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Old 01-10-2013, 06:59 PM   #1
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Rivet Boondocking through the Yukon ?

The wife and I are headed up through Canada to Alaska next summer
and were wondering if recent veterans of this outing had any tips as to what to expect along the Alkan and Dawson City detour in the Yukon.
Made a trip up there back in 1970 with a Ford Bronco pulling a homemade chuck wagon trailer , camped out every night and did all the cooking beside the road wherever we found a spot to camp. This was about 25 years after the Army cut the trail up there and it was still pretty much just as they had left it in the 40's. There were lots of abandoned camps and a few airfields that had been left . These made for good boondocking spots if we couldn't find a stream to camp by , the wet camps were preferred because the stream water could be used for dish washing and general washing up .

Any heads up would be appreciated !
We greatly prefer boondocking to paid campgrounds.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:05 PM   #2
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There are still lots of places to camp along side the road. Many of them now are where the old original highway was, and where materials were stored on the side of the road for building the newer sections of the highway. And, it's still legal and accepted.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:38 PM   #3
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If you go to the "Canada and Alaska Forum" of "RV.Net" and do a search on Boondocking you will find an incredible wealth of information - pay particular attention to posts and threads by Sue.T:

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: RVing in Canada and Alaska


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Old 01-10-2013, 09:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for the RV site look forward to working through it.
Cheers
Barry & Karen in Mi.
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:53 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by RangerJay View Post
If you go to the "Canada and Alaska Forum" of "RV.Net" and do a search on Boondocking you will find an incredible wealth of information - pay particular attention to posts and threads by Sue.T:

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: RVing in Canada and Alaska


Jay
Thanks , that site has a wealth of information in it .
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Old 01-11-2013, 05:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH View Post
There are still lots of places to camp along side the road. Many of them now are where the old original highway was, and where materials were stored on the side of the road for building the newer sections of the highway. And, it's still legal and accepted.

Thanks ! did you have any trouble filling water jugs and tank along the way ?
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:35 AM   #7
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Made the trip to Alaska last summer. Roads were in good shape, left Michigan in June. Be prepared for high fuel prices all through Canada. A lot of the small stations are closed or for sale. Buy the current issue of Milepost ,well worth the money.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:36 AM   #8
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Thanks ! did you have any trouble filling water jugs and tank along the way ?
None at all because we actually stayed mostly at parks.

We had a small dog with us, and big fear of bears.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:51 AM   #9
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When we went in 2000 we either parked along the roadside or used provincial campgrounds. In Alaska we did the same or used state parks. We never had any problem finding water except in Chicken, where we got it from the creek and chlorinated it.
That trailer (54 Safari) had a porta Potti which we could dump in a toilet or porta john. The same can be done with a regular toilet by dumping every 2 days into a 5 gallon blue tank for "transfer" purposes.
We were gone 3 months and never used any private campgrounds.
As previously mentioned the Milepost is a must have.
The roads were not nearly as bad as the horror stories you hear and we even went above the arctic circle with the trailer
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:06 AM   #10
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We did it in 2008, and beside the Milepost, the next best source of information on places to stop, things to see and do and camp is to ask at every official local state and provincial information center. They have the most up-to-date maps, weather data and data on road conditions and maintenance work. Good luck.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:15 AM   #11
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As a forum member posted, get a copy of the "milepost" travel guide. I used to live in Alaska and have driven the Alcan several times and flew it in small plane last year. Fuel is a lot more expensive in Canada, especially the further north you go as it gets more remote. I would recommend carrying some extra if you can in storage cans. The good thing is people are friendly and most of the places you can just pull over in a good spot without paying fees. You cannot travel through Canada with a pistol, but I recommend having a short shotgun with big slugs in case you have a bear encounter. They charge $26 for bringing gun into their country, you can download the short form to fill out online and pay them at the border. Bears can't see that well but have great noses and love the smell of food. If you don't have a gun, at least get a big can of bear spray, you can also buy "UDAP" brand spray which the Alaskans prefer. You would have to be pretty brave to let them get close enough to have it be effective though. I had a friend scare them off camping once by beating on pots and pans with a big metal spoon.

It goes without saying that you should have tools/spares/etc. and be reasonably self sufficient. On one of my trips to Alaska I made a mistake and decided to try the "shortcut" Cassier highway which goes further west along edge of B.C.. The Rand Mcnally atlas showed it to be paved. Well it was for the first 100 miles then dirt and gravel for the next 200. Car got trashed/filthy, almost ran out of gas even with extra gas cans. The weather along Alcan is pretty good from mid-April through October, May is a great time before bug and forest fire season. Once you get to early June the road north bound has a lot more traffic. My first exposure to the interior of an Airstream was when we were driving Alcan and a bridge washed out near Burwash Landing. The road was blocked off a few hours and we parked behind an Airstream. The owners put out the awning and lawn chairs and we had tea and cookies while the road crews repaired road crossing.

Last thing, do what you can to protect windshields/glass on Airstream. Every time I drove it I got broken windshields from logging trucks going by me the opposite direction. Every one of our friends did also, so if you can do that without cracks you are very lucky.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:19 AM   #12
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The road is generally in pretty good shape. It is paved but gets frost heaves every winter, (worse as you go further north). The average winter temps there are bitterly cold and hard on the pavement. They scrape the pavement with bulldozers every summer once it warms up and pave it again, but you will often travel a few miles of pavement, then a short stretch of gravel, then pavement again for miles and miles.

