN
Camping at Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton, MN
we drove 792 miles this week
Week 2 ~ Days 5 to 11 - Sunday, June 7 to Saturday, June 13
Swinging Bridge, Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton, MN
Source of the Mississippi River, Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, MN
Camping at Long Lake Campground, Detroit Lakes, MN
Viking Ship, Hopperstad Stave Church, Hiemkomst Center, Moorhead, ND
World's Largest Buffalo, Frontier Village, Jamestown, ND
Two nights Camping at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, Mandan,ND
Salem Sue - world's largest cow, Salem, ND
Assumption Abbey, St. Mary's Church, Richardton, ND
Enchanted Highway metal sculptures, Regent, ND
Wild buffalo and horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
Camping at Cottonwood Campground, Theodore Roosevelt NP, ND
Downtown Medora, ND
Camping at Fort Ponderosa RV Park, Belt, MT
Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Great Falls, MT
Giant Springs, Roe River, Giant Springs State Park, Great Falls, MT
Two nights camping at Fish Creek Campground, Glacier National Park, MT
we drove 1453 miles this week
Week 3 ~ Days 12 to 18 - Sunday, June 14 to Saturday, June 20
Drive up Going to the Sun road, Glacier National Park, MT
West Glacier shopping, Belton Railroad Station, Glacier NP, MT
Two more nights camping at Fish Creek Campground, Glacier National Park, MT
Izaak Walton Hotel and railroad station, Essex, MT
Two Medicine, Glacier National Park, MT
Park Cafe, St. Mary, MT
Camping at Johnson's of St. Mary Campground and RV Park, St. Mary, MT
Many Glacier Lodge, Glacier National Park, Mt
Border crossing into Canada - start of no cellphone service
Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Provincial Park, AB
Downtown Waterton Park, AB
Two nights camping at Townsite Campground, Waterton Provincial Park, AB
Red Rock Canyon and Cameron Lake, Waterton Provincial Park, AB
Lundbreck Falls, Lundbreck Falls Provincial Recreation Area, AB
Downtown Banff and Bow Falls, Banff Provincial Park, AB
Two nights camping at Tunnel Mountain Campground, Banff Prov Park, AB
Cave and Basin Hot Springs and the HooDoos in Banff, AB
we drove 574 miles this week
Week 4 ~ Days 19 to 25 - Sunday, June 21 to Saturday, June 27
Samson Mall, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, Banff Provincial Park, AB
Lake Louise Railroad Station and Restaurant, Banff Provincial Park, AB
Camping again at Tunnel Mountain Campground, Banff Prov Park, AB
Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Mistaya Canyon, Banff Provincial Park, AB
Camping at Wilcox Creek, Jasper National Park, AB
Columbia Icefields Discovery Centre, Athabasca Glacier, Sunwapta Falls,
Athaabasca Falls, Maligne Lake, downtown Jasper, Jasper National Park, AB
Camping at Wapiti Campground, Jasper National Park, AB
Mount Robson, Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC
Ancient Forest, highway 16, BC
Two nights camping at Bee Lazee RV Park, Prince George, BC
Camping at Riverside Municipal RV Park and Campground, Smithers, BC
Skeena Valley Information Centre, Hazelton, BC
Camping at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
we drove 1041 miles this week
Week 5 ~ Days 26 to 32 - Sunday, June 28 to Saturday, July 4
Visit Stewart, BC, and then Hyder and Fish Creek, AK, first time in Alaska
Camping a second night at Meziadin Lake Provincial Park, BC
Camping at Watson Lake Campground, Yukon Territorial Park, YT
Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake, YT
Camping at Yukon Motel & Restaurant Campground, YT
Cross the border into Alaska, Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Haines, AK
