ALASKAN DISCOVERY RV TOURS
RV Caravans to Alaska - the Last Frontier

 

 

 

TRAVEL TIPSEagle

It is time to get ready for that trip to Alaska, the Last Frontier.  We hope the following will help you in preparing and organizing for the adventure.

After reading the information below, you may find that there are still some questions you have that pertain specifically to you or general information not on the list – roads, weather, vehicles, tow cars… anything to do with RVinn up to Alaska.  If so, ask an experienced, licensed, Alaskan Tour Guide and RV Caravan Wagonmaster – ask Spike!  You can call him at 1-800-842-7764 or send an email to spikealaska@earthlink.net

THE US-CANADIAN BORDER: Passing customs should be routine. But take it seriously. Don’t joke around with customs officials.  They take it as a sign of nervousness and always follow up with an inspection. Answer directly, truthfully and in few words to get a wave through.

  1. No guns or items that can be construed as an offensive weapon, namely tear-gas, pepper spray, brass knuckles, blackjacks, or billy clubs (Fish whackers ok). Shotguns are allowed as transit goods but carry strict requirements, an inspection, a fee and a trigger lock. Do yourself a favor and leave all that stuff at home. Defensive dog and bear spray can be purchased in B.C. if you like to carry such. I have never seen a situation that required anything more than a camera.

  2. Alcohol and tobacco can be purchased at the border, duty free (limit 1.14 liters or a 24 pack of beer per person / 50 cigars and one carton of cigarettes each). Any more than this requires declaration and tax to be paid.

  3. No perishable "stone fruit" or raw or fresh nuts.

  4. If you carry over $10,000 in cash or securities, it must be declared. Your Visa and Mastercard are good everywhere, and allows you to get the best daily rate on your Canadian purchases. The Discover card is only accepted in some places. Keep all receipts from Canadian purchases.  An application for a tax refund can be filled out for most purchases upon leaving Canada. Call ahead and advise your card company that you will be traveling to Canada and Alaska to avoid any "declines".

  5. U. S. citizens under the age of 18 must travel with a parent or have the written consent of both parents or guardian, (notarized) allowing them to travel with you.  Felony Convictions and DMV 522’s (DUI, DWI - less than Five years old) need to contact Immigration in advance for an application to enter.  For more detailed info call U.S. Customs 907 983 2325/Canada 867 821 4111

  6. Proper I.D. consists of having a Passport and one other form of identification, such as a State Drivers License or Certified Birth Certificate.

  7. PETS are welcome everywhere we go but require special handling at times. To avoid problems, keep pets on leashes in RV parks and cities and quickly clean up messes. We all get to know your pets intimately and want to enjoy them too. Crossing the borders, which you will do 7 times, requires a current health certificate or a rabies shot certificate from a Veterinarian (not just a receipt, but a certificate showing the rabies shot within 3 years) and description of the pet, including name. Birds require more, call 703-358-2104 for certificate information. For more detailed information, call US Customs 907-983-2325 / Canada 867-821-4111 or visit their site: (www.inspection.gc.ca/english/animal/heasan/inport/petse.shtml)

VEHICLE / RV INFORMATION

  1. Make sure your vehicles are prepared for the trip. We drive "per conditions," so no vehicle will be stressed any more than normal. But services are few and far between, so have your rig checked for: Tune-up, brakes, bearings, hoses, belts and tires. Also carry any spare parts you think you may require. Bring several spare "air filters" so you don't have to locate one at the small auto parts stores. Those rigs that get very low mileage and have small tanks should carry spare gas or diesel. Gas stations are usually spaced just right.  Oil changes are available in all major towns.  Make sure you are always driving on the top two thirds of your tank. Seal or tape all drain holes in the bottom of your basements to keep out possible dust. Class C, front engine Class A's and pick up trucks will have their radiators screened by our staff.  Just show up as we will install the proper screen from our stock, free of charge.  Of course, we recommend getting a full bra for the tow car if possible.  Class A rigs should have a front bra, or purchase plastic "Transit Shield" ($40) from us, and the same 1/4" mesh in their grills secured with tie-downs, provided by us.  Pushers will have the rear radiators and fans found underneath covered by us with our 1/2" mesh to avoid any rock strikes.

