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Old 09-27-2006, 07:03 PM
1 posts, read 10,187 times
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Hi everyone! We are planning on moving to Anchorage and hope to do so during our daughters Christmas break from school. My first question is this possible in December? Does anyone know if the roads are open and passible? By the way, we will be moving from Flagstaff Arizona. Will we need snow chains, studded tires, etc? Any information anyone can give will be wonderful. I have searched online alot and have not really found information regarding driving to Alaska in the winter.

Another question, we have 3 daughters ages 7, 5, and 2. Can anyone tell me the safest areas to live? We wouldn't mind living outside of Anchorage but it has to be close enough for the work commute. Are there plenty of daycares? Good schools?

And finally what recommendations do you have as far as clothes? It snows here but I don't know if we will be prepared for AK. LOL!

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:12 PM
Location: oklahoma
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I dont live anywhere near Alaska, but I would assume the roads are plowed and sanded just like anywhere else it snows on roads
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:51 PM
Location: Oregon
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Are you driving the Alcan all the way up here? December could be rough, but shoudn't be impossible. What type of vehicle do you have? The mountains get pretty steep in the Yukon, so all-wheel drive would be a big help. Chains/studded tires/snow tires are a must.

You didn't mention price range, and the Anchorage area can get pretty expensive. Stay away from anything that says Mountain View, Fair View, or Spenard. Hillside is the nicest, therefore terribly expensive. Huffman, Jewel Lake/Raspberry, Baxter, Sand Lake, and Abbott are all safe and relatively quiet areas of varying price ranges. Lots of family homes. Turnagain and Muldoon both have some areas that are very nice and some that get iffy, so be careful there. Chugiak and Eagle River are 10 minutes from downtown in the summer, but could be much, much longer in the winter, especially if there are accidents. They are both safe and clean as far as I know.

The girls will all need winter boots, coats, and snow pants for playing in the snow. There are plenty of places to get them up here, from department stores to Army/Navy surplus. For the adults just make sure to stock up on your sweaters and get some warm driving gloves! Anchorage's weather stays fairly mild (by our standards, anyway) most of the time, but there are spurts where it drops below zero for a week or so at a time.
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Old 09-28-2006, 11:25 AM
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
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The Alcan is OK in the winter. Much less traffic than summer months. But this is a very serious matter. Yes you'll need studded tires, along with tools and survival gear. In some places it will be a couple hundred miles in between towns and/or help if you get into car trouble. In December it can be zero or 30 below along the Alcan. I highly recommend going up through Edmonton rather than the Cassiar Highway from Washington. It's closer between towns and smoother. I drove to MN this last April and the road is in very good shape. The worst is 50 miles either side of the Alaska/Canada border. Pretty rough with frost heaves and such. I also ran into 3 blizzards and that was in April! You'll need warm clothing, food, money etc in case of emergencies. You may even consider flying the kids up. That trip will play havoc on the little one's! Once you enter Canada it should not take you maybe 3 days to hit Alaska. I also found fuel was cheaper at any of the smaller towns and communities, rather than at the freeway truck stops or chain store gas stations. Keep in mind it will not be tourist season...so most everything will be closed after 5:00 PM unless your in a major town or city. I stopped and got a room everynight. Avoid Super 8's and use the no-name cheaper hotels. It also helps the smaller communities when you spend your money there. Good luck and have a safe trip!
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Old 11-12-2006, 07:52 PM
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Default driving to Alaska

I just drove up from NM the beginning of Oct. I love road trips, but that stretch through Canada was long! I was driving alone, but can imagine it would be a challenge keeping little ones entertained during that long trip. As someone else said, lots of stuff was closed once you get up to the Alcan and remoter areas. It was nice not to have to deal with summertime RV traffic, but sometimes it was a very lonely highway and it was not uncommon to go an hour without seeing another vehicle - nothing new for someone used to driving the backroads in the SW. In fact, a lot of that part of the drive reminded me of backroads NM as far as the condition of the roads went. However, even the first week of Oct. it was already getting very cold - below zero temperatures through northern BC and the Yukon. The last couple hundred kilometers after Haines Junction the road was really rough - lots of frost heaves, like a roller coaster in many places so it wasn't possible to travel fast. Up until then, the roads were ok. And they improved once I crossed into Alaska. There was one stretch, I think near Glenallen where you've got to go over a mountain pass and it was already trying to snow then - so just be aware of the weather there, it changed a lot from the open spaces I'd been driving through. Just be aware that most of the drive is two lane highway, much through windy mountainous areas. If they've cleared the roads it would be ok, but I wouldn't want to get caught in a heavy storm. Some of those stretches of road didn't have much of anything to the side, so not much room for error.

Just be aware that it is very expensive up here and also all the way through Canada. I knew that, but it was trying to travel on a budget and it was a shock. Get your winter clothes before you come up here. The temperatures are cold and supposed to get colder. I've heard several people say it's much colder that it usually is this time of year. I think the forecast is below zero at night for the comming week. It was getting to balmy mid 20's this week. There was already one decent snow on a Sunday two weeks ago and I was surprised that they were not doing a very good job of clearing the roads at all - it was coming down fast with some parts of town getting over 6 inches in an hour or so and driving was tough because you couldn't even see where the road ended and the sidewalks began. But I was told they're much better about keeping the roads cleared on business days. I'm becoming very aware of shady places to watch for ice patches. They do seem to keep the main roads cleared, but most of the side roads and parking lots are mostly ice.

I'd also be careful about driving that road after dark. I did one night after finding out the campgrounds weren't open and I had to push on to Liard hot springs - there are a lot of animals that come out at night. And if you see those signs warning of the bison, do take them seriously! Definitely an adventure - and it is incredibly beautiful up here.

Good luck.
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Old 11-19-2006, 11:57 AM
Location: Kingman - Anaconda
1,552 posts, read 6,047,866 times
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We took the last ferry North a few years ago, found out Quickly that Arizona rain gear did not cut it. Located a outfitter in Juneau and reoutfitted. What a much improved difference.
Keep in mind layers of clothing and good rain protection sure makes misery much better.
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