Two nights camping at Haines Hitch-Up RV Park, Haines, AK
Haines Packing Company, Haines, AK
Camping at Cottonwood RV Park, Kluane Lake, YT,
Camping at Sourdough Campground, Tok, AK
we drove 1461 miles this week
Week 6 ~ Days 33 to 39 - Sunday, July 5 to Saturday, July 11
Four nights camping at Bear Creek Cabins & RV Park, Valdez, AK
Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery, Keystone Canyon, Thompson Pass,
Worthington Glacier, Lu-Lu Belle Tour, Original Valdez Townsite, Valdez, AK
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Visitor Center, Glennallen, AK
Camping at Tolsona Wilderness Campground, AK
Musk Ox Farm, Palmer, AK
Camping at Mountain View RV Park, Palmer, AK
The Reindeer Farm, Palmer, AK
Farmers Market and Festival, Elderberry Park, Anchorage, AK
Camping at Ship Creek RV Park, Anchorage, AK
we drove 738 miles this week
Week 7 ~ Days 40 to 46 - Sunday, July 12 to Saturday, July 18
Earthquake Park, Kincaid Park, AK
Camping a second night at Ship Creek RV Park, Anchorage, AK
Camping at Bird Creek Campground, Girdwood, AK
Pan for gold at Crow Creek Mine, Girdwood, AK
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Portage, AK
Camping at Williwaw Campground, Portage, AK
Water wheel, Moose Creek, AK
Two nights camping at Stoney Creek Campground, Seward, AK
Alaska Sealife Center and downtown Seward, AK
Russian River and Falls, west of Cooper Landing, AK
Camping at Kelly Lake National Forest Campground, Hwy 1, AK
The Dreamers Woods, Sterling, AK
Camping at Ninilchik State Park, Ninilchik, AK
we drove 423 miles this week
Week 8 ~ Days 47 to 53 - Sunday, July 19 to Saturday, July 25
Cook Inlet scenic pullout, Ninilchik, AK
Two nights camping at Homer Spit Campground, Homer, AK
Homer Spit Maritime Junkyard, Homer, AK
Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center, Homer, AK
Potter Marsh, Anchorage, AK
Three nights camping at Golden Nugget RV Park, Anchorage, AK
The Alaska Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Farmers Market & Festival, Ulu Factory,
Ship Creek, Anchorage, AK
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Museum Headquarters, Wasilla, AK
Camping at Riverside RV Park, Houston, AK
we drove 434 miles this week
Week 9 ~ Days 54 to 60 - Sunday, July 26 to Saturday, August 1
Talkeetna, AK
Camping at Byers Lake Campground, Denali State Park, AK
Denali State Park, AK
Camping at Denali RV Park & Motel, AK
Dog Kennels, Denali State Park, AK
Camping at Denali View North, Denali State Park, AK
Four nights camping this week at Tanana Valley State Fair CG, Fairbanks, AK
Creamers Field, Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center, Farmers Market,
Tanana Chief dinner cruise, Golden Heart Plaza, Farmers Market, Pioneer Park,
Georgeton Botanical Garden, Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Fairbanks, AK
we drove 584 miles this week
Week 10 ~ Days 61 to 67 - Sunday, August 2 to Saturday, August 8
Pioneer Park and downtown Fairbanks, AK, again
One more night camping at Tanana Valley State Fair CG, Fairbanks, AK
Rika's Roadhouse, End of the Alcan Highway, Delta Junction, AK
Camping at Tok RV Village, Tok, AK
Chicken, AK
Camping at Top of the World (Best Camping ever), YTtwinkle
Yukon River ferry boat crossing, Diamond Tooth Gerties, Dawson City, YT
Four nights camping at Bonanza Gold RV Park, Dawson City
Midnight Dome, Crocus Bluff Park, Outhouse Race, Dredge No.4,
Sternwheeler wrecks, Farmers Market, Dawson City, YT
we drove 486 miles this week
Week 11 ~ Days 68 to 74 - Sunday, August 9 to Saturday, August 15
Gravel Lake, Stewart Crossing, Pelly Crossing, YT
Camping at Tatchun Creek Territorial Campground, YT
