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Old 11-15-2007, 10:30 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene
There's a thread on adding a tank in the truck bed somewhere—hopefully easy to find. It would weigh a lot to carry an extra 20 or more gallons of fuel and might cut mileage a bit. My solution is one or two plastic gas cans—not so much weight and a lot cheaper. My truck gets 11.5 mpg towing, so my range is 300 miles. I don't think I was anywhere where a gas station was more than 220 miles, but side trips, getting lost, and getting stuck—you can use a lot of fuel getting unstuck—can change everything. I don't know about availability of diesel, but I expect all remote stations have it.

Gene
I'm not to worried about weight, I am towing a vintage unit with a power stroke diesel. I may be wrong, but I doubt it would do much to the mileage in my case. I also really, really like the idea of dramatically increased cruising range even if I'm not going to Alaska. Using one of the tanks linked in the thread I would have a towing range of something like 1,900 miles that would ROCK! But given the cost of the extra 100g tank, that is probably going to stay in the category of 'wish I had".
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:22 PM   #16
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Hi again,

One other wrinkle to consider is that if you do run a lot of miles on gravel, and depending on how your fuel tank is situated in the truck frame, that there is always a chance of getting a rock puncture thru a fuel tank. Then all the mpg in the world won't help you. On 18-wheelers the tanks on each side are usually connected together with a fuel cross-over line to keep the tanks even, but for the Alcan Hwy the cross-over would be taken off and leave the tanks independent.

So if you added tanks, or if your truck has multiple tanks inside or outside the frame rails underneath I would keep them separate.

Another thing if the fuel tank looks too exposed underneath is to put some pieces of old rubber truck flaps to protect the tank. The front wheels of the truck always kick up the rocks and if a really sharp one hits a tank just right it will poke a pinhole and there it goes... If you notice it in time a sheet metal screw with a washer and some goop will pretty much fix it.

The farthest distance between stations I have ever had up north is 289 miles. We always had a couple 5 gallon jerry cans with us "just in case" but never did need them. But you do want to top off your tank/s anytime you can. You can't even count on the next station having fuel, they may have run out and you have to go on to the next one.

Even if you have a huge range on your TV, I would still take at least one 5 gallon can and a piece of hose with you in case you do ever run out. Since you are running diesel, if you did get in a jamb on the side of the road and run empty on fuel, 9 out of 10 (or more) passing truckers would be glad to give you 5 or 10 gallons out of their tanks to get you going - but it would be a whole lot easier if you had a can and a hose of your own to make the transfer.

Looks like lots of people thinking of an Alcan run in 2010 or 2011... Should be great...

And in regards to how long it takes to get there: back in the early 1970's my dad used to run the Alaska Hwy as a trucker hauling stuff for the construction of the big Alaska Oil Pipeline. The company he hauled for had a guaranteed delivery time of 96 hours from Minnesota to Fairbanks... The 96 hour time was when they had 2 drivers in a truck with a V-12 Detroit Diesel and would run straight thru. My dad was an independent trucker so he took his own truck by himself and he used to take 7 days up and 7 days back. Anyway, ...

best regards, Dave
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Old 11-16-2007, 11:55 AM   #17
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Speaking for myself, I wouldn't carry extra fuel. We made the trip last year and only had one relatively close call - rather, one that I worried about. And that was because I didn't fill up when we left Kenai and the pickin's were slim for diesel between there and Anchorage.

We also applied common sense when we knew we were going to be in remote areas - we topped up the tanks at Tok before heading up the Top of the World highway and then topped up again at Chicken (whether we needed it or not). Oh - also, you can camp for free if you fill up...maybe that's why I topped off

We also checked everything high and low and stem to stern before taking the Cassiar.

You certainly have plenty of carrying ability to install a additional tank - but I just don't think it is necessary for your Ak Highway trip.

Enjoy the planning. The danged trip will be over before you know it.

Pat
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Old 11-16-2007, 12:42 PM   #18
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Cassiar Hwy

We took the Cassiar coming back in 2002. It was about 20% paved then and rest was good gravel. A great alternative route back. It goes north/south through central northern BC. We went west on the Yellowhead Hwy at the end of the Cassiar (all paved) to Prince Rupert, a nice drive also. You'll have to come back west on that highway, or take a BC ferry south to Vancouver. One of those BC ferries sank a couple of years ago so fill that extra fuel tank with helium. The Yellowhead east takes you to Jasper and Banff NP's. The drive south through the parks is beautiful. After seeing Alaska, Yukon, etc., I though those parks would be just more mountains and glaciers, but Barb wanted to go back that way and she was right. Better go see glaciers soon—they are retreating very fast.

