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Old 11-19-2017, 10:33 AM
 
3 posts, read 2,162 times
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So my company has offered me a promotion and transfer to our Anchorage office. Only downside is that the move will likely be in January. Iíll be most likely driving from Dallas to Anchorage in my 2015 Ford Fusion front wheel drive. Any suggestions on is it safe to try and make the trip on the Al-Can during that time of year. Being from the south I have only limited experience driving on snow and ice. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:59 AM
 
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Abort
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:16 AM
 
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Agreed. I’m trying to negotiate for my company to ship my car up there since they want me there in winter time.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:21 PM
 
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Do a dealer trade in with delivery in Anchorage. Buy the new rig where you live and have it dropped to an Anchorage dealer ... I've done that with multiple cars. Your local dealer would order the vehicle so the only issue may be timing but probably can be worked close enough.

Then you have a new rig with a warranty and probably no worries. It will also be properly winterized and ready to go.

Hopefully the "promotion" doesn't turn out to be a net loss. Cost a lot of $$ to live in Anchorage compared to Texas ... maybe not from Dallas though.
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Old 11-19-2017, 03:18 PM
Status: "Living the good retired life." (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
5,877 posts, read 3,153,208 times
Reputation: 11864
I just drove the Alaska Highway a few days ago. It's not as bad as it's cracked up to be. I would install an engine block heater right now. The best type is an immersion heater that goes in a freeze plug hole. An oil pan heater isn't as good of an option, but it could be used as an addition to a block heater. Size is very important. Too big and you overheat the oil. Too small and you don't heat up the oil enough. Manufacturers have a sizing chart. You will also need to drain all your windshield washer fluid and replace with -20 degree fluid, at the very least. You will probably have to order it, so order now. Only put in as much as you think you'll need and then top off with -35 degree C fluid that you can buy in Canada. Don't forget to purge out the remaining fluid in the lines. Order some winter wiper blades while you're at it. I would also do an oil change and switch over to Mobil 1 synthetic or equivalent. Check your tires. If they have M+S (Mud + Snow) or a snowflake on them, you'll be fine. Otherwise, change them out for all season tires. While you're ordering stuff, also order The Milepost. It's your bible for the drive up.

As far as the drive is concerned, allow at least seven days, possibly eight days from Dallas. You can figure out your routing from Dallas to Dawson Creek, which is the official start of the Alaska Highway. Places to overnight on the Alaska Highway include Dawson Creek, Fort St John, Fort Nelson, Toad River, Watson Lake, Whitehorse, Haines Junction and Beaver Creek. There are a few others, but these are the ones I always use. I don't know what the range of a Fusion is, but if you fill up in Dawson Creek, you should easily make it to Fort Nelson, then Watson Lake and then Whitehorse before reaching Tok, Alaska. I did top offs at Toad River and Haines Junction only because my Jeep has about a 380 mile range. Your Fusion should have a range similar to that of my Hyundai Sonata, which is about 500 miles.

You will probably need a new windshield before it's over due to sanding this time of the year. Mine was destroyed by a huge rock. Watch out for 18 wheelers. They drive full speed ahead and leave huge snow storms in their wake.

Make sure your credit cards have a chip in them. Every business in Canada has a chip reader, even the tiniest little hole in the wall place. Gas stations with pay at the pump also have chip readers. Some stations, like Shell let you choose the account hold amount from a menu. Others, like Petro Canada, default to a certain amount. At PC, the default amount is $200, but you can put in any amount you want. For your Fusion, $80 should be enough. Don't forget to tell your credit card companies about your trip, otherwise their fraud detection unit may shut you down. You can probably inform them on line. As for cash, there is very little need for it. $100 Canadian will be more than enough. One other thing you should do is check with your cell carrier about options for using your phone in Canada. I have Verizon and a Canada/Mexico day pass is now $5 a day. But you need to activate it before you get to Canada.

I would also carry some emergency supplies. I made sure I had winter boots and a sleeping bag, as well as bottled water and some snack foods.

Don't forget your passport or passport card. Either will work. And health records for any pets. Canadian Customs also looks for criminal history. Even some misdemeanors, such as DUI, reckless driving and any type of assault will keep you out. I know somebody who was denied entry earlier this year due to a reckless driving conviction, so they can be tough.