Five Finger Rapids, Montague Roadhouse, Braeburn Lodge roadhouse, YT
Camping at Fox Lake Territorial Campground, YT
Whitehorse, Carcross Dessert, Carcross shopping, YT
Border crossing from BC into the US
Downtown Skagway, AK
Two nights camping at Pullen Creek RV Park, Skagway, AK
White Pass Yukon Route railroad trip, Skagway, AK
Border crossing back into Canada
Carcross again, YT
Emerald Lake, Annie Lake, YT
Two nights camping at Hi Country RV Park, Whitehorse, YT
Yukon Beringia Centre, world's largest weather vane, SS Klondike sternwheeler,
Worlds longest fish ladder, old log church, skyscraper log cabin, Whitehorse, YT
we drove 588 miles this week
Week 12 ~ Days 75 to 81 - Sunday, August 16 to Saturday, August 22
George Johnson Museum, Teslin, YT
Camping at Big Creek Territorial Campground, west of Watson Lake, YT
Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, Muncho Lake, BC
Camping at Triple G Hideaway (worst camping), Fort Nelson, BC
Kiskatinaw wooden bridge, Kiskatinaw Provincial Park, BC
Camping at Kiskatinaw Provincial Park, BC
Pioneer Village, Milepost 0 of the Alaskan Highway, Dawson Creek, BC
Wood carvings in Chetwynd, BC
Camping at Tudyuh Provincial Park, BC Two nights camping at Bee Lazee RV Park, Prince George, BC
Railroad Museum, Prince George, BC
we drove 1189 miles this week
Week 13 ~ Days 82 to 88 - Sunday, August 23 to Saturday, August 29
Camping at Cultus Lake Provincial Park, BC (last night in Canada)
Border crossing from BC, Canada into WA
Two nights camping at Cougar Rock CG, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
Christine Falls, Narada Falls, Mystic Falls, Paradise Inn, Mt. Rainier
Camping at Ohanapecosh Campground, Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
Camping at Mossyrock Tacoma Power Park, Mossyrock, WA
Mt. St. Helen Visitor Center, Seaquest State Park, WA
Mulinomah Falls, btw Corbett and Dodson, OR
Camping at Cascade Locks KOA, Cascade Locks, OR
we drove 1006 miles this week
Week 14 ~ Days 89 to 95 - Sunday, August 30 to Saturday, September 5
Bonneville Fish Hatchery, Bonneville, OR
Camping at Willamette National Forest Campground, OR
Two nights camping at Mazama Village CG, Crater Lake National Park, OR
Two nights camping at Meridian KOA, Meridian, ID
Craters of the Moon National Park, ID
Camping at Snake River RV Park, Idaho Falls, ID
Camping at Colter Bay Campground, Grand Teton National Park, WY
we drove 1291 miles this week
Week 15 ~ Days 96 to 102 - Sunday, September 6 to Saturday, September 12
Jackson Lake boat tour, Jackson Lake Lodge, Grand Teton National Park, WY
Five more nights camping at Colter Bay Campground, Grand Teton NP, WY
Day trip to Yellowstone NP, WY
Signal Mountain Resort, Jenny Lake Lodge, Moose, Dormans, GTNP, WY
Drive thru Yellowstone National Park, WY
Old Trail Town, Cody, WY
Camping at Buffalo Bill State Park, Cody, WY
Stampede Park rodeo, Cody, WY
Camping at Ponderosa Campground, Cody, WY
we drove 416 miles this week
Week 16 ~ Days 103 to 107 - Sunday, September 13 to Thursday, September 17
Camping at Green Tree's Crazy Woman Campground, Gillette, WY
Wall Drug, Wall, SD
Badlands National Park, SD
Camping at Belvidere KOA Campground, Belvidere, SD
The Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD
Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, SD
Camping at Olson Park and Campground, Worthington, MN
Camping at Starved Rock State Park, IL
Drive home
we drove 1678 miles this week

Summary and Comments ~ Interesting tidbits and comments about this trip. Inquiring minds want to know.
How many Campgrounds did we stay at?
How many miles did we drive?
How much gas did we buy?
How much did the trip cost?
What about Canada (who cares)?