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armyRN 05-20-2012 10:18 PM

Alaska/Canada Jeep Adventure
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I'm wanting to start a thread to document our Alaska/Canada Aventure Trip (ACAT?). Anyways, we'll be taking three weeks to travel through Alaska and Canada. I'll be bringing my netbook, and hopefully we'll get to some places that have WIFI so we can upload pictures and such along our trip and post them here.

We're going to start by taking a ferry from Bellingham, WA to Haines, AK. Once we arrive in Haines, we'll drive essentially west to Anchorage (via Tok) going in-and-out of Canada. From Anchorage, we'll go north to Fairbanks, then back SE towards Tok, and NE to Chicken, Eagle, and Dawson City (now we'll be back into Canada). From Dawson City we'll head SE to Whitehorse, then east to Watson Lake where we'll turn south traveling along the Cassiar Highway to Prince George, then from Prince George south to Vancouver, and then continuing on south through Seattle and back to Olympia. It'll involve around 3,800 miles driving.

So please, if anyone has any good info of what to make sure we see/expect/avoid/etc. along our planned route, please chime in and tell us! This'll be our first trip up there, so if you have some intel send it our way.

Here is the cast of characters for our trip: Paul (driver) and Keith.

armyRN 05-20-2012 10:24 PM

2 Attachment(s)
The vehicle we'll be taking is a 1998 Jeep TJ with the following specs and modifications:

2.5 four cylinder/5 speed tranny
Dana 30 front 4.88 gears, Alloy USA axles, Aussie Locker
Dana 44 rear, 4.88 gears, 33 spline Alloy USA axles, Detroit locker
Rubicon Express 3.5" superflex suspension
AA SYE/TW CV rear driveshaft
Currie Antirock, tie-rod/drag link set-up
Rockmen gas tank skidplate, steering box skidplate, rear bumper tie-ins
A-Z rocker guards
Warn 8000 lb winch
Pro-comp/Genuine Steel bumpers
285/75/16" Dick Cepek Fun Country II tires on black spokes

The trailer is a Harbor Freight type 4' trailer that I modified, and had a liner built. It rides on 205/75/15" tires, and has about 3" more clearance under the trailer's axle compared to the clearance under my TJ's Dana 44 axle. Here's a link to the trailer build:

armyRN 05-20-2012 10:31 PM

Gear we'll be taking:

We've got the trailer loaded with camping gear. Coleman tent (10' x 13'), groundcloth, two large Army-type cots, cot mats, folding chairs, folding table, cooler, propane stove/oven (can't wait to try it out), coleman lantern, plenty of cooking gear and food, water, 12G shotgun (and paperwork for bringing it into Canada), bear spray, etc. We took the back seat out of the Jeep, and there we'll be packing our dufflebags, sleeping bags, pillows, etc. On the spare tire I've got a Trasharoo bag (if you don't have one, you need to get one).

And of course we'll have plenty of tools, a CO2 tank & hose, recovery gear, hi-lift jack, first aid kit, etc.

We went to the commissary Saturday and spent $220 on food and related items. To include 14 MREs. We certainly won't go hungry.

chris56 05-20-2012 11:39 PM

could you let me know if you find some good trails in alaska that u can camp at, preferably without much people around if any? I've yet to find any

armyRN 05-21-2012 10:19 AM


Originally Posted by chris56 (Post 13600118)
could you let me know if you find some good trails in alaska that u can camp at, preferably without much people around if any? I've yet to find any

We hope to find some, but on this trip we'll probably be sticking to the main roads due to distance (lots) and time constraints (not enough as I'd like). We've got the "Milepost" book (if you're doing a trip like this you need this book), plus a topo map book of Alaska I bought at Cabela's. We'll have a GPS to mark sites along the way.

123ShawnTW 05-21-2012 03:43 PM

Just to whet your appetite . . . I went up in 1992, I rented a 92 GMC (I know!) :nono: anyhow . . . I liked the area up around Chicken, also the Prince George area . . .

I hope you have good travels, take LOTS of pictures, these were from my film camera, I just took a picture of them today . . .

I hope you do not literally run into these, but there is wildlife up there including MOSQUITO'S!

I imagine your use to overcast skies . . . you shouldn't be lonely!

Of course it rained a little . . .

Hopefully you don't get destroyed!:shhh:

Don't plan on alot of darkness . . . this was taken 23:30!

I got ALOT of "window art" by driving fast, and catching LOTS of rock flying up from other vehicles . . . of course since it was a rental, and I bought the extra ins. . . . I was not really driving slow . . . I did 15,000 miles in 14 days . . . I rented out of Seattle, and actually went up to the Arctic Ocean . . .

Happy Trails :wave:

ETA: BTW all the "road" pic were actually HIGHWAYS !

CoRubicon 05-21-2012 05:33 PM

Looking forward to this! :thumbsup:

dayriesw 05-22-2012 07:06 AM


armyRN 05-22-2012 11:27 AM

123ShawnTW: Thanks for the pictures; we'll have to see what all has changed in the last 20 years up there. Looks like I can expect lots of muddy roads.

armyRN 05-22-2012 02:59 PM

So tell me everyone that's done a similar trip up in Alaska and Canada or has spent time there: What kind of suprises did you find, or things that you didn't expect on your trip? Help me not make the same mistakes (if that's what you would call them) you made when you were up there. What would have done differently? I'm looking for words of wisdom here. We plan on camping as much as possible on this trip. Things you were glad you packed, or wished you had packed? Little towns that are worth stopping at? Places to avoid (and why)? Gotta do stuff?

