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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default Alaska - Summer 2007 (2200 miles in the Last Frontier)

    'Alaska' just popped out of the blue last night at home & here I am trying to break my head over it. We(me & my better half) are not 'cruise people' & if we are lucky enough to do Alaska, it will definitely be 'fly & drive' unless there is any better option.
    I did some very basic research & my only firm conclusion is 'too pricey'. But we are going to take the plunge.

    Our basic idea would be to cover the central part of AK(leaving out the Inside passage). Ideally, we would fly from SF to Anchorage & back. We might rent a car there(expensive again) for a couple of days.
    Anchorage, Denali(the Tundra tour), all the small towns, Kenai Fjords, a local glacier cruise(so as not to miss the Inside Passage effect). We would love to include Katmai, but is proving to be very expensive for us.

    I have no other idea of what to see & what not to. Any tips on what all to see & how to save some money(anywhere possible), would be gratefully appreciated!! :-)

    Also, when is Borrealis visible from Alaska? I would be on top of the world if I could see it.
    We are of the hiking kind, but I can be paranoid when it comes to wildlife. Bears can give me nightmares, so camping is out of question.

    I will be looking around for more threads around here, but any help is appreciated.

    And yeah, this trip might even happen summer or early fall of 2007.

    thanks everyone,
    cool
    Last edited by cool; 05-04-2007 at 04:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    London, England
    Posts
    1,364

    Default

    I cannot offer any advice of any sort, I'm afraid, but I just wanted to say... I am sooo jealous! That sounds awesome. Sometimes you just have to say hang the expense and go for it. I think this is one of those times.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    7,989

    Default The Non-Tour Tour

    Trying to see country as big and remote as Alaska can be a daunting exercise. When my wife and I did our trip some years ago, we only knew generally what we wanted to see. Basically we were like you, we wanted to see the interior (Fairbanks and Denali), the coast (Anchorage and Seward) and some of the old Alaska uniqueness (Talkeetna and a ride on the Alaska Railroad). We searched and searched and in the end we found a great service that worked out of Seattle at the time. They set everything up for us: rental cars, Bed and Breakfasts, meals, entertainment, train, whale watch and glacier boat rides - the whole nine yards. The beautiful part of what they did was that while we were on a package tour, we travelled on our own. This sounds just like what you and your husband are looking for. Now, these tours are not cheap, but then neither would be travelling in Alaska on your own. I'll recommend that you have a look at them: Rainbow Mountain Adventures. The tour we followed was basically The Heart of Alyeska but they have plenty to choose from and they are quite willing to work with you to mix and match different parts of their various tours. If nothing else, the descriptions of their tours should give you some great ideas of what's available.

    Unfortunately, the time to see the Aurora is when the nights are long, namely in the dead of winter. You cannot combine camping and aurora viewing. But the University of Alaska in Fairbanks has an excellent presentation on them that is almost like seeing them.

    Good Luck!

    AZBuck
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-04-2007 at 03:14 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default Not much help I know, but...

    I have a vague memory that at one point there was a travelogue on this site about a guy and his wife that drove to Alaska from Dallas. It was well written and I remember it catching my fancy at the time. But, I don't see it anymore. Maybe one of the Moderators or Mark will remember what I'm talking about. Either that or I've dreamed this up, in which case just please ignore the crazy lady in the corner.

    Laura

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,531

    Default Artic Expedition in May 1999?

    Quote Originally Posted by lhuff View Post
    I have a vague memory that at one point there was a travelogue on this site about a guy and his wife that drove to Alaska from Dallas.
    Laura, it might have been this epic journey that Tim Vasquez and Shannon Key completed in six days in May, 1999?

    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    234

    Default thank you so far

    Craig,
    Once the trip is confirmed, will post here & then you can go ahead with being jealous. Not yet :-)

    AZBuck,
    Will definitely look into the link. Any kind of info will be helpful. I am totally lost now.

    Laura & Mark,
    That was indeed a good travelogue. Thanks a lot for the link.

    I am sure a lot of people from here have visited AK. Will wait patiently.

    thanks,
    cool

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Keithville, LA
    Posts
    638

    Default

    Laura, it might have been this epic journey that Tim Vasquez and Shannon Key completed in six days in May, 1999?

    Mark
    That's it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    9,531

    Default A few ideas to get you started

    Quote Originally Posted by cool View Post
    I will be looking around for more threads around here, but any help is appreciated.
    Here are a few ideas:

    Talkeenta -- might have been the model for Cicely, Alaska—the quirky little town featured in the TV show "Northern Exposure."
    The Milepost -- here is my review for the 2006 guide and I promise I will get the 2007 version on the site soon....
    John Holod's Video Collection -- We haven't done reviews on any of his new stuff -- but here is a good one about roadtripping in Alaska.
    NJ to Alaska -- road trip
    Colorado to Alaska as shared by "seat 2A"

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    california
    Posts
    7

    Default alaska

    Be sure to visit Homer on the kenai peninsula, one of the most beautiful areas in Alaska!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Anchorage,Alaska
    Posts
    57

    Default

    Hi,

    As an Alaska resident, and with all due resepct to AZbuck, a guided tour of Ak in not the best use of $$$$ and will not be the best experiance (IMHO). While the distances are large the roads are almost all in good shape. The best places for a visitor to see are all easy to find. If you come in a tour you often get a canned experiance. A rental car out of Anch. is the best jumping off point for a trip to Ak.

    Talkeetna is a great little town but often very crowded in the summer. Don't go on a weekend of holiday if possible. There isn't all that much to do there all though it is a fun visit. Denali and the Kenai peninsula. are both great. Seward is the best place to visit the Kenai Fjords if you only have a few days. They have glacier cruises, hiking, a Sealife Center and nice town. Homer is good but it is a bit farther and not quite as scenic IMHO.

    If you want to visit some slightly out of the way places, try a drive on the Denali highway. that is not the road that goes into Denali NP, but a dirt road that starts about an hour south. It is stunning and there are few people. You can spend a couple days on the road, as there is a lodge in the middle or just make it a day trip and only do part of it. Also a great place is Wrangell-St. Elias NP. It is a bit out of the way from the Denali-Anch.-Kenai axis but is another fantastic place.

    Be careful of the small towns, they are often touristy. however people are friendly. Unless you want to stay in hostels, cheap can be hard to find. We are like any other place in the US during tourist season.

    Early fall(September) is a great time. It is starting to get cool, prices drop and the crowds are gone. However some places will start to close up. Check the places you want to see carefully. I have seen the Aurora in Sept. but that is not common.

    Be cautious of bears but don't worry about them. The precautions are simple and bear attacks are rare.

    greg in anchorage

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