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Old 05-05-2012, 12:00 PM   #1
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Noob headed to Alaska

Hey folks I'm a virgin to camping. I've never used a TT and I've never towed anything bigger than a UHaul trailer. I'm looking for advice from anyone that has traveled cross-country or driven the Alcan to Alaska. I have a 2012 F150 Ecoboost and I'll be towing a brand new 2013 model 26' TT. I'm military and I'm getting moved from Texas to Alaska (Fairbanks area) in a month. I'll be traveling with my wife, 4 kids, and 2 cats. I have no idea what to expect on such a long road trip and I welcome any advice/tips you all can share. Advice about what to pack and about stops and things to see along the Alcan would be awesome as well.
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:27 PM   #2
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First of all welcome aboard. There is lots of information regarding travel to Alaska, go to the search tab at the top of the page.
You have a long trip ahead of you so allow lots of time. Get used to backing the trailer or seek out cg's with pull through sites. Roads are good, 4 lane most of the way until you get past Grande Prairie Alberta. Once past Fort St John BC there are long stretches between gas stops so plan ahead, don't run below 1/2 tank if you can avoid it.
That will be peak bug season, you will want need bug spray, Deet works the best. Bug jackets, hats and mosquito netting would be a good idea too. Enjoy the journey.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:17 PM   #3
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Be sure to have all of the required health certificates for you animals for entry into Canada and then back into Alaska
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:20 PM   #4
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Purchase a copy of The Milepost. A must for any trip to Alaska.

Drive slow where necessary on the ALCAN. Watch for left over frost heaves.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:50 PM   #5
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It will be a great adventure. Take your time.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:53 PM   #6
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Those cats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jgold View Post
I'll be traveling with my wife, 4 kids, and 2 cats.
I've camped in Canada but not Alaska so no suggestions there.

It's the cats I want to comment on. Cats are notorious for escaping from RVs and then, because the people have to leave the CG, are left behind. When children open the RV doors, or leave them open, is when the cat or cats make their escape. But they also follow adults out. Almost every CG we've been in has one or more cats that were left behind because they escaped their owner's RV. One CG near Chattanooga had several dogs left behind when owners had to leave, as well as a few cats. Very sad as they usually have to trap them and send them to the pound or they starve and die over the winters.

Make sure you have some way to protect your cats especially if your children are small. Also, more than a few cats have been killed or maimed in slide-outs. NEVER move the slide-out/s unless you know where every cat is. Better to put them in the bathroom with the door closed until all slides are in.
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Old 05-06-2012, 12:32 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for the replies. I will be picking up my new trailer from the dealer on Tuesday and I'm very excited. I guess my other question/concern is do I need a WDH and do I need anti-sway bars? My truck has electronic sway control built in but I know nothing about these things so I have no idea if that's enough. The trailer weighs less than 5000# empty and I doubt I'll load more than 1000# of gear and water into it since my wife will be following in her SUV and I can pack it too. My truck should handle the weight without the WDH right?
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:12 PM   #8
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I woulda add a wdh with built in sway control.
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:16 PM   #9
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You can try it without the wdh but I think you will be happier with one,especially with the F-150. I also think you will be surprised at how much stuff will end up in the trailer.
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:13 AM   #10
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boy, you are in for a big change going from Texas to fairbanks, fairbanks is beautiful in the summer, horrible in the winter. Definitely get a WDH with built in sway. I live in Palmer, Alaska which is right outside Anchorage and all I can say is be prepared for people to ride right up on your a** and blame you for causing them not to be able to go 80 in the 65. Once you get up towards the fairbanks area you will be going through big hills so make sure you have a good brake controller also. Also be prepared for frost heaves which cause the road to literally drop 2-6 feet in specific spots so when you see a "bump" sign be prepared otherwise it will throw the trailer all over the place. I have never driven the Alcan, but I have driven every highway in Alaska so if you have any questions let me know
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:49 AM   #11
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Is Fairbanks your only Alaska destination?

I live in Anchorage part of the year, work on the North Slope part of the year then the lower 48 the rest of the time.

It would be a shame to drive all the way from TX to AK and only see Fairbanks.

WHile the ride from Tok Junction to Fairbanks up the Richardson Hwy os pretty, I think it pales in comparison to heading south on the Richardson. Stop and see half the world from the top of Thompson Pass, pull over in Keystone Canyon for Bridal Falls, lots of eagles in Valdez.

I prefer Fairbanks in the cooler or colder months, better chance of seeing the northern lights. The summer moths are just to hot, but being from TX you'll probably not even notice.

I've driven the ALCAN 4 times now and each time it's different. Only one trip in the summer the rest have been in the fall to take the RV south for the winter.

