In each of our first three years of full-time RV travel, we towed Tagalong less than 8,000 miles. A more adventurous trip to Alaska in our fourth year on the road scored Tagalong 9,302 miles. Gulliver earned additional mileage from our explorations while disconnected from the trailer, including an ambitious 1,015-mile round-trip journey to the Arctic Ocean.
We kept our travel days relatively short, averaging an enjoyable 202 miles per stint, from expansive desert to amazing red rocks to snow-capped mountains to lake and river views. Our longest trek, not counting the Arctic Ocean adventure, spanned 500 miles, from Valley of Fire in Overton, Nevada, to Twin Falls, Idaho.
Our record 46 stops (due to multiple single-night stays both ways on the Alaska Highway) took us through four states we were able to add to our RV map — Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska — plus three Canadian provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, and Yukon.
We stayed at only eight campgrounds with some form of hookups and at another four with no hookups. We counted those that lacked energy connections among our 14 boondocking sites. We also overnighted in 14 parking lots and moochdocked at seven locations.
Here are our favorite stops in our fourth year of RV travel:
The eight campgrounds we visited offered convenience. I remember pulling into the Sourdough Campground and Cafe in Tok, Alaska, and taking advantage of the electricity to vacuum the inside of the trailer after the long haul on the Alaska Highway.
We did the same thing upon arrival at Fool Hollow Lake Campground in Show Low, Arizona, after a couple of weeks of boondocking. Many people frequent campgrounds to get away from those conveniences. We go there to enjoy them.
Our two favorite campgrounds for the year were both in Canada. The Kimberley Riverside Campground in British Columbia, as its name implies, sits near a roaring river. We enjoyed spying on deer from our windows and walking along the water to explore our surroundings.
More than Kimberley, we liked Brewers Campground, situated close to a beach in Lacombe County, Alberta, despite the unwanted RV guest that came with it. We visited this location in the fall and relished the changing foliage colors and crunching leaves under our feet. Because we were there after the busy season, we found the place incredibly serene.
Favorite Boondocking Stay
Our boondocking stays for the year ran the gamut, from desert dwelling outside Las Vegas to hanging out in a tree-shrouded dry campground next to some natural hot springs to backing up our trailer to overlook Cook Inlet and Port Valdez in Alaska to camping against a backdrop of red maple trees.
It’s nice to be able to live off the grid and rely on solar and generator power to supply our energy needs. It allows us to get into some pretty quiet and remote areas.
Narrowing down our favorite boondocking spot was a tough choice between Gravel Lake in Mentasta Lake, Alaska, and Goodenough Creek Campground in McCammon, Idaho. We spent three wonderfully relaxing weeks at Gravel Lake, where we appreciated an occasional moose wading into the water, trumpeter swans skiing to a stop on the manmade lake, and quiet solitude interrupted infrequently by a camper passing through.
Despite that peaceful and much-needed stop after a very busy and ambitious Alaska adventure, we named Goodenough Creek Campground our favorite boondocking stay because of the incredible beauty of vibrant red maple leaves that surrounded us there.
I owe the benefit of viewing the amazing scenery at Goodenough Creek to my free-spirited husband, who’s successfully worn down my rigid edges over the years to make it possible for me to move locations within an hour of his suggestion. It used to take me many days to think about a decision of that magnitude, and by then, the opportunity would have evaporated.
Favorite Overnight Stop
On the way to Alaska and back, we mainly boondocked at turnouts along the highway. In addition to those overnight stops for the year, we stayed at a few truck stops, a museum, a mall, and a grocery store — all with permission. As you can imagine, some of those stays were more scenic than others.
Kluane Lake Viewpoint Parking in Destruction Bay, Yukon, made the top overnight spot in our book. We visited the site on our way to Alaska, when ice covered much of the lake, and again on our way back, when the mountains lacked snow. We found both times to be beautiful and refreshing. Spotting the northern lights from this location made it that much more special.
Favorite Moochdocking Spot
We’re pretty spoiled in that we’re blessed to be able to stay with family and friends across the continent during our travels. We spent two weeks with cousins near Fairbanks, Alaska, another few weeks with cousins in Willow, Alaska, and a week with an aunt and uncle in Palmer, Alaska.
We also took advantage of a week with friends near Nampa, Idaho, a night with friends in Calgary, Alberta, a night at a Boondockers Welcome host in Carvel, Alberta, and a week at the Museum of Mountain Flying in Missoula, Montana.
We always appreciate our moochdocking stays and find it difficult to rank them. Each offers something different and memorable.
If we had to choose our favorite for the year, it would be a toss-up between Willow, Alaska, and Nampa, Idaho. In Willow, we parked in such a way that our rig overlooked a lake and gave us inspiring views of the water and the birds and beavers that call it home.
Finding campgrounds costly and boondocking options minimal in Nampa, we stored Tagalong for a week and stayed in the home of friends Kerry and Bev — and their little dog, Kona, whom we fell in love with.
Without a doubt, our favorite state of the year was Alaska. We found our time there fun, adventurous, and tranquil. We enjoyed catching up with family there and being able to get up close and personal to God’s amazing creation. We’re already planning another trip back.
You might also like 5 Favorite Things About Our Summer RV Trip to Alaska.
This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.