I'm glad (as will you be) that you ordered the milepost book. Once you get it, start reading it. Figure out what you're wanting to do; where you want to start and end, what you want to see, etc. And then if you'd like, send me a pm with your phone number and a good time to call, and we can talk. I'll try and answer any questions you have. And I can go into much more detail about our trip as you follow along in your book.
There were lots of places we would have liked to go to, but we were limited by time (we had three weeks to do it). So we had to make choices. We tried to hit key places, be wise when we stayed at one place for a bit, and cover as much ground as possible. Hopefully when we get to go back we can see some of the places we missed.
Originally Posted by armyRN View Post
Things to consider:
If you're thinking about taking the ferry one way then consider taking it south on the way home instead of north going out. You will have more options if the road washes out or other problems come up. The only thing is having to be at the ferry port on a particular day/time.
Plan your trip based on your slowest rig (or driver), it will save you a lot of stress in the long run (and it is a long run!).
The Arctic Circle isn't that far from Fairbanks but do you really want to go that far and not go to Coldfoot and Deadhorse? We did it in a day and a half BUT it was in a Grand Cherokee running 60-70 all the way. We didn’t do the bus tour to the Arctic Ocean, but that take longer and more planning because of the notice involved.
Camping is cheaper but it takes more time, and you have to haul the gear. Gas is expensive ($.50-1.00 more the Dallas). Hotel rooms run about $100 +/- a night, but many come with breakfast. We took basic camping gear just in case and never used it. We came close to needing it when the road washout problem came up, so it never hurts to be prepared.
If you are going to drive the Dalton, they recommend you take 2 spare tires, fuel, basic spare parts, ect.
Now that I have been there I know why, you are pretty much on your own. It’s 240+ miles from Coldfoot to Prudhoe Bay and very little in the way of vehicle services (read none). If you need it, you better have it with you. A lot of Alaska- Canada is remote and even the “towns” aren’t very big. I will say that everyone we met was friendly and helpful.
The Dalton and the Denali are both mostly gravel of the ball bearing class. It’s a lot of fun to drive on at speed as long as you watch it. The Denali Highway is much more winding and has more blind corners; the Dalton is wide with lots of steep grade changes. Atigun Pass was steep and greasy.
This is just a few things I could think of. If you have any questions feel free
Originally Posted by Richard338 View Post
I am guessing right now the ferry is only if needed, so that works with what you said.
The Arctic Circle to me is a must, back in 1980, my Dad, Mom, an Aunt and & I did a trip to Alaska from Chicago in a month old Mercury station wagon, my Dad & I did the side trip to the Arctic Circle and I would like to do it again. Back then, you could only go a little farther north of the Arctic Circle and then the road was closed to most people. I would like to go to Deadhorse, but I see that as being a 4 day round trip from Fairbanks, with overnights in Coldfoot, unless we push it. Now Inuvik, could be done in 3 days with a couple of overnights in Fort McPherson. Time will tell on this.
As for the camping, well one of the other guys going with me, will have his 3 boys and I think that hotels and stuff would get very costly. As of right now, it looks to be 4 vehicles going and anywhere from 8-12 people, but this trip is at least a year off. We do plan to do hotels about every 6th day.
Most of the people coming with me, are coming from Houston. we plan to start this from Durango, CO
I welcome any and all advice I can get.
There are lots of stretches where you're just looking at trees (can get boring) between the spread-out towns (many are just a blip on the map) and you'll be racking up the miles. And like I said; other times you'll want to stay for a bit and explore.
On a trip like this, you want to enjoy the ride - it's beautiful country. It's not all about the destination.
That's why you really need to realistically plan out your trip (and try to stick to it). You can't see everything in just a few weeks, so you need to make decisions as to what you really want to see, and what you can just drive-by. We spent two nights in Anchorage, Chicken, Dawson, and Whitehorse. We blew thru Fairbanks (nothing there we really wanted to see). And we asked ourselves if it was really worth it to run up to the Arctic Circle or to Prudoe (spelling?) Bay and we said "no" because it would cut into us checking out other places. Your priorities might be different. The Milepost book is awesome. We also picked up a lot of little booklets that most of the decent sized towns in Alaska and Canada put out - these were also informative.
