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Old 02-23-2013, 11:37 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jornvango View Post
Pre-trip update: we've been busy fixing things around the house (painting, etc.) to get it ready for sale by Spring break.

The Airstream also received some updates:
yesterday, we installed a new fridge (Dometic RM2620) to replace our old Dometic fridge which broke down (ammonia smell!);
we fixed the TV antenna;
and we replaced both faucets (the kitchen one leaked & the bathroom one was not very practical).
We also added some organizers to add some shelving in our closets and cases to organize the trunk contents.
A few weeks ago, we finished the work on the new flooring in the AS (vynil wood plank, looks great so far); had 2 new tires installed and replaced both AS batteries.
The AS is hopefully getting close to being ready for the trip!

The Jeep received some mudflaps, to prevent rocks flying up towards the AS.
The AS 'should' be able to handle them (it has the front window sunglasses and corner protectors), but better safe than sorry.

Yesterday, we also received "The MilePost" guide book: from the few pages I read, it seems to contain a wealth of information!

A question that we have regarding travel on dirt roads towards and in Alaska: we currently have 1 spare tire for the AS and 1 spare tire for the car. Does it make sense to purchase and carry an additional spare (including rim) on top of the car roof rack?

From: borealis 2013
Glad to hear you're getting closer to launching into your grand Alaska adventure! I've lived in Alaska for nearly 50 years and driven the AlCan 16 times, so I'll weigh in on your question about spare tires understanding that my opinion obviously only reflects my personal experiences. If you have new tires, I think one spare for the AS and a spare for the Jeep should suffice because you should be able to find a garage/tire service, should you get a flat, about every 50 miles or so on the AlCan Hwy., which is now paved the entire way to Alaska (except when they're repairing sections of it). The two flats I've gotten had been the result of driving on bad tires during my younger years when I pushed the limits of things. I would not recommend driving your AS on Alaska's Dalton Hwy., where you can expect to have at least one flat (maybe two) and have broken windshield/windows from flying rocks from 18-wheelers passing you on narrow roads. If you must drive Alaska's gravel road (the Denali Highway, the Dalton, and the road to Canada's Dawson City), then, yes, it's advisable to carry two spares for the AS and two for the Jeep.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:17 PM   #30
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I agree with "borealis" that if you manage your risks, ie: slow down, maintain proper tire pressure, protect your glass if possible, and just use common sense on unfamiliar roads, that you will have a great trip.

Just to clarify his comment on the road to Dawson City. He is referring to the road from Dawson City into Alaska thru Chicken.

The road from Whitehorse to Dawson City is paved and well maintained, and is a beautiful drive. If you proceed on to Chicken and beyond, just take it easy and try to enjoy the trip and not worry about what might happen.

Dave
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:59 PM   #31
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We've been to Alaska 3 times and our last trip with the trailer was in 2010: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...0-a-64080.html

Each time we've been on the Dalton Highway and we've also been on the Top of the World highway, the road to Eagle from Chicken, the Dempster Highway and the Cassiar Hwy before it was paved. We had one flat—that was near Chicken, Alaska, where a broken chain link got embedded in a truck tire. I had a tire repair kit and a compressor, so I fixed it. These are good things to have. You need a compressor that attaches to the battery terminals to get enough pressure for tires.

You will get some paint chips on the Jeep, some window chips and the trailer may get some dings. But the most window damage I've gotten is commuting on I-70 into Denver—we'd go through a windshield/year/vehicle on that highway when we lived there. On the last trip, an SUV picked up a rock on a paved part of the Dalton and dinged the truck window. You can buy a glass repair kit for that eventuality.

We always use Michelin tires and they last and last. If you have ST tires on the trailer, you should probably bring extras, but with Michelin LT's, we've had no problems except for picking up a screw somewhere, probably in the US, and the chain link. That can happen to any tire anywhere.

When on gravel and dirt, slow down a lot when there is an oncoming vehicle. That will help save you from some dings.

