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Planning a trip to Alaska, how do I approach this?

shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior MemberPosts: 5,887 Senior Member
Hey folks, I am considering planning a trip to Alaska at some point (next few years), and I'm wondering what I need to know to get ready and how to get there.

I have a few friends out there, so I'm not concerned about a place to stay, especially in Anchorage. However, what I am concerned with how to get there. I was considering driving to Seattle and taking a ferry up, or perhaps driving through Canada. However, funding may or may not be an issue at the time that I go.

So any hints, suggestions, etc for those who have been up there?
- I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
"Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
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Replies

  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,534 Senior Member
    okay here are step by steps instructions...

    1. Go active Duty
    2. Request assignment to 4/25th
    3. Allow Uncle Sam to arrange travel
    4. Enjoy your tour
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,406 Senior Member
    rail.jpg
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,406 Senior Member
    Better have at least two weeks to drive. It's 2500 mile from the border to Anchorage. Most of the guys I knew who drove their POV's up took 4-5 days, now double that to go back. Except for the guy who drove up his Wrangler in January..... Took him 2 weeks...

    Back in the late 80's, a lot of the Alcan was still gravel. One of our Lt's drove up his IROC and by the time he got there quite a bit of paint was missing from the nose. Oncoming 80mph timber trucks can do that. He had a bra on the nose, it was shredded.

    Another guy went home to CA and bought a new car and drove it back. Wasn't 100 miles over the US/canadian border and hit a moose.......

    I'd let someone else drive and take in the sights. Rent a car or bum a ride from friends in Anchorage....
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • Bham ShooterBham Shooter Senior Member Posts: 609 Senior Member
    My wife has a cousin, and her husband got stationed up there a few years back. Whenever they fly back, the layover is in Seattle. She doesn't work, so she's able to look around for cheaper flights on certain days. Just a quick search, looks like around $1k roundtrip per person.

    Sounds expensive, but jbp mentioned it was 2,500 miles from the border to Anchorage. Assuming you have a vehicle that gets roughly 25 MPG, you'll need 100+ gallons of fuel. I have no idea what it costs up there, but it is around $3.20 a gallon here. That's $320 in gas alone. Factor in hotel rooms, food, and other expenses, not to mention the time it would take, and I'd rather fly. Averaging 60 MPH, you're looking at over 40 hours in the drivers seat. At least a few days of hotels.
    Buffco wrote: »
    Waah, waah... GET ON IT, DUDE.
  • NomadacNomadac Senior Member Posts: 902 Senior Member
    I have been there 4 times on business, flying and renting a car and twice for pleasure to attend the start of the Iditarod Sled dog race flying and renting an SUV. Driving your POV would take more time then most people have available and to really enjoy should allow 30+ days at a minimum IMO.
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 10,406 Senior Member
    My wife has a cousin, and her husband got stationed up there a few years back. Whenever they fly back, the layover is in Seattle. She doesn't work, so she's able to look around for cheaper flights on certain days. Just a quick search, looks like around $1k roundtrip per person.

    Sounds expensive, but jbp mentioned it was 2,500 miles from the border to Anchorage. Assuming you have a vehicle that gets roughly 25 MPG, you'll need 100+ gallons of fuel. I have no idea what it costs up there, but it is around $3.20 a gallon here. That's $320 in gas alone. Factor in hotel rooms, food, and other expenses, not to mention the time it would take, and I'd rather fly. Averaging 60 MPH, you're looking at over 40 hours in the drivers seat. At least a few days of hotels.

    Most all of the flights I took in and out of Anchorage were Jumbo jets going to/ coming from Japan (refuel in Anchorage). Not like the little rattle box I took to FL last year.....
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Posts: 7,865 Senior Member
    Another thing is...I read somewhere you can't bring any guns into Canada, so if you want personal protection or are doing any hunting, that might be a problem.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    No guns through Canada. We had a forum member who moved up there?????

    Funny you should mention Alaska, I just got this from a DA CIV friend stationed up there at Fort Richardson.

