Playing, Working and RVing in Alaska, Finally!

Where did winter go? Somehow it got past us, and spring is all over the place as we travel north through California. But we’re not stopping here in Sonoma County. Finally after eleven years on the road we’re headed up to the Land of the Midnight Sun. That’s right, this is our summer of playing, working and RVing in Alaska.

Playing, Working and RVing in Alaska

We’re headed north to the Land of the Midnight Sun

The Last Frontier wasn’t always on our radar of places to see. The ten rainy years we spent living in Humboldt County turned me off to the idea of summering under Alaska’s frequently overcast skies. I know the sun comes out occasionally, but I rarely see blue skies in photos of RVers in Alaska.

We always had other beautiful places in which to spend summer. If we weren’t workamping at Vickers Ranch in Lake City, Colorado, we were escaping civilization at Jerry’s Acres on the other side of the state. But now we don’t have a cabin in the woods, and we bowed out of returning to the ranch (for this year, anyways). And as climate change continues doing a number on the glaciers, the animals, plants and people of Alaska, it seems more urgent than ever that we make this trek now. 

Planning to NOT Plan for RVing in Alaska

Playing, Working and RVing in Alaska

Don’t overthink your Alaska RV trip.

Preparing for the journey requires some thought, but as you’ll see in RVing to Alaska Facebook Groups, people tend to obsess over so many aspects of the trip. From campground reservations to the roads they will drive, too many travelers attempt to map out every detail. 

For us, extensive planning kills the fun of any road trip. Yes, we are making sure our rig is well up to the task of the journey. And we will have the right equipment, spare parts, etc., for our needs. But are we planning to the same extent that most RVers do? 

Hell no!

As the chief navigator it’s my job to make sure this trip happens. So when I saw how much time and energy RVers put into planning an Alaska RV road trip I wondered if maybe I was putting us at risk by not doing the same. 

But then while we were at FoY, I met an editor at The Milepost, the RVers Bible for Alaska. This super senior RVer travels extensively around Alaska all summer, and she does it solo too. As a resident, she knows the state inside out and understands the risks of a first-timer’s journey.

Playing, Working and RVing in Alaska

And then the editor said . . .

I explained that we are taking a casual approach to our first Alaska adventure. And I asked if she thought I should make more concrete plans. Her answer?

“I never plan. That takes all the fun away. Be smart, but don’t over-think it.”

Whew! We’re on the right track.

Playing, Working and RVing in Alaska

We hope the skies look like this while we’re there!

Our only real plan is to head north on US-97 beginning in Weed, California, which locals claim is the actual start of the Alaska Highway. This 1,956 mile-long (3148 km) road is the longest continuous north/south highway in North America. It winds through the wide open lands of Eastern Oregon and Washington, as well as British Columbia. When 97 terminates at the Yukon Border in Watson Lake, the recognized portion of Alaska Highway takes over.

Our RV Life as Usual.

Along the way, our life will continue, same as always. Thanks to our RV Datasat system we can get online to work wherever we want — how else will be be able to pay for this trip?! We’ll stay any place that calls our name. And take advantage of those endless summer days by working just a bit less and having more FUN with our Wyatt a cold-weather dog at heart who will love it up there.

Alaska is the first really big adventure we’ve taken since we hit the road in 2007. We are beyond excited to see what all the fuss is about. We hope you’ll come along to explore it with us.

 

 

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13 Responses to “Playing, Working and RVing in Alaska, Finally!”

  1. I have recently started looking at different option for an Alaskan trip. This is going to be the best trip ever and even though it may not happen until 2019, I’m still making plans. I loved your itinerary !!

  2. Hey,
    So glad you are going to Alaska. We still haven’t made it there. We are fixing our Motorhome and driving it form Texas back to the coast of California soon. Right now, it rained big time, like Humboldt rain almost. (nowhere rains like Humboldt County)
    I hope you are well and sounds like fun and dang we gotta see you again soon!!

    • Wait? Motorhome? When did that happen? YAY! I had no idea you were headed out to pick one up. You will have to send me photos!

      We miss you guys!

  3. Sigh…have fun, you guys. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to rendezvous this year. We had to rush back over to NY to take care of mom again, and this time it’s going to be an indefinite stay. Looking forward to all the posts about it though, and living vicariously through you guys!

    • Hey Maya, I wondered why you guys were in NY but now it makes sense. Nah, not a fun way to visit family, but your mom is so lucky that you have a lifestyle that lets you be there for her. You won’t regret it, we only have one mom right?

      Our dream itinerary is to head to the East Coast after Alaska, specifically upstate NY to see Jim’s sis. If we do I will let you know!

  4. Wyatt, Jim and Rene, i am so excited for you guys! This trip is really going to be a trip of a lifetime for you! We will all be living vicariously through you on your travels!
    We looked at the route your taking and can’t wait for you to pop in to our neck of the woods! Wyatt is such a lucky dawg to have such adventurous pawrents! You guys truly live in the moment and most of us should learn by your excellent example!!

    Lots of fun along the way and best wishes from
    Super Stu and his Furmily

    • Petra & Stewie, it’s nice seeing you over here! What a lovely surprise 🙂

      I wasn’t kidding when I told you we would be in your neck of the woods. We can’t wait to check out your town and the lovely scenery around it, looks like you live in such a beautiful place.

      Most of the time I’m not sure whether we’re idiots for living like this or what, but we are sure having a good time doing it. Thanks for following along!

  5. We went to Alaska in 2016 and like Becki, the only reservations we made was Teklanika at Denali. Another good resource is Mike and Terri Church’s book “Traveler’s Guide to Alaskan Camping.” Gives info on locations and amenities on places to camp with GPS coordinates and mile marker info. We forgot our Milestone at home and did just fine. We had a wonderful time.

    • Marsha thanks for reminding me to get that book! I’m glad you had so much fun and were able to freewheel it just like we want to. Thanks for the encouragement.

  6. Curious, do you have to show passports at border crossings in and out of Canada. Ive heard that you can acquire a “card” for Canada or Mexico entrance.

    • Yes, you absolutely need a current passport or US ID card (less expensive than a passport, but only good in Canada and Mexico).

  7. 2014 was our first trip to AK. We loved it and hope to do it again next summer. We rarely plan any of our travels and did the same on our trip to AK. I think besides some tours, our few nights in Denali NP were the only reservations we made. If your okay with boondocking we spent several night at gravel pits along the route and never felt threatened. Enjoy, it is a large beautiful state.

    • Becki that is GREAT to hear! Yes we are more than OK with boondocking and hope to rarely pay for a campsite. Thanks for the reassurance this is possible.

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