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 > Renting an RV in Alaska

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kbtravels

Placitas, NM

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Posted: 12/12/19 09:14am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My husband and I are planning a trip to Alaska for the month of September 2020. We own a travel trailer, so have plenty of experience, but don't have time or inclination to drive all the way to Alaska and back from NM. So we plan to rent an RV in Anchorage for the month. I've done a fair amount of research but have not found many current reviews of the rental companies. Does anyone have any experience, pro or con? The 3 I am mainly considering are CruiseAmerica, ABC RV Rental, and Great Alaskan Holiday. The last 2 are local companies and seem to get the best reviews, but again, most of what I've seen in at least several years old.
Thanks!

PA12DRVR

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Posted: 12/12/19 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great Alaska Holidays seems to get pretty good reviews from the folks that I (infrequently) happen to chat with up here in the Los Anchorage area. I think I've happened to speak to 2-3 folks over the past 3 years that were driving GAH rentals and they were generally complimentary.


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PA12DRVR

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Posted: 12/12/19 10:20am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...when it gets a bit later in the morning, I'm sure you'll have plenty of folks chiming in, but to get a couple thoughts out before I go to work:

- Many of the tourist facilities (campgrounds, etc) up here close by mid-September;
- Depending where you travel (i.e. Fairbanks and beyond or just in Southcentral AK), you'll likely see cooler temps and possibly snow/ice by late September, although winter is a fickle creature lately
- Several roads in Alaska are on the "don't go here" list from the rental companies: I'd check carefully, but I believe that most rental places ban travel on the Edgerton Highway (road to McCarthy / Chitina), the Denali Highway (road between Paxson and Cantwell) and the Haul Road / Dalton Highway (to the North Slope). That's unfortunate because the Denali particularly (IMNSHO) is one of the most scenic drives in AK. I'm not sure about the "banned" status of Taylor Highway (road to Chicken / Eagle, both popular destinations), but I believe it runs the risk of being weather-impacted, although probably later than September.

Trackrig

Spent the summer in Conconuly, Wa, MH now in Vanco

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Posted: 12/12/19 11:11am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PA12DRIVER has it right - things will be closing up very shortly after the Labor Day weekend. If you like to stay in RV parks most of them will be closed early in the month. However, having said that, if you rent a unit with a generator, Alaska has a lot more places to just camp on your own than other states if you watch your tanks and propane for heat. The gas stations will be open.

And as he said, snow will/could be a problem. I live in Anchorage now days but always head north to go moose hunting. Going up isn't a problem, but coming back south we usually have snow. Sometimes it only lasts a day or two and other times it lasts for the winter. The main problem is wherever you go, you're going to have to travel the higher passes to get there. So while the main places like Anch, Kenai, Seward, Valdez, Fairbanks and so on are mostly at lower elevations, you're going to have to travel the higher elevations to get between them.

I'd plan on being back in the Anch area by the second week in Sept unless your schedule is very flexible. These were taken on Sept 25th.
[image]

Note the chains on the tractor - I spun out on one of the hills.

[image]

Bill


Nodwell RN110 out moose hunting. 4-53 Detroit, Clark 5 spd, 40" wide tracks, 10:00x20 tires, 16,000# capacity, 22,000# weight. You know the mud is getting deep when it's coming in the doors.


Yosemite Sam1

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Posted: 12/12/19 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've researched a bit on this since my bucket list is to see all of our National Parks and Alaska has a few of the most beautiful ones.

Everywhere I asked would discourage me even if what I intend to rent would have 4-wheel drive. They would say, some are truckers, that the roads are touch and go even in summer (roads become soft and slushy since portions are gravel over permafrost).

The best recommendation so far as I remember is to take the ferry and rent the RV from the port town/city and proceed if the locals says conditions are ideal for the road trip to the chosen national park.

DrewE

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Posted: 12/12/19 12:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Local enquiry about the unpaved highways is never a bad idea. However, there are plenty of times non-four-wheel-drive vehicles can travel most of them, or at least most of the major ones. I drove my class C over the Dalton Highway, the Taylor Highway, and the Edgerton Highway without incident. The Dalton was definitely hard on the RV due to roughness and some dust and mud; I'm not sure I would go over it again, certainly not too many times, for fear of cabinets and things shaking loose and generally wearing out prematurely, but the road itself was certainly nowhere near impassable. That said, in adverse weather conditions, it could well be entirely different.

There are, of course, several national parks in Alaska that simply are not accessible by road.

Travel to and from Alaska by road is not the crazy adventure it once was; it's a long drive, and has spans with little in the way of services, but one certainly would not need four wheel drive or anything like that to make it (barring adverse winter conditions).

I don't think you will find much more beautiful and extraordinary scenery elsewhere than there is in Alaska and western Canada.





lucy6194

Cape cod MA

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Posted: 12/12/19 12:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We rented a few years ago. Three weeks in September. Don't do it. We'd been in our own 5th wheel so had idea of what we wanted to show our friends. Cold rainy,most things including buses into Denali had closed down. Suggest moving trip up a couple of weeks.

Lwiddis

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Posted: 12/12/19 12:46pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"I don't think you will find much more beautiful and extraordinary scenery elsewhere than there is in Alaska and western Canada."

2x, DrewE.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


PA12DRVR

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Posted: 12/12/19 01:44pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

So....

I live here, so have no particular expertise on the RV infrastructure, but offer a few more thoughts;

- the pictures posted by TrackRig (Denali Highway? Tok Cutoff? Nabesna?) are what Alaska is all about IMNSHO. Call me biased, but that's the best of Alaska, particularly if it ends with a 54" + rack on the back.
- That being said, maybe those pictures aren't what attracts most RV'ers.
- The "road system" in Alaska can be navigated by a smaller MH or smaller RV trailer with some cautions: The Taylor tends to get narrow and muddy in the spring / fall; The Edgerton can be soft in spots in the late spring; Denali can get snow earlier than the main roads (Parks Highway / Richardson Highway) that are on either side of it.
- The main road system (Glenn Highway: Los Anchorage - Glennallen; Parks Highway: Wasilla - Fairbanks; Richardson Highway: Fairbanks-Delta-Glennallen-Valdez; Dalton Highway, the southern part) is suitable for RV / MH travel. There will be bumps in places and possible snow in late September, but I wouldn't skip RV'ng in Alaska because of fears about the main roads
- The secondary roads: Edgerton, Denali, Taylor, etc have some issues but can be RV'd with some planning, inquiry, and pre-trip thinking. The big issue is that rental companies tend to restrict one from taking the rental rigs on these roads. Just like anywhere in the Western US, there are some roads that are "do-able" but may not make sense to take an RV on. Alaska has some of those types of roads
- September (with the current climate, edging into October) is my absolute favorite time of year in Southcentral Alaska. A crisp fall day makes the snowcovered mountains pop out and the bugs (and most tourists [emoticon] ) are gone, it's hunting season and the less-crowded time to go fishing. If one RV's in a self-contained way, particularly if staying on the "main road" system, September is very RV'-able if you keep an eye on snow at the higher elevations.....but August would be some degree less "care-ridden" and would have much more to offer in the way of RV infrastructure if needed.
- Having traveled to/from Los Anchorage from the L48 some 20+ times, while I won't admit that there is better scenery anywhere than Alaska, the Northern Mountain West in the US and the trip up through BC and the Yukon are all very scenic areas. Every time I pass through the Kluane / Destruction Bay area, most recently in 2018, I can't help but go "WoW".....

SpeakEasy

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Posted: 12/12/19 03:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hmmm. Lots of responses, but not much of any that directly answer your question.

We did this back in 2014. Like you, we researched the rental agencies to try to find the "best" one. We went with ABC. I can't say anything about the other companies, but I can tell you that we were very pleased with ABC. Here are some reasons:

-We were arriving at the airport after-hours on our first day. They made a way for us to sleep in our rental in their parking lot that first night and then do the walk-through and check-out procedure in the morning. (In retrospect, I wouldn't choose to do it that way again, because the cost of the motorhome was probably higher than the cost of a cheap hotel would have been that first night. But - oh well.)

-They had a "share" area set up in their waiting room. People returning units could put into the "share" area any supplies that they had bought that they didn't use up and didn't want to bring home. Incoming renters were welcome to help themselves to anything there. We picked up a current issue of the Mileposts book - a $30 item.

-They were flexible with us about the time of return. We got hung up in some traffic and unexpected map mixup snafus on our return day, and as a result we were about an hour late getting the unit back. The rental agreement clearly stated that they could have penalized us financially, but they didn't.

-We wanted the smallest unit possible, which if I remember correctly, was a 22' unit. They told us that no 22' units were available at the time we needed one. So, we bumped it up to a 24' unit, which may or may not have been a higher price (can't remember). When we got there, there were no 24' units available, so they put us in a 26' unit for the same price as the 24'. At first I wasn't pleased, because I was concerned about driving and parking the thing. But after a day or two I was used to it and glad to have the extra room.

-Everyone we dealt with at ABC was friendly, helpful, and professional.

If we do it again, we will certainly go back to ABC.

I hope this helps.

-Speak


It's just Mrs. SpeakEasy and me now (empty-nesters). But we can choose from among 7 grandchildren to drag along with us!



2014 F-150 Super Crew Short Bed 3.5L Ecoboost
2014 Flagstaff Micro Lite 23LB


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