Don't worry about the wildlife, just follow the rules, be bear smart and enjoy.
In this perspective, I always worry about the wildlife particularly along the roadways making a hazardous situation, especially closer towards wintertime and less daylight hours when they tend to roam around more frequently as along the Alaska Hwy., you would see a good moose population in Alaska between Dot Lake and Delta Junction, many elk sparsely populated between Haines Junction and Whitehorse in the Southern Yukon Territory, and a high concentration of bison herd in Northern BC between Fireside and Liard Hot Springs, not to mention the mountain goats along the ranges and the bears in Canada ranging anywhere north of Prince George to Alaska.
I had close calls on my recent trip by almost colliding with two bison when dark but driven slow enough to spot them, took evasive action when a deer darted across the heavy traffic on the highway at Charlie Lake and somehow made itself across intact as I was sure it was going to strike my rig, and what I think was an owl that struck my cabover underhang area and was killed on impact thru a construction zone at night driving real slow thru the pilot car escort zone area.
In September 2009, this mountain lion or cougar out of nowhere upon a flash leaped across the highway real close to my camper rig just north of Haines Junction as I had to take evasive action as well, as I was was climbing uphill travelling at 46mph......I sure would hate to be walking along in those parts or hitching a ride with that creature around.
Keeping a clean camp of course and knowing your surroundings will keep bears and other wildlife in check in most cases...it's the element of surprise and the wildlife you dont see nearby that would be a primary concern, so if you plan on hiking or camping outdoors, be prepared.
...it's the certain two legged type creatures that I tend to be most cautious about in todays world and not the least worried over any four legged creature unless in a hostile situation.
1970 Ford F250 2WD Sport Custom (Owned April 1996) 390 V8 (37K Rebuilt Mi) C6 Trans (221K Original Mi)
2000 Fleetwood Angler 8ft Cabover
Air Lift 1000(Front)
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I dare you to drive the Richardson highway from Glenallen to Valdez at over 50 mph. (Take spare parts )
The northern Richardson, from Glennallen to Delta, is even rougher I remember seeing one spot where someone had gone airborne on a major heave and taken off the tops of a few 20-foot-high trees below the road.
I have not been to Valdez since 1998, as I remember the only frost heave areas south of Glennallen on the Richardson Hwy. covered like a 30 mile stretch or so, and the Copper Center area has it's share of them too, and mainly smooth to Valdez from there on.
The worst stretch of road surface on the Richardson Hwy. as mentioned covers north of Gakona Junction to near the Sourdough Roadhouse area towards Paxson Lake, and quite a rabbit population thru this same stretch too as they like to hang out on the roadway late in the evenings there during the midsummer....you're dodging frost heaves and rabbits travelling past midnight thru here.... There are more intermittent road surface breaks that are not too bad north of Summit Lake towards Delta Junction.
The real bad stretches of surface breaks on roadways that develop on paved road portions where they path thru in these same general locations I believe are the outlining areas of where the permafrost zone starts....give or take N61ish to N63 latitude where it varies on terrain and locations.
Also dare anyone to travel at 50mph thru these other stretches of highway not mentioned in an RV :
East of the Behchoko Bridge on the Yellowknife Hwy. towards Yellowknife
East of Yellowknife on the Ingraham Trail towards Dettah (real bumpy)
Tok Cutoff between Gakona and Mentasta Pass
Klondike Hwy isn't too bad but has very little surface breaks throughout Fox Lake, near Five Finger Rapids, Willow Creek, near Minto, near Pelly Crossing, near Stewart Crossing, No Name Creek to name a few that I remember
Parks Hwy along small intermittent stretches between Healy thru Carlo Creek.
Three vehicles are traveling down the same road, one behind the other. At the end of the trip someone asked them how the road condition was. The first one said it was horrible. The second one said it was fair. The third one said it was great. Road conditions are all rated using the perspective of the experience of each given driver.
I have made the trip twice, in 2005 and 2009, and have found the roads to be in reasonably good condition, given where I usually travel. As mentioned, the worst section is around Destruction Bay but it is a short section given the Alcan is 1,500 miles long.
Take the trip, use a little common sense, drive speeds conductive to the road conditions, slow down for the wildlife, smell the flowers, and enjoy.
Am returning again in 2013.
Our Travels Lonnie and Sue
2007 HR Ambassador 40'
2015 Colorado Z71 4x4 Crew Cab
West Texas, Retired
Fulltimers. No more grass to cut, no more leaves to rake, and can move if we don't like our neighbors.
States we spent time in, drive throughs not marked.
It's often stated here that heaves and breaks are well marked, and while that used to be true, it no longer is once you're west (north if you prefer ) of the Duke River. That's where you'll find the sign below, warning that there's construction for the next 182 kms. For that 182 kms, you can no longer depend on any flagging, regardless of how bad the break/heave is.
For a bit more perspective ... when we're towing the fifth wheel, we usually drive 25-40 mph on the Alaska Highway north of Destruction Bay. With the truck only, we'll hit 50 mph. When I'm in my little Honda Fit ... well, I whip along at about 65-70 mph. It's all a matter of the size of the rig you're driving, whether you are towing, and how quick you can brake to slow for the dips.
Best tactic is to watch the paint lines (where they're visible).
Those photo's are great. If those are the bad spots then its all managable. Certianly nothing worse than the back roads I experiance N Mi, the UP or bird hunting in SD. Coming from Mi you learn to drive looking down 100' or so in front. That next pot hole could cause serious damage or swallow your rig. In 36 years with a CDL I've never had a ticket or an at fault accident, so I know how to drive the conditions. I've also never seen the ditch or struck an animal. I should just be quiet now as that could all change the next time I leave home. Thanks again for the replies and photo's.
I haven't driven the southern portion of the Alcan since '98. Given the improvements in the road between '76 and '98, I can only imagine how nice it would seem now compared to nearly 40 years ago.
That being said, I suspect that your statement regarding "nothing worse than the back roads..." is spot on. Just maintain some level of awareness for the road conditions (both Alcan and within Alaska) and you'll be OK.
FWIW, a month (or so) ago I made the trip Los Anchorage -Squarebanks-Glenallen-Anchorage with a pickup hauling a 20' trailer..admittedly not a camper, but I was able to go well over 50 mph for the better part of that entire trip, with a few slower spots where appropriate. Same story on my trip to Valdez in May of this year. Again, be aware of the road conditions and drive accordingly. It is a matter of what one is used to.
Nothing to do with the road conditions, but the leg Glenallen - Copper Center is spectacular when it is -35. Don't want a breakdown though.