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Old 01-09-2012, 09:52 AM   #21
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Thanks to all for your responses. It looks like time constraints will force us to not drive our own rig up. We'll be renting from one of the companies up there. Right now it's kind of a tossup between Greater Alaska and ABC. We did get a deal on the airfare. We're in under $700 each round trip from Buffalo.
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:05 PM   #22
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Although a bit late in responding, you may be interested in our take anyway, 10,000 miles last year starting May 11 for three months in the surrounding area.
1. Purchase the Milepost and use it.
2. Consider a couple of extra cans of fuel and a spare tire (not that you wouldnít anyway). While in the past that trip was hard on tires, itís only difficult in a few places.
3. Check your tire pressure and axel temp often.
4. Services were cut last year as a result of high fuel prices, along with private facilities. However, many were still available.
5. Check when most services are open before you go.
6. Remember to observe the US and Canadaís requirements when crossing the border(s).
7. Donít forget your passport(s).
8. Plan on spending more time in each area than you originally scheduled! Rushing through isnít a good deal and will make those long, long stretches even longer. Since weíre from Washington State, and itís only 100 miles to Canada, we found three months reasonable, but we could have spent more time as well.
9. Travel every road except (IMHO) the road down to McCarthy and Kennecott, and the gravel road to Prudhoe Bay. Instead, take a tour bus, plane, or someone elseís vehicle.
10. Ensure you have a few tools, but services are available even in more remote areas.
11. Slow down. Frost heaves will damage your vehicle, so will gravel.
12. Almost all of AK is now paved, except damage on the roads from frost is sometimes unexpected. The Top Of The World Highway is unpaved about 50%, and the Cassier highway had about 20 miles of construction gravel. The Alcan was more difficult than the TOW and Cassier by far, it was paved.
13. Make reservations when nearing holidays, otherwise, we didnít have any problems getting a spot. Do the same for Denali if you plan on going there much more in advance. Around July 4, plan on being put a day or two as your spots will disappear quickly (and earlier).
14. Donít feed the bears or other animals, and keep a sharp eye for animals on the road. Black bears are more dangerous than the grizzly.
15. If you plan on visiting the ďsign forestĒ make one and take it. See Milepost Itís easier than doing it there.
16. Sometimes the weather can be a bit rough, plan ahead.
17. Take tours, they are well-worth the effort, but also do plenty of sight-seeing on your own.
18. Donít forget your camera, long lens included, hiking sticks, binoculars, and attend the ranger seminars at the parks. Bug spray might be necessary depending on location and time of year.
19. Many sites do not allow soft-wall sleeping arrangements as bears tend to visit.
Enjoy, Mike
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:57 AM   #23
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Mike, thanks for your response. I was a little surprised about your comment about the Top of The World highway being better than the AlCan. Was the problem the construction or the frost heaves?
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:43 AM   #24
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We are also planning a trip this summer, haven't done it before but have been to aslaska before and saw many large rv up there. Will be traveling in a Berkshire with toad and just will take it slow and easy.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:48 PM   #25
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wnytaxman,

Interestingly, the frost really tears the roadway up. Our friends who live in Anchorage tell us the road department has 90 days in which to fix the problems, which isn't long.

As you may know, frost develops under the warming road and lifts that surface, which lifts you and the RV. Literally, we've seen two motorhomes flying through the air with "less-than" the greatest of ease. One, in particular, lost the cabinets which came off the walls totaling the vehicle. So, slow down and be observant. We should remember that we're there to enjoy, not fix or replace. If you don't have the time, don't go.

Regarding the TOWH: nervous when we left-- I fashioned a metal screen held off the new pickup by slats and foam. 'Twas an interesting contraption intended to keep the rocks from oncoming and occasional passing cars from penetrating my radiators , of which there are three in the front, as well as damaging the lights.
Each headlight is around $600 as I understand. Because it was daylight all day and night, we faced no issues regarding lighting the roadway. Additionally, I stuck my wide-blue tape on the bumpers and chrome.
Both systems, along with a bug deflector, kept my vehicle in pretty good order; I know of 3 dents in the ľ” metal screen. I can’t say that for my friends whom we traveled with.
I used the screen and several rolls of 2” tape only twice, once it really wasn’t necessary but our research was a bit faulty in the Cassier Highway.
FYI, we also did the following. We slowed way down, pulled way over, or even stopped when we saw someone coming-- it just depended.... And, we traveled early in an effort to avoid the numbers on the road at peak times.
Our two friends had broken windows, and a chip or two on the motorhome (we did a 5w). The toad on one friend had a front window sandblasted because his jeep picked up gravel and threw this forward. In turn, it bounced off of the supposed deflector and then bounced back onto the window of the toad. Lesson learned for him—use a screen affair between the deflector and jeep.
For us, the number one problem on the highway was the dust. For others, it may be the mud if it rained. We took precautions and sealed as many of the openings as possible, but it was still difficult to control. Some people we met had tons where we skated with only a covering. I’m guessing that our early in the year transit was good, too, because the washboard had not developed.
I know, a bit cautious, but we had zero problems as a result. Certainly, it just depends on the conditions but I’d take the roadway again without a doubt.
Have fun!!!

Mike
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:58 PM   #26
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Mike, I travelled the AlCan in 1970 when all but the first 30 miles, a small stretch around Whitehorse, and the Alaska end, were a dirt road. This wasn't a dirt road like you would find in Upstate NY or the Midwest, but rocks and dust and more dust. We had hard sided suitcases in the back of the pickup and we had all the seams double and triple taped. Didn't matter one iota. First stop, we opened up the suitcases and found everything covered with dust. The first semi that passed us in the other direction taught us to not just slow down but stop completely and wait for the dust to clear. The trucks created a whiteout, or I guess you'd say a brown out, and you couldn't see a thing when they went by. By the time we got to Tok, the windshield was completely shattered. It was an adventure that's for sure. Now the highway is more civilized, but it's still another world up there.
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Old 01-14-2012, 02:27 PM   #27
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wnytaxman,

No getting around the truth, you are correct about another world; and those who are not prepared are left waiting, and waiting, and waiting, or worse.

Have a nice trip.

Mike
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:28 PM   #28
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WE went to Alaska from Ottawa Ontario Canada. Get a Milepost and a good camera and take alot of pictures. We have a 24' Sunseeker and pulled a Toyota Corolla for over 18,000km in 70 days. This was our 1st trip ofter retirment and we are planning to go back ouce we know that it will be our last trip.
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