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Driving to Alaska...the ongoing trip report
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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:08 am    Post subject: Driving to Alaska...the ongoing trip report Reply with quote

Hey all, I'll be heading to Fairbanks in about 6 weeks adn I'll be there for 3 mos. Any of you who have driven up this way and can offer some tips on places to check out along the would be great. Thanks!

Last edited by tschroeder0 on Sat May 22, 2010 5:51 pm; edited 2 times in total
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powderedwaters
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your gonna love the space up there and never want to leave. Don't say I didn't warn you. I've worked as a guide all over BC, YT and AK. If you have some idea of the route you are going I'd be glad to lend in my .02
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Make sure you cram as much gas as you possibly can in your spare tire clamshell. That should come in handy when you hit a moose in the road.Razz
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ak_runner
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much time are you allowing for travel each way? It will be too early to take the Top of the World Hwy going up but I would recommend it for the return trip. Should you need mechanical assistance near Whitehorse look for John's Auto on the road to Skagway, they are the local VW guru's and know how to handle travelers correctly. The Cassiar Hwy is a little shorter and more scenic but bypasses Laird Hotsprings. I would take it one way and the main Hwy the other. Are you going to have time while in Fairbanks to get out and travel a bit? Feel free to pmail for more detailed information.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top of the World Highway, up by Dawson City is great.

Get a guide book called Alaska Milepost. It is a must. I repeat: get Alaska Milepost.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i'm sure you've heard it from others, but denali park was undoubtedly the highlight of our whole alaska trip. you're going in the off-season, which is great as long as the road is open. try to get out and do some backcountry camping in denali - it's about as close to true wilderness camping as you can get without an airplane, and all the mega-fauna is there - moose, bear, caribou, wolves, etc...we came within about 20 feet of running into a monster grizzly back there.

if you plan on going north of fairbanks towards prudhoe bay, make SURE you carry extra parts. you'll mortgage your house to get towed out of there. we lost a drive belt 200 miles north of the artic circle, took me 20 minutes to put in a new one...would have taken days to get out if i didn't have one on hand!
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I highly recommend seeing Denali too. Lots of big animals, and yes I did take this too

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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! great picture! I will post more info as I know the route, and thank you for the book ideas I'll pick it up, and yes of course I'm going to store as much gas as I can...wait, couldn't I just fill the spare tire with gas Laughing Laughing
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ak_runner
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You won't need to carry extra fuel for the drive up as long as you pay attention to your guage and refill when the opportunity presents. If you drive the Dalton you will want extra fuel and spare parts as it is long way from a Vanagon parts supply. The Milepost is a great resource for the trip and it does not just cover Alaska but starts in Seattle providing coverage all of the way.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Contact bigbore on this site. He is usually in the Bay forum, and lives in Alaska and is a VW mechanic......nice and helpful guy.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 7:36 pm    Post subject: Alaska Reply with quote

Highly recommend The Milepost 2009: Alaska Travel Planner Book . This book has all the spots you will drive by if you did not have it. You can even get a used copy from Amozon for about 20 bucks. We went in 2008 but rented a Rv , Starting in Anchorage and went to Homer, Kenai, Seward. We stayed at the public parks . We paid anywhere from 5-15 for the night to park, 90% of the time we where on the water . LIke other's have said you will love it . Bring a good fishing pole for the salmon . Lots of memory cards for your camera and a camcorder if you have one. Have fun and don't get to close to the moose.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made this trip in 1991 in a '82 air-cooled Adventurewagen. Took the Alcan Highway and visited the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier on the way. Drove to Fairbanks, but took a detour to Anchorage and Valdez along the way. On the return leg I took the Alaska Marine Highway ferry from Skagway, Alaska to Prince Rubert, BC, which was a nice, relaxing way to travel and take in the scenery along the coast.

As I recall it was about a 10,000 mile round trip from San Francisco. No mechanical issues at all except for two flat tires in Alaska. The stock, 67hp Type IV engine ran great the whole time.

