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Old 12-16-2013, 10:46 PM
 
3 posts, read 5,101 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello. After 4 years living here in Anchorage we are headed to Maine. I've read some posts here about driving the Alcan in winter, and wanted some opinions on our plan. We have a 2012 ford Escape with 4wd and Blizzak tires. Planning on renting a 5x10 uhaul trailer. We have not driven the Alcan before, though we are both experienced winter drivers.

My questions;
1. Does my setup seem doable?
2. How long should we leave for the trip?
3. How is it driving in the dark?
4. Are there steep spots that could present a problem for the trailer?

Am I missing something important?

Thanks all!
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Old 12-16-2013, 11:58 PM
 
Location: North Pole Alaska
886 posts, read 4,559,189 times
Reputation: 804
You should be fine. I came up 2 years ago in Jan. Just make sure you have some extra fuel. I pushed through and I made it from Boise Idaho to Fairbanks in a little over three days. I was alone and slept in the truck.

If you have not get a milepost. Wal-mart has them in the book section as well as the Alaska section.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:14 AM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
6,906 posts, read 11,692,577 times
Reputation: 5572
Do not drive from Watson Lake to Fort Nelson after dark. Bison are known to graze next to the road and lay down in the middle of it. I've had them flat out refuse to move. Very, very hard to see them after dark.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,358 posts, read 32,304,943 times
Reputation: 13696
How to Drive to Alaska in the Winter - ExploreNorth
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
2,557 posts, read 3,928,913 times
Reputation: 1918
I too recommend the Milepost. The MILEPOST: Alaska Travel Guide and Trip Planner

You set up should be great. Every time I've driven the highway, it's been in winter, except on late fall drive. I've done 3 times in a Subaru Justy, once with a couple of old mini-buses and once driving a uHaul pulling a trailer with a car on it.
I've always done it with another person and we drove straight through traveling between Alaska and Portland or Seattle, stopping only for gas & bathroom breaks.
Have plenty of extra water, food and warm clothing in the vehicle. Plan your fuel stops well. Between Tok & Fort Nelson there's quite a bit of distance between gas stations.
Keep tabs on the weather. If it's going to be sketchy, it's better to hold up for the night than get into trouble. Also, your cell phone will not get coverage in a lot of areas, so don't count on it.
Oh, speaking of the Milepost, they also have a smartphone app. I've played with it some and it works pretty good.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:53 AM
 
4,718 posts, read 8,692,548 times
Reputation: 2153
Quote:
Originally Posted by stiffnecked View Post
Do not drive from Watson Lake to Fort Nelson after dark. Bison are known to graze next to the road and lay down in the middle of it. I've had them flat out refuse to move. Very, very hard to see them after dark.
And don't forget the Moose than run across the road when they see you coming. Had to stop fairly quickly, but not to the point the ABS activated, in the summer to avoid them, but the road was "dry" and I wasn't towing. This was at night -- it was either press forward to the Northern Rockies Lodge or sleep on the side of the road.

I do have a question - What route are you taking to Maine? Mostly thru Canada or are you going to get into the US as soon as possible? Just curious what you thought about the extra mileage to get into the US sooner rather than later.

Warptman may be able to shed some insight into what is better and why. (Although I think I already know what he is going to say)
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,358 posts, read 32,304,943 times
Reputation: 13696
The farthest place with no fuel would be from Buckinghorse BC to Fort Nelson.

Open year round lodges on the Alcan:

Jake's Corner, also open year round.
Continental Divide Lodge.
Teslin, Yukon.
Twenty miles south of Watson Lake is a place called Contact Creek, it claims to have fuel cheaper than Watson.
Toad River
Liard River Hot Springs,
Buckinghorse Lodge, BC.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:59 PM
 
Location: On the move to AK
199 posts, read 640,909 times
Reputation: 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSam82 View Post
Hello. After 4 years living here in Anchorage we are headed to Maine. I've read some posts here about driving the Alcan in winter, and wanted some opinions on our plan. We have a 2012 ford Escape with 4wd and Blizzak tires. Planning on renting a 5x10 uhaul trailer. We have not driven the Alcan before, though we are both experienced winter drivers.

My questions;
1. Does my setup seem doable?
2. How long should we leave for the trip?
3. How is it driving in the dark?
4. Are there steep spots that could present a problem for the trailer?

Am I missing something important?

Thanks all!

My husband and I drove from Virginia Beach, VA to Anchorage, just over a week ago. I got some great advice on this forum. We drove about 250 to 300 miles a day, stopping at cities with hotels. (The MilePost is a must for traveling this highway!) Stopping at every gas station to top off the gas tank. Driving with studded tires on a 1999 GMC van, pulling a 6 x 12 Uhaul trailer. From the AK/Canada border - the AK side maintains the road, but the Canada side has alot of frost heaves, dips, turns and the road isn't as nicely maintained as the AK side. We stressed the transmission with the heavy load, had it checked, and was advised to not let the transmission go into overdrive on up-side of the mountain, but to put the transmission into 3rd or even 2nd gear to pull all the weight and not stress the transmission. (change back to "drive" gear when the road levels out). There are alot of animals on the road between Watson Lake YT, to Fort Nelson, BC (Caribou, Bison, Moose, etc). I was advised not to drive this stretch of road at night (was good advice). There are also alot of gas stops that are closed. You will need to carry extra gas with you just in case, always fill up every change you get. Don't let an open gas stop pass you by, even if you have 3/4 of a tank!

The road is icy, snowy and sometimes the wind is gusty. Our Uhaul trailer had its own braking system, will advise that you get a trailer with its own braking system, helped out tremendously!

Hope this helps.
Kimberlee thepenartist
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,381 posts, read 11,943,039 times
Reputation: 3470
It's a good drive, if you can handle the roads in Anchorage, you will be doing fine. Carry warm clothes, fill up your tank when you get close to half and take lots of photos, and as mentioned early, there are big critters on the road at night, drive slower if you have to be on the road in the dark and have good headlights or add some moose lights on the front.

Take lots of pictures and enjoy the drive.

Made a lot of winter trips and enjoyed all of them, even towed a Sailboat up once in December at -40 with no problems from Baltimore, MD. Told everyone that was asking that I was in a hurry to get it to Alaska to catch the "Ice Fishing" season.... They just said "Oh", and walked away.
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