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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska

 > Trip to Alaska

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Bone Idle

Ft Worth Tx

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Posted: 01/31/12 08:49am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We're planning on taking the most direct route to Alaska this year and saving Western Canada for 2013.

What I'm wondering about are there any hwy's or roads that you just wouldn't take your MH on again. I have access to a truck camper and I have a 4X4. Would this be better for Alaska than a DP.

We have to be in Juneau on Aug 18. Otherwise we plan to get to Tok by June 15 and take our time through AK.

Thanks

BI

resmas

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Posted: 01/31/12 11:25am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ummm, how do you plan to drive to Alaska without going through western Canada? Or do you mean you aren't going to spend time exploring Canada on the way to Alaska?

You do know you cannot drive to Juneau, right? You can only get there on a ferry or by air..


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joe b.

Florida

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Posted: 01/31/12 12:17pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Any of the roads a first timer will most likely be using will be just fine for a DP of any size. The question is one of personal preference and which a person is more comfortable driving. I have taken our truck camper on the last four round trips to/from Alaska and it is my current favorite. If I took my 5th wheel instead, it would become my favorite I am sure. The size of the truck camper is good for us as we enjoy boondocking along the way when possible. It is easier to pull down beside a lake or a stream than it would be in a large 40 ft. DP. But if you plan to camp for a week or so in several places and explore with your toad, them the DP would be my first choice. One with a nice recliner, a near by plug in to charge my Kindle, a cold one fresh out of the fridge. But I always recommend that people take what they own, so long as they are comfortable with it. The vehicle I am driving has never been the determining factor as to the amount of pleasure I get from the trips. I try to spend most of my time outside anyway, unless the weather keeps me inside.
The Alaska Highway is no longer a wilderness highway, but is a good paved two lane highway through a beautiful wilderness. There will always be construction zones, but they are everywhere it seems.

If you are planning to take your rig on the ferry to Juneau, keep in mind they do charge by the foot for over 21 ft (or something close to that) My truck camper is about half of what it would cost to take my 5th wheel on the ferry. If you plan to park it in Whitehorse or Skagway and fly or go as a passenger on the ferry to Juneau, not an issue.
Not sure what you mean by the most direct route from Fort Worth to Alaska. Swing over a bit west and go up through Colorado, Utah to Montana and cross at Sweetgrass/Coutts crossing? Probably about as direct as any from your location. Then on north to Calgary, to Edmonton, to Dawson Creek and north.

I just did a quick check with MS Streets & Trips and they show that as the most direct route, at 3,865 miles. That route covers a lot of beautiful scenery.

* This post was edited 01/31/12 12:42pm by joe b. *


joe b.
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Silverado6x6

Wasilla, Alaska USA

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Posted: 02/01/12 06:34am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have driven that friggin Alcan three times, it will shake loose anything not double welded down, one time a buddy of mine found a slightly dented diesel Onan 12kw gennie alongside the road just before the AK border, I have it fixed and its now my backup powerplant for the house here in Alaska.
My 1990 Pace Arrow which is currently in Yuma was driven down from Alaska last summer, did fine even on the hills but did get a flat tire and a punctured radiator.
Windshields and exhaust are the first casualties, then shocks and the high fuel costs transiting Canada. Would I drive the RV back to Alaska? no way, its down south for good, it will be my Florida getaway home during the next winter.

All I can say about driving to Alaska is this, if possible shorten the driving by taking a ferry, if you drive the whole route prepare your vehicle, and get a copy of "The Milepost" its also online.

crabbin cabin

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Posted: 01/31/12 05:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bone Idle wrote:

We're planning on taking the most direct route to Alaska this year and saving Western Canada for 2013.

What I'm wondering about are there any hwy's or roads that you just wouldn't take your MH on again. I have access to a truck camper and I have a 4X4. Would this be better for Alaska than a DP.

We have to be in Juneau on Aug 18. Otherwise we plan to get to Tok by June 15 and take our time through AK.

Thanks

BI


The only way to NOT go thru' Canada is to take the ferry from Bellingham WA to AK.
Also as noted by others You cannot drive to or from Juneau! - fly or float.
John

Tee Jay

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Posted: 01/31/12 08:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Roads to avoid:
Any Alaska road ending in Dawson City
The Denali Highway between Paxson and Cantwell

Roads to use with S-L-O-W speed and caution
The Alaska Highway from Destruction Bay to the US border. From the border to Tok the road has been mostly rebuilt in the last few years, but winter can do some terrible things. Any road out of Tok may have marked or unmarked frost heaves and road damage. You need to be able to slow to as little as 5-10mph in the distance from when you see the wavy road and the red flags on the side or the road until you get there. Put another way, you can see the flags at maybe 300'. Plan for an average travel speed in the red-flag areas of around 30. However, if you frequently drive over the mall speed bumps at 60 or more, don't worry about it.

NOTE: I have seen severe to moderate road damage/frost heaves from just north of Ft St John onward. Generally but not always good road all the way to Whitehorse, some stretches of road damage from Whitehorse to Haines Junction, good from Haines Junction to Destruction Bay.

Bone Idle

Ft Worth Tx

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Posted: 02/01/12 08:58am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Tee Jay and Silverado. You've been tremendously helpful. I guess I'll have to go out and find me a Unimog.

jmcarp

Colorado

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Posted: 02/01/12 10:47am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bone Idle wrote:

I guess I'll have to go out and find me a Unimog.

Listen to Joe B. He's probably driven to Alaska and back more than anyone else on the forum, and his advice is accurate. You don't need a Unimog or even a 4x4. Yes, the road can be challenging in spots, but the horror stories generally come from people who drive too fast and/or don't slow down when driving over frost heaves. Take your time and enjoy the scenery. Construction and maintenance zones aside, for the most part the highways in northern Canada and Alaska are just like any typical two-lane US highway. At worst they're comparable to the FM/RM roads in Texas. Even the gravel roads aren't that bad if you drive smart. Either vehicle you mention will do fine.

Jim


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Silverado6x6

Wasilla, Alaska USA

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Posted: 02/01/12 04:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My apology if I sounded all gloom and doom but you just cannot drive the Alcan like a Florida turnpike. The road is under a constant state of repair, it never ends, the frost heaves can break up a trailer, it did to mine. If you want the best online information go check out the Milepost website, and get the guidebook, Amazon sells it.

The Milepost

Tee Jay

Port Angeles, WA

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Posted: 02/01/12 08:18pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey Bone Idle
I've driven the road off and on since 1969, and once and sometimes twice ayear from 2007 to present. Huge improvements have been made, but it is not as good in some sections as the freeway.

Actually put some miles on a Unimog on the Denali some time back. The drive from here to Alaska takes 5 days, 2750 miles, don't exceed 60mph. No truck or trailer damage. Enjoy the trip.

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