Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A Week in Interior Alaska for $500

I had such a great, cheap trip to the Alaskan interior that I thought I would share some tips.

First of all, why so cheap? First, hotels in Alaska tend to be quite expensive for what they are. Second, I wanted to go on this polar bear tour that was almost $2000, just for one day. But on the other hand polar bears aren't going to be around forever maybe? Also I had learned some cheap travel tricks and wanted to challenge myself to use them. And I didn't want out time there to be limited by how much money we were spending on hotels.

I flew into Anchorage on a late Wednesday night and slept in the airport rather than leave or rent a car earlier. My new sociopath friend Arthur turned me on to this strategy -- save money by taking really early flights or really late flights and just sleep in the airport. There's even a website, sleepinginairports.net. The general rule is as much as possible be on the inside security side, because the sleeping and other opportunities usually exceed that of the public side of airports and with less harassment from cops, etc.

My goal was to not spend a single night in an actual lodging, and we actually did make it the whole week sleeping in the car, which was a lot of fun. Alaska is a great place to do what a lot of people call boondocking, or dry camping, or sleeping in cars. The only place that has any sort of limitations on it is in Anchorage, and there are plenty of places just outside Anchorage to stay. You can sleep at rest stops. You can sleep at pull outs. We slept at a Wal-Mart twice. I suggest picking a place that already has someone there for safety or if you need to jump the car or something in the morning. For showering, we showered at campsites at places that we were already going to, like Denali National Park, and we paid $15 each to go to the Chena Hot Springs Resort just outside of Fairbanks, which had showers. (At Denali the technical rule is showers are just for campers, but we had a reservation snafu with them and the showers were empty and $7 so I didn’t have qualms about it.)  I guess you can also often find showers at laundromats. Dry cabins or dry camping is an Alaskan phenomenon and it is well suited for it.

That morning I woke up, brushed my teeth, and picked up my rental car. I had booked a car originally for the week for something like $450, but I got free cancellation and just kept that browser tab open on my laptop to periodically check if prices went down. Every time they went down, I re-booked another car. I got supplier's choice because I figured I was probably going to book a small car anyway, so I had nowhere to go but up. Me and my traveling companion hit the jackpot when we got a minivan. We were really hoping for anything on the big side, SUV etc. But worst case scenario we had brought this off of Amazon:



The reviews suggest that it doesn't last long, and it started dying the last night of the trip. I never did get a chance to use it like it's mean, i.e. in the back seat of a car. But it was about the size of a twin bed plus 20%. Not a full size mattress, somewhere in between. You could probably sleep two people (and some reviewers suggested that they did), but they should be small-ish people who don't mind being all up on each other. In any case, we didn't end up using it this way, just as an inflatable mattress for sleeping in the back of the van.

We flew into Anchorage because it was cheaper than Fairbanks and gas is cheap in Alaska, plus we wanted a scenic drive. And we ended up going down to Kenai Fjords National Park on a very beautiful scenic drive on the Kenai Peninsula.

Being there at the very end of August was  little bit key because that's the beginning of Polar Bear Season, the end of National Park or boondocking season for Denali (unless you want cold and rainy), Grizzly Bears go into a nonstop eating pattern in preparation for hibernation, there were beautiful fall colors that were changing by the day, and there were Northern Lights.

I'd suggest doing the Tundra Wilderness tour in Denali and trying to sign up for a Ranger led hike (you can only sign up in person 1-2 days before the hike, so consider being there for 2.5 days to accommodate this schedule. Buy bear spray on your way up on a Fred Meyer. We also got sleeping bags for $10 on sale there after spending the first night shivering under the thin blankets we had packed and wearing nearly all of our clothes.

Chena Hot Springs just north of Fairbanks is a great place for seeing the Northern Lights. I would set an alarm for every hour and if you see anything, stay up because they can grow a lot brighter and disappear pretty fast. Fairbanks is supposed to be one of the best places in the world for Northern Lights do its latitude and number of clear, starry nights.

A good low key activity between Northern Lights viewing nights is Fairbanks' Pioneer Park and the salmon bake there: https://www.akvisit.com/dinner/

Fairbanks Ice Museum is cheap and surprisingly fun to play with the ice sculptures.

If you can swing the Polar Bear tour, I really recommend it. It's really expensive, but they call up ahead of time to see if there is any bear activity, so you're almost guaranteed to see them. Also you get to fly over Northern Alaska and get up to the Arctic Ocean. If you want to do it on the cheap, the place they go is called Kaktovik and Ravn Air flies there, but they're notorious for leaving passengers stranded, so give yourself an extra day. I believe there is only one inn there, that is also the only public eatery, so pack snacks or plan on eating that the whole time. I think a local tour company is Kaktoviktours.com, and they can help you arrange stuff. The nice thing about the package tour I took is that everything ran seamlessly.

I would pass on the Dalton Road. Looked totally boring from the air.





16 comments:

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  2. Dire Straits

    Steps out of the streetlight, maybe wearing a balaclava?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Not sure where to put this so i'll put it here..

    I was sent in the direction of your book by a friend, the same friend who asked me to take a psychopath test for a laugh. I scored considerably high. Your book is a great read which I found really entertaining.
    The opossum story is one i have thought about a bit as i am an animal lover. I would have most definitely saved the animal. A human? I'd have let it drown, especially if it was of a certain tribe or stock. I can watch an animal in distress and feel empathy. I can watch some documentary on Discovery about Auschwitz and feel nothing, a smirk might cross my face perhaps.

