I have a couple of Fenix LED flashlights. Not cheap, but are excellent IMHO. Started using them in law enforcement and private security, I never found any that worked better for me. My favorite of the ones I have is the E21 model that uses 2 AA batteries.
I have run mixed sets in the past with good results. The previous truck we owned was a 2002 Dodge and had a hell for stout rear bumper. The HJ "buttons" worked fine but when I tried them on my current Chevy, it was obvious the Chevy bumper was too thin and flimsy. Think I know where the cat food cans, I recycle, end up. LOL
So I added a set of frame mounted tie downs to the front and rear.
I don't think you can go wrong with either of those brands. Find a floor plan you like and go for it. I agree with the OP in that Florida or the SE in general is a tough place to find a good used TC. Found our current one in Sarasota, and the previous one in Tennessee. We looked at a few in Colorado this past summer as they have a good selection of brands there.
Here is a site that lists a number of bear tours in Alaska. Rust's Flying Service, located on Lake Hood is the only one I have dealt with in the past, but not for bear viewing.
Roger's Communication is the Canadian roaming partner of AT&T and visa versa. My AT&T cell equipment works fine when I am in Canada and Rogers service is available. Rogers does use sim chips so probably AT&T may be the OPs only choice or one the resalers of their service. Roger's also owns Fido chips which will give a person a local number in many different countries.
Talk to AT&T and see if they have a plan to fit your needs.
The 18 in barrel is the magic number for keeping it legal, or was the last time I checked. My pistol grip also has a folding stock as part of it.. Probably should check the legalities on it again. It hasn't been out of my gun safe in several years. When we moved from Alaska to Colorado, I just put all my firearms in the truck with all our household items, barge, then rail to Colorado.
Moving firearms across state lines or country borders has become very difficult. I have taken hand guns through Canada enough times, back when it was legal to do so, that they still like to ask me about them and occasionally they like to look through our RV to see if maybe I have just a small one or two. LOL
And please, don't anyone one take my comments as any type of expert advice, just comments based on my driving to and from Alaska for the last 51 years and living there for 25+ years.
I carried my pump shotgun in a leather scabbard I had attached to the outside of my Kelty external framed pack. I had replaced the standard stock with a pistol grip and with the 18 in barrel, it was not very noticeable but easy to access just by reaching over my shoulder when wearing it. The 22 pistol went inside. This was all part of my survival gear required by the state for pilots flying in the bush. In case of a survivalble crash, I wanted to be able to grab everything I needed in one container and get away from the airplane a ways. Having my religious moments, I also carried a couple of quarts of Christian Brothers brandy in the pack, just for medicinal reasons.
The shot gun I carried in the plane and sometimes when stream fly fishing and still have, is a Remington 870. When I bought the gun it had a 28 in modified choke barrel, then I got a 30 raised rib barrel for trap shooting, then got the 18 in improved cylinder barrel and pistol grip for carry purposes. I also have used it in law enforcement work. They are available used often times, very dependable and maintain a reasonable resale value. Also have an extended magazine for it .
I don't carry any these days on my trips to Alaska, but don't get out when the big critters live by myself anymore either. But every thing I read and hear about bear spray is positive for using it. You can buy it in Canada or Alaska.
I have driven to/from Alaska by myself a few times. Not any real problems encountered by me. It is just different, some good, some bad. I am not to convinced the fly and rent is much more expensive than driving with the current cost of fuel. The big fuel expense is getting there, not while there.
A hand gun is good to have but make sure you file off the front sight so it won't hurt so badly when Mr Bear stuffs it up your, you know where. LOL. Also handy to have so you can shoot yourself just before the bear bites you. Also works to stir your coffee with if you use cream and sugar. With some degree of seriousness, bear spray is more effective at close range. Like many young guys, I had to have a 44 mag when I moved to Alaska, after all I had seen the Dirty Harry movies. But I soon learned that a legal short barreled shotgun was much better protection. Those ca be transported throughs Canada by following the rules. In my airplane, when flying in the bush in Alaska, I carried a 22 cal Ruger semi auto for a meat gun, and either a 12 Gauge shotgun or my 375 H&H rifle. The 375 was my main hunting weapon for moose and bears during the 25+ years I lived in rural Alaska.