That's all I can think of for now, but feel free to ask about any concerns you might have. And enjoy the drive!
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:01 PM
Status: "Living the good retired life." (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
5,877 posts, read 3,153,208 times
Reputation: 11864
A few things I forgot to mention in my original post...

Check to see if your car's speedometer can be switched over to metric. My Jeep Wrangler that I just drove up allows the digital speedometer to read out in kilometers per hour. My Chevy Silverado switches both the digital and analog speedometers over to metric. This makes it easier to maintain the posted speed limits in Canada, which are in kilometers. If you don't have an onboard navigation system, get a Garmin or Tom Tom. They have the ability to display speed in both mph and km/h. Just make sure you get one with Canada maps. Some newer Garmin units don't have Canada maps. A stand alone GPS will also work the entire route. A smart phone will not work when you lose cell coverage unless you get a nav app that downloads the entire map. I have a nav app called Co-Pilot, which allows you to download both USA and Canada maps. Once you're past Fort St John you will not have cell coverage except in the bigger towns. You don't really need a map function once you're on the highway, but I like to see how far I am from that night's destination. This allows me to decide if I need to consider stopping early that day or even going further.

Some additional equipment you'll want include an arctic extension cord with an LED indicator light. You can find them in the northern states and Canada. Make absolutely certain it has an LED indicator light. This way you know you have a hot outlet. When it's minus 30 or 40 degrees is not the time to find out you plugged into a dead outlet and now your car won't start. Get a tire pressure gauge. I had my new tires pumped up to 40 PSI, instead of the recommended 37 PSI because I knew as I drove north the air inside would condense. Even so, the morning it was minus 20 degrees my TPMS light lit up and my display showed three tires were at 32 PSI. If you get a digital tire gauge, it should work fine in sub zero conditions. If you get a pencil type, stick it in the A/C vent of your car to warm it up. Directing full blast hot air out your A/C vents will also allow you to warm up your hands after airing up each tire. Trust me, there is no way you can air up four tires without warming up your hands in between each tire when it's minus 30 or 40. So make sure you have some good gloves.

Get two LED flashlights. A small one you can keep in your pocket and a larger one with a flood light that you can hang up or stick on something metallic should you need to change a tire. Carry spare batteries too.

If you need a Starbucks fix, your choices are limited once you leave Stony Plain, which is just to the west of Edmonton. You'll find one or two in Grande Prairie, Fort St John and Whitehorse. You'll want the one on Chilkoot Way in Whitehorse. The other one is downtown and there is no drive through and the parking is terrible. Tim Hortons is another choice, but more like a Dunkin Donuts. They are more plentiful in Canada. Walmart can found in Stony Plain, Whitecourt, Grande Prairie (right by Starbucks), Dawson Creek, Fort St John and Whitehorse (right by Starbucks). Canadian Tire is also an option for a lot of things, except I don't believe they have a grocery section.

This should pretty much cover most everything.
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Old 11-20-2017, 04:24 AM
 
Location: Anchorage
841 posts, read 610,932 times
Reputation: 911
very good info Eric. Get that Milepost!
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:12 AM
Status: "Living the good retired life." (set 29 days ago)
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
5,877 posts, read 3,153,208 times
Reputation: 11864
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music_Man View Post
very good info Eric. Get that Milepost!
You kind of figure things out after you've driven the highway a few times! This was my 13th trip, with eight of them being in the last 3.5 years.

One last thing that I thought of....

Antifreeze for your gas tank. If it gets to -40 degrees, gas will start to freeze up. You will want to put some gas antifreeze in your tank, preferably before you reach an area that is -40 degrees. Every gas station along the way will have some. But just in case, make sure you have a couple of bottles in your car. So each day check the forecasted temperatures along that day's route and also keep an eye on your car's temperature display. When you see -35 degrees, I'd go ahead an add the recommended amount of gas antifreeze.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
841 posts, read 610,932 times
Reputation: 911
And watch out for the moose and buffalo on the road!
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:27 PM
 
2,025 posts, read 2,755,075 times
Reputation: 2503
Come on, the guy is going to spend 3 days or so in Canada driving along a traveled highway. Being prepared is vital but packing for an expedition is so over the top as to ridiculous.

Also, you won't be selling a truck and trailer for a profit in the new Ak economy.

Have some basic cod weather gear and easy to eat energy food, bring a good camera but leave the paranoia in Texas.
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