When I made this trip, a lot of the Alcan Highway was gravel or poorly paved - don't know what it's like now.

Highly recommend carrying things like tools, spare tune-up parts, belts, filters, etc.

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This picture was taken near Valdez, as I recall.
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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice, thanks everyone some really good advice here. It looks like I'll have about 2 weeks for my trip up and then about 3 weeks after my contract is finished at the end of/mis summer to cruise around. Thank you, Todd.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We did it last summer in the EVC. I took 3 weeks for us as we played along the way.

If you like to fish take a trout rod. You will go past tons of beautiful rivers loaded with arctic grayling and some rainbows. We especially liked fishing in Yukon territory........license was $10 per day and every stream was empty of people but not fish.

I agree with the suggestion to take the top of the world highway and visit Dawson city.

Enjoy the trip. You won't need extra gas and the road is paved all the way except for the construction areas.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mostly the road is all paved. Sections of the Cassiar Highway, Top of the World Highway between Chicken, AK and Dawson City and well anywhere else you decide to turn left or right, however are not. Nothing too bad depending on when they were last graded.

X5 on the Milepost
X2 on bringing a fly rod!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you get over to Anchorage make sure you drive up Seward Highway.
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tschroeder0
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Milepost ordered! Laughing Laughing
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:09 pm    Post subject: Travelling to Anchorage, AK Reply with quote

I've been up and back 7 times in my '83 non-Westy........ just awesome!

I've driven every (main) road in Alaska....visited Homer (halibut captial of the world), Fairbanks, Anchorage, Delta Junction, Tok Salmon Bake at Tok, Seward, Valdez, Sterling, Ninilchik, Whitter, etc.... all of Kenai Penninsula! Denali is awesome! In 1986, it was a free-ride into the park, all destinations... first come, first served! How, things have changed...!

As several have suggested, Top of the World Road (Taylor Highway) should be on your list (going or return). And, once you get over to Dawson City, Yukon, if you have time, the Dempster Highway to Inuvik is breath taking all the way! Or, you could just go about half way to the Arctic Circle. The Tombstone Campground about two hours up the Dempster is a really nice place to stay (primitive).

And, as several have stated, the Cassiar Highway down thru (or up) British Columbia is awesome too... take a side excursion over to Hyder Alaska.. Go to the Hyder Motel and Bar and get "Hyderized."
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Travelling to Anchorage, AK Reply with quote

AndyBees wrote:
I've been up and back 7 times in my '83 non-Westy........ just awesome!

And, as several have stated, the Cassiar Highway down thru (or up) British Columbia is awesome too... take a side excursion over to Hyder Alaska.. Go to the Hyder Motel and Bar and get "Hyderized."


I agree hyder should not be missed. Go out the farside of town and up the dirt road for 15(?) miles and u will have a fantastic view over Salmon glacier. On my way back down to the lower 48, I spent 3 weeks camping above the glacier in my '73 Westy. Great hiking to be had.

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This is the view from my camp spot

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An overlook half way to Salmon glacier.
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AndyBees
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Travelling to Anchorage, AK Reply with quote

Rhinoculips wrote:
AndyBees wrote:
I've been up and back 7 times in my '83 non-Westy........ just awesome!

And, as several have stated, the Cassiar Highway down thru (or up) British Columbia is awesome too... take a side excursion over to Hyder Alaska.. Go to the Hyder Motel and Bar and get "Hyderized."


I agree hyder should not be missed. Go out the farside of town and up the dirt road for 15(?) miles and u will have a fantastic view over Salmon glacier. On my way back down to the lower 48, I spent 3 weeks camping above the glacier in my '73 Westy. Great hiking to be had.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

This is the view from my camp spot

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

An overlook half way to Salmon glacier.


Dang, your photos of Salmon Glacier are awesome. I've been right there twice, but each time the fog and misty rain prevented us from taking any photos. My wife did not like driving up that road in the fog! We actually come to a place that the road was washed out and could go no farther.
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