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Old 12-05-2009, 08:23 AM   #1
Texas Seniors
1975 31' Sovereign
Bryan , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Alaska by the Senior Moments

We are retired, (Navy) Texans from Bryan and are planning to go to Alaska for next summer. Our experience RVing is long but this will be the longest trip for us, and the first time out of the USA. We have a 2001 Ford F250 diesel and a completely restored 75 Airstream. Our ultimate goal is to go gold prospecting in the Chicken area around Fairbanks.

There is a comment that you should carry fuel, our question is why, cost of availability?

Any advise or comments will be appreciated.
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Old 12-05-2009, 08:29 AM   #2
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1968 30' Sovereign
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Availability might be a key concern. I'd want to have a reserve with me, "just in case." Be sure to get the latest copy of the Milepost magazine. It will tell a "newbie" all you need to know about travel to Alaska.

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Old 12-05-2009, 09:36 AM   #3
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We did the Alaska trip in the summer of 2007 and drove to Chicken on the "Top of the World Highway". We didn't take any gas cans with us, but had a 38 gallon tank in the TV. We did have our generator (Honda 3000) which carries about 2 gallons. We could siphon gas from the genset if needed, but never had to on this trip. We gassed up in Dawson City ($7/gal) and made it to Tok easily before filling up again (4.75/gal).
So unless you're going "off-road" a lot in between towns, I don't see a need to carry gas cans with you. The generator did come in handy when we stayed at BLM campground outside of Chicken (great little CG) and at the Denali NP CG, as well as other state park CG's.

For a change of travel, we took the ferry from Haines to Prince Rupert on the way back to see the Inland Passage scenery. No problems with this and got to see Ketchikan (overnited there).

Good Luck!
Jim & Cheryl

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Old 12-05-2009, 09:46 AM   #4
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The threads I've been reading about this trip -- on this site and others -- doesn't indicate any lack of fuel, but, not to take chances otherwise. In short, fuel-as-fuel-available. There is one story of someone crossing over the border and back -- waiting to get to one point and passing by "high" prices -- and running shorter and shorter as terrain caused higher fuel burn until the point of compromise had been passed.

I am in favor of extending range (TRANSFERFLOW, TITAN tanks), but that cost is high.

As the trip expense is higher still, I would not worry over saving pennies versus spending dollars/time if stranded. A false economy. Buy fuel WHEN available and/or add extended range tanks.

More time and attention in prepping TV and TT is likely a better use of funds/time:

1] New axles/shocks/tires/brakes (and tire patch kit/tools/etc. Pressure monitor)
2] Hitch rigging to EXACTING tolerances
3] Stone protection of face and underside
4] Protection of headlights/spares
5] Supplies to fix leaks and make temporary repairs
6] Solving the "problem" of entering/exiting ferries.

Unless I've missed it, I'd enjoy seeing and reading more about your restored trailer.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
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Old 12-05-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
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1985 25' Sovereign
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Made that trip in 03 in a Ford 450 diesel (50 gal fuel tank) no problems finding fuel,water or dump stations. great trip,have fun
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Old 12-05-2009, 10:37 AM   #6
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Grand Junction , Colorado
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Since you have a diesel, I expect you have a large fuel tank and should have good range. There's no harm in bringing some extra fuel, however. The longest stretches without fuel we've seen are on the Dalton and Dempster Hwys, but the stops are within the range of even our gas truck with its smaller gas tank and lower mileage. The Dalton (a/k/a "The Haul Road") goes from north of Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay and the Dempster from near Dawson City, Yukon, to Inuvik, NWT.

The best thing is to get fuel when you can when you are in the least populated areas. It will be expensive, especially in Canada. That's just the price you pay to go north. We do fill up just before we go to Canada.

Note that Chicken is not near Fairbanks—in Alaska and northern Canada nothing is near anything else. It's about 280 miles. When we were in Chicken in 2002, there were three stores with tourist trinkets—there's one kind of hidden that had the better prices. The couple that ran it also look for gold. I think it's Chicken Gold Camp.

The Top of the World Hwy is a great drive—truly spectacular scenery. But, the ferry at Dawson City may be a problem for the long overhang on a 31' trailer. I would check with the ferry operator beforehand. There can be very long waits during high season for that ferry. We heard a few years ago the Top of the World Hwy on the Canadian side was in bad shape, but I don't know the present situation. Any of the dirt and gravel roads can be difficult when wet, but traveling in remote areas is very rewarding.

There are a lot of threads on Alaska so check the search function. Remember you will spending a lot of time in Canada and there's a lot to see there too. For ex., on our last trip in '06, we went to the dinosaur museum at Drumheller, Alb., east of Calgary. It's one of the premier dinosaur museums in the world. It's called the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

We plan to go to Alaska in 2010, so maybe we'll see you there.

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Old 12-05-2009, 01:09 PM   #7
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It all depends on your fuel tank size. My Ford F-250 diesel came with a 29 gallon tank - not suitable for long distance travel in my opinion. We had planned to make this trip in 2004 and it was my intention to carry two 5 gallon diesel containers. Had to put the trip off,but made it in 2005. By then I had decided that for peace of mind while traveling distances, I needed an aux tank. Installed a 50 gal Transflow and have since made the trip twice.

Fuel is usually available at a price that fits the location. 2005 was the year that diesel skyrocketed. It was costly everywhere. In 2007 there were fewer stations.

Look online for diesel prices in western Canada. Do the fuel and currency conversions now so that sticker shock doesn't get you too badly.

Chicken and The Top of The World Highway were gorgeous in early September. Campgrounds were almost empty.

It is a great trip.

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Old 12-05-2009, 01:15 PM   #8
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Walkerton , Virginia
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We made the trip in 2006 in a stock Chev 2500 diesel. No worries about gas - just fill up if you are heading to a remote area (to and from Chicken, for example).

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Old 12-05-2009, 01:58 PM   #9
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1964 22' Safari
Eagle River , Alaska
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timing timing timing

Availability! Timing! I carry extra petrol for peace of mind not because I have to.

If traveling the AlCan in summer...No problem....spring (April/May) or late fall (Sept/Oct) not everything (including road) is open just because the sign says "OPEN".

Simply, like they said: Fuel up when you can...don't wait until you have to...Don't expect "It will be cheaper a few miles down the road".
Ol' Clem may decide to go home early today and next petrol is a LONG way away.

Enjoy! Beautiful drive with Airstream. Watch for frost heaving in spring (unseen large bumps!)

FYI: Alaska is part of USA, we even have electrical in the igloos now.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:35 PM   #10
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Full Timers just passing through , Arizona for a couple of weeks and then on to Utah!
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We have made the trip for the last two summers. If you go after the first of problem. If you go before that..take some to get you by if the stop that you planned is either not open or has not had their delivery of Diesel. It happens all the time. The thing to remember is that the stops are far apart and diesel can be scarce at times. Price is pretty consistent..just expensive in Canada.

Living life on the Road
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