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 > Alaska RV trip loop routes/planning resources

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Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 09/26/19 06:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

^Whats that mean? They have property that’s part of the park but grandfathered to them?
We need to get back up there before the kids are all grown. Oldest is a junior in high school this year......I need a month off next summer!
Only lived there for 18 months and it felt like home.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

canadafan

Norfolk UK

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Posted: 09/27/19 12:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are going to rent a motorhome do check out the use restrictions.

Such as: No use on unnumbered roads, logging roads, unpaved roads.
Each rental company has different rules about this.

PA12DRVR

Back in God's Country

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Posted: 09/27/19 10:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"Inholding": It's actually land titled (in the case of my in-laws going back far enough, patented) in the name of an individual, i.e. "Tom Jones, holder of fee simple interest of 95 acres more or less per lot 12 plat 48-1295 in the Chitina Recording District, etc"....this land is in turn surrounded by park land. Wrangell St. Elias NP has several inholdings including the "towns" of McCarthy and Kennecott....although these are connected via (IIRC) a State-of-Alaska owned road, the McCarthy Road.

Canadafan raises a very valid point: Most rental companies (cars or RV's) will have use restrictions. The restrictions are the usual as mentioned (no unnumbered roads, etc) plus (in Alaska), although it's been 20 years since I rented a vehicle up here, they usually call out specific restrictions: the Chitina - McCarthy road is usually restricted and I believe the Haul Road (even though numbered as Alaska 11 IIRC) is also restricted.


CRL
My RV is a 1946 PA-12
Back in the GWN

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 09/27/19 12:12pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Denali Hwy was also on that list, at least on the rental our friends got when we were up there.
BUT, I don't believe there's rental cops sittin on the Mc Carthy road waiting to ticket? you.
It's all about protecting the interest of the rental outfit.
Since there's no IQ and driving skills test, lol, then some stern warnings hopefully limits the damage done to the fleet and the hassle of more repairs, bad publicity, etc.

I sure as he!! wouldn't let it deter me from running to Mc Carthy or the Denali Hwy. The risk is that you're on your own for a tow or repairs if you break down on one of those roads.

Of course one pays a premium to use someone else's equipment. It's a convenience for the user that comes at a cost. How much of AK do you want to see? and how much do you want to pay?

For the OP, in good weather, the MCarthy Road and Denali highway are 100% passable, easily with most any RV and not risky (to me anyway).

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 09/27/19 12:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Google Maps street view is view able on alot of the "highways" up there. You can look at the Mc Carthy Road or Denali hwy, most of it anyway, in street view.
No different than any other gravel road, in the summer, lol.

Also a great way to map out little "destinations" ahead of time.

ppine

Northern Nevada

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Posted: 09/27/19 03:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Many people travel in Alaska like they are afraid of it. They sometimes end up in crowded RV parks as a result just like back home

The reason is that sometimes Alaska is trying to kill you. Keep your guard up. Time in bush is the most exciting part to me. Go in a group during mid-day. Make some noise when you travel.

canadafan

Norfolk UK

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Posted: 09/27/19 03:55pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I agree with Grit Dog but in case of damage or other incident, you may have no rental insurance cover at all if you disregard the rules.

PA12DRVR

Back in God's Country

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Posted: 09/30/19 10:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"I sure as he!! wouldn't let it deter me from running to Mc Carthy or the Denali Hwy. The risk is that you're on your own for a tow or repairs if you break down on one of those roads.

Of course one pays a premium to use someone else's equipment. It's a convenience for the user that comes at a cost. How much of AK do you want to see? and how much do you want to pay?

For the OP, in good weather, the MCarthy Road and Denali highway are 100% passable, easily with most any RV and not risky (to me anyway)."

GritDog raises some good points. Some things to consider:

- Even if otherwise allowed, travel on the McCarthy Road or the Denali Highway may put recovery on your own nickel...read the fine print, but sometimes there's a towing exclusion for those areas as they are outside of the range of many Los Anchorage, Mat-Su, or Fbks based wreckers. Case-by-case thing, so can't say for sure.