Denali NP does have a dirt road into the farthest campground for RV's. We had no problem there either. Private vehicles are not allowed in that far unless they have reservations at that CG. I got the reservation about 2 weeks before, but maybe I was lucky. You are closer to the mountain (McKinley) that many people never see and get a better deal on the busses if you stay there. There is a lot of wildlife in Denali and along the way—if you don't have a camera with a powerful telephoto lens, think about buying one. Otherwise you get pictures of a lot of animal butts as they run away when you come close.

We've taken the Alaska Ferry several times and they are great, but taking a trailer is very, very expensive. You will at some point have to back up through the ship or even up the ramp. Best to leave the trailer somewhere and take the ferry with or without your Jeep. The ferry can take you to lots of places in southeast Alaska. Besides the state ferry, there are fast ferries between Haines, Skagway and Juneau.

Think about being in Yellowknife or Inuvik in September to see the Aurora Borealis. The road to Yellowknife is paved, but not to Inuvik. The Dempster Hwy to Inuvik is dirt and if wet, very slick. There are 2 or 3 ferry crossings (all free). Beautiful country and very remote. From Inuvik you can fly to the Arctic Ocean.

Once you get to Yukon, NWT and Alaska, count on many frost heaves in the pavement. You usually see red flags where they are to warn you to slow down. In 2010, the Alaska Hwy from north of Haines Jct. to the Alaska border was really bad, but they may have fixed it by now. An alternate route back is the Cassiar Hwy. through north central BC—all paved now. Any driving you will do in northern Canada and Alaska takes a lot of time. You will see more trees than you can imagine. 400-500 mile days were fairly often for us on each trip and it certainly helps to switch drivers often.

What is pretty is subjective. The Brooks Range has little vegetation and much is dark, even black. The tundra north of there is different than the tundra you may see in the higher parts of the Rockies. It is different, but has its own beauty. Standing on a hill a hundred miles north of the Brooks Range looking south is awesome—black mountains stretching from the eastern to western horizon. We have never gone all the way to Deadhorse (Prudoe Bay)—if you want to see an oil camp, you can see them in Texas if you want. There's a BLM CG on the south side of the Brooks Range just north of Coldfoot. Nice CG, but the last time it was mosquito heaven. Moat of the time, we have seen few mosquitoes, but when they come, it is usually in a mass attack. Later in summer you get to experience no-see-ums and they are far worse. There are few opportunities for gas on the Dalton, but there's gas just north of the Yukon R. crossing and at Coldfoot and Deadhorse. We bring two 5 gal. gas cans just in case. We've never had a problem, but the gas cans are a backup or when prices are so outrageous we use the gas in the cans. Gas is very expensive in the north country, but when you go somewhere so special, you have to pay for it.

We haven't been to Kodiak Is., but if we did, we'd either take a boat or fly from Homer.

Some trips feature rain and others feature sun. Every trip is different. Our last trip had rain where it rarely rains, others have had lots of sun where it rains all the time. Bring raincoats and boots. Daytime temps are often in the 50's, but can get up to 90˚ (rarely). Snow in midsummer on the Dalton can happen and we had snow in Calgary in late May. Be sure to see all the glaciers you can because they are rapidly melting.

You have a great plan and I hope you can sell your house, something that can be harder than driving to Alaska.

Gene
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:59 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post
We've been to Alaska 3 times and our last trip with the trailer was in 2010: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...0-a-64080.html

Each time we've been on the Dalton Highway and we've also been on the Top of the World highway, the road to Eagle from Chicken, the Dempster Highway and the Cassiar Hwy before it was paved. We had one flat—that was near Chicken, Alaska, where a broken chain link got embedded in a truck tire. I had a tire repair kit and a compressor, so I fixed it. These are good things to have. You need a compressor that attaches to the battery terminals to get enough pressure for tires.

You will get some paint chips on the Jeep, some window chips and the trailer may get some dings. But the most window damage I've gotten is commuting on I-70 into Denver—we'd go through a windshield/year/vehicle on that highway when we lived there. On the last trip, an SUV picked up a rock on a paved part of the Dalton and dinged the truck window. You can buy a glass repair kit for that eventuality.

