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Old 08-21-2011, 12:51 AM   #1
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Alaska

We are about halfway through a 90-day journey through western Canada and Alaska, "boondocking" for free every night unless there is a really really good reason to pay for a parking space. So far we have paid only four times, always with a good reason other than just needing a place to park (such as 24 hour access to a hotspring).

The things you get for your parking fee - picnic table, parking space, fire ring, toilet - are simply not anything we need enough to pay for since we have everything we need onboard. Free overnight parking spots are abundant and often have excellent views not available from paid spots not to mention the privacy of being the only ones there.

Tonight we are overlooking Midway Lake south of Tok, Alaska. Fabulous view, total privacy.

Cost: Zero, nada, zip.

Please tell us why does anyone pay for a parking spot?????
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Old 08-21-2011, 04:37 AM   #2
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Re: Alaska

Not relevant to Alaska, as I've never been; but there are a few other reasons I can think of, at least for me:

1. toilet that I don't have to later deal with
2. to not get hassled- personally, if I don't KNOW that boondocking is OK I'll lose more rest than I gain
3. time
4. not knowing where to boondock- nor even where to start looking. Poorly marked BLM and National Forest, especially during the planning stages of a trip make it tough.

When it's two hours past when you should have stopped and all you can find are signs saying "No Trespassing" a known campsite is worth more than a movie.

I wish I could just pull off through a ranch gate and sack out on someone's property without a care, but I'm just not wired like that. I do like to boondock as much as possible, but finding where is always the issue for me.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:04 AM   #3
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Re: Alaska

Sit down toilet and shower. No other reason. If I don't need either of those, I stay clear of campgrounds.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:06 AM   #4
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Re: Alaska

Which hot springs were you at, Liard?

Parking used to be free there and it is all messed up now, setup now like a big campground.

I got bailed up there one night by a wolf hybrid.

I am down with boon docking but like jage I want to know for certain I won't get hassled.
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Old 08-21-2011, 04:15 PM   #5
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Re: Alaska

Was looking on the Willamette and Siuslaw National Forrest web sites today and saw that they now have Motor Vehicle Use Maps. These only show the roads that are open to motorized vehicles, i.e. no contours or ether information. This coupled with the standard NFS map should be a good way to travel in the NFs.

The good thing about this is that you can camp without being hassled.

This is from the Willamette NF website "Dispersed camping (camping outside developed campgrounds) with motor vehicles may occur only in those areas indicated on the MVUM. In such designated areas, motor vehicles may travel up to 300 feet off of the road to access and use established dispersed campsites."
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Old 08-21-2011, 04:27 PM   #6
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Re: Alaska

Alaska boondocking info:

http://www.rv-camping.org/Alaska.html

Alaska is very liberal with boondocking

That said on our 58 day Alaska trip we boonbocked 4 times. The rest on the time we camped on fee sites (private, state national).

I do not pay to "park" but we do pay frequently for a camping sites.
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:19 AM   #7
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Re: Alaska

Good camps near the Alaska/Canada border are Lakeview and Deadhorse. From Tok good places to go is Nebesna and then to Kennecott mine. Then head south passing by Glennallen (fuel and groceries), to Paxton. Take the Denali highway from Paxton to Cantwell (140mi), lots of good boondocking. Just make sure you have a full tank, as there aren't any gas stations. Alaska and Canada are conducive to boondocking, just hope that there are no mechanical or getting stuck problems as you are usually out of cell phone range and miles away from anybod,(which is the beauty). Milepost list where to "primitive camp" or boondock.
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:17 PM   #8
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Re: Alaska

Quote:
Originally Posted by durangatangs
We are about halfway through a 90-day journey through western Canada and Alaska, "boondocking" for free every night unless there is a really really good reason to pay for a parking space. So far we have paid only four times, always with a good reason other than just needing a place to park (such as 24 hour access to a hotspring).

The things you get for your parking fee - picnic table, parking space, fire ring, toilet - are simply not anything we need enough to pay for since we have everything we need onboard. Free overnight parking spots are abundant and often have excellent views not available from paid spots not to mention the privacy of being the only ones there.

Tonight we are overlooking Midway Lake south of Tok, Alaska. Fabulous view, total privacy.

Cost: Zero, nada, zip.

Please tell us why does anyone pay for a parking spot?????
It must be nice to be able to easily find nice boon dock spots. Sounds like a dream come true.

In traveling back to Colorado and Wyoming, I had a heck of a time finding premium spots to boon dock at but I didn't really know the area. It seems like permission to stay on public land varies between rules made by the forest service, counties and even the states themselves. I understand everything Jage said and unfortunately have to agree with his points.
If somebody was coming into the Sierra Nevada's in my neck of the world, I could tell them where they can or can't stay. That's what I love about the trip report section, hopefully somebody will post great spots to boon dock at where I'm planning to visit which will help plan the trip. It would probably be different if I had all the time in the world.

I'll be looking forward for your trip report. Have a great time.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:46 AM   #9
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Re: Alaska

Liard Hot Springs was the first place we paid for a campsite on the trip. Very nicely screened sites and 24 hour hotspring access are included in the $21 (Canadian) camping fee. Since they wanted about $15 for two day passes that was a good deal.

We also paid in Calgary, which is a big city with no reasonable boondock options except Camp Wal Mart. We had to overnight there in order to get an oil change done. An RV park charged us $36 Canadian for a tiny site overlooking a junk yard, with neighbors crammed in all around and not a tree in sight.

At Manley Hot Springs we paid $5 to park next to the river in a sort of town park, walking distance from the Springs.

For a week we had a third rider with us, and she got a motel room each night. One of the motels charged us $20 to dry-camp on the property but none of the others did.

We have not been hassled once at a boondock site. We of course don't stay if it is posted as No Camping or No Overnight Parking or if there is a private residence nearby. In Canada and Alaska that leaves lots of options, but we also found spots easily in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. You have to be comfortable not knowing in the morning where you will be sleeping tonight and that may not be for everyone. Along the Alaska Highway we have learned to pick a spot in the late afternoon because by evening they are already occupied by other rigs. We see truckers, motorhomes, and even tents set up in rest area parking lots. No one seems to be having any problems.

Bottom line for us is that this trip would not be affordable at all if we had to pay for a campsite every night. As it is, the $5+ a gallon price of diesel fuel in Canada is eating our lunch!
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:10 PM   #10
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Re: Alaska

Hi Durangs!

We bumped into these folks on the Nebesna Road in Wrangell/St. Elias a few days ago. Amazing place! And small world! We're both Coloradans!

We haven't paid for a spot since we saw you guys. Went to McCarthy/Kennecott then down to Valdez where a well needed shower and oil change (Mark's by the Old Valdez light is the place to go) took up the hour or two before the ferry crossing to Cordova. Free here so far. We're headed out on The Copper Hiway for a couple of days even though the road is closed past mm36 (flooding). All free camping out there, we're told. Then it's over to the Kenai for a week or two. The salmon are running, the halibut is in and except for booze, diesel and ferries the expenses have been pretty reasonable.

Safe travels and maybe we'll see you guys as we head south in September.

Hey all, put Alaska on your list. And BC, too.

All the best,

Jay
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