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Old 09-15-2014, 06:34 AM   #1
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2011 28' International
2021 25' International
Aldie , Virginia
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Fast route to Dawson?

I am starting my planning for a 2016 summer trip to Alaska from the US East Coast. I am looking at a lot of options, including flying in and renting an RV, or strictly driving, or strictly cruising.

AAnd yes... I am considering pulling my airstream through to Alaska.

I would probably stay in Minnesota for a few days prior to crossing into Canada and heading NW. My principle question is - can anyone suggest from Minnesota region the fastest and most dependable route to Dawson? The Milepost starts an eastern trek in Montana, but I want to see if other options are worthy to review. Also I would like to find what major truck stop chains to look into. AllStays seems to suggest truck stops end at the border and there are no markers for sled barns so that's not the answer....

To answer the immediate questions, Canada would be transit only for this trip; I would return another day for Banff, Jasper, etc. As a (younger?) professional, I get four weeks of vacation a year and for 2016, I've figured a plan where by if I can guarantee internet service campgrounds, I can work three days/drive four until I reach Dawson and officially star and end my four weeks with friends.

Thanks for feedback in the routes,


2011 Airstream International Serenity 28' - 30a/taupe
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Old 09-15-2014, 10:16 PM   #2
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I might opt for I-94/I-90 through Montana then up through Calgary, Edmonton then Dawson Creek. Higher speed limits and cheaper fuel.
Also you won't see many "truck stops" as we know them in Canada. You also won't find useable internet in Canada and rarely in the U.S RV parks. A MIFI or large data plan on your smart phone will work in the states but gets very expensive in Canada.

Time wise flying and rental RV would be a better idea but it won't be your Airstream.
Cheers, Dan

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Old 09-16-2014, 01:12 AM   #3
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We are just on our way back from a 3-month trip to Alaska. WiFi... Expect over promised - under delivered. Some say they offer wifi, but it may be incredibly slow, capped in data, or limited to 30 minutes per day or stay! If your expectations are low, you will be delighted when you find a spot where it works well. Another caveat; some campgrounds in the more remote locations offer electricity and internet, but their power comes from an onsite diesel generator and it gets shut off at night, when the lights go out so does the internet.

If you think a hotspot card will work, here's the reality. In Alaska away from the population centers, towers are scarce. In some areas, AT&T works but not Verizon, in other areas the opposite is true, some places both work, some neither.

Pay phones are nearly everywhere so a prepaid calling card can be handy for calling home or ahead for reservations.

Related, if you have an automatic satellite antenna it most likely won't be able to angle far enough down to see the birds as they approach the horizon as you travel north of the border. A standard dish may be too small to adequately capture the signal that is attenuated by the extra atmosphere it passes through at the lower angle, you will notice the DISH and Direct reflectors in the north are much larger than those used in the lower 48. In some parts of Alaska, the cable TV the park offers is 1 channel... It may be an ABC program for 1 hour, then switches to PBS the next, then NBC after that. Doesn't matter if you're in Tok or Skagway, Sesame Street follows the Today Show.

If you go to Alaska for the adventure, scenery, fishing or wildlife and to relax you will have the best time of your life. The folks in Canada and Alaska are happy you came to their corner of the world and are some of the best people you will find anywhere and are eager to make your visit enjoyable.

If you choose to fly/rent, you will have lots of company, most from places far distant from America and many obviously never used an RV of any type before. But with that in mind consider that the previous renters may have filled the FW tank with the dirty rinse hose at the dump station. Yes, I saw that happen! Allow enough time to travel where you want to go. There are some exceptions but 55 mph is the norm for much of Canada and Alaska along the Alcan. The roads are generally in better shape than you may have heard from years ago, but there will be stretches of construction here and there, lots of hills and curves, and scenery and history to take in. We and our traveling companions quickly determined that a 200 mile travel day was just about right. I'm not suggesting that should be your limit, but anticipate stopping more and driving less than you might be accustomed to at home.

Be prepared for sticker shock. Many common items have to come a long way to be available and many businesses have only 3-4 months to make it into the black for the year. $9 for a gallon of milk or $15 for a burger is not unheard of. Choices can be limited, even at Walmart, if they carry it, it might not be the brand or size you are used to.

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