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ALASKA 2016


jags1fan

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As mentioned at the HDT National Rally, I'm "here" to begin the discussion, answer questions, etc about travel to Alaska Summer 2016. I sent an email to those of you that signed up with Jim Gell at the Rally. Thanks to Jim for beginning the discussion at the Rally, in my absence. Everyone feel free to ask questions on this forum (or you can email me at: jags1fan@gmail.com

 

The intent is not that I want to start a 'caravan' to Alaska, but rather share our experiences from our trip last summer and answer questions and help you gain what you can so you can enjoy your trip to Alaska, as much as we did. Even though we thought we'd make a 'once in a lifetime' trip to Alaska, Raymond and I loved it up there and plan to return Summer '16. We had a blast just wandering the vast area and loved seeing HDT friends up there. So, hopefully, this forum discussion will keep all HDT traveler's in contact for meeting up there.

 

Let me start out by saying, there are many varying feelings about taking your Rig or Not taking your Rig to Alaska. I can only speak to OUR experience: We had no issues with the roads in Canada and Alaska. Yes, there are dirt/gravel roads. Yes, at times the frost heaves* in the paved roads are such that you HAVE TO slow your travel to as low as 15mph (or risk possible harm to your Rig), but we broke no glasses, no plates, no cabinets, etc. (as compared to one year returning to FL from KS when we broke 3 built-in cabinets on the rough roads on I-10 in LA, MS and a short distance in AL. I suspect the roads have been repaired since that crazy trip, but we still avoid that area). LOL We do have Mor-Ryde air suspension on our DRV, so I'm sure that helps. But, all in all, you MUST be willing to travel at very low speeds in some sections.

 

*Kudo's to the Canada Ministry of Transportation and the Alaska DOT for helping out by places flags or cones to mark frost heaves to help you slow down before you hit one! Travel in Alaska (and NW Canada) is truly like no other parts of North America.

 

On the fun side, if you enjoy the sights of abundant wildlife you will love the travel. Because the roads are so much less traveled than the Lower 48 highways, any time you see a car pulled over to the side of the highway you can bet it is to view an animal. We quickly learned to start putting on brakes and either slow or pull off to the side of the road and stop. We turned a normal 7 hour day into 10+ hours just because we stopped to take pictures. What an exhilarating adventure!

 

Raymond and I both set up blogs to share some of our adventures. G8rRay.com (to be updated)

and ForksInTheRVRoad.com (I am doing a major update, so I hope to have all posts from last summer completed soon). Both of our blogs include places we stayed along the way, etc.

 

I hope this leads to an informative and enjoyable discussion! I'm ready to leave today! (a slight exaggeration since we wouldn't want to drive through the snow). Have a Merry Christmas everyone! And a Happy New Year!

Janet

 

 

 

 

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The wife wants to do the trip some day. The main problem she has run into was finding campgrounds that we fit in. Will have to check out your blog.

We went in 2014, met up with Raymond and Janet while there. We had no issues finding campgrounds where we fit, at 67'. We never made a reservation more than a few hours in advance. That said, we OFTEN didn't bother with a campground, just finding a place to park and go to bed. While in transit, we likely spent about 1/2 our nights boondocking.

 

We took the ice fields parkway through the Canadian rockies, and stayed in an overflow area. We nearly had it to ourselves and it was beautiful. C/Gs were crowded near Grand Prairie and some places in the lower 48, and near cities in AK, especially Homer and Anchorage. Stay out of town a few miles and enjoy the space.

 

Janet's right about slowing down in some areas. Driving 15 mph for a couple of hours means perhaps you won't make it as far as you planned.

 

We took 44 days, and it wasn't nearly enough. Allow at least a week for the stretch from Dawson Creek to Destruction Bay, and enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

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In prior years, the Alaska XXXX has been in the Travel section. Unless this thread is just for HDTers, it would be nice to have one in the travel section so that all could take part (those without HDTs may not read this section unless they use the "View New Content" button).

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We look to be finally fulltiming this year. We too plan an Alaska trip. Been flying up there for the past ten+ years to visit our daughter. I would expect our first drive will wait until 2017, but then, you never know. I'll be watching here and probably run part of the way with some of you be it '16 or'17.

Todd E.

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In prior years, the Alaska XXXX has been in the Travel section. Unless this thread is just for HDTers, it would be nice to have one in the travel section so that all could take part (those without HDTs may not read this section unless they use the "View New Content" button).