I can't give you any great stops along the ALCAN other than the normal tourist places. My suggestion is once you are past the tourist places, drive slow and enjoy the scenery. Especially north of BC and all of THe Yukon.

If you like german cooking don't pass up Northern Rookies Lodge at Muncho Lake. Canada Fly In Fishing Vacation - BC Fishing Lodge & Wilderness Adventures- Northern Rockies Lodge A little pricey but then what isn't on the ALCAN. Not a great CG though, spaces are tight and the power pole is at the front of the site.

The prettiest road/drive in my opinion is the Seward Hwy south of Anchorage. Take it all the way to Seward. In Seward you will find a City RV park right on Resurrection Bay. On you way to Seward you can stop and see Exit Glacier, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Beluga Point, Cool Inlet with a 30' tide swing, etc... Seward is a nice little town, great food and coffee. You can park at the city CG and walk the whole town.

When you finish in Fairbanks consider coming south on the Parks Hwy. Stop and se Denali, eat breakfast at the road house in Talketna (cinnamon rolls as big as your head). THen if you have time continue south to Anchorage, Seward, Kenai and finally Homer. If not, head east on the Glenn Hwy back over to the ALCAN.

If you make it to Anchorage let me know, if I'm in town dinner is on me.
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Old 05-07-2012, 01:25 AM   #12
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Well, I have driven the highway a couple of times and there were things that I enjoyed.

Spend some time a Liard River Hotsprings. Good Provincial part there and the kids will like the hotsprings.

Watson Lake - Yuk. You won't miss the sign post city there. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

Whitehorse is a nice place to spend a day or two and a good place to relax from some of the driving you are going to be doing. Take in a a Vaudville show. It will make you laugh. If you aren't in a rush, you can go to Dawson City and if you want the Ultimate in Cinnamon Buns or Hamburgers, stop at the Braeburn Lodge on the way. Don't ask for fries and 1 burger per two people is a good ratio. Carry on from Dawson City over the Top of the World Hwy and enter Alaska from that point. Some gravel but generally in good condition. Brings you back to the main Hwy around Tok.
If you decide to stick with the main highway, Stop in Kluane National Park around Haines Jct. A beautiful place, good camping.

Generally speaking gas won't be a problem. Make sure you have good spares though. Getting a flat out there can be a big time waster if you haven't got a replacement tire.

And if you thought Texas was big.....sorry couldn't resist.
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:31 AM   #13
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Having made this trip many times I feel I can give you a few tips. Also we will be driving down to Austin TX in July to pick up and bring back our new 41' 5ver.

First off this is a L O N G trip! When you hit the Canada border you are just over 1/3 of the way! Pace your self and your family!
While the Ford Eco boost is a nice truck in itself, plan on getting close to 10 mpg pulling a 26' TT at highway speeds! Slowing down to 55 mph will help but the difference from your 17-21 mpg you may now be getting will be a shock! You'll feel the 250 miles between fill ups in your wallet real quick! Yes get a weight distributing hitch w/anti sway bars or you'll wish you had!
Plan on 7 long days (10+ hours each) if you don't sight see or wander and stay close to legal speed limits. (Our 1 way trip is 4300 miles so your's should be close to that)
Part or the road will be rough in Canada and Alaska! Rough as in trailer axles and rims have been bent from people not slowing down and literally launching off of them! (I launched my 2005 Goldwing 2' in the air once, hmm wonder why I had a fork seal failure soon after! haha)
Half way though Canada to Fairbanks, the area become! Don't pass a gas station with under 1/2 tank of fuel! Fuel is usualy cheaper in bigger towns.
Plan for construction delays!
Plan for other traveler delays (trying to pass slower vehicles)

*Make a series of check off lists for: setting up camp, breaking down camp, for walk about on daily checks. (this include inside and out) these can be found on the internet and fine tuned for your needs.
*Keep an eye on Propane and how long it lasts. Temps can still get down in the 40's next month while you travel north.
*Pack LOTS of bug dope! And keep it handy!
*No hand guns into Canada!
*As was said make sure your pets have all needed documentation.

Depending on your route and how many miles you plan to put on a day, you could plan on staying in places like Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Watson Lake, Whitehorse, these are the larger citys in their areas and are pretty much full service.

There are lots of 'hole in the wall' type places along the way and many of them are pretty nice! Enjoy your trip!

There is lots more info keep asking questions!

And a sincere Thank you! for your service to protect for our freedom!!!
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Old 05-07-2012, 02:42 AM   #14
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Our last trip (Anchorage to Middletown, OH) was 4270 miles, 11 days. Only 2 out of the way stops MT Rushmore and Little Big Horn.
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