Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Fairbanks-June or August/Sept
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 > Fairbanks-June or August/Sept

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Crowe

Merrimack, NH

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Posted: 09/10/19 06:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Forgot to clarify we will be flying.

Many of the tourist-oriented things are closing down for the year around Labor Day. That's actually true throughout Alaska. Maybe that is a sizable concern, maybe not too much of one.

Actually it is to some extent. We like to do both nature and tourist attractions.


I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be Douglas Adams

RV-less for now but our spirits are still on the open road.

PA12DRVR

Back in God's Country

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Posted: 09/10/19 09:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All FWIW

- I believe the scenery (even if foggy / rainy) in SC - Interior Alaska is best in the early - mid-Fall (i.e. mid-August - Mid September)
- The bugs take a big hit at the end of August
- The tourist stuff tends to shut down no later than mid-September...particularly Glitter Gulch outside of McKinley.
- If it's clear, the Fairbanks area can be spectacular in the fall; even if rainy, it's OK.
- The tourist crowds are mostly gone, making it easier to book space on the attractions / trips that are left open.
- There will be no problem doing "tourist stuff" through the end of August and into at least early September...we have friends headed to stay at Denali for two nights early next week at the Princess (although to be fair, I believe it is the last two nights they are open for the season)
- Hiking, fishing, etc will be much more enjoyable (IMNSHO) without bugs or crowds. If in September, fishing will have to focus on trout, dollies, etc as the Fairbanks runs of salmon will be strongest earlier in the year.

I'd suggest August / September. As to what to do in Fairbanks

- Flight seeing McKinley
- Fountainhead Auto Museum
- UAF Museum of the North
- Santa Claus House in North Pole (people seem to like it...not for me, but tastes vary)
- Take a tour to the Arctic Circle (or the shorter one to the Yukon)
- Visit Chena Hot Springs
- Possibly catch the swan or crane migration through Big Delta
- Observe 2 Street at midnight or so....local flavor; not quite what it was 20 years ago, but interesting anyway. <<< This is mostly tongue-in-cheek as 2nd Avenue "2 street" in the vernacular used to be full of bars and their overindulging patrons.


CRL
My RV is a 1946 PA-12
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BB_TX

McKinney, Texas

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Posted: 09/10/19 01:18pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Crowe wrote:

Forgot to clarify we will be flying.
...,,,,,,

We also flew in.
Flew in to Fairbanks. The museum of history at the university in Fairbanks is well done. Of course we had to visit one of the tourist trap gold mines and pan for gold. But it was entertaining for an afternoon. And more general sightseeing as limited time allowed.
Took the train to Denali NP. Stayed at the Kantishna Roadhouse 65 miles at the end of the road into DNP. Their shuttle bus picked us up at train station and delivered us back. Expensive but would do it again. They came around at 2 am (per our request) to tell us “THE LIGHTS ARE OUT! THE LIGHTS ARE OUT!”. [emoticon]
Took the train to Anchorage. Used that as a base to sightsee. Drove rent car down to Seward for a day trip. Beautiful drive. Took a glacier cruise out of Whittier. Also beautiful. And more general sightseeing.
Flew home from Anchorage.
Flying into one city and out another is little different fare wise than same city round trip fare.

PA12DRVR

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Posted: 09/10/19 06:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Assume the OP will be flying into and staying in and around Squarebanks for the duration of the trip...

...if not, just something to keep in mind: While a mid- or later September trip could yield some snow on the roads (particularly North of Fbks), in a rental car, it won't be a big deal....even if taking a road trip to Delta or Los Anchorage.

FWIW, Chena Hot Springs is a good location for Northern Lights and the later in the year one goes, the better the chance of seeing them.

K_and_I

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Posted: 09/11/19 10:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We are in Skagway now- were in Fairbanks last week. The weather has been unusually nice for this time of year. Our experience has been great- nothing we looked into has been shut down. We have not had to have reservations for most things we wanted to do- the exception has been the White Pass Scenic Rail Road trip out of Skagway. Because of cruise ships that can and will fill up. We saw the northern lights 3 of the 5 nights we were there. Days were low to mid 60's. Nights were low 30's. We drove up to Chena Hot Springs. It was OK, nothing great. I think Laird Hot Springs were better. We did not stay at the resort as we had our camper in Fairbanks. The trees are turning colors- not like New England, though. Here is it yellows mostly and a little orange- no reds. We are pleased we planned Fairbanks later in the trip, vs earlier.


K_and_I
2011 Rockwood 2604
Nights Camped in 2017: 41
Do we have time for shortcuts?

Crowe

Merrimack, NH

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Posted: 09/11/19 06:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Take a tour to the Arctic Circle (or the shorter one to the Yukon)

That's in the plans-we are looking at Northern Alaska Tour Company and it looks like we will do the Polar Bear Expedition assuming we can handle the cost ($2K/pp) and the boat part doesn't go on open water.

Thanks, all! Looks like end of August/early September it is! The Midnight Sun festival isn't enough of a draw for us and the critter babies will still be small enough. Don't mind chilly weather-we roasted this past August when we were in Anchorage and the surrounds. Early September is also when there are the most birds in Creamer's Field (per the refuge people). Since our primary goal is photography, that was also a turning point.

PA12DRVR

Back in God's Country

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Posted: 09/11/19 08:53pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FWIW...and always depends on the specific year/week/day/hour....While "Fall" is clearly approaching by late August / Early September in Squarebanks, assuming it's decent weather otherwise, that time of year tends to be warm-ish days and cool nights. Not too hot during the day (nothing like Los Anchorage or most of Alaska this summer) and cool enough at night to enjoy a jacket, fire, and hot toddy.

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