It’s June 21st, we are in Alaska now and this is our fourth trip (and our fourth full summer) up here in an RV (our motorhome). We’ve been up here traveling by other means but this is about RVing.
For this trip, we originally planned to go from Tok to Valdez, then up to Fairbanks, south to Denali, then Anchorage, then to the Kenai where we normally try to go “all over the place,” then back through Anchorage, Palmer (to visit the state fair), and finally end up in Haines. There we planned to take the ferry south to Prince Rupert, BC and drive from there back into the “Lower 48.”
Sometimes, things change. When we left Tok to head to Valdez, we were on a highway called the “Tok Cutoff.” This 110-mile highway was incredibly rough. Actually, It Was AWFUL. One of the worst we have ever been on for this trip!!! It took us nearly 6 hours to drive that 110 miles. ALL the clothing hanging up bounced off the rod AND we had put the springy curtain rods on top of the hangers to hold them down! Plus, we have a wall full of shelves literally behind the hanging clothes. ALL that stuff bounced out and ended up on top of the clothes (now on the floor). What a mess.
On a side note, some miles before you get to Valdez (it’s at the end of the highway), you cross a mountain range and go through Thompson Pass. It holds some records for snowfall. One year they got over 900 inches (that’s nine HUNDRED). The 24-hour record is 62 inches. It was a fascinating drive because there LOTS of snowmelt this time of year so streams are swollen and they really move! We came through LOTS of snow banks on the side of the road – some were 15-20 feet thick—all melting—and it’s the middle of June!!!
Also, about 20 miles before you get to Valdez, you will pass some beautiful waterfalls. There are several and plenty of space to park any size RV. Stop and enjoy!
Valdez is a laid-back town (about 3,500) that mostly relies on tourists in the summer and halibut fishing year round. You can go to the local docks and watch them bring in the halibut, hang it by the tail, weigh it, and cut it up. Even a small one will be 100-200 pounds! We visited here on our first trip up in 2008 and really liked it here so decided to come back. It has a few fine museums, too. You can learn something about the Great Alaskan Earthquake. It did so much damage here they actually moved the whole town a couple of miles to rebuild it!!!
Back to the current trip. That stretch of highway (the “Tok Cutoff”) was so rough we decided to travel around the state in a “”reverse” order. So, from Valdez, we go to Anchorage (where we are now), then the Kenai, then north, and finally from Fairbanks to Haines. We still plan to catch the ferry.
Now don’t get all excited and decide to not come up here because of some road issues. Sometimes you have great highways and sometimes you don’t. That’s true in just about every state!