We knew people who rented motorhomes in Alaska and, even with their encouragement, we were not looking forward to navigating strange highways with a 27-foot monster (23-foot models were already taken). Everyone told us that it is 'SO EASY' to motor home in Alaska, especially in the Kenai but we were very skeptical. Believe me, IT IS REALLY EASY and being able to travel from place to place without packing and unpacking, having the kitchen and a bathroom right with you is Fabulous! You can park anywhere at night if you can't find a campground or RV facility - even in WalMart or Fred Meyers. (Some of them even have free water and dump stations) There is nothing better than being able to 'camp' in a safe environment (protected somewhat from bears) in the middle of absolutely nowhere surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Also know that just about everyone else on the road is traveling by motor home (are really nice first timers - just like you) and are eager to be of assistance.
After a full day, starting at the Denali Train depot, riding back on the Alaska Railroad's Denali Star and getting off at Anchorage station, we needed to get to the motorhome 'station' and move in.
Gabi found out you could stay in the motorhome before the official 'check-in'. This saved us a night in an Anchorage motel, which was a big cost and time saving.
In a row of 20 'coaches' we got our first look at the Winnebago Chalet with our name in the front window. We found the key and got in for our first look at our home for the next week.
JJ "called" the overhead bunk... for the WHOLE trip and it proved to be the perfect kid's room. He could watch the tv from his bunk. He could close the curtain and read, text message his friends (when the cellphone worked) or play Gameboy.
Gabi started right in setting up house. She tried to work with JJ to make his bunk and ended up having him do it by himself.
The pop-out dining area and 'master' bedroom seemed like potential problems, though they were already out for our first night. They proved to be very easy to move out each night and pull in each morning and they did make a space difference,
more for the dining table than the bedroom. The bed in back didn't allow much room in or out. We should have been more worried about the toilet, which we thought was 'cute' at first!
Gabi was visualizing our first breakfast in the motorhome. We had a propane stove,
a coffee pot and microwave which required the generator to be running and a refrigerator which only operated when it was level. She and JJ easily settled in, reading at the dining room table and text messaging from the top bunk.
Here's JJ the first morning in the motorhome. You can see his bunk and the open cockpit which made everything accessible without getting out.
Joe was visualizing driving this monster on the highways of the Kenai and, even scarier, the city streets of Seward, Soldotna and Homer. We ended up with the 27-foot model because the 23-footers were already taken. He became pretty comfortable by the end of our trip, but he wasn't sure at first.
Here's our motorhome tourist taking his first picture as proof that he made it out of Anchorage in one piece.
Finding our first motorhome campsite and motorhome morning gave us the feeling 'we can do this' and we started to think about what we were going to do and see instead of how we were going to get there. In fact, when we later set up a
camping website, we included RV's, which we never considered before.
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