Thank you LindaH. This thread is directed toward HDTers and the uniqueness of our mode of travel, but all are welcome to read along (of course). Hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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Larry, do those Northern lights work in Summer time? I don't think we would be making the trip up there in the HDT in December! I am not into Ice road driving in a singled non locker HDT. Just going up a slight icey covered hill was a challenge for the truck (and driver).

You're correct you would have to be prepared with an HDT during the winter months, albeit the Commercial Trucking is still moving. Our Son drives the Haul Road and prefers winter driving.

Sorry, the Aurora Borealis can only be seen during the winter months, it's an event that keeps us sane during those long cold nights.

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Do not depend on spotting a red flag or cone to mark all frost heaves! I hit an unmarked one in '12 and nearly wrecked my dually and 40'5er. My fault, I got comfortable with spotting flags and cones. Frost heave is IMO a misnomer. They are actually a depression in the roadbed. I was driving about 45 when I hit the unmarked frost heave. It was about a foot deep and 200' long. When we got home I totalled the repair bills, almost $5,000.

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We were very fortunate to see the Northern Lights on our way south in mid September. Once in Dawson City after driving the Top of the World Highway and again just north of Whitehorse while boonedocking. Neither one was brilliant, but we did see green and yellow and noticed some slight movement.

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Do not depend on spotting a red flag or cone to mark all frost heaves! I hit an unmarked one in '12 and nearly wrecked my dually and 40'5er. My fault, I got comfortable with spotting flags and cones. Frost heave is IMO a misnomer. They are actually a depression in the roadbed. I was driving about 45 when I hit the unmarked frost heave. It was about a foot deep and 200' long. When we got home I totalled the repair bills, almost $5,000.

In reality, during the Hard Freeze, on the Parks Highway, the road is fairly smooth and with only a few known slippery spots. I used to drive from Fairbanks to Anchorage weekly with my private vehicle. On clear nights with "Day Lighters" I could maintain 65mph. All I had to watch out for was Moose and coming up on a HDT to quickly, back then their speed limit was 55 mph on the two lane highway. I drove this road every week for 15 years, never had an accident and never hit a Moose. The tourist during the summer was the biggest danger. ;) LOL

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We went in 2014, 75 day trip, stated in camp grounds every night had no problems, we are 65' long and even the small campgrounds made room for us, was a great trip.I do suggest not to go on the "top of the world Highway" from Dawson city to Chicken, it is 110 miles of bad road or no road and took us 7 hours and the RV park in Chicken has only 15amp power. Merry Christmas to all

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We went in 2014, 75 day trip, stated in camp grounds every night had no problems, we are 65' long and even the small campgrounds made room for us, was a great trip.I do suggest not to go on the "top of the world Highway" from Dawson city to Chicken, it is 110 miles of bad road or no road and took us 7 hours and the RV park in Chicken has only 15amp power. Merry Christmas to all

Hi, Jim and Norma, We wish you a Merry Christmas, too. We enjoyed seeing you both in Whitehorse, Yukon and Ft. Nelson, BC. We stayed at Chicken Gold Camp, Chicken, AK, and had a wonderful 30amp pull through. No sewer hookups so we used their showers. We stayed 5 days. In 2014, the Top of the World Hwy was still not recommended but in 2015 at the end of the season Jeff & Cindy Brett drove it with no issues. I hope Jeff and Cindy will give us some comments about their experience. We plan another adventure to Chicken Gold Camp - and hope to be there late August 2016, so we can enjoy the fields of color AK gets around that time.

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We have regular access to the Northern Lights in the Grande Prairie area, just not during high summer season. If anyone has any questions about the southern end of the Al-Can, or the surrounding area, let us know. We love showing off our scenery. I know Rickeieio missed out on some great farming encounters. We know quite a few people in the area,with some unique hobbies and interests, as well.

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We spent the summer of 99 traveling Alaska. The one thing I remember were the temporary signs on the ground on the side of the road that said bump. We quickly learned the signs meant business on the highways in Canada. I don't know if it still that way but to ignore those little signs usually didn't end well.

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Very true, the "Bump" signs you bether be prepared. The last time I drove the highway (2012), the Canadian road was generally pretty good but you would have to watch the signage until Beaver Creek. After Beaver Creek to the Alaska/U.S. Border the road has always been horrible since my first trip (1979). Cross the border into Alaska is like a super highway compared to what had been just driven.

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