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Old Aug 25, 17, 4:24 am
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 869
Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
I understand people's reluctance to rent cars, but IMO Alaska is an exception. The mainline Alaska Railroad route from Anchorage to Fairbanks via Denali - just my view - is actually pretty boring. Driving is very easy in Alaska, and because so much of the scenery is off the highway (and off the train route) the car gives you the flexibility to stop, make short detours, all that.

Between Seward (and Whittier) and Anchorage, the train follows the road quite closely (a few areas where they diverge) and both are scenic. However driving gives you the option at stopping - for example a short side trip to the historic mining village of Hope on the south side of Turnagain Arm, or at the Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, or in Girdwood... places and activities the train rolls right past.

Try this as a thought experiment - car from Seward to Anchorage, train from Anchorage to Denali and back. Skip Fairbanks, but allocate the money you'd spend on the "arctic circle" tour (just me, but yuck) on a visit to an actual Inupiat Eskimo village north of the arctic circle?

You can fly return from Anchorage to Kotzebue for around US$330, or (since this is FT) for 15,000 BA Avios (7500 each way.) Kotzebue is located on an arm of the Arctic Ocean some distance north of the arctic circle. It's an important Native village with decent visitor accommodations including a modern hotel across the street from the beach - . In Kotzebue in June you'll have 24 hours of sunshine, you can visit a native fish camp down the coast, visit the local museum, and get a feel for life as it's lived in the arctic. It's way better than seeing some sign on the side of the road (through the clouds of mosquitoes) saying you've crossed some invisible line on a map, or at least it is in my view.

The hotel in Kotzebue will cost about the same as one in Anchorage or Fairbanks, you won't need a car, and you'll come back having seen a face of Alaska missed by 90% or more of the people who visit.

Just a suggestion.
Many thanks, Gardyloo - much appreciated your views and suggestions.

I have discussed with hubby about driving. He said if he drives he cannot look at the sceneries! However, a one-way drive from Seward to Anchorage sounded nice.

As you said, and we also read about the train route between Anchorage and Whittier there are many lovely things to do and see.

Your suggestion about skipping Fairbanks & the Artic Circle drive tour, instead fly to Kotzebue and stay overnight in Nullakvig hotel. I have check it out and the hotel looks great. However, it seems we cannot book the AS flight from Anchorage to Kotzebue using BA avios. Strange because on AS website, it shows BA as a partner and we can use AS miles to redeem for BA flights. But, on BA website, AS is not shown as a partner at all - ie cannot use BA avios to book AS flights? We will have to pay revenue fare to AS and credit our miles/points to BA?

Another question about visiting a town on the Artic Circle. Hubby's mother did a trip (from Australia) to Alaska years ago, she wanted to go to Barrow but could not because of the weather. Hubby wanted to know if Barrow would be a better place to visit than Kotzebue?

Thanks so much for your input
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