We always use Michelin tires and they last and last. If you have ST tires on the trailer, you should probably bring extras, but with Michelin LT's, we've had no problems except for picking up a screw somewhere, probably in the US, and the chain link. That can happen to any tire anywhere.

When on gravel and dirt, slow down a lot when there is an oncoming vehicle. That will help save you from some dings.

Denali NP does have a dirt road into the farthest campground for RV's. We had no problem there either. Private vehicles are not allowed in that far unless they have reservations at that CG. I got the reservation about 2 weeks before, but maybe I was lucky. You are closer to the mountain (McKinley) that many people never see and get a better deal on the busses if you stay there. There is a lot of wildlife in Denali and along the way—if you don't have a camera with a powerful telephoto lens, think about buying one. Otherwise you get pictures of a lot of animal butts as they run away when you come close.

We've taken the Alaska Ferry several times and they are great, but taking a trailer is very, very expensive. You will at some point have to back up through the ship or even up the ramp. Best to leave the trailer somewhere and take the ferry with or without your Jeep. The ferry can take you to lots of places in southeast Alaska. Besides the state ferry, there are fast ferries between Haines, Skagway and Juneau.

Think about being in Yellowknife or Inuvik in September to see the Aurora Borealis. The road to Yellowknife is paved, but not to Inuvik. The Dempster Hwy to Inuvik is dirt and if wet, very slick. There are 2 or 3 ferry crossings (all free). Beautiful country and very remote. From Inuvik you can fly to the Arctic Ocean.

Once you get to Yukon, NWT and Alaska, count on many frost heaves in the pavement. You usually see red flags where they are to warn you to slow down. In 2010, the Alaska Hwy from north of Haines Jct. to the Alaska border was really bad, but they may have fixed it by now. An alternate route back is the Cassiar Hwy. through north central BC—all paved now. Any driving you will do in northern Canada and Alaska takes a lot of time. You will see more trees than you can imagine. 400-500 mile days were fairly often for us on each trip and it certainly helps to switch drivers often.

What is pretty is subjective. The Brooks Range has little vegetation and much is dark, even black. The tundra north of there is different than the tundra you may see in the higher parts of the Rockies. It is different, but has its own beauty. Standing on a hill a hundred miles north of the Brooks Range looking south is awesome—black mountains stretching from the eastern to western horizon. We have never gone all the way to Deadhorse (Prudoe Bay)—if you want to see an oil camp, you can see them in Texas if you want. There's a BLM CG on the south side of the Brooks Range just north of Coldfoot. Nice CG, but the last time it was mosquito heaven. Moat of the time, we have seen few mosquitoes, but when they come, it is usually in a mass attack. Later in summer you get to experience no-see-ums and they are far worse. There are few opportunities for gas on the Dalton, but there's gas just north of the Yukon R. crossing and at Coldfoot and Deadhorse. We bring two 5 gal. gas cans just in case. We've never had a problem, but the gas cans are a backup or when prices are so outrageous we use the gas in the cans. Gas is very expensive in the north country, but when you go somewhere so special, you have to pay for it.

We haven't been to Kodiak Is., but if we did, we'd either take a boat or fly from Homer.

Some trips feature rain and others feature sun. Every trip is different. Our last trip had rain where it rarely rains, others have had lots of sun where it rains all the time. Bring raincoats and boots. Daytime temps are often in the 50's, but can get up to 90˚ (rarely). Snow in midsummer on the Dalton can happen and we had snow in Calgary in late May. Be sure to see all the glaciers you can because they are rapidly melting.

You have a great plan and I hope you can sell your house, something that can be harder than driving to Alaska.

Gene
Great and well-written advice! Yes, good luck in selling the house, and may you be safe on your travels.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:47 AM   #33
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Update: we sold our house two days ago. The furnishings were moved into storage last weekend and we're now staying at an RV park in Lakeway (just west of Austin). In approximately 2.5 weeks, we'll be heading north!

