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Old 01-18-2022, 09:31 PM   #1
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Best Time for Alaska travel

Planning a very extended trip from Florida to Alaska, need any and all suggestions. Best time of Year to go, best route etc.
My thought was leave sometime late may to avoid harsh winter, travel up Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Northern Texas, Northern New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Vancouver, Alaska. Return British Columbia, Calgary, Washington, Montana, North and South Decotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri Decotas, about 3-4 Months.

Thank you in advnace!!
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Old 01-19-2022, 09:54 AM   #2
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By Sept 1 it is fall in the North. The snow starts. Calculating backwards 4 months puts you in early May. That is logical.
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Old 01-19-2022, 10:48 AM   #3
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It depends on where you plan on going. I lived in the Fairbanks area for 3 years. There's a chance snow could still be on the ground in May, but the roads should mostly be clear. However, there could be road damage from the winter, so you'd have to be careful. Also, they use gravel on the roads instead of salt in that area, so expect a lot of dings and possibly windshield damage if you go too early. Plan on losing a tire or two if you go to some more remote locations.

We drove the ALCAN late August going up and there was still a lot of repair work being done at that time.

Snow will start falling in Sept, but not normally enough to be a problem. But it does start getting nippy in Sept.

If you could plan the time in Alaska perfectly, I'd recommend June to August personally. Less chance of weather related issues and you'd be heading back south in time to avoid any nastiness on your way home.

Be aware of Canadian customs laws, particularly with respect to firearms.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 01-19-2022, 11:01 AM   #4
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Thank you so much, although we leave late May, the travel is very far, so we probably will not get into Canada until mid June at the earliest. All you have stated are great suggestions. The main concern is the dings, and tires issue.
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Old 01-20-2022, 10:33 AM   #5
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First let me say you have three seasons of Alaska Weather to travel in. Contrary to common beliefs the state does have 4 seasons, just different names.......June, July, August and Winter. That sounds extreme but it is accurate.

Since you will be driving you have several routes to choose from to get from the "Lower 48" to The Great Land. To help you plan and execute your trip I suggest you go to your local bookstore and purchase a copy of "The Milepost".

It will be in the travel section. It is an 8 1/2 x 11 book a couple of inches thick. I lived up there in Fairbanks and Dillingham for a total of 10 years. Even the locals carry one in their car for when they are going someplace new.

That book has 4 routes from the N border to get to AK. It also has LOTS of information you will need to know and a mile by mile account of EVERYTHING to do and see all along every route to and within AK.

Good Luck and
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Old 01-20-2022, 11:58 AM   #6
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Thank you so much, although we leave late May, the travel is very far, so we probably will not get into Canada until mid June at the earliest. All you have stated are great suggestions. The main concern is the dings, and tires issue.
The Highway is not what it was 30 years ago. It's entirely paved now. However, the winter causes the Highway to take a beating with frost heaves and pavement cracks. Then during break-up (spring thaw), the road literally comes apart. It takes Transport Canada just about all summer to put the road back together. You're going to run into road repair and construction, some with delays. Resign yourself to the fact that you will not be able to drive at Lower 48 speeds. A lot of stretches will only allow you to drive at 30-35 mph for miles and miles. Drive faster than that and you will use up your rig in a hurry. You are going to experience a lot of mud and dust. Also, accept the fact that there's a 50% chance you will lose a windshield. Getting a copy of MILEPOST is a good idea.

Additionally, it is not uncommon to encounter snowfall in Haines Junction, YT in May and August.
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Old 01-20-2022, 12:09 PM   #7
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Coming back through Canada consider this, diesel fuel is $137.9 / liter at present. There are 3.89 liters to a US gallon making it $5.36 /US gallon in Canadian dollars. You have a premium of say 25% to work with. I travel through the states whenever I can. The mountains are wonderful that's true but from Calgary it's prairies. I live in Saskatchewan and the saying is, 'you can watch your dog run away for three days.'

Firearms. A friend of mine from Illinois missed an EMPTY 44 Magnum brass when he was cleaning out his truck. One empty piece of brass. They would not believe that he didn't have the gun to go with it. He did but he left it at home. Three and one half hours later he was left standing in the parking lot with the door liners and dash board of the truck laying on the ground. Much of the contents of the trailer were there also. The gave him the screwdriver to put it back together himself. Handguns drive them wild, long guns not so much they can be done legally.

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Old 01-20-2022, 12:27 PM   #8
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Sounds like a great trip! Don't forget to plan your trip home early. You'll be coming back through the northwest where many campgrounds begin to shut down in early September. Usually the private campgrounds near major cities stay open, but that requires careful planning. We've been 'chased' south by campgrounds in the north closing in September.
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Old 01-20-2022, 12:55 PM   #9
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Did our Alaska trip in June and July. Decent weather the whole time. One important note for Canada's northern areas...when you see a gas station, stop and fuel up.
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Old 01-20-2022, 12:56 PM   #10
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We've been planning to go for the last 2 years. I pulled the plug for this year when I read the COVID testing requirements at the borders. What I saw on the Canadian Border website was that everyone with you had to have a negative test within 72 hours of going across.

