Summary and Comments for our Camping Trip to Alaska in 2015


The following is random as all get out and in no particular order whatsoever. You may find it useful.

The Campgrounds

High on the list is the fact that we spent 106 nights camping in 75 different campgrounds. I have a list of all the campgrounds that I will get posted here someday soon.

How Many Miles

We drove 14,154 total miles on this trip, give or take a few feet, which includes all of the extra miles driving around the northwest states for about three weeks before coming back to Michigan.

We kept track of all Expenses.
The trip cost us a total of $11,336.33. For what you may ask? Well, here is a breakdown of our expenses:
$955.27 for admissions to zoos, museums, the reindeer ranch and all other places that charged an entrance fee
$3883.34 for truck driving expenses: gas, two oil changes, road tolls, etc., which brings us to about 27½ cents per mile
$2440.60 for camping expenses which boils down to about $23 per night. Not bad at all. There were a few free nights.
$1545.39 for souvenirs which included a lot of tee shirts, caps, and a couple of jackets

Pictures and Movies

We took over 15,500 pictures and (only) 85 movies (not including what Gregg and Gale took). Of course, everybody wants to see our pictures so I created a 2874 picture slideshow out of all the pictures which takes a stupid amount of time to go thru. We lost a lot of friends. Just kidding.

Lots of flat tires - Not

We had no flat tires. There are a lot of stories on the internet about the really bad roads and how everybody blows out tires. Well, I'm thinking maybe they are just bad drivers with bad luck. Yes, we traveled on miles of gravel roads, especially in the Yukon Territory, but, for the most part, the gravel sections were well graded, and considering the remoteness., were not all that bad.
BTW: We had two new tires and rims for the trailer that collected dust in the back of the truck.

The Alaska Highway (a.k.a. Alcan)

The 1387 mile long Alaskan Highway is very good from end to end. Yes, we drove the entire length of this highway for bragging rights and it must be on everybody's list of highways to travel. Despite all the BS out on the internet about how bad this road is and all the flat tires you will get, this highway is smooth and worry free. It was originally built by Americans in 1942 and now maintained by Canadians who do a wonderful job keeping it in great shape; much better than Michigan roads.

Gasoline

We never ran out of gas. Gregg actually ran out on the entrance ramp to a gas station. I lent him some petro to help get his motorhome up to the pump. The price of gas in Canada is high, but not terrible considering it needs to be trucked such a long ways. The highest price was less than six bucks a gallon US. The price of gas in Anchorage was fixed at $3.27 at ALL of the gas stations. We got gas at Sam's Club (or was it the baked beans).

Are We Lost?

We didn't get lost too many times. Just enough times to call us human. Besides, making a wrong turn showed us the other side of whatever.

Are we there yet?

We traveled into and out of Alaska three times. That's, like, crossing the border six times. We traveled into and out of British Columbia more times than we can count. Heck, we crossed the border between BC and the Yukon Territory seven time in one forty mile stretch of highway east of Watson Lake. We didn't know it at the time because there were no "Welcome to BC" or "Welcome to YT" signs which just keeps up with the Canadian tradition of keeping the signage to a minimum or none at all, maintaining a nice clean look.

The Best!

The best night of camping was at Top of the World in week 10 on Tuesday, August 4, 2015. As a matter of fact, that was the best night of camping ever for us. It is hard to describe how quiet it is there with absolutely no sound producing devices for a billion miles around. We are always asked, "What was the best, most memorable part of the trip?" Yep, this was the Best. And about sixty miles down the road is Dawson City. Truly a favorite. Oh, and we won't forget the best espresso milkshakes from Valdez.
I think, maybe, this section will grow with a whole list of bests.

Let's beat the crap out of the Trailer...

Our trailer suffered a lot of front end damage caused by our truck picking up gravel and slinging it at the trailer. Stupid me should have installed mud flaps on the truck before we left. I won't make that mistake again. Yes, we are thinking , just thinking about doing this trip again. The trailer got a rework and now sports nice diamond aluminum on the lower part of it's front end. Cool!

Lack of Yogurt in Canada

The Canadians haven't quite caught onto the wonderful properties of yogurt just yet. Their yogurt section in the grocery stores is about three feet wide and the cost per small serving container is well over a buck. But it's a Canadian buck.

Campgrund Showers in Canada

Most of the Canadian campgrounds charge extra for showers. Be prepared to pay a Looney or two for a short shower. How short? I don't remember. Something like five minutes. Anyhow, I understand the need for pay showers with all of the homeless transients wandering around Canada looking for something free like a roof over their head, a meal, and a shower. It's a liberal thing.

Canadian Money

While traveling thru Canada, keep a couple hundred bucks of Canadian money in your pocket to pay for camping and other cash-only expenses. Why not pay with US currency you ask? Well, all Canadians love our money because it's worth more and they refuse to give you the exchange rate which is somewhere around twenty-five cents on the dollar. Oh, they will all tell you that they don't know what the exchange rate is. Bull. They know and they will happily pocket the 25% windfall. Use a credit card whenever you can for every purchase and let the credit card company figure out the exchange rate for a small fee.

Must Have

Purchase a Good Sam membership to use for a discount at a lot of campgrounds and at Pilot gas stations. We saved a bunch on this trip that paid for the membership a couple times over. I think it was always 10% and a lot of times they didn't even ask for the membership card.

The Pipelone

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline is a must see and we did see and touch. Read all you can on the internet before you go. There is a great Wikipedia page that tells all. This thing is really cool (at least I think so).

Cell Service

In Canada, what cell service? There's nobody living way up there so there are no cell towers. Alaska was a different story. My story is long and I will put it here sometime soon.

Crazy bicycle people

Crazy bikers in the middle of nowhere trying to prove something. Whoever said it was a good idea to ride a bicycle in the middle of the highway in the fog? Oh, maybe if we ride together in a large group the cars won't run us over. Stupid. Here we are about 200 miles from the nearest town and, Hello!, another fool on a bicycle. Wow, he's in great shape! He'll look good in a coffin.

Canada is Huge!

BC is almost 1.4 times larger than Texas. That's big and it's much prettier than the lone star state. It is a long drive from the US border to the northern border of British Columbia. Heck, BC and Alberta are the same length (south to north) at about 762 miles. Of course, the drive is a whole lot longer, on either highway. Yes, there are only two highways going north to Alaska thru BC. Pick your poison. And then you get to the Yukon Territory. Not a providence, just a territory. The YT is also huge and nobody lives there. Well, there are a few. They are mostly Canadians and are well hidden. I often talk about the Yukon road dust.

Wildlife

We saw a bunch more wildlife in Canada than in Alaska. Bears and Bison galore! ...and a few Canadians.

I could go on and on... And I will, someday.