The fly and rent program works well for many people. Have't seen too many, if any, complaints on any of the Alaska or Canadian RV rental companies. GAH and ABC rentals are two of the largest of the rental agencies, with both being new RV dealers as well so most of their rolling stock is fairly new, a couple of years old at the most.
There is the train ride out of Skagway as mentioned. This would be the White Pass and Yukon route which formerly ran from Skagway to Whitehorse. Not sure if the train goes all the way now or if part of the trip is by bus or is a round trip. It is an outstanding trip IMHO.
There is also the Alaska Railroad that you can take from Anchorage, north or south. Many like to rail out of Anchorage to Denali NP, get off there for a few days to view MT McKinley and the park, then either head on north to Fairbanks or return to Anchorage. You can get off or on just about where ever you wish.
There is the old Kougrok Railroad out of Nome but it is just the old remains of the line. Hasn't operated since the gold gush days that I am aware of.
As with any business venture, the buyer(s) need to take a real hard look at why they are considering the purchase. Is it for income, short term investment, long term investment or just for something to do during the retirement years. Over the years we have been involved in most of the above reasons.
We lived in rural Alaska for just over 25 years and during that time were involved in real estate investments, primarily for long term gains. To me, any of the rental business in Alaska need to be looked at in that light. Just after the finish of building the Alaska Oil Pipeline, in the mid 1970s, the urban areas had over built, both in commercial and residential building. The main finance place at that time was ASHA (Alaska State Housing Authority) and when the boom ended and the "bust" began, ASHA ended up owning several thousand properties in the state, mostly in the Anchorage bowl area.
A good friend and I felt there could be some long term gains to be made with some of these properties. So we contacted ASHA and inquired. They were delighted to deal with us as both my business partner and I were gainfully employed and had good credit. We ended up buying about six 4 plex apartment houses across the highway from Cal Worthington Ford in Anchorage, then we hired a professional management company to take total care of the rentals, turn key from renting them out, to maintaining them, etc. Was costly but worked best for us. We understood at the time, these were not going to be "income" producing investments but long term. We had to come up with very little down payment to buy, then the rent collected, most months, paid all the expenses, payment, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc. some months there was a surplus and some months it was a negative operation but broke even most years. At the end of 30 years ownership, we had depreciated the properties to zero and then sold them. A very nice saving account it turned out to be, one that the renters, bought for us over the years.
IMHO, Alaska is the worse place I have ever invested, for return on capital. Campground site rents are cheap compared to here in Florida for example. The Alaska season is short, the costs of labor are high and most CG sites rent for about half of here in Florida. Too many government campgrounds to compete with in Alaska, but boondocking spots all over once a camper gets out of town.
We have been in business in Alaska, Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri and Florida. Colorado was the best place, then Florida, then Oklahoma and Missouri, to invest money for us. I have always used the rule of 152 in evaluating a potential rental property. Take the estimated total sale price, divide it by 152 and that gives me approximately the income that property has to generate to make a reasonable profit for me.
A couple of years back I was on one of our trips to Alaska and an owner of a campground, east of Fairbanks wanted to sell me his campground and gave me his asking price. When I divided that by 152 I quickly realized it didn't have the potential to be a profitable business as I could see it. Plus why would my wife and I want to give up RVing to run a labor intensive business, that has a short season and goes for 24 x 7s when it does operate.
I like to invest in things I know about and understand, learned an expensive lesson, messing in the Hong Kong stock market many years back. My grandfather always told me that 99% of being smart is knowing what you are dumb at. He was right and Hong Kong proved it to me. LOL
I have found that many/most of the campgrounds in Alaska and roadhouses along the Alaska Hwy in Canada are for sale. Some might be OK for investments but most have some reason the owner is wanting out, maybe to retire, government regulations, deferred maintenance catching up with them, escalating cost of operations, health reasons, etc.