    "Hey Fellers, I Snapped a pic of this bad boy on post on Monday. No, he didn't look both ways before crossing the road"

    MoosejpgAK.jpg
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • NCFUBARNCFUBAR Senior Member Posts: 4,324 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    No guns through Canada. We had a forum member who moved up there?????

    Funny you should mention Alaska, I just got this from a DA CIV friend stationed up there at Fort Richardson.

    "Hey Fellers, I Snapped a pic of this bad boy on post on Monday. No, he didn't look both ways before crossing the road"

    MoosejpgAK.jpg

    I don't know if it is urban legend or not ...

    When I was on a temp exchange in Vermont I was told NEVER blow your horn at a moose, something about certain pitch horns made them attack.
    “The further a society drifts from truth ... the more it will hate those who speak it."
    - George Orwell
  • NCFUBARNCFUBAR Senior Member Posts: 4,324 Senior Member
    SS3 many years back in single life I had a buddy who had some connections in Kodiak and some of us managed to get up there. When we where going out for a fishing camp somebody told the pilot we were carrying guns and the pilot replied something like Good if you didn't I'd think you were stupid. Anyway depending on how far into the wild you are planning to go means think about the wildlife protection as much as anything.

    Other thing is photo equipment ... video or still ... LOTS OF MEMORY CARDS!!!
    “The further a society drifts from truth ... the more it will hate those who speak it."
    - George Orwell
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    okay here are step by steps instructions...

    1. Go active Duty
    2. Request assignment to 4/25th
    3. Allow Uncle Sam to arrange travel
    4. Enjoy your tour

    He can always go Space-A through his closest Air Force base, too. It costs around $25 last I checked. The catch is that you need some flexibility because you're at the mercy of when a flight becomes availa ble both ways. However, many of those transit flights are regular enough to treat like a commercial flight.
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,467 Senior Member
    i would ask how do you want to go. or better yet. do you want to spend more time driving or more time playing?

    also, if you decide to drive, as someone pointed out, not toys in canada. Also, if you decide to drive be ready to have your vehicle beat to crap. also, make sure you put some metal screening over your headlights. the roads upto there arent the best and you will loose some lights. my neighbor drove up there a couple years ago and he bought a used truck to take up there. it got beatup alot.

    then all you have to do is to figure out where you want to go/stay/do.

    personally, id rather fly and spend more time doing things up there, but thats just me.
    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    NCFUBAR wrote: »
    I don't know if it is urban legend or not ...

    When I was on a temp exchange in Vermont I was told NEVER blow your horn at a moose, something about certain pitch horns made them attack.

    Someone else told me a few years ago it is not uncommon to call work in Alaska and tell them there is a Moose in the driveway and I'll be late. I asked why he couldn't just go outside and shoo it off, he said heck no it might get pissed off and attack! The Moose will move when he is good and ready.

    I dunno about the horn blowing :driving::uhm:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    I was not military, I flunked my physical. However, my nephew who is now an E8 did that and almost cried when he had to come back to the lower 48. He was at Ft. Richardson out of Anchorage and we stayed a week with him and his family. We had a blast. Didn't catch any salmon because the run had just ended the week before, but we saw all kinds of game, Moose, Bear, Deer, Bald Eagles out the gazoo, and went down to Seward to watch the Halibut boats come in. Man, talk about Monster Flounder, LOL!!! We had a ball. GO for it however you do it. If I get the job I'm looking into in Japan, I'm going to do Alaska every six months. I'll try to make it when it's not midnight, LOL!!! That blew my mind driving around at 10 PM in daylight.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    My nephew told me you never screw around with a moose. You either shoot it or get the hell out of its way.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,190 Senior Member
    Fly. My tickets this year were $625 a seat but I bought them in February for an August trip-- book early! Gas to drive up there will cost just as much and you don't have to put the wear and tear on your vehicle. If you drive, you can take guns into Canada but I believe that it is long guns only. I suggest that for your first time to just stick with the Kenai Peninsula area. You could spend a month just in that area and not see it all. Rent a small RV as opposed to a car and hotels-- The RV runs about the same as a room does for a night and you have something to drive as well. August 15 starts the "off" season up there and you can get better rates on stuff. You will miss the sockeye salmon run, but the silver (coho) salmon and pinks will be going strong.

