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Old 12-24-2018, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
2,574 posts, read 4,005,795 times
Reputation: 1984

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On that 3rd trip, coming north. It was cold, as I've mentioned... Once we thawed out the PVC valve we knew we had to keep it thawed. So we needed to cover the grill on that fun little Subaru Justy... But with what... we didn't have any cardboard, but we had The Milepost | Since 1949, The Bible of North Country Travel . So I tore off the front and back cover and fit them into the grill. And they stayed there the rest of the trip and for the next few months until spring. And that's why I encourage people to always pick up a copy for the drive...


On the 2nd trip, headed south... It had been snowing, but we figured we were a few miles behind the plow because our lane was clear. Northbound lane had a foot of snow. After a bit, we pass a plow truck headed north. Nice. Now both lanes were clear, because of plow trucks running both directions. Right? No, same plow truck. He had reached the end of his run, did a uturn in the road and was headed back. But we didn't know that... Come around the corner and PPUUUUFFFFF, right through the berm he'd left when he did his U-Turn. Snow everywhere. Kept it on the road and kept on going, pushing snow with front bumper. Around the next corner was a van caked in snow pulling over. I realized a few hours later as we were still pushing through the snow that the van had finally given up and was pulling over. If he'd gone one more corner he'd be behind that plow truck and have a clear run. We went for hours with the snow coming down so hard I couldn't see the ditch markers on the right hand side. My co-driver who was suppose to be sleeping had to keep a watch out and let me know if I was drifting too close.


On that 1st trip up... we hadn't seen a car for hours. Bitterly cold. Middle of the night. Come around a corner and up ahead our headlights reflect off of something... It's a flagger. Standing out there with his stop/slow sign. No vehicle, just him, his sign and his lunch pail. We pull up and come to stop. He comes over and in the most Canadian accent ever tells us it'll just be a minute, eh. They are just doing some roadwork up ahead, eh. How are we doing, eh? I ask him about being cold... No worries, eh. It ain't too bad, eh. Radio squawks, he flips his sign and tells us to have a nice night, eh. Off we go...


Also on that first trip... About an hour before Beaver Creek this piece of junk car comes up behind us, rides our bumper for a bit and then passes us on a corner and zooms on ahead. Didn't think much of it... Get to the US Border Station and that car is there with a couple of Border Guards around it. We stop back by the Stop sign. Border guy comes back to us. I roll down window. Border guy tells us the driver and passengers of junk car are being jerks, so they are going to be there a while. Asks if we have anything we shouldn't. We say nope. He says to swing around that guy and continue on, have a great trip. We get to Tok, stop to eat and as we are leaving over an hour later that piece of junk car goes by. Moral of the story: be nice to the border guards.
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Old 12-25-2018, 07:31 AM
 
172 posts, read 48,056 times
Reputation: 584
AKStafford, thanks for the great stories!

On one of my four round trips from the states, I met a really interesting flag woman. She stops our motorhome about an hour out of Liard Hot Springs. She says it will be a while, so I shut the engine down and she is eager to talk. In the summer she flags while her hubby operates road equipment. They are both government workers. They live in a double wide, at a road maintenance depot in Liard. It's a year round gig, with a long winter of plowing. She told me that when it comes to accidents on the job, or other health issues, anything that can't be patched up by the on-site first aid guy gets you a helicopter ride back to civilization. They are a long day's drive from anything that matters. Every month they look at what they need for groceries, supplies, parts, etc.... and take a ride to stock up. They then decide to do a two day trip to Whitehorse, or head down to Dawson Creek. That's a 950 mile round trip for a new box of Cheerios, LOL.

The entire time I'm listening and asking questions, she is glancing at the edge of the woods, fifty yards off the edge of the road. She is standing close the open door of her stake body truck. I ask what she is looking for? She tells me that she needs to be constantly aware of bears, and ready to hop in the truck if she encounters an aggressive one.

Last edited by wharton; 12-25-2018 at 07:57 AM..
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Old 12-25-2018, 02:48 PM
 
Location: on the wind
4,987 posts, read 1,919,690 times
Reputation: 17599
Quote:
Originally Posted by AKStafford View Post
On that 3rd trip, coming north. It was cold, as I've mentioned... Once we thawed out the PVC valve we knew we had to keep it thawed. So we needed to cover the grill on that fun little Subaru Justy... But with what... we didn't have any cardboard, but we had The Milepost | Since 1949, The Bible of North Country Travel . So I tore off the front and back cover and fit them into the grill. And they stayed there the rest of the trip and for the next few months until spring. And that's why I encourage people to always pick up a copy for the drive...
LOL! I bet the publisher would have gotten a kick out of knowing how "multi-use" the publication actually is. Too bad you didn't send a picture along with a "thanks story"!
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Old 12-25-2018, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Back and Beyond
2,644 posts, read 2,492,934 times
Reputation: 6132
Wow, epic stories. Good thread.

I've done the highway 6 times now, twice in the dead of winter. All my stories are pretty mild compared to the above ones and everything went pretty smoothly. Some things that stick out in my mind:

-Literally catching air pulling a camper trailer over the frost heaves by destruction bay, breaking the kitchen table inside.

- Stopping for a quick soak at Liard Hot Springs when it was 30 below. Pictured in my head that it was a quick 30 second walk from the parking area. Turns out, it was quite a decent walk and walking back in those temps semi wet from the springs was pretty intense.

-walked into a lodge in the yukon trying to get a room at the same time as another guy who was trying to also get a room. Refused by the lodge owner, as there was no way she was renting a one bed room to two dudes. Had to explain we weren't together and she rented us some rooms. There were no locks on the room doors and a drunk guy accidentally walked into my room at midnight.