Not too sure there is a nickels worth of difference in most of the TCs on the market today. My last two TCs have been Lance's products and they have served me well, but are a long ways from being what I would call a high quality product. To me, finding a floor plan you like is most important, then find one that has been properly maintained, if buying use, which I always do.
As you know from your trip last summer, once a person gets out of the south or SE, it seems about every 3rd or 4th RV you see is a truck camper, of all sorts of brands. As you get close to the US-Canadian border you will see more and more units built there and they are very popular in Canada.
Most TCs are built with the same basic parts, such as appliances, heaters, converters, etc. So even buying a used orphan rig normally isn't a problem with getting many parts for them on the after market. Sort of depends on which company is cranking out the units in the Pacific Northwest as to what you see up that direction also. Big Foot, North star, Adventurer, Okanagan, etc are still running around the highways along with many other brands.
I still think Arctic Fox builds some of the best looking rigs on the market, but they don't seem to have any dealers here in the SE. But since I buy used, the floor plan determines what we look for. My wife is talking about how we need to look at going larger and get one with a rear slide with a sofa recliner. So that would narrow the field greatly. We are currently planning to take our Lance 845 back to Alaska this summer on the Chevy DRW truck we now own. TCs are hard to beat on that trip, but anything a person is comfortable driving seem sto work well for most travelers to the north country.
Probably our favorite in North America is Boya Lake provincial Park in northern BC. Over the years we have stayed here a half dozen times I would guess. It is dry camping, with fire wood available to purchase from the host. It is the farthest north of the three "Lake" provincial parks on the Cassiar Hwy, Hwy 37.
Believe it is the clearest lake I have ever seen. Great to set out by the fire in the evenings and listen to the loons call out to each other.
I use the same basic method whether I am home or on the road in the RV. The credit union where we do most of our banking offers no charge ebill paying, which we use. Our retirements checks arrive in the bank by direct deposit and we have a schedule of when they are to be sent out. So on or near that date each month, we just plan to be in a location that has good cell service or good wifi. On a trip to Alaska, I don't think I have ever been more than a day or two from wifi service, especially in Canada. Several years back the Canadian government put in Internet services into every small community that didn't have it. Sometimes it is found at the community library or town hall. Free to use.
But on our trips to Alaska, I just plan to be somewhere on or about the 25 of the month to pay our bills. The bills just don't vary much from month to month so I carry a list of whom to pay and approx. how much. Our house payment is the same, as is the truck payment, etc. so I don't even need to check on these. Our stick house is all electric and doesn't vary much so often I will just send them a fixed amount each month, a bit more than what I think it will be.
If we are at a place with good cell service, I will turn on the hot spot on my iPhone and run my laptop off of that signal, more secure than a public wifi but I have never had a problem with any of the services since my bank uses encrypted data transmission as do most. For someone to hack into my account, they first have to hack the cell phone signal, then hack the encrypted data method of the bank and then they might be able to view my bank account. Most would probably feel so sorry for me having so little money, they might donate some money to my account. LOL
Over the years I have figured out about where I want to be at bill paying time. Often I will use Great Falls Montana, then have used Whitehorse YT, Watson Lake RV's wifi, Valdez, Fairbanks, either at the campground if their wifi is working or my cell service, in the past I have also used the parking lot at Pike's Landing Lodge or at the Assembly of God church on Airport Rd. in the evenings.
Our 36 YO daughter that lives in the same town we do is also signatory to one of our "petty cash" accounts if we need her to pay some local bill. But I don't remember ever having her do any bill pay for us. Since I know what our bills are each month, even if I didn't have access to the Internet, I can write checks, which I carry with, and drop them off at the nearest post office in the US or Canada. My wife and I bank both in Florida and Alaska. We have banked in Fairbanks for over 40 years with telephone service, Internet, I went over 13 years without ever walking into one of their buildings in Alaska. Even when we are in Fairbanks I have no reason to go inside any of the credit union buildings. We use their no charge ATM machines around the area if we need cash.