The BC ferry to Vancouver Is. seems like a trip we should take sometime. We have toured Vancouver Is. and it is also a great place to visit and one of the warmest and wettest areas of Canada. Victoria, BC's capital, is a wonderful small city, veddy British, and much more human scale than Vancouver, nice city, but too big for our taste. There's just so many places to go, we just have to keep going back. BC is a very big province with everything from rain forest to alpine climate in the mountains to quite warm areas in the SE.

We saw wildlife in many places: brown bears, grizzlies, caribou, moose, the biggest ravens imaginable, Dall sheep (or maybe they're goats, can't remember) and more. The gravel/dirt roads, especially in the most remote areas, have the most wildlife.

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Old 08-24-2008, 12:24 PM   #19
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Paddeling the Noatak?

Now that I am back in town after 11 weeks on the road this summer, my mind is back on trip planing (that took less than a week to happen). My current thinking is that once I get up into Alaska to charter a flight into Gates of The Arctic National Park and spend maybe 3 weeks or so on the Noatak river. Does anyone here have experience with chartering flights up there or float trips in Alaska?
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Old 08-24-2008, 01:10 PM   #20
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Rodney,

I don't know anything about it. When I was going up north the last time, I checked all I could on the internet. One thing for sure, everything costs more than you want it too. Other places to look into camping are north of Eagle—Yukon Charley Rivers Nat'l Preserve—and off the Dalton Hwy. on the North Slope. The North Slope is magnificent even from the Dalton Hwy with the oil field traffic. There are float trips along the Yukon R.—I think one goes from Dawson City, Yukon, to Eagle, Alaska. Once the Yukon freezes, you can ride your bike from Dawson City to the Bering Sea (legend says it's been done, at least part of the way).

Traveling way north means dirt/gravel roads, often with a lot of clay and sometimes shale. The clay is super slippery when wet and the shale cuts tires. The Dalton is pretty well maintained, but when they wet it to control dust, the undercarriage gets coated in mud and it is very hard to get off. It gets behind the wheels and it feels like everything is out of alignment. This can be true of the highway to Eagle (has a shale reputation, but may have been improved), the Top of the World Hwy from US border to Dawson City (rough, but well worth the trip), and the Dempster to Inuvik. The Dempster used to have a lot of shale, but they seem to have solved that and we didn't see much when we were there in '06. It did rain and the mud was nasty. Our 4Runner did great on it, but I wouldn't want to tow anything on it until it got dry. The two times were went north we had new tires and that seems to me the key to avoiding flats.

There's a caravan in Alaska now that will give some information. Here's the blog: http://journals.aol.ca/gwh198c/airstream-to-alaska/

Gates of the Arctic sounds great, and there are countless places in Alaska and NW Canada that are amazing, beautiful, remote, wild and they can be dangerous. I prefer not to try to make friends with bears and watch out for moose (they can pop out of the forest and destroy your vehicle and kill you plus when camping, you don't want to find out how nasty their personality can be).

We are weighing the possibility of going north next year too. One stopper is the cost of replacing the Safari and the truck tires with 10 ply. None of the tires on either will be worn out by next spring, but I'd sure like to have new ones all around.

Gene
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:17 PM   #21
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As some of you may know, we made the trip to Alaska pulling a '75 23' AS this year. We were gone 30 days, and drove a hair over 11,000 miles. We plan to go again next summer (09), and hope to take a little more time.

We went up thru Banf and Jasper, and then on to the Alaska Hwy. I was actually surprised at how good the roads were after hearing all the horror stories all my life. Shure, there was some construction, and some bad stretches, but nothing like what I expected. Actually, some of the roads IN Alaska are worse than the Alaska Hwy. The last section of the AH between Haines Junction, Yukon, and Tok, Alaska is the worst IMHO. There is a stretch of 300 miles on that road that will take 6 hours to drive.

We stayed in RV parks because we wanted power to run a small electric heater, and since the 23 had a very small grey water tank, wanted a dump. And, to be honest, I don't like the idea of camping with critters that are big and mean enough to devour me.

Like others, I would suggest that you have good tires, and spares. We did not take extra gasoline, and it was not a problem, but almost. Don't trust the map that shows a town, and expect to be able to buy gas there. Some of the "towns" that are on the map, are nothing more than a combination gas station, restaurant, lodge, and RV park. Some even less, and the worst part is some of them are closed, so no gas. We did make it to a gas station twice with the low gas indicator illuminated on the dash. Again, I don't feel you need to carry extra gas, but it's not a bad idea, and certainly don't do like I did and say "Oh well, we should be able to make it to the next town". If you see gas available and you have under a half tank, stop and buy gas.