    If you get serious, I still have a contact list with all of the fishing charters and other places I used over the summer up there. Just let me know.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    snake284 wrote: »
    My nephew told me you never screw around with a moose. You either shoot it or get the hell out of its way.

    Snake, I agree that's sage advice. It ranks right up there with don't eat no yeller snow :tooth:
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    The flight into Anchorage is just a start. The ferry from Seattle is ok, but it takes some time to get to Seward, and Seward is a little port town. There's a train from Seward to Anchorage.

    If you drove from Texas it would be four days to Seatle, then you could hop the ferry overnight to Ketchikan or Juneau. You would be severly limited in your driving in those locations and should have 4wd. Once you get to Seward, the road to Anchorage is a piece of cake. Obviously if you go in late June there's more daylight.

    If you intend to go to Mt. McKinley / Denali National park thre are lots of restrictions and some activities you have to have "applied" for, like a lottery, and back country access is limited. Go to the Denali website for details on their backcountry stuff.

    It all depends on what you want to do. It's bigger than Texas and fewer roads.

    Planning is key. If you fly up, car rentals are expensive. If you plan to be there a while driving up might offset the expense of a 4wd rental.

    Then again there is the first class trip, and just pay everybody to go everywhere.

    Personally I liked the Glaciers, fishing and cruising the intercoastal on a cruise ship. Denali is gorgeous, but you need to be rough and ready. Fairbanks is a stepping point to the wild north and it is kind of a little town. My wife was an ER physician in Fairbanks for a summer.

    In summary, plan, plan plan. There is too much to do if you are an avid outdoorsman to do in a month, let alone two weeks.

    IMHO

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • N454casullN454casull Member Posts: 647 Senior Member
    Drove to anchorage from central Washington a few years back. Gas was a lot cheaper back then. It was a blast we had about 2 weeks so we took our time and fished a ton, we finally had to stop fishing because it was taking to much time,we would have never got there. We got to Anchorage dropped off the car we had and flew home with a lay over in Ketchikan. Awesome trip would like to do it again some time. Oh also we stopped at camp grounds and tent camped most nights.
  • rberglofrberglof Senior Member Posts: 2,776 Senior Member
    CPJ I would have been very disappointed if your answer had been anything different.
  • Bham ShooterBham Shooter Senior Member Posts: 609 Senior Member
    Sometimes stuff like this happens up there. Of course that's the other side of the state than Anchorage, but still.


    http://news.yahoo.com/residents-alaska-city-could-9-gallon-gas-231347434.html

    ..ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The residents of Nome, Alaska, could be looking at a very costly winter: $9-a-gallon gasoline.

    The coastal city of more than 3,500 residents that is known for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is iced-in, and a massive winter storm this month prevented a barge that usually carries fuel from getting to shore.

    The most likely plan is to fly it in, but it would be costly and could be a logistical nightmare.

    "It could be pretty outrageous, the prices," said Jeremy Nassuk, Nome airport fueler for Crowley Marine Services, Inc.

    A gallon of gas was selling for $5.98 and jet fuel $6.77 a gallon on Wednesday. The next barge delivery wouldn't be until next June. In the meantime, flying fuel to the city could increase the cost per gallon by $3 to $4, officials said.

    "We are going to have to have fuel drivers picking up fuel 24 hours a day as flights are available to fly into Nome," said Jason Evans, board chairman of Sitnasuak Native Corp., which provides services to the region.

    Sitnasuak arranged in May with petroleum distributor Delta Western Inc. to have three barges deliver fuel to Nome, but only one arrived early in the summer, Evans said. That barge carried home heating fuel.

    The storm that barreled into Alaska's western coastline in mid-November, zeroing in on Nome, prevented the arrival of a barge carrying 1.6-million gallons of gasoline and diesel.

