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Alaska in May - 2 Aussies from downunder on their way north!

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Australia
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Alaska in May - 2 Aussies from downunder on their way north!

We arrive in Seward 17th May and want to see the best Alaska has to offer.... Not sure on time frame as have nothing planned from 17th onwards. Can anyone advise us about Barrow, Denali & Fairbanks - maybe even an approx time line needed to see these and of course Anchorage & Kenai - so confused with brochures - also would RV travel be better than car and hotel??

Manitoba, Canada
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11. Re: Alaska in May - 2 Aussies from downunder on their way north!

Okay, here is a sample itinerary for your perusal:

May 17 – disembark (probably between 9 and 10 a.m.) Take luggage to hotel via taxi, then out to Exit Glacier (might not be able to go all the way to the face of the glacier due to melting snow--the taxi driver will know the conditions). Visit SeaLife Center in afternoon. 6 pm Ididaride Sled dog tour & cart ride (will pick you up in town if you pre-arrange it).

May 18 – Stroll along the beach or shops, then 11:30 a.m to 5:30 pm Kenai Fjords wildlife cruise (store luggage at cruise office). 6 pm train to Anchorage . Overnight Anchorage.

May 19 pick up RV (you will have to go through orientation, so allow plenty of time for this). Get supplies/food, then drive toward Valdez, overnighting somewhere en route. See Thunderbird Falls, Eklutna Lake, Independence Mine (if not blocked by snow). Also Musk Ox Farm in Palmer.

May 20 – finish driving to Valdez. Stop at Copper Center to see the Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center displays & film, and do the short interpretive walk for a great view of Mt. Drum: nps.gov/wrst/planyourvisit/wrangell-st-elias…

The last couple of hours into Valdez is extremely scenic, so take your time: http://www.alaskagold.com/valdez/roads.html . If you get into town in time, see the Museum, maybe the films about the Pipeline & Earthquake at Sugar & Spice store. Overnight Valdez.

May 21 – Columbia Glacier & wildlife cruise (Stan Stephens or Lulubelle). Overnight Valdez.

May 22 – Long drive to Fairbanks, with scenic stops along the way. Overnight Fairbanks.

May 23 – All day flight tour to Barrow (book this for the first full day you have in Fairbanks, so if it is cancelled due to weather, you can go the next day). http://www.northernalaska.com/barrow.cfm Overnight Fairbanks.

May 24 – Back up day for Barrow. Otherwise, activities such as Riverboat Discovery, El Dorado Goldmine or Gold Dredge No. 8 tours, U. of A. Museum of the North, Large Animal Research Station, Ice Museum, Chena Hot Springs, Pioneer Park, Santa Claus House at nearby North Pole, etc. Overnight Fairbanks.

May 25 – More activities in Fairbanks. Late afternoon or early evening drive to Denali (2+ hrs). If you’re in an RV, I suggest reserving a campground right inside the park (Savage River would be my recommendation); if you’re in a car, reserve somewhere in nearby Healy.

May 26 – For the chance of getting that great view of McKinley, I’d spend the extra $$$ and take the Tundra Wilderness Tour (6 to 8 hrs): www.reservedenali.com/tours/index.cfm#twt . Note, however, that since you are going very early in the season, a late snow could interfere with how far the bus goes. I went on the TWT in August, 2006, and since the mountain was “out”, we went several miles past Toklat to a great viewpoint, and just stood in awe of The Mountain. The tour ended up lasting 9 hours instead of the 6 to 8 it was advertised as (the bus driver was enjoying it too, only the 3rd time all year she’d seen the entire mountain out). Note that you can order a DVD of your trip, containing stock footage plus actual footage from your tour. Also note you have to stay with the bus that brung you, lol (unlike the shuttles where you can get off almost anywhere and catch another one later to resume your trip.)

May 27 – Maybe a shuttle to Toklat (6 hrs )? Plus entrance-area activities (whitewater rafting, free Ranger sled dog demo, Visitor Center displays & film, dinner theatre, etc.) Overnight Denali.

May 28 – drive to Talkeetna (2.5 to 3 hrs) for afternoon flightseeing of Denali if desired, or a river wildlife float, or jetboat tour. Overnight Talkeetna.

May 29 – drive to Matanuska Glacier (yes, you passed this on the way to Valdez, but the glacier hiking wasn’t open yet), allow 3.5+ hrs. in case there is construction. 2 pm to 5 pm Ice Fall Trek with MICA guides to explore the formations of the glacier. After supper drive to Anchorage (2 hrs).

May 30 - Drive to Homer (5 hrs). Lots of stops along the way, such as Potter Marsh, Beluga Pt., Windy Pt., Wildlife Conservation Center, Anchor Pt.: http://alaska.org/driving/homer-drive.htm . If you get in early, see Pratt Museum, Islands & Ocean Visitor Center, stroll the galleries. Overnight Homer.

May 31 – At least half day (or full day if you want the best chance at trophy-sized halibut) fishing charter. Tidepooling or beachcoming. Overnight Homer.

June 1 – full day bear-viewing flight with Emerald Air or Bald Mt. Air. Overnight Homer.

June 2 – drive back to Anchorage (5 hrs) and return vehicle. Be at airport at least 2 hrs. before 5:30 p.m. flight to Seattle.

Hope this gives you a few ideas.

NOTE: Book RV and all flights ASAP.

Australia
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12. Re: Alaska in May - 2 Aussies from downunder on their way north!

You have been so helpful Manitoba Maple

Am taking all you have suggested into account - BTW have you had (or know anyone that has) had dealings with ABC Motor homes & car rentals - am looking at their site for transport option?? Assistance greatly appreciated.'

cheers again

Di

WestSlope,CO
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for Colorado
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13. Re: Alaska in May - 2 Aussies from downunder on their way north!

Part of our Alaska trip was by RV and we really enjoyed it. We were told that we could stop at night just about anywhere that there was no sign prohibiting camping or overnight parking. Of course you don't have hookups and campground amenities if you do that and it's a little harder to find a level spot.

Alaska's highways have numerous "pullouts"--paved or gravelled areas adjacent to the roadway. The rule in AK is if there are more than a couple of vehicles following a slower vehicle, the slow vehicle must pull over to let the faster traffic pass. (Sorry, I can't remember exactly how many vehicles) Some pullouts are little more than a wide spot in the road. Some are large rest areas.

14. Re: Alaska in May - 2 Aussies from downunder on their way north!

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