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Sleeping in an RV on the side of the road in Alaska?

Sleeping in an RV on the side of the road in Alaska?

Apr 26th, 2009, 05:50 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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Sleeping in an RV on the side of the road in Alaska?

My BF and I (early 40s) are renting an RV for our 10 day trip to Kenai and Denali in mid-August. We've got all the campgrounds set except the first night. After reading a lot of posts here I suggested that we stop in Girdwood for the first night -- coming from NYC on the plane will be long and tedious, and then getting the RV from Great Alaskan Holidays and learning how to drive it, and stocking up, wont' leave a lot of time to drive.

But my BF is worried that the next day, our first full day in Alaska, we will have to do so much driving down to Homer that we will spend the entire day on the road and not out and about actually IN Alaska. He thought to get down to the junction with the highway going to Homer and stop there maybe. I think it's too much driving the first day after flying etc. and who knows how long it will take to actually get the gear and get out of Anchorage.

So he had the thought that maybe we could drive as much as we could, and then pull over on the side of the road when he gets tired and sleep that way, and not in an official campground. Is that legal in Alaska?

If not, has anyone driven from Anchorage down that far their first day? Is it doable?

hikrchick is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 08:43 AM
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Will it be dark by the time you start driving? Have you driven RV's before?
suze is online now  
Apr 26th, 2009, 10:46 AM
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One nice thing about Alasaka is the LONG daylight hours of the summer! That said, Portage Glacier is something you're going to want to stop and see whether its coming or going.

From what I've read http://www.rvsafely.com/rvroadlaws.htm#AK and what we saw when we were in Alaska in 1992, Overnight parking is allowed in state rest areas.

Drive carefully while in Alaska...you never know if a moose or bear will be around the next turn!

utahtea is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Even if they have daylight, I'm still trying to picture getting off a long-haul plane ride, especially if they've not driven an RV or been to Alaska before. That's going to be one LONG day from the time they get up in the morning in NYC until they go to sleep by the side of the road somewhere that night! Plus the cross-country time change.
suze is online now  
Apr 26th, 2009, 11:45 AM
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Yes, you can pull off and I thought I would see a lot of people doing that but we didn't. We tried it one evening but it just felt weird. There are several national forest campgrounds in the Cooper Landing area ( after you turn east off the Seward hwy heading to Homer. We've stayed twice at the Russian River c.g. and I know you can make reservations because we did both times. It is advisable because it's a popular place for salmon fishing. The other two are Quartz Creek and Cooper Creek and you can reserve them as well. It would be a good halfway point for you--their website says it is 110 miles from Anchorage. You would really enjoy walking down to where the Russian River and Kenai River join--seeing tons of people doing what they call "combat fishing". Alaskans really enjoy getting outdoors in the summer and this is one of the most popular places they go. We've never seen anything like it. It was fun to join them. If you are inclined, you can rent fishing equipment from GAH.


If Russian River cg is booked up, click on "View Regional Map" and you will see the other two just down the road. There are two more that take reservations BEFORE you turn east off the Seward hwy. There are many others but most are way off the road.

BTW, check the folding chairs they give you. One of ours was a kiddie chair but you couldn't tell with it in the bag. You made a good choice going with them.
Connie is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 12:27 PM
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It's about 220 miles from ANC to Homer according to Mapquest, which estimates the drive as a little over 4 hours. I've driven it several times in around 3:30 but will likely take longer in an RV.

You can park off the highway and sleep but I wouldn't do it near the Seward cut-off. Maybe Cooper Landing or Soldotna area. I would probably stop at Cooper Landing area myself, though actually I always spend the first night in Anchorage and get an early start the next day when we fly up.

This Sterling highway has MANY moose-vehicle collisions, especially around dusk, so take care. They have warning signs with the numbers, I can remember reading "254 moose collisions on this road so far this year", for example. Twice I've had moose jump out of the brush in front of the car, luckily we didn't hit one. This is a good reason NOT to drive late into the twilight hours.
Bill_H is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 12:31 PM
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You can overnight where ever you can find a wide enough spot that isn't marked "no camping" provided you can get 10 feet off the driving portion of the road. You will see trucks and RV's parked in many places. Buy/beg/borrow a copy of "The Milepost", a book about Alaska that lists things to see in Alaska. It will have all the camping locations listed by the highway milepost, as well as attractions.
rm_mn is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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Thank you all very much for your quick replies! We do have a Milepost, and I started to read it on Saturday. It's a bit overwhelming for me. It is the most organized/retentive/obsessive guidebook I've ever seen. I can tell immediately it will be very handy.

Yes, this will be the first time we're driving an RV. Connie, Cooper Landing is the place my BF was thinking of; I couldn't remember the name when I posted. Bill H, thank you for your warnings. That was indeed what I was worried about.

Maybe we will make a reservation in Cooper Landing somewhere and if necessary pull over and sleep if it's just impossible to make it that far. Both of us can sleep on airplanes so we won't be dead-tired, but still, I will want to go to sleep fast.

Any other thoughts?
hikrchick is offline  
May 1st, 2009, 09:57 AM
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I don't know what time you arrive in Anchorage from the East Coast, but remember AK time is off by 4 hours vs EST. Having rented from Great Alaskan, I know it takes 2 hours to complete the training before you can leave their lot. I recommend getting the book: Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping. The reviews of the campgrounds are very truthful. We stay in the QUARTZ CREEK CAMPGROUND (AK), CHUGACH NF - FS, AK on the way down from Anhcorage to Homer. We make our reservations via recreation.gov.
tlbooz is offline  
May 1st, 2009, 12:03 PM
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You will not want to drive far on your first day. Getting the RV and supplies will take longer than you think it will. I wouldn't stop at the intersection to Homer. I'd find an actual campground. Yes, you can park by the side of the road or in some commerical parking lots (like Fred Meyers- Alaska's Walmart) but the campgrounds are so much more scenic and quiet.

On our first night, we drove the RV to a great campground near Portage Glacier. It made a perfect first night spot. Just as we did, you could then visit Portage glacier the next morning before driving to Homer. It would give your bf a sense of being out in Alaska on that first full day (and a beautiful, quiet spot to spend your first night). I can't recall the name of the campground but there's not much near there (Portage glacier) so you should be able to find it in the Milepost. It was the last campground before Portage Glacier. I'll post back if I think of the name.
padams421 is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 05:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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You may want to check out the topic I wrote on Dec. 16, 2008 on "Some tips for renting an RV in Alaska". We rented from Great Alaska also, and I wrote some tips you might need.
It was one of the best vacations we have had, and we have traveled the world.
Are you going to Homer for a specific reason. With only ten days (we had 15) that is a long way to travel. You need more time in Seward area and Denali. We were there late Aug into September, great time.
twoaussies is offline  
May 6th, 2009, 12:15 PM
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You can't "camp" in as many parking lots as you used to be able to. Most big box stores have put a stop to that. The first year we went, 2004, people were parked there so long they had little white picket fences and pots of flowers set out! On our next trip in 2006 they were all gone. We parked at Wal Mart to do our grocery/supplly shopping and the security golf cart was at our door before we could get out of the RV!!

I do think there are a few places that will let you. Maybe someone who has been more recently can tell you where.

A great forum for RVing is www.rv.net/forums. Very friendly and any kind of advice you could want.
Connie is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 04:51 AM
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thank you so much for these great replies. I will check out rv.net/forums. We got distracted from our planning with a new apartment, but one of these days we'll pick up our Milepost again and leaf through it.

and yes, twoaussies, we need more time in Seward and Denali. And everywhere. In 2006-2007 I spent 2 1/2 months hiking through New Zealand and even that wasn't enough time to go everywhere I wanted and to see everything that interested me. On purpose I left certain places out of my itinerary so I could have something new to see the next time. So of course a 10-day trip splitting between several places isn't even close to being enough. But it is enough for this time.

I did some googling and it turns out there's a micro-brewery in Homer, and that August is arts month so there will be some artsy things going on. Perhaps we can buy something for our new apartment. My fiancee is also eager to go horseback riding. So there will be lots to do. I'm starting to get excited!
hikrchick is offline  
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