So far I know not to:

Play with the bears or try to feed them
See how far I can drive without filling up with gas
Not tell the border guards I have firearms on board
Sleep with food in the tent
Pan for gold on someone else's claim

123ShawnTW 05-22-2012 04:20 PM

Bring plenty of MOSQUITO Repellant! I woke up one morning outside of Yellow Knife, there was at least 1/8" of ice on the puddles, and I was STILL swatting MOSQUITO'S! There very resilient little buggers!

I had Two flats, one was a blow out, the other I ran over a rubber bungee cord in the mud, the hook, hooked, and I noticed it flailing around on the side of the rig! 20 years ago there was not many places to get new tires . . . bring a patch kit!

I had plenty of dry roads, they make alot of dust as you follow and over take others . . . I got a new air cleaner when I got to Fairbanks . . .

Of course I was driving 1000+ miles and driving 80+ mph . . .

My memory is dim . . . I only remember a place I stopped for breakfast that had awesome crepes rolled around strawberries and whipped cream . . . they were SO good, that the waitress kinda flipped out when I ordered another round! Wish I could remember where it was, I can't find my journal . . . I did write one, just is misplaced now . . . it would be a good idea for you to do one also . . .

I actually carried my double barreled 12 gauge with me, no problems for me, back then . . . I had food and I slept at times in the back of the Jimmy . . . I wanted to discourage any bear from coming ALL the way inside!

Yes the milepost is very helpful!

SkippyPB13 05-22-2012 05:50 PM

A Therma-cell Works wonders for the skeeters.

I'm sooooo putting this on my bucket list.

custom paracord wrangler door straps-

armyRN 05-24-2012 11:54 AM

2 Attachment(s)
We sail tomorrow. The ferry departs at 1800 Friday, and arrives to Haines the following Monday at noon. We'll be traveling on the M/V Columbia. Here's a link:

The M/V COLUMBIA was designed to carry 932 passengers with a crew of 68. Its two vehicle decks can accommodate 186 vehicles. There are 56 two-berth cabins, three two-berth barrier-free cabins, 40 four-berth cabins and five cabins that have four-berths with an extra sitting room. These cabins are great for a card party or to use with larger families that don't mind putting the kids on the floor in sleeping bags.
A dining room, snack-bar, cocktail lounge as well as the ships gift shop, theater-lounge and video arcade are all available onboard. Two forward lounges afford wonderful vistas of the passing scenery. You can also roll out your sleeping bag on deck chairs and camp out under the heated Solarium, or, you may want to try one of the two decks ideal for pitching "free standing" tents and sleep under the stars. You can duct-tape your tent to the deck.

I guess we'll save the roughing it part of our adventure trip until after we arrive at Haines. We opted for the two-man berths; there will be plenty of time for sleeping in a tent once we land.

And in case our wives are reading this: No Honey, we are not going on a cruise without you. This is a ferry; not a cruise ship. We are going to be treated like galley slaves on this trip. We will be glad when we can get off this leaky rat-infested boat and get on dry land. We hope we don't get scurvy or starve to death before we reach our destination, and pray we don't get attacked by Somalian pirates.

Arcticcat 05-24-2012 05:26 PM

Here are the great news, from the pictures that were taken in 1992 to at least last year when I there the roda have change a lot. As a matter of fact you probably will be travelling very little in the actual original road. The only place that was an issue with pot holes is from Burwash Landing to a little before the U.S/Canada Border. Very muddy when is raining and dusty when is dry. That area have major permafrost issues and they have been working trying new thing since the first time I did that trip in 1986. Expect a couple patches here and there in Alaska as frost heave on the road are an issue and the only to repair them is during the summer. Do expect delay and one way traffic on the road at any given time. Coming from Alaska fill you gas at tok (even if you don't really need to and then again at the Border before leaving Alaska. The fuel price is higher than Anchorage and Fairbanks but a lot cheaper than Canada Last year the difference between Border town was US$4.30 per Gallon to US $6.50 per Gallon at the Yukon. There are many places to camp at will between Alaska and the Yukon. There are many nice little place where the old highway from Burwash Landing to a little pass Soldier Summit with lake front views that are very safe to camp at will and they are free.

Marauder_Pilot 05-24-2012 05:59 PM

I'll probably be out of town when you come through Whitehorse, but good luck! The drive from Haines or Skagway to Whitehorse is pretty tame, but there's a LOT of hills. And lots more outside Whitehorse, too. Hills and mountains all the way down. With a 4-banger and a trailer, a tranny cooler might be a worthwhile investment.

Take it easy going through the mountain passes around the Alaska/Yukon border. Lots of trucks whipping through there all the time.

Yukon fuel prices are NUTS right now. You're looking at around $5.30/gal. Fill up in Alaska, fill every gerry can you've got. Also bring a full spare tank after you leave Watson Lake, there's only 2 or 3 gas stations between there and northern BC, and, while they'll get you through in theory, some are closed or empty without warning.

It's a rough trip, especially in a Jeep, but it's a beautiful one.

BTW, if you want to take a day off wheeling in Whitehorse, there's more trail than road here. Coming from the north, when you get to the intersection of the Alaska and Klondike Highways, there's a rest stop. Ditch your trailer there, pick a dirt path and GO. You can go for days, and they're all well-marked, too. Hell, if you get bored, there's trails running the length of the Alaska Highway through Whitehorse. I've taken them to work before. :D

Any specific questions on the Whitehorse area, and the drive south, let me know. I've done it twice so far, so I'll answer any questions I can.

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