This is it. Or, almost it. In 24 hours AKontheGO will be part of Alaska family travel’s biggest adventure yet; the Great Alaskan Holidays Spring Adventure Package. Traveling more than 3,500 miles between Forest City, Iowa and Anchorage, Alaska, our family of four (AK Mom, Dad, Kid, and Best Friend) will pick up a brand-new Winnebago at the mothership factory and begin a journey west and north back home.
The Spring Adventure Package is a 20-year favorite among fans of Great Alaskan Holidays, but has been under the radar for many of us who travel with children. The key issue is the whole “Spring” thing, since most children are not out of school for the summer, and hence, would miss a significant amount of class time.
For us, when the team at GAH first approached us in 2015 with the idea of documenting this epic adventure, it didn’t take long to say “yes,” and not just because the whole thing is affordable. It was the idea of showing AK Kid, now 11, the western region of a Lower 48 he is only acquainted with through school books and television documentaries. The chance to trace the route of Lewis and Clark, or, on a more personal note, the footsteps of his great-grandparents and their Montana homestead, was too meaningful to pass up. So we crossed our fingers Kid’s school leadership would agree with us, checked our 2016 calendars, and signed on the dotted line.
Forest City, Iowa is located about 3 hours south of Minneapolis, and the Winnebago factory folks team up with the Great Alaskan Holidays crew to orchestrate an incredible introduction to cross-country RV travel. Selling out fast each fall, the Spring Adventure Packages are limited, and here’s why:
Cost: Forest City-Iowa one way rental = $949 (2016 pricing). Regardless of RV length, the cost is the same. We’re taking a 31′ slide-out, because, why not?
Additional days may be added for $59.99, a big savings.
Participants receive 3,900 FREE miles.
Are you an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member? We utlized our mileage to get our group of four to Minneapolis in an affordable manner.
Gas prices are also at a nice level for the first time in several years. Nice timing, and we should be able to maximize our road trip miles and fuel consumed.
Customer Service: Right from the moment we signed up for the Spring Adventure Package, GAH was on top of the organizational side of things. We received a comfirmation letter, documenting all the “extras” we decided to rent to make our trip more fun. Camp chairs, a barbecue, and extra towels so we don’t have to lug housekeeping items to Iowa. They even packed up and shipped the items for all SAP travelers way back in March to make sure everything arrived on time and in perfect order.
Additionally, the GAH team provides a minute-by-minute, step-by-step itinerary for our arrival in Minneapolis, and then Forest City, so we know what will happen, when, and where. There’s a lot of details to navigate, and with two kids, it’s going to be an interesting first few hours. But knowing the Anchorage Great Alaskan Holidays team will be on hand goes a long way toward making us comfortable, indeed.
The Drive: Who wouldn’t want to cross the western half of the United States and Canada in their own rolling home? AK Kid and BF have their journals ready and will be documenting our location, weather, miles traveled, unique observations, and new activities. Different from Alaska? You betcha, and they are going to take advantage of every second.
While some folks take less time than the allotted 18 days to travel between Forest City and Anchorage, many people choose to add even more time to their adventure. I will be curious about our impressions of the time we’ve scheduled. Will it be enough? Too much?
I am looking forward to spending time in Montana, the playground of my childhood, where I learned to herd cattle, hike in bear country, and became enamored with our National Park System. The boys are anxious to cross the border into Canada, and AK Dad is already counting the days until he gets to Calgary, a place he’s never visited.
None of this would be possible without the help of the Great Alaskan Holidays staff, Kampgrounds of America, and a host of other people who have offered their best ideas for this amazing journey. I hope you will join our family for this glimpse into the American and Canadian West. Follow along as an AKontheGO subscriber, or catch our up-to-the-mile documentation via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.