Since there is lots of sunlight in the summer, use solar to your advantage. I had multiple solar cells with me on plane trip last year and kept phone/computer/gps/everything fully charged without ever plugging anything in for a week.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:07 AM   #13
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Just to add to the discussion here - when we took our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Alaska in 2011 we used mostly campground facilities in Provincial, State, Territorial or National Parks - the exceptions were larger destination centres where we stayed in RV Parks.

In general we found the government agency campgrounds to be well maintained, well designed with large well spaced campsites, usually located within or adjacent to a scenic setting and inexpensive. Sometimes they may have been very basic in amenities (i.e. no electricity, vault toilets etc.) but that has never been an issue with us.

Also, in general, we found the RV Parks to be more serviced gravel parking lots than campgrounds, very small sites, not particularly well maintained and very expensive.

These websites are helpful for government campgrounds:

BC Parks: BC Parks - Province of British Columbia
Yukon Territorial Parks: Yukon Campgrounds
Alaska State Parks: Alaska State Parks
Denali National Park: Denali National Park & Preserve - Denali National Park & Preserve

I believe the Cassiar highway has been paved in recent years - we drove it, had no problems and would highly recommend that it be used as either the trip up or the trip back. Having said that - it is true that you will run into gravel stretches (on all the highways) - some lengthy - where resurfacing is being done - so yes - protecting the front of your trailer is a good idea - you should be able to find at least a couple of threads in this forum on what folks have done to protect the front of their Airstreams.

In addition to the "Milestone" there is another magazine that we found very helpful:

Travelers Guide to Alaskan Camping: Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping by Mike and Terri Church

Both books are terrific - but we found their greatest value to be in short-term planning (i.e. the night before or the day of travel) - not so much long-term planning from your home. The best long-term planning is what you are doing now - getting the advice of others who've "been there done that".


Jay
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbguy View Post
As a forum member posted, get a copy of the "milepost" travel guide. I used to live in Alaska and have driven the Alcan several times and flew it in small plane last year. Fuel is a lot more expensive in Canada, especially the further north you go as it gets more remote. I would recommend carrying some extra if you can in storage cans. The good thing is people are friendly and most of the places you can just pull over in a good spot without paying fees. You cannot travel through Canada with a pistol, but I recommend having a short shotgun with big slugs in case you have a bear encounter. They charge $26 for bringing gun into their country, you can download the short form to fill out online and pay them at the border. Bears can't see that well but have great noses and love the smell of food. If you don't have a gun, at least get a big can of bear spray, you can also buy "UDAP" brand spray which the Alaskans prefer. You would have to be pretty brave to let them get close enough to have it be effective though. I had a friend scare them off camping once by beating on pots and pans with a big metal spoon.

It goes without saying that you should have tools/spares/etc. and be reasonably self sufficient. On one of my trips to Alaska I made a mistake and decided to try the "shortcut" Cassier highway which goes further west along edge of B.C.. The Rand Mcnally atlas showed it to be paved. Well it was for the first 100 miles then dirt and gravel for the next 200. Car got trashed/filthy, almost ran out of gas even with extra gas cans. The weather along Alcan is pretty good from mid-April through October, May is a great time before bug and forest fire season. Once you get to early June the road north bound has a lot more traffic. My first exposure to the interior of an Airstream was when we were driving Alcan and a bridge washed out near Burwash Landing. The road was blocked off a few hours and we parked behind an Airstream. The owners put out the awning and lawn chairs and we had tea and cookies while the road crews repaired road crossing.

Last thing, do what you can to protect windshields/glass on Airstream. Every time I drove it I got broken windshields from logging trucks going by me the opposite direction. Every one of our friends did also, so if you can do that without cracks you are very lucky.
Thanks for the update ! The trailer has rock shields on it, but am going to put some mudflaps on the Dodge and some behind the rear wheels of the trailer to cut down on the amount of gravel chunked up into the drain and gas lines back there. was planing to come back down the Cassier route,It did not exist the last time I was up that way I think. ???
We drove to Alaska from Houston back in 1970 in a Ford Bronco pulling a homemade chuckwagon trailer, had a white gas stove and a 9x9 umbrella tent. camped out every night and cooked all the food along the way. Managed to avoid being eaten by bears, but had a 30-06 rifle and a little M-1 30 caliber carbine at the ready just in case. Could still have the 30 round clips for the carbine back then.
Bought a couple of plastic headlight bubble protectors in Dawson Creek BC and they managed to save the headlight from damage , but the windshield was busted up pretty bad on the trip. The road was pretty much the way the Army left it after WW two so gravel ,rocks, and mud were an every day thing. We fixed a load of flats at the campsites , brought along tire tools, patches and boots as well as several spare tubes to compliment our half dozen spare tires and wheels .same wheels on the trailer as the Bronco. Aired em up with a huffer puffer that screwed into a spark plug hole , idle the engine and it worked fine. Only had one spare left 10,000 miles later at home.
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