My son and I drove my Grand Cherokee (2011) from Dallas, TX to Prudhoe Bay and back. Took the ferry up to Haines from Bellingham and got caught in the same wash-outs. Had to take the ferry back to Prince Rupert and drove on home from there. We were moving a little faster though, 20 days total (left Dallas 5-27) including the day and a half we lost at the wash-out south of Destruction Bay. Saw some great scenery met some great people. I wish we had the time to do the camping but we seldom stopped before 11pm, and were back on the road by 8am. Drove the Denali and the Dalton while we were there. Such beautiful country, can't wait to go back. Left Dallas 5/27, Spuce Goose in McMinnville, OR, 5/30, Martin Mars on Vancouver Island 5/31, ferry north 6/1-4, Prudhoe Bay 6/6, Destruction Bay wash-out 6/8, Haines ferry 6/9, Prince Rupert 6/12, Dallas home and dry 6/15.
So we drove about 8200 miles in 12 day of actual driving. The Alcan is all paved but not all that smooth and north of Colorado you can spend a lot of time held up by road construction. Most all of the roads in Alaska and Canada are 2 lane. The Dalton has some paved parts but all in all you wish they had left them gravel. You can do Prudhoe bay in 3 days, 1 up, 1 there, 1 back pretty easy, it's 500 miles from Fairbanks. Leave early going up (I assume you're going in the summer) and even if you get there late it will still be light. Sleep a little late , see the sights or do the tour and spend another night or drive back to Coldfoot. We got help up by road construction several times but it was never very long (30 min +/_) and you get a chance to look around. Rooms up north go for about $100 PER PERSON so be prepared. Fuel is also more ($5.39 in Prudhoe when we were there). Having said all that, it's a once in a lifetime chance I wouldn't miss, there is nothing like the vastness of the North Slope.
The ferry is a nice ride. Clean, great view, food's OK or you can bring your own, get a cabin or sleep on the deck or lounge. Great down-time but does cost more than driving. Best deal is take it from Haines to Prince Rupert and drive home. You can lay over a day in Juneau if you want.
Everyones goal is different, our was to drive as far north as you can go. I wanted to drive the Haul Road and I did. It's like nowhere else on earth. Set a few goals and decide what is most important. Like everyone points out, you can't do it all in 1 trip. But I will tell you, planning it is half the fun.
Also, the Ferry only leaves once every two weeks. It's not like there are daily runs. If you're thinking of taking the ferry at any point (we did, and it was awesome) you really need to time it right.
And if you spend all your time driving you won't get to enjoy your time there. Take your time - there's no way you can see it all anyway.
Originally Posted by armyRN View Post
The group has done a lot of camping, and we all have good equipment, and now from your trip, new things to add over the next 20 months to make camping even better. Like that oven and a trailer, our next trip is Big Bend next March.
From listening to You and RW, I have already seen that what I was thinking was pushing it too much. That plan has changed and guessing it will change again and again before we leave. It looks like we will have 3 full weeks in NW Canada and Alaska (area north of Prince George and Dawson Creek). Right now, how I see our trip, everyone will put in what is important (first, second, third) to them and then I will try to make that happen. Should extra time be available, then we will add more to the trip. One part of planning trips, I find that is very hard, is how much time in each place, like 1, 2, 3 days in Denali or what? I would like to go to Deadhorse, but not sure I want to try and push it in 2-3 days, Inuvik should be a easy 3 day trip, but I have 20 months to decide.
As of right now, the ferry is outside the budget, I did it back in 198x and have done a cruise (2008) up there. I would like to do it, but just not sure the price will be affordable.
A couple of guys are looking into taking 5 weeks, I will be retired, so for me it is not a big deal. Should the extra week happen for them, then we will add something in Alaska or maybe Glacier and/or Yellowstone.
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