- Got over $100 worth of fuel in Kitwanga as pump was on. Went inside to pay and there was no one there to pay. Went to grocery store next door and they informed me that owner went fishing and forgot to turn his pump off. I paid them for the fuel and they supposedly gave it to the gas station owner when he got back.

- had a tire go off the road into the ditch by Watson lake. Recovered back on the road like a rally car champ with no damage.

-Saw a semi truck in front smoke a moose that ran into the road in front of him at 70 mph.

- with lots of snow on the cassiar had a moose running down the middle of the road for a mile or two who wouldn't move due to the high snow.

-came up in spring on cassiar and counted 17 black bears in a span of a couple hours.

-Tried to turn around in Alberta with a trailer and got temporarily stuck. A nice guy stopped pulled me over the hill. Gave me a nice hoodie and offered me a job.

- helped a friend drive up a new vehicle once and we made it from Phoenix to the interior in less than 4 days. Thought that wa pretty good time.

Driving the highway is always a good time.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Last edited by 6.7traveler; 12-25-2018 at 03:35 PM..
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Old 12-25-2018, 07:06 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,051 posts, read 11,854,173 times
Reputation: 5786
3/4 of a mile north of Iskut on the Cassiar I put my truck in a snowbank. It was December 21st, 2012 and it was -37 degrees. Real gentle curve creeping along about 25 mph and right off the side I went. Spent 45 minutes shoveling, not getting anywhere, before someone came by. Fortunately he knew where the tow truck driver lived.

Went up and knocked on the door and not only did he invite me in his wife made breakfast for me while the truck warmed up. I was trying to explain to him where I ran off the road and he said "I already know cause you aren't the first one." As soon as the truck was warmed he took me up there and winched my truck out.

He said that if the RCMP had showed up then he would have had to hire two flaggers to stop traffic, set out flares and hire a helper to hook up the cable to my truck while he ran the winch. Said that 15 minute job would have cost me $500. So I said "How much do I owe you then?" About floored me when he said "$100". I asked him if American dollars were okay and he replied "That's even better." I gave him $150 and told him the extra was for his wife.

Thanked him profusely, got the snow dug out of the radiator and was on my way. About 20 minutes later I passed the RCMP headed south towards Iskut. Next time I drive that route in the winter I'll probably slow down even more on that curve. Maybe even wait until a little later in the morning after the plow trucks have run.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Alexander Archipelago
3,021 posts, read 1,615,221 times
Reputation: 3036
A couple years ago an acquaintance of mine headed up the Alcan in his brand new Dodge V-10 pickup to rendezvous with his family in Anchorage for a brief summer vacation before starting his summer job fishing out of Bristol Bay.

In Canada the vehicle broke down and wouldn't run, with problem determined to be the computer. This man is an ASE certified mechanic, BTW.

So, of course he had to have the thing towed a great distance and the vacation plans were shot. I don't remember the details but he was very upset with how Dodge treated him. Quite light on the reimbursement as I recall, if any at all.

Next year he headed up by himself, took a phone photo of the place he had broken down, and sent it to his wife with a message to the effect that he was relieved to have made it past there. And, guess what? Truck broke down again.

This time though it went into "limp mode" and he was able to eventually limp into Anchorage at a greatly reduced speed.

He was able to return the truck back to Dodge this time, and vows "never again" to buy one of their products.
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Old 12-28-2018, 01:12 PM
 
2,751 posts, read 3,775,970 times
Reputation: 2951
Great stories!! Never been north of Victoria BC and makes me scared to even try in my Lexus. LOL
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Old 12-28-2018, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Interior Alaska
1,963 posts, read 1,741,153 times
Reputation: 1450
Ugh. Not to pick on Dodge, because they certainly all have their failings, but...

I have now forgotten the details, and have posted the story here several times, but one of our cousins and her husband flew up here to buy a fairly new Cummins (new enough to be a PITA) from my cousin that lives in North Pole (counter-intuitive, I know. Why is a long, unimportant story). They took it as an opportunity to see some things in Alaska and puttered around up here for a while, then started home, and broke down somewhere in the middle of BFE, Yukon Territory.

Eventually they got towed a very, very long and expensive way to a mechanic who eventually diagnosed the problem as something that I recall to be a computer-y or sensor-y sort of a part that failed. They had to get my cousin's wife in North Pole to find the part online and get it flown in to wherever they were in the Yukon. Twice. After trial and error, and about two weeks, the mechanic figured out that he'd misdiagnosed the problem and the part he needed was in the boneyard out back of his shop. Doh!

Several thousand dollars later, my cousin and her husband were back on their way to -48. There is now a standing rule in our family that if anyone drives up here (or to -48 from here), my cousin has to be home in case they need to be rescued.

I guess I do remember the story, after all.
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Old 12-28-2018, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Dangling from a mooses antlers
7,051 posts, read 11,854,173 times
Reputation: 5786
I think the best one I saw was an older gentleman and his wife broke down in the north bound lane of the Cassiar Highway about 15 miles past Jade City. I stopped to see if they needed help. This guy had the radiator pulled out of his truck and was proceeding to put in a new water pump. I asked if he needed any more help or anything. He told me he always travelled prepared. Made me think....
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Old 01-01-2019, 12:10 AM
 
Location: Alaska
5,355 posts, read 16,004,967 times
Reputation: 3997
My experiences mainly were cracked windshields from the road. A son and I drove down for school. For the most part, no mishaps. The car normally burned/leaked a quart of oil between changes, but this trip we went through 3 quarts. Plus, we lost gear oil. Fortunately, we figured it out before any major damage happened. Another problem we had was overheating on long uphill stretches. We had to turn AC off and the heater on to keep moving, our speed dropping to 25 mph. Years later, we learned the radiator fan wasn’t working. I guess it was never a problem in Alaska.
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