The company where I work here in Austin has asked me to stay on part-time, until they can identify and train a replacement. We still have to work out the details on how that will look, but it does mean that as long as I'm employed part-time, I will need to stay at RV parks with WiFi.
I've heard some stories about no phone reception / internet driving through Canada, and even spotty WiFi at RV parks (anywhere in the US) that claim to offer WiFi.

Does someone have experience with working on the road, and how to handle the potential WiFi issues?

Thanks.
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Old 04-19-2013, 09:00 AM   #34
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On our trips to Alaska we found wifi at campgrounds in Canada and Alaska constantly improving. In northern Canada, campgrounds had satellite wifi and it worked well, but since they have to pay by the megabyte they discourage too much use like downloading movies. Using wifi to check e-mail and using websites like the Forum or checking bank accounts was fine in Canada. The same was true in Alaska—satellite wifi—but it didn't work as well. In the lower 48, the wifi was not as good, especially along the west coast where campgrounds have contracted with a company called Tengo which had more restrictions and slows down wifi or you can't connect at campgrounds where there are few transmitters.

While wifi is still catching up, it keeps getting better than our first trip in 2002 when we had to go to libraries to check e-mail.

Gene
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:47 PM   #35
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We haven't used wifi all that much but have been able to check e-mail most places. Cell phone coverage has been non-existent for us along most of the AK highway except around Whitehorse and Ft Nelson. I don't know if all carriers are the same but ATT is very expensive to use in CA and best left for truly necessary use not chatting. I'd have to check my bill but seems like it was around .70/minute last fall.

I am assuming you are not in a hurry to get here, campgrounds will be snowed in here and most of northern CA for many weeks to come.
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:49 PM   #36
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Verizon has a Canada plan and in 2010 the phone worked mostly anywhere. In 2002 it didn't work most anywhere except in large cities in Alaska.

Gene
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:39 PM   #37
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I do a lot of traveling and installed a Sierra Wireless MC8355 Gobi 3000 HS-USB Mobile Broadband Device directly in my computer. It recognizes your carrier (i.e. works like any cell phone) and the sim card can be switched out when traveling through Canada. I'm using it right now. Most campgrounds have very poor quality wireless-this will bypass all that. Good luck with your trip and stop by Petersburg
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Old 04-19-2013, 08:56 PM   #38
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Does someone have experience with working on the road, and how to handle the potential WiFi issues?


The Technology Corner sub-forum on RV.net has strong support for this kind of question.

I cannot claim experience of the need (versus want) of on-road connectivity, but the HUGHES Datastorm users would appear to be at the must-have-it-at-any-curve-in-the-road need-level. A place to start, and then work downhill, so to speak.

BigRabbitMan, an FMC motorhome owner (lucky guy, what the Airstream motorhome should have been) has been with HUGHES for more than six years. I'd PM him on the subject after checking his posts on the subject. He has been fulltime working the road for some years in a "real" job (not just free lance; sorry how that sounds).

And, hope you've marked out some A/S friendly service dealers, etc for your trip. Just in case. It's trip I look forward to someday. An early, "Take care!", as it is soon upon you.

.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:44 AM   #39
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You have to be kidding right?????

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an FMC motorhome owner (lucky guy, what the Airstream motorhome should have been) .
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:57 AM   #40
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I am so envious, my fantasy is to tow to Fairbanks.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:14 PM   #41
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I am so envious, my fantasy is to tow to Fairbanks.
That's the beginningólots of places to see wherever there are roads. Fairbanks is a central point to rest up, re-provision, wash off the vehicles, rest some more, go to the museum, plan more. Fairbanks is a pretty unimpressive city though the University museum is good. The best commercial campground is Santa Land, about 10 miles east of Fairbanks in North Pole. They had a truck wash there, but I don't think it was free. About 3 blocks west of Santa Land is a good Chinese restaurant.

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Old 04-20-2013, 02:41 PM   #42
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We made the trip 3 years ago....as far as phone service, we have Verizon, and for $20.00/month, you can get coverage in Canada. We had service in most towns, but sometimes in the boonies, lost it. In Alaska, the same deal, only for a couple days we were out of range...
Good experience!
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