    I never conformed at school, at Uni (i dropped out) or in the work place. I have never officially been diagnosed with anything like sociopathy etc, only to be once told by a Magistrate in court that i have antisocial personality disorder. I was in court for a violent assault. I still object to that unqualified verdict.

    I have always done things my way, on my terms. I do what i like and i like what i do. I say what i like and i like what i say. From late teens to mid twenties i would happily have hospitalised you just for giving me a sly look (i still would if i could get away with it). My criminal record sheet includes GBH, ABH, assault, vandalism, antisocial behaviour and in later years driving without a licence and insurance. I'm not proud, not bothered, no bad feeling or feeling about it one way or the other. No nothing. I couldn't care less. I'm not a thrill seeker or an adrenaline junkie. I don't skydive, bungee jump, or race around in a fast car.

    Now in my late thirties i am the Director of a company. I'm not sure if my mindset has helped. I don't consider myself cunning, particularly smart or even that ambitious. Getting to this position was relatively easy.
    I am however very good at being able to read people. I can gauge someone just be looking at them. I can understand them, and to get one step ahead i will be anything that person wants me to be if it is to my advantage. I was later told this is impression management. Nobody gets the better of me. Ever.

    Over the years i have learned to control impulsive behaviour, particularly extreme violence, mostly by not putting myself situations that might push my buttons. Very difficult but it can be minimised. I have to check my rage on a daily basis, whether with colleagues, clients or simply going about a normal task like driving somewhere. I see no red mist, rather a white light that almost blanks out my vision followed by a brief loss of memory. I feel something like a over-tightened bolt, or coiled spring in my chest, and the only way to release the tension is to violently assault the person who made me feel this way. I have zero moral objection to my victim being male or female.

    I don't consider myself an angry person. I don't shake or get an adrenaline rush when committing acts of violence like i have in the past. My hands don't tremble and i am not flustered. There will be no warning, no shouting, verbals or otherwise. I'll just put you down and won't stop until you stop moving. I don't grandstand, i seek no approval or favour. I simply don't care. Offensive is always taken, never given.

    I have been with my fiancee a number of years and she is able to read the tell tale signs (which has gotten me out of trouble numerous times, as recently as two weeks ago). I won't take my eyes off you if you get my back up, and it wouldn't matter how high or wide you build a wall to try and stop me, i'd go through it just to get to you.

    My behaviour has cost me friends and relationships. I have been accused of being unhinged and unpredictable.

    Life today is a slower pace but that is mostly of my choosing. The spark always remains if people bring the matches.

    Not sure why i felt compelled to write any of this but i have regardless.

    Anyway, you should have saved the opossum.

    Kind regards

    Alex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure why you felt the need either. I don't think it's because of the possum. Fuck the possum. You don't seem to be asking anything, yet just on a quite pitiful self adoring validation bore fest.
      You ate extremely boring Alex.
      And really into yourself...i wonder how many people around you see you in any slightest way like you think they do.
      They probably just think you a twat.
      We certainly do.
      You appear to have bullied your would be bride into a scared mess, which again, you convince yourself is because of your emanating prowess, but you just sound like a wife beater bully, no doubt because of your hair loss. It's not her fault Alex.
      The spark always remains if people bring the matches.
      Brilliant.
      You are such a man Alex, grr!!!
      But hey, Alex, even the prettiest fireworks come with a danger warning.
      You may use that in your quest for grandeur my friend, it may help make you sound less of a twat.
      Twat

      Kind Regards

      Delete
    2. Alex, the more times I read that shit show bollocks of yours, the fucking funnier it gets!!
      I like you Alex (I don't, at all, I think you're a twat, but I wouldn't want to see you come through a wall at me...youre too much Al, brilliant) you're clearly a very funny guy.
      The bit about beating women up like you so dominatingly beat men up? Priceless. You sound so fucking tough, I bet you could just smash a grape! I'm glad you felt the need to bore us actually Lexi, it's been dead on here for a while and it's made my day reading your piss, I'm going to screenshot it and save it as my screen saver so I can read it whenever things get quiet.
      You may be a hero of mine Ally baby.
      Its a good thing you don't get angry anymore, you know..shaky Big Al, God no, lucky me that these days you're just a starer.
      Wasnt Big Gay Al the guy from Southpark all them years back?
      I bet you're loads badder than him though Al, not even a bit gay no, just rugged chunks of grizzled man bear yeah? Fuck yeah Al! Fuck yeah!
      Please...please write some more Al, please...

      Twat

      Kind Regards

      Delete
    3. Swop, I'm honoured. After all these years it's like he's finally meeting the family.

      Delete
    4. Is Alex the same person as **-*?

      Delete
    5. No, never posted on here before

      Swop, are you UK based?

      Alex

      Delete
    6. Oh, my mistake. Welcome to Sociopath World.

      You've very neatly switched ground on Swop, well done. I'm curious as to how he'll respond, if he actually bothers to.

      Delete
    7. Hey North, been a while.
      You know me...only pop by when something tickles me.
      Speaking of which, have you met Alex?
      He has a lisp and pronounces it Alecth.

      Delete
    8. Well, you know I do miss these popcorn sessions, so entertaining and informative.

      It's not like the old days.

      I had hoped I knew him, Swop. There'd have been an artistry, a composition of effect that only the one I love can create. A choreography of online word and real world action that I admit was masterful.

      However, we're told it's not the same person. Disappointing.

      So I'm relying on you to make the most of this situation with our new friend Alex.

      Delete
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  6. U2: not the same

    Compromise is fatiguing. People break free when self expression becomes untenable. We need time in our native habitat, using our primary language.

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