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Thread: Camping in Alaska & the Canadian NW

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    Camping in Alaska

    nosliwmit, Junior Member, 08-18-2000 02:03 PM

    Howdy campers!
    My wife and I are planning an extended trip (maybe 9 months) in our Westy starting next spring or summer. We would like to spend some time in Mexico and wonder if anyone out there has any cautions, suggestions etc. We plan to cover the U.S. and Canada extensively (did this for 3 months a couple years ago--16,000 mi--but there's still lots to see!).

    We also hope to spend some time in Alaska (ferry up/drive down or vice versa) and would love some hints regarding that journey too. We tend to stay in nat'l and state parks when possible, though we've spent many nights snoozing in truck-stops, rest areas, parking lots etc. We stopped at KOAs or Good Sams about every other day to use showers (they typically charged about $3 each).

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    Gary B. Dixner, Member, 08-20-2000 01:56 PM

    Hi, My daughter drove her 87 Westy to Creel in the Copper Canyon area. I will ask her for information and forward it to you. We worried about her the whole time but she did fine and loved it. A couple of things I remember: Be advised not to drive at night especially if you have the later model with rectangular headlights. They are notoriously under-lighted. Why VW thought we need mood lighting along a dark highway is beyond me. Check out Capt'n. Mike's list of things to take along. It's a very thoughtful and comprehensive list. I think it's in the "Tips" section of this archive.

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    There is a post under Wheels & Brakes concerning tires on Alaska trips, that's applicable to any remote or rough country plans.

    Also read the thread on Spare Engine & mechanical parts. There are some appropriate threads about foodstuffs in the Fridge forum. You need levelers (TIPS forum) as few of the campgrounds have level sites.

    I've done extensive Westy camping in Alaska and the NW part of Canada -- BC, Yukon, NWT. We've explored almost every little side road so if you have any specific questions, post 'em here.

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    a good site for the hiway stops is
    http://www.kmbykm.com/main/Canada/

    I will be doing bc in a few weeks. If there is any interest i will post a 'hot springs' vw tour.

    also if anyone has done that in the rockies i would love details.

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    I used to live in the Kootenays and have visited many of the Hot Springs in the area. Fairmont Hot Springs consist of a large public-style swimming pool filled with hot springs water. Very nice resort. Radium Hot Springs have 2 big pools, one hotter than the other surrounded by cliffs/mountains...a very nice stop. Ainsworth Hot Springs (near Nelson) is a free-form style pool complete with a "cave-passage way" that you can walk through. also very nice. Banff Hot Springs is also very nice. I'd be happy to answer any questions about this area. Rhonda

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    Near the end of the Steese Highway, which is located a little above Fairbanks and heads east to Circle, AK, is The Circle Hot Springs spur road, ending in at Circle Hot Springs resort -- a throwback to about the 1930's. Delightful, spring heated pool, 'interesting' restaurant. See the Milepost, mentioned elsewhere -- a mandatory guidebook to that part of the world.

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    Nakusp Hot springs, 20k from the town of Nakusp. Nakusp is a wonderful little town on the shores of upper Arrow Lake. It's a place you have to want to go to to get there. South from Revelstoke via ferry, west from Vernon via ferry, or north from Nelson. Camping available at the hot springs. Nice community run outdoor pools, hot and very hot.

    Icarus

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    Circle Hot Springs, north of Fairbanks, is one of my favorite places but they closed due to a lack of business (that was more than a year ago). They said that they may open back up and they may have since then, but be sure to check before you go all the way up there for that purpose. It is perhaps the only place I have been that I got spooked from a ghost story.

    Chena Hot Springs is closer to Fairbanks, but much more commercial - not to suggest it is not worthwhile, just a different experience.

    Driving up to AK you should definitely check out the Liard Hot Springs in Canadia.

    I live here in AK, and one of my favorite drives is up the Dempster Highway, in the N.W. Territories up to the North Slope to a town called Inuvik. It might be fun to cross the Arctic Circle around June 21.

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    Have done so -- crossed the Arctic Circle on the Demspter June 21st. I have a picture of the sun taken at midnight still well above the trees. I suppose theoretically one should adjust the time for longitude to snap the exact crossing of the lower meridian, but having 00:00 imprinted in the photo with the auto date-time stamp feature of the camera is cool. We saw it even higher the next couple of days of in Inuvik.

    Personally, though, I don't like it. It's hard to psych yourself to go to bed with the sun that high. Plus the local folkss don't appear to try -- they do their thing and party until well past midnight, then nothing opens until late morning or noon. I remember having to wait until 10:00 AM once for the gas station to open.

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    We are considering buying an 86 - 91 Westy Camper or possibly a Eurovan. We won't be off road exactly but on many dirt and gravel roads in Mexico and perhaps Canada. Do these vehicles have enough ground clearance for out of the way places?

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