- I've "only" made one trip per year on the McCarthy Road the past 3 years ('16, '17, '18) and only one trip ('17) on the Denali highway recently. Surprisingly, no flats on any of those trips....but both roads (either due to sharp rocks or otherwise) can be tough on tires. Have a spare at least; ideally a plug / patch kit and a portable compressor.

- Personal opinion only: FWIW, despite having driven per above, I don't like to drive the McCarthy Road...it's generally slow, the best scenery is at the end of the road, and McCarthy is (IMNSHO) becoming a destination point for outdoor hipsters...and, although it's still a 4-hour jaunt, I can fly to McCarthy pretty easily in the ol PA-12.

- Also opinion; in anything except late fall drizzle and fog (i.e. rainy, foggy, 35 degrees) the Denali Highway is the most scenic drive in Alaska. My preference is to drive East from Cantwell to Paxson since the Paxson to Los Anchorage leg is more scenic than the Los Anchorage - Cantwell leg, although not by much.

- Barring early or late season travel (i.e. before the road dries out in the spring or while it is getting snow but not enough to plow), both Denali and the McCarthy road are good roads. Denali shuts down in the winter and McCarthy is "shut down" only during transition periods....although I'm not sure what Alaska's recent budget gyrations will do to road maintenance efforts on the McCarthy Road.

All that being said, were I renting a car, just for myself, I'd be somewhat reluctant to drive to McCarthy...particularly since there are quite a few other options (fly-in, bus lines, etc) that take one from Chitina to McCarthy. There are very limited alternatives for seeing the Denali Highway other than driving oneself...so I'd be a bit quicker to "break the rules" if need be to drive the Denali.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 09/30/19 10:51am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ppine wrote:

Many people travel in Alaska like they are afraid of it. They sometimes end up in crowded RV parks as a result just like back home

The reason is that sometimes Alaska is trying to kill you. Keep your guard up. Time in bush is the most exciting part to me. Go in a group during mid-day. Make some noise when you travel.


Go in a group? Like a 6 shot group, or are you more of a 15 shot 10mm guy?
I agree, but the fact is, there are alot of people who are afraid of their own shadows and not actually after the "adventure" as much as they are the scenery. And that's fine. I don't want more people in the back country.....But literally the first thing I did, the first weekend after landing in AK is haul my snomachine up to Hatchers, toss on my avy pack and some Hot pockets in the hot dogger and hit the back country!

I got decent life insurance. Actually rather they be talkin stories at my funeral how a brown bear got me while snaggin reds than how much I liked my Laze Boy!

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 09/30/19 11:13am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"- Even if otherwise allowed, travel on the McCarthy Road or the Denali Highway may put recovery on your own nickel...read the fine print, but sometimes there's a towing exclusion for those areas as they are outside of the range of many Los Anchorage, Mat-Su, or Fbks based wreckers. Case-by-case thing, so can't say for sure."

This is a totally fair statement and the tow out could be VERY expensive or non existent even on a sunny day in July. So I may have understated the potential "risk" to ones wallet for sure.

For the L48ers, AK is not a phone AAA and 35min later a wrecker shows up kinda place, if your phone works at all....
For example, I had to get the pickup towed out of Petersville in the winter (in hindsight and plan B I could have brought up or went back in to the friends cabin and brought out a generator, plugged the truck in, hooched up the engine compartment and put some heat to and got going (bad injector and -30F didn't mix).
The ONLY wrecker that agreed to come out, on a nice plowed 2 lane road only 10? miles off the highway wanted like $1500.
We borrowed a friends truck and drove back to town ( to get the aforementioned supplies to get the truck started aint no uber to call or phone to call them with) and happened another friend went and borrowed his bosses rollback and we just went up and hauled the truck home.
2 morals to the story. 1. Alaskans are very good and helpful people. It's not like we were long time "friends" with either of these folks, only lived there like 6 months. 2. I never left the house on a snomachine trip without plenty of propane for the heater and my 2k Generator again!
We would have been phucked if it weren't for the kindness of others. I filled a couple guys' fuel tanks plum full after the ordeal and trucking company guy (with the rollback, both coincidentally worked for different large trucking companies) got a bunch of his favorite beer, at his request, since he refused payment!

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