    "Ice is forming around the community and making a normal barge delivery impossible at this time," Evans said.

    Delta Western has canvassed the nation looking for ice breakers and ice-class tugs and barges to get fuel to Nome, but so far has had no success, vice president Kirk Payne said.

    The good news is that the city is not in dire straits of running out of fuel, he said.

    "We got some time to work through this," he said. "Can product be flown up? Yes, absolutely. What is it going to cost? We don't know. Is the public going to see that cost? We don't know."

    Gasoline and diesel are needed to run the ambulances and state equipment to maintain and plow roads, Evans said. If nothing is done, gasoline and diesel supplies will run low within three months, he said.

    The plan is to have fuel delivered 4,000 to 6,000 gallons at a time by prop plane or jet, beginning before the end of the year. Sitnasuak is looking at a pared-down delivery plan of perhaps a half-million gallons, he said.

    That amount could increase if it turns out to be a cold winter, and so far it looks that way.

    "It has been cold up there," Evans said. The temperature at 10 a.m. Wednesday was minus 2.

    A lot of people in the old Gold Rush-era town, where bars are housed in Western-style false-front wooden buildings and where temperatures can plummet to 30 below zero, don't own cars and rely on taxis to get around.

    From one end of town to the other is about 5 miles, said Sunny Song, owner of Mr. Cab, which ferries children to school, nurses to their patients' homes and women to hospitals to give birth.

    Mr. Cab now charges $4 per fare. Song said a big rise in gasoline prices will put them out of business.

    "It is going to kill us," she said.

    But Polar Bar owner Patrick Krier isn't worried.

    "People will still go out and have a few drinks," he said. "That is inevitable."
    Buffco wrote: »
    Waah, waah... GET ON IT, DUDE.
  • NyGunownerNyGunowner Banned Posts: 328 Member
    Approach it by saving a good bit of money. When your daily/monthly needs are met and you have $4-5K lying around, come back and ask again....
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,887 Senior Member
    Thanks for the info guys. Looks like my best option is to hop a Space-A USAF flight up there and then bum around with the locals I know for a few weeks, especially given my budget. Will look more into hunting and sight-seeing later in life when I have more income.

    This is all dependent on when I get marching orders for Fort Sam Houston and Fort Rucker, of course.
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Head north. When you find snow you're nearly there. Keep going north till you're stuck in the snow. You're there!
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,887 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Head north. When you find snow you're nearly there. Keep going north till you're stuck in the snow. You're there!

    Well thanks for telling me how to get all the way to Colorado!
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • gunwalkergunwalker Member Posts: 479 Member
    I urge you not to go just yet. Start saving for a serious trip. Dedicate so much /month. Then start checking out the offerings by trip sponsors like AAA. We went to Alaska in 03 for 15 days and really saw a lot. The itinerary took us 3000 miles on land then picked a ship in Skagway. Worth every dollar
    We do not view the world as it is, but as we perceive it to be.
  • Bham ShooterBham Shooter Senior Member Posts: 609 Senior Member
    .

    and Fort Rucker, of course.

    Let me know if this happens. That's near my old stomping grounds. I'd love to meet up at the indoor range in Daleville when we're visiting the family, and grab a bite to eat.
    Buffco wrote: »
    Waah, waah... GET ON IT, DUDE.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Snake, I agree that's sage advice. It ranks right up there with don't eat no yeller snow :tooth:

    :rotflmao::rotflmao::rotflmao: You got that right Chief!!!
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Posts: 5,463 Senior Member
    PULL!
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • FisheadgibFisheadgib Senior Member Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    Matt, I don't know if you qualify for getting on a "hop" but there used to be a pretty regular "hop" going to Elmendorf (Anchorage). I don't know if that's even a viable mode of travel anymore but it used to be a cheap way to move between bases that had a lot of traffic between them. Most of the mail, packages, and other goods going to Asia pass through Elmendorf so there's a lot of military traffic passing through there.
    snake284 wrote: »
    For my point of view, cpj is a lot like me
    .
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