The one other thing I would caution about, is the packing/loading of your trailer. We had a microwave oven mounted with velcro above the frig, and it rode there just fine from San Antonio, TX to Haines Junction, YK, but when we got to Tok, AK, it was a pile of junk laying on the floor. Later, on a very rough road North of Glennallen, AK, the medicine cabinet was found in a pile laying on the floor. Some of the roads, as I said, are very rough.

One last thing....make every effort to insure the trailer is closed up and sealed if possible, especially in the rear, as dust from the gravel construction areas gets into the trailer bad.

Good luck on your trip...I know you will enjoy it.
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:49 PM   #22
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Rodney;

Your PowerStroke should be pretty easy to add an additonal tank in the bed of the pickup. Being in "farm" country you should be able to find a shop that can put it in fairly reasonably. A few years back Lou and I met an individual in WestPort, Wa. that had put an extra 100 gallon tank in his P.U. bed and he was able to make it all the way from Alaska w/o having to refill. That was when fuel was less than $1.00.

Good luck if you decide to do this.

Bob and Lou

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Old 09-16-2008, 10:40 PM   #23
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In 2002, that section north of Haines Jct. was being rebuilt. I guess it didn't last long. The problem is permafrost and the heaves in the road from freezing, defrosting, refreezing, etc. Either the surface breaks up or the whole road gets bumps, or both. They use chip seal there because it's cheap, easy to repair, and the roads don't last long anyway. We were surprised, overall, by the good roads in Canada, not so good in Alaska.

I agree, get gas when you can. There are some really long stretches as the Alaska Hwy winds along the Yukon border with BC. I imagine some gas pumps may be difficult to get to with a trailer too. I didn't worry about that in '02 and '06 because we didn't have a trailer.

Steve, how did you go 11,000 miles in 30 days? That's 367 miles a day, every day. We drove 11,222 in '02 in 6 weeks with a new pickup, not towing, and were exhausted. We found after about 4 weeks our butts were sore and the seats felt like they were full of rocks.

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Old 09-17-2008, 07:27 AM   #24
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Gene, We did not plan it that way...it just sort of worked out that way. We actually did it in 28 days because we spent one day on a sight seeing cruise out of Seward, Ak, and one day just relaxing in Valdez, AK. There were about three days we were driving and sight seeing without pulling the trailer, but there were also some long days where we drove in excess of 500 miles. The worst was one of those "we're too close to home to spend another night" type, when we drove from Garden City, KS on home which was a little over 700 miles.

We plan to go back this coming summer, take a different route up the West coast, and spend more time in AK (our son and daughter-in-law are there now).

We actually felt like we had taken our time because on the way up, we toured Arches Nat Park and Canyon Lands Nat Park near Moab, UT. Then on to Glacier Nat Park in Montana, followed by a tour of Banff and Jasper Nat Parks in Alberta. Then on the way back, we stopped and toured the Black Hills area of S. Dakota and saw Devils Tower Nat Monument in Wyoming, Bad Lands Nat Park, Mt Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Monuments.

We did, however, drive about 70-75 MPH where possible on the Interstates. It was our "trip of a lifetime", and although we spent a lot of money on gasoline, we really enjoyed it, and actually spent less than our friends who have taken one of the 10 day combination cruise tours, and we got to see lots more.

Oh, another thing we enjoyed....we noted on almost the entire trip how few other Airstreams we saw. That is, until we got back to Montana, and ran into tons of Airstreamers coming back from the International in Bozman. Talked with quite a few of them and as a result, we are currently planning on going to our first rally next weekend, and join the WBCCI.

Edit: About the "how did we do it?", and "sore butts" question...we too had a new pickup, well almost new, an '07 GMC extended cab, and it has some really comfortable seats.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:14 PM   #25
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Steve, I understand how the "trip of a lifetime" becomes one of the trips of a lifetime. Try Newfoundland some day, that's another trip of a lifetime.

Toyota makes good trucks, but the seats aren't all that comfy. Maybe I should have bought the Limited and gotten leather.

Rodney, you need a new luxury truck for your trip to Alaska.

Gene

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Old 09-19-2008, 07:48 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
........
Rodney, you need a new luxury truck for your trip to Alaska.

Gene

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Love to have one, but it ain't happening on a professors pay. I almost stole this truck and I have no idea how I will be able to replace it when the time comes. Hope this sucker last.....
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