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Old 11-01-2010, 10:41 AM   #1
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Texas to AK questions

I will possibly be going to Alaska for a job over the summer 2011 and would like to drive up and tow our '74 Sovereign. The job is not a done deal and could be in Anchorage or Juneau. I've never been to Canada or Alaska at all and know nothing about the various roads across Canada and NWT. I've read several of the threads regarding travel to Alaska, but most of them are quite leisurely in their timetable. The travel sounds challenging but I think my family and I would be able to handle it. My main concerns regard the time it would take to make the drive. Can it be done in 7 days without having to drive 14 hour days?

Google maps shows a couple of routes from East Texas (Tyler) to Anchorage. The first route takes us through the Dakotas and all the way across Canada. I am wondering if it would be better to go through Washington state.

It only varies a bit to go to Juneau and I know that ferry travel would be involved. I am wondering if it might be faster, cheaper and easier to take the ferry out of Washington if going to Juneau? I priced some ferry travel a few months ago and it seems quite pricey when pulling a trailer. I will have to check that out again.

All you folks with experience chime in!

Thanks,
Stephen
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:20 AM   #2
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No experience here, but

One thing for sure, going through Washington State and then British Columbia, you will spend a lot of time going up and down mountains.

Which means more gas, more time, more wear and tear on your TV, BUT more beautiful scenery.

Personally, if I wanted to do it in a week, I would be tempted to rule out mountains...
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:47 AM   #3
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We've made the trip twice and stand to make it at least once more next summer when we go retrieve our 57 Caravanner (currently residing in my son's Anchorage side yard). The roads are not horrible; you will encounter some road construction; Canadians are friendly; gas is expensive; customs, both US & Canadian, can be a pain. All that said, I would recommend the trip at least once if you have the time. It's an adventure.

We are considering taking the Alaska Ferry from Bellingham, Washington, through the Inside Passage as far as Haines, then driving the rest of the way to Anchorage. From Haines, it is two nights on the road. Depending upon your departure time, our paths might cross.

PM me if you wish further information.
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Old 11-01-2010, 11:53 AM   #4
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I agree with Aage...the Alaska Highway would be your best bet. Montana through Calgary to Edmonton and then Dawson Creek. If Juneau, then go to Haines or Skagway and catch the ferry down to Juneau.

But it's a hard trip from Texas to Alaska pulling a trailer and the family, to boot. And it's a long way for a vintage trailer in the best of times. Seven days is mighty tight.

Pat
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Old 11-01-2010, 12:57 PM   #5
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We've been up there twice..in '08 and again this last summer. Both times pulling an Airstream. I would also recommend the Alaska Highway starting in Dawson Creek if you are going to Anchorage.

In '08 we were in sort of a hurry, and did the entire trip from San Antonio (11,000+ miles) in thirty days, with many 750 mile days. I would not do it again like that, and I also would not try to do it one way in seven days pulling a trailer. Ten days would be doable, and while still a busy schedule, would not be too tiring.

Remember you will need passports.
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Old 11-01-2010, 07:55 PM   #6
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Looks like Anchorage from Tyler, TX is about 4100 miles. A few hundred closer to Juneau plus the ferry ride. Can the ferry to Juneau accommodate a rig with a 31' trailer?

The ferry from Bellingham sounds like it will be very expensive. Maybe double the cost of the fuel to drive. It would probably be less stressful but take out a hunk of cash up front.

I could of course make the drive without the AS much more cheaply, but it wouldn't be quite the same. I would also have to live in a rental apartment. Not my idea of fun, and it comes out of my pocket.

Still crunching numbers.

Stephen
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:06 PM   #7
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SteveH,

Have you posted any info on this year's trip? I was looking for news from you.

I would prefer to avoid mountains for this trip. If I can't work out the trip to Alaska (including tying down a job), I want to try for Idaho or one of the Rocky Mountain states.

Thanks for all your input, keep it coming.

Stephen
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Old 11-01-2010, 08:30 PM   #8
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Stephen,

I was raised in Alaska and I have driven the route many times. The first time I traveled on the AlCan was just after WWII and the road was a single lane gravel raod. The last few times I traveled (drove) on the AlCan, it was a wide two lane paved highway with passing lanes which has been straightened out and is 150 miles shorter than the original route.

First of all, buy a copy of the Milepost. It comes out every year and describes all the major routes in Northern British Columbia, the Yukon and Northwest Territories and Alaska. One word of advice, because of the extreme detail of the routes in the Milepost, do not have your significant other attempt to read the descriptions while you are driving (they will not have time to look out the window).

As for the AlCan, we paid Canada to rebuild the route a few years ago and the road is not the same road as the original AlCan. Now, you can drive most of the AlCan at 80+mph although I do not advise it because there are a few Mounties on the route that would be more than glad to give you a speeding ticket. If you have the time and the weather is good, the Cassiar Highway from Kitwanga to Watson Lake is probably one of the most beautiful drives in North America (it is a bit more windy and there are some sections of packed gravel). If you do drive the AlCan, slow down for on-coming traffic, they use chip seal (crushed rock over oil) to repair any damage in the road and driving into the chips (small rocks thrown up by on-coming vehicles) at 60 mph is likely to damage your windshield (40 mph seems to be the limit for no damage).

It is definitely a journey that should be taken if you have the time.

Paul
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:12 PM   #9
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The ferry will take your 31-footer, but you pay by the foot. Go online and get the 2011 Alaska ferry schedule. The print is small and it is difficult to read, but it will give you an idea of what to expect in charges. We've never been too keen on taking our Airstream on the ferry because of the cost. We will be sans Airstream northbound next summer so plan to do the ferry thing. For the southbound leg, we are considering putting both the truck & Caravanner on a cargo ship that also takes RV's from Anchorage to Tacoma. We will fly to SEATAC and pick up our rig there. It is half the cost of the ferry.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:19 PM   #10
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You have a real 'tiger by the tail' in an Alaskan adventure. My wife and I worked in the tourist industry for five summers up there and loved it. Alaska can get in your blood and many people decide to move up there permanently. Hunting, fishing, beautiful scenery. It's all there. Like pjohnson has said the "Milepost" is a great source of information for the Alaska Hwy. Good luck on the job prospect, Pat
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Old 11-03-2010, 07:59 PM   #11
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We live in Alaska and are currently storing our Bambi AS in Texas. I've driven this route many times and most of what you read above is accurate. Another option not mentioned would be to ship your trailer via Alaska Marine Lines (barge) to Haines out of Seattle, then bus to B'ham and take the ferry (a 2 1/2 day trip) and pick up the trailer again in Haines. I'm not sure of the savings by barging but we see all kinds of trucks, trailers and boats shipped on the barge every day go by our house. Don't try to tow up in 7 days--it will be a frustrating trip. If you ferry up, book ahead and get a stateroom; return via the Cassier and take your time.
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