I do carry a small printer to print out my monthly bank statements as I prefer to balance my accounts by hand. My daughters both give me a hard time about this, as I am more of a gadget person than they are. LOL
Life is a matter of making choices. Most of us weigh the situation and the possible consequences of same, then we make a decision. I do the same with driving with the propane turned on, which I do and have since purchasing my first RV in 1974, 39 years ago.
The most dangerous thing any of us do with our RVs is to drive them on the public highways of North America. Last year in Florida, over 4,000 people died from auto accidents in Florida. Now we all know this is a possibility, that could happen to any of us when we get in our RVs to head out on a trip. But we still all go and just try to be careful. Generally for most of us that works. But how many of the 4,000 people that died in car wrecks here in Florida, thought that morning as they were getting into their cars, "this would sure be a nice day to die."
I grew up using large amounts of propane as most of the fuel we used on the ranch was propane, we ran trucks, grain dryers, irrigation pumps, heated the house and out building, Mom cooked on gas, dried clothes, etc. Propane seems to concern people more than say does gasoline, because propane is a gas at normal atmospheric pressures and temperatures and you can't see it. Spill gasoline or diesel and you can see it on the ground, but not propane.
Since I drive a diesel truck, I am not as concerned with refueling and shutting off the fridge as I would be with gasoline. In one of the arson classes I took one time, a weekend assignment for the class was to try and figure out some way to ignite the fumes off of a pan of diesel. No one in class came up with a way to do it. The instructor was trying to get the point over to the class that when we were investigating a fire and the owner claimed he was washing car parts in diesel and a hot ash fell off his cigarette fell into the pan and ignited the diesel, to make sure we looked more deeply into the fire origin.
So if I am fueling at a diesel only pump, I leave the fridge on, if someone is using gasoline on the other side of the pump, then I will turn it off. Now flash fires from open gasoline are fairly common a call for the ambulance to transport someone to the hospital.
I remember one time a group of us campground "experts" were visiting and one old fellow was claiming that anyone that drove with the propane turned on was an idiot. However at the same time he was lighting up a cigarette. All depends on what a person considers to be too dangerous with little benefits. I have over 3,000 hours of Alaska bush flying experience, which I considered to be worth the risk, though it wasn't for a number of people I knew doing the same thing, but no way could you get me to bungee jump, as the benefits just aren't in it for me.
Murray also has numerous videos on YouTube, the ones I have watched are very good. Varied subjects from the Yukon, motorcycling, aircraft, etc. well worth a look. Just sign into YouTube.com and in the search box, type in his name, Murray Lundberg.
So far, about 6,500 miles towing with the Ready Brake, I am pleased with it. For any not familiar with the Ready, it is a cable actuated surge type brake. It really helps in getting the rigs slowed down. It could create a problem if a person tried to back up, but as we all know that is not something any of of do while towing.
Not sure if I am accelerating brake pad wear on the Jeep any more than any other auxiliary braking system would do. I towed the Jeep using the Ready Brake over Monarch Pass in Colorado both directions this summer. By using the Allison in tow-haul mode, the exhaust brake activated and the cruise control set at 45 mph, and the Ready Brake installed, I didn't have to tap the truck brakes but a couple of times on the way down.
The Ready was an easy self install, doesn't need electricity to work and short of forgetting to connect to connecting pull cable to the toad, not much can go wrong with it. Nothing to set in the floor, nothing to store when not in use. Everything stays with the tow bar on the TC when using the toad.
Very nice. I noticed that the google view refers to the Hwy most of us call the Cassiar as the Dease Lake Hwy. from Dease Lake south, many will still refer to the highway as the Dease Lake Hwy , have even heard it called the Stewart-Dease Lake, by some. Much like Alaska, where a number of roads have several local names, often depending on where they go.