Not the quicky test either, it has to be one of 3 that require a LAB. Sending a test to the lab can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks. There's a problem.

On top of that, you have to test to get into Canada on the way up and the way down PLUS another test to get into Alaska and back into the lower 48. That's 4 sets of tests that require lab certification.

I think I'll wait till this insanity is over. If they never take their head outta their (you know what) then they just won't get my tourist dollars.
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Old 01-20-2022, 02:34 PM   #11
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We've been planning to go for the last 2 years. I pulled the plug for this year when I read the COVID testing requirements at the borders. What I saw on the Canadian Border website was that everyone with you had to have a negative test within 72 hours of going across.

Not the quicky test either, it has to be one of 3 that require a LAB. Sending a test to the lab can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks. There's a problem.

On top of that, you have to test to get into Canada on the way up and the way down PLUS another test to get into Alaska and back into the lower 48. That's 4 sets of tests that require lab certification.

I think I'll wait till this insanity is over. If they never take their head outta their (you know what) then they just won't get my tourist dollars.
Currently, there is no required testing for U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents transiting from Canada to Alaska at the ALCAN Checkpoint. The CPB may or may not ask for proof of vaccination. If you are not vaccinated you will be strongly encouraged to stop in Tok and get a free Antigen Test. The only requirement for a "lab test" is for passengers arriving by air from a foreign country, and that must be performed before arriving in Alaska. That is a Federal requirement.
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Old 01-20-2022, 02:44 PM   #12
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Im following for a trip also, thought there was a requirement to cross the border into Canada for a Covid test as Dave mententioned, I thought I saw it on there website.?
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:37 AM   #13
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Im following for a trip also, thought there was a requirement to cross the border into Canada for a Covid test as Dave mententioned, I thought I saw it on there website.?
Transiting from Alaska into Canada is a different story. Proof of vaccination and a test is required. From the reports I've heard, The Canadian Border Patrol at the Beaver Creek Checkpoint will hand you an antigen "self test kit" and you swab your own nose and get your results in 15 minutes. I have no idea what procedures are at the Lower 48 border checkpoints.
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Old 01-22-2022, 10:06 PM   #14
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I can't say how appreciative we are of all your comments. We have also been dreaming of this trip for a few Years, and driving past Vancouver is a new horizon for us. We have been on a cruise to Alaska many Years ago (25 plus), but never by land. It is truly worrisome to hear about the roads and breaking of windshields, when we have a nice black hellcat. Also we did do a long Eastern coast trip 3 Years ago, all the way to Newfoundland, where we experienced Hurricane for a winds in June, very scary. Keep it coming everyone.
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Old 01-23-2022, 09:37 AM   #15
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I can't say how appreciative we are of all your comments. We have also been dreaming of this trip for a few Years, and driving past Vancouver is a new horizon for us. We have been on a cruise to Alaska many Years ago (25 plus), but never by land. It is truly worrisome to hear about the roads and breaking of windshields, when we have a nice black hellcat. Also we did do a long Eastern coast trip 3 Years ago, all the way to Newfoundland, where we experienced Hurricane for a winds in June, very scary. Keep it coming everyone.

Have you given any consideration to foregoing the "Fun" not to mention the wear and tear on your camper by flying to AK and renting a Motorhome while up there?

Ive been back twice and flew to Anchorage then rented a van to drive around for 2 weeks at a time. Stayed in cabins and such. It was actually less expensive than renting a MH and paying the camping fees in campgrounds. You could do the same just a longer stay.

Just throwing it out there as food for thought if the poor roads are giving you pause............
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Old 01-23-2022, 10:05 AM   #16
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Have you given any consideration to foregoing the "Fun" not to mention the wear and tear on your camper by flying to AK and renting a Motorhome while up there?

Ive been back twice and flew to Anchorage then rented a van to drive around for 2 weeks at a time. Stayed in cabins and such. It was actually less expensive than renting a MH and paying the camping fees in campgrounds. You could do the same just a longer stay.

Just throwing it out there as food for thought if the poor roads are giving you pause............


While I agree that this is a great option, and one my friend would take. I just canít stop thinking of everything I missed scenery wise when I drove the ALCAN in December of 96 due to the short days. While I loved my 2 years in Alaska. My drive up in December and down in May left just as big of an impression. My first moose, watching and hearing the largest mule deer. I have ever seen as he tried to walk between an old camper and house his antlers would scrape here and there. Some of the lakes and mountain ranges.
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