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Thread: Driving Up advise

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    Default Driving Up advise

    Hello everyone and I'd like to say thank you for any help in advance.
    We already live here (going on two years) but we are possibly driving our vehicle up this summer to store in Anchorage.
    We will be traveling from the SE portion of America and it looks like we have two options. We can enter Canada near Winnipeg or near Vancouver. I have been told that gas is ridiculously high in Canada. But we are trying to spend less time on the road (we are allowing ourselves two weeks, since we have two small children).

    Has anyone ever traveled both routes? Suggestions? Our vehicle is a Subaru outback and we may carry a very small trailer with a canoe, but more than likely it'll just be us and a few clothes...traveling light is so much easier.

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Cross in western Montana and head to the west of Calgary into Banff/Jasper area. Probably still a backwater crossing open during daylight only.

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    Sweetgrass MT. Most time in the US. Less time in Canada.

    If you have a small trailer, be sure it is quality built. Those cheap ones have lousy axles. Carry at least 2 spare tires, a bearing kit and tools.
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    I have done the Calgary route 6 times. Just got back up in December. Gas is high yes, so use your credit card to get the best daily exchange rate. Be sure to let your credit card/debit know your traveling or else the pumps get interesting. Your debit card may appear to work at all of the gas pumps. If you see a Pakistani in sandals chasing you down the road, your card did not work. (Been there, done that.:-) Eat at McDonalds. Up there, they are more of a restaurant than fast food places. Fill up before you think you have too. Take snacks and don't be afraid to stop at a grocery store to buy bread and lunch meat. Don't say "eh" after every sentence. No one knows what it means anyways. Watch out for the buffalo!!!! Buffalo against a Sabaru, Sabaru looses. Be prepared at border crossings. They like that. The last stretch 100-200 miles before the border is the roughest, take it easy. Be prepared to camp. Sometimes the distances between towns you can't find a hotel. Summer is probably better as more lodges are open but as the lodges open so does your wallet. Don't drive like I do. My best day was 917 miles. It took me 4 days from Valdez to Big Piney Wyoming. I usually do the trip from central NY to Valdez in six days.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    No need to limit yourself to just the two crossings you mentioned, unless you want to for personal reasons. There's lots of other crossings and route possibilities, and lots of fabulous scenery and different places to explore along the way.
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    Thanks for info so far. I'm sure that are more numerous points of crossing. I just plugged it into map quest and got the Montana route but I knew I could go through other areas. If we don't pull the trailer I have no idea what the plan is other than take our time and enjoy the trip.

    Dave be may I ask what you budgeted for gas and food? We want to camp as much as possible but I understand the need for a good nights rest. I still have sleep apnea (lots better since I lost 50 lbs) so we were thinking every other day camp/hotel or something like that.

    We we also plan on doing the picnic thing at least one meal a day. Possibly two. Our children are young (3yr and almost a year when we take trip). Heck we may just buy plane tickets mad then buy vehicle up here. But I'd hate to see our car to to waste in the lower 48.

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    Default combine this with your canoe seeking venture

    YC, reading here where you're bringing a car up from L48. Reading elsewhere here where you want to acquire a decent canoe for use on Yukon and its tribs.

    Combine the two. You'll have a golden opportunity to do some canoe shopping that few if any of us would ever get to do; how exciting, I envy you as it sounds like fun. My suggestion is to shop CL listings nationwide. Find a number of deals on large freighter canoes.

    Here's a hot tip for you: It isn't uncommon for a nice canoe to be sold by a person that knows nothing of canoes, and instead is just clearing out space from someone dying or moving or some such. I got my Scott Albany for quite a good deal; the seller didn't know its brand name nor its history (and thus its value).

    Being able to search nationwide you should be able to find quite the deal. From what I know of your needs I'd recommend an 18-20 footer with probably 4 feet beam and a 2 foot wide transom. It'll haul a lot, all your kids can look over the same side of the boat at once without tipping. And still be very economical. I'd recommend a OB with a lift, since its much easier to find used (which means cheaper) compared to surface drive.

    Once you find your deal strap it way-securely on top of your Outback and bring'r the rest of the way home to Alaska.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    YC, reading here where you're bringing a car up from L48. Reading elsewhere here where you want to acquire a decent canoe for use on Yukon and its tribs.

    Combine the two. You'll have a golden opportunity to do some canoe shopping that few if any of us would ever get to do; how exciting, I envy you as it sounds like fun. My suggestion is to shop CL listings nationwide. Find a number of deals on large freighter canoes.

    Here's a hot tip for you: It isn't uncommon for a nice canoe to be sold by a person that knows nothing of canoes, and instead is just clearing out space from someone dying or moving or some such. I got my Scott Albany for quite a good deal; the seller didn't know its brand name nor its history (and thus its value).

    Being able to search nationwide you should be able to find quite the deal. From what I know of your needs I'd recommend an 18-20 footer with probably 4 feet beam and a 2 foot wide transom. It'll haul a lot, all your kids can look over the same side of the boat at once without tipping. And still be very economical. I'd recommend a OB with a lift, since its much easier to find used (which means cheaper) compared to surface drive.

    Once you find your deal strap it way-securely on top of your Outback and bring'r the rest of the way home to Alaska.
    This is exactly what I'm planning but trying to decide if I should trailer or carry on top...gotta figure out cost of both ways. Then I plan on having wife drop me off somewhere on road and I float/paddle/power my way to the village.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
    Thanks for info so far. I'm sure that are more numerous points of crossing. I just plugged it into map quest and got the Montana route but I knew I could go through other areas. If we don't pull the trailer I have no idea what the plan is other than take our time and enjoy the trip.

    Dave be may I ask what you budgeted for gas and food? We want to camp as much as possible but I understand the need for a good nights rest. I still have sleep apnea (lots better since I lost 50 lbs) so we were thinking every other day camp/hotel or something like that.

    We we also plan on doing the picnic thing at least one meal a day. Possibly two. Our children are young (3yr and almost a year when we take trip). Heck we may just buy plane tickets mad then buy vehicle up here. But I'd hate to see our car to to waste in the lower 48.
    Canada (at least BC with which I'm most familiar) is loaded with great parks offering nice camping opportunities. BC offers a great road map listing each park and all it's amenities. Lots of great hot springs to visit along the way as well...
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
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    I did not budget anything for food or fuel Selfish me. I had an invite to do an archery hunt for elk on horseback. I would of pushed the **** truck to get there. :-) Then it was off to hunt whitetails for two months. Driving a full sized F-250 with a camper, when you approach the fuel pump you don't look at the price. I usually get a hotel every other night just to get a shower. Although driving alone no one complains.

    There is some construction in some areas (Munchino Lake). The gas/oil fields are buzzing like bee hives. Towns that I went through in 99 are now huge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
    Thanks for info so far. I'm sure that are more numerous points of crossing. I just plugged it into map quest and got the Montana route but I knew I could go through other areas. If we don't pull the trailer I have no idea what the plan is other than take