I have the built in Nav system in my 2011 Silverado and enjoy using it. Because it runs on a DVD, it has lots of information about exits, etc. However with that said, I also have a Garmin 1490 mounted on the dash. My wife thinks it is a bit of over kill. The Garmin is much easier to get the elevation, the current vehicle speed and the speed limit. The Chevy Nav system has a larger screen and mounted in the center of the dash, is easier for the passenger to use/mess with/etc. However some functions on the Chevy Nav system are locked out when the vehicle is moving, the Garmin allows that to be over ridden. However that issue can be worked around by using the OnStar system in the truck. I just call OnStar, ask the operator to download a route for me and in less than a minute it arrives on my navigation system. I like to use this, especially when traveling by myself. No need to stop to set the new destination into the unit. I can also ask for a route to the nearest Wal Mart, Target, etc. store and up it pops on the vehicle screen. Fairly close to magic IMHO.
The dash system was in the vehicle when I bought it new, and I suspect I would reorder one if I was getting one built. My BIL recently bought a new car and then had Best Buy or one of the other stores install an after market nav system in his dash. I think it was a Pioneer brand but not too sure. He likes the system and feels he saved some money going that route instead of having the dealer do it.
Just pulled the window sticker out of the file cabinet and it lists the Nav system - touch screen with satellite radio plus CD player for $2,250. Who knows what I actually paid for the system as they gave me roughly 20% off the sticker price when I bought the truck. Anyway you look at it, is is a lot more expensive than going aftermarket. Plus the upgrades on the mapping DVD is $200, more than I paid for my Garmin.
The Chevy unit is nice. Here is a shot not long after we departed Amarillo Texas, headed for Dallas, showing 6 hrs, 6 min, 336 miles to destination, no turn for 142 miles and Prime Country playing on the satellite radio. Looks to need a bit of dust removal. LOL
Mike, my Jeep is also a 2004, but as a two door unlimited model, that year they only made it with an automatic transmission. Not my favorite tranny for mountain trails, but since I use it as a daily driver, here in south Florida it works OK for me. The red Jeep was a manual but had the 4 banger engine, which was fine here in the SE, but when I got it in the Rocky Mtns above 9,000 feet it just ran out of power. It was easier to tow as it was several hundred pounds lighter in weight. Jeeps are sure easy to tow, 4 down.
I considered changing out the engine in the red Jeep and might should have as I had it fixed up the way I wanted it, except for the power. The yellow one is the 14th Jeep I have owned over the years.
just about to run out of road in the Colorado mountains. Probably pushing the season a bit.
I have talked to folks towing the smaller 4 Xs, such as the Trackers, and the others and they sure have a following of loyal tow folks. They are really hard to find around this part of the country.
When I first set up our previous Dodge truck I bought a 48 inch extension, which turned out to be much longer than I really needed. With our Lance 845, the overhang in the back is not a great deal. But I failed to figure in that the Jeep tow bar attachment points, are 16 inches in front of the grill. Then I added a Ready Brake auxiliary system to the Jeeps and that added an additional 20 inches. So the two of those factors added 36 inches to my setup. Then the Falcon 5200 tow bar added 6 or 8 more inches where it slides into the Ready Brake receiver. So then I bought an 18 inch extension and stopped using the chains, then checked it without the 18 inch extinion and it works just fine. Took it to an empty parking lot and made tight circles, etc and check how close to the rear corners of the camper I was getting with the Jeep. Not a problem so currently I just use the Ready Brake off the factory Class 5 hitch, then the tow bar off that, then the Jeep.
Could have saved some money, if I had taken a better look instead of going with the trial and error method of measuring. But, if we do trade up to a larger camper, with more overhang, then the 18 inch extension will come in handy.
Original set up with 48 inch extension.
Here is the our current tow using just the Ready Brake and the Falcon tow bar connected to our current Jeep Unlimited. Towed it from south Florida to North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, western Colorado, and back home through Arizona and New Mexico. Worked fine, in the closer coupling, than the original set up with the red Jeep.