  2. Tow cars: Need a full front bra from bumper to top of windshields.  All tow cars over 4400 lbs. need a braking system including a breakaway device. There are many to choose from. I like the type that is easily detached. Other tow cars are okay as long as the total weight of the two (tower and towee) don’t exceed 80% of the towers gross vehicle weight. Last year legislation in the B.C. government raised the tow weight from 3500 lbs. To 4400 lbs. As of now no one has heard of them checking or harassing any drivers, I wrote to complain (as did all motor clubs) and won the higher tow limit.

     Two friends who provide tow protection are: 

    Protect - a - Tow, ask for Bruce 5% off  1-888-264-5444, http://protectatow.tripod.com/    $199.95 - 5% = 189.96 + shipping

    Coastline cover, 10% off  1 800 216 1664, http://www.coastlinervandoffroad.com/   $385.00 -10% = 346.50 + shipping

  3. Insurance: Your auto insurance is good in Canada and Alaska. Bring your copy of insurance.  If you have Good Sam or AAA insurance, make sure it has full RV coverage. Check that your health insurance is good in Canada. Carry your card as it is cash and carry for non-locals without accepted health insurance. US prescriptions cannot be filled in Canada.

OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW

  1. Do not forget to bring a camera (more film than you need) sunglasses, binoculars, sun hat, cold hat, layered clothes for all (four seasons, including rainy), hiking boots, fishing boots, tennis shoes, one can of mosquito spray, medium fishing pole, 20 pound test, line, (flies and bait purchased locally), any exotic food or condiments.

  2. Everyone dresses casual at all times. Your typical outfit for the day will be tennis shoes, jeans, T-shirt, sun hat, and windbreaker. The days we are on glaciers or boat tours, you may dress more "Arctic." The days are warm and the evenings are cool and usually start around midnight.

  3. We use VHF radios for all communication.  The radios will be handed out at Orientation.  CB's are great for personal communication and emergency's while traveling to the start point but are not required for the tour anymore.

  4. Discounts: With our vest and name badges on, we represent a strong purchasing block. Ask for your tour discount everywhere we go (they usually give one). Some places do not advertise senior or child discounts, always ask about them too. All gifts, merchandise and services are negotiable. Get your best price. Even at the gas pumps. We have arranged with all the fuel stations we go to for a "Bulk Fuel" discount for all tour members.  We will advise you each day of the upcoming fuel stations.

  5. Mail and Messages: Use our toll free number (800 842 7764) for all messages as our cell phone works in Canada and Alaska. If we are not near a cell site our voice mail will pick up and the calling party can leave a message (which I check twice a day). I receive forwarded mail several times during the tour. Notify us if you want your mail sent that way and I will give you an address 5 to 6 days ahead of the tour where to receive and hold your mail.      

  6. If bringing a cell phone...call your provider and get Canada-plus calling for cheaper rates.

  7. Call your credit card company and tell them you will be traveling in Canada and Alaska so they won't stop charges from going through.

  8. Web Stuff: Most RV parks have WiFi, so you will then have contact and be able to keep with the rest of the world.  Also, you can have your friends and family follow us online by pulling up our web site, clicking on "Tour Photos" and then clicking the "Tours 2014" button. Throughout the tour I update the narrative, post photos and tell of our activities. Even your personal message can be posted.

 

We will be going back into time to a place with few people, many wild animals, rugged mountains, steep fjords, moving glaciers and active volcanoes.  We will stand in many places where no man has stood before. We RV people are fortunate that we will see and experience many new and wonderful things that others will never see having not had the opportunity to travel our way.

 Now, it's north to Alaska!