An Ideal Way to do a Trip of a Lifetime
Here, tour guide and country music broadcaster NICK ERBY explains why a motorhome is the perfect vehicle to explore North America.
THOUSANDS OF Australians travel through Western Canada and Alaska every year to marvel at the spectacular scenery.
For me, that experience was embellished several times over as I drove a motorhome through seemingly endless magnificent landscapes, stopping wherever I liked to take in the incredible views.
I’d duck off the highway to watch an ice flow on a river, or a waterfall, or pull up to watch a family of bears playing in the grass 20 metres away.
My experience was extra special because we drove more than 5,000kms from Seattle to Anchorage in a motorhome with a group of other Aussies and Kiwis on a tour organised in Australia.
Hundreds of people have done the ‘Alaska Highway Adventure’ with America Canada Motorhome Tours over the past 20 years.
There were no hotels, no packing and unpacking, no bus schedule, no timed stops and meal breaks. We just felt so “free”.
The 21-day road trip was organised so you could drive each day from one pre-booked campground to the next, four to five hours away. How long you took was up to you.
It’s not a convoy tour, so some left early in the morning to spot animals feeding and saw plenty. Others just drove straight through to the next stop.
On our route there were more than 200 river crossings and one couple would have lunch and a siesta beside a river every day.
The campgrounds were key. Every afternoon we would have ‘happy hour’, where apart from socialising, we would compare notes and tell each other of our plans for the next day.
All the way up, the campgrounds (RV Parks) were very satisfactory. Some had better facilities but all had power, showers, laundries and Wi-Fi. (We had one night of free camping by a lake – it snowed and it was fun.)
Our seven- and nine-metre vans (automatic with petrol engines) came from a company in Seattle. They were well fitted out with a bathroom, toilet, bedding, cooking and kitchen utensils. They had a generator (if needed), plus gas for the fridge and oven.
Driving was very comfortable – it takes a day or so to get used to left hand drive, but everyone manages it. Traveling north through British Columbia into Alaska is limited to a couple of highways but generally the roads are two lane and good.
Apart from the wonderful driving experience through the Canadian Rockies into the Alaskan Wilderness, you also get to see iconic destinations like Banff, Jasper, Whitehorse, Fairbanks, Denali National Park and Anchorage.
There are several opportunities to experience attractions along the way, including the renowned Athabasca Glacier, the White Pass & Yukon Railroad trip, Dawson City and a flight onto Mt McKinley (the highest mountain in North America).
You can also go dog sledding, gold mining and fly above the Arctic Circle to the top of Alaska.
And to top off this well thought out itinerary, the return to Vancouver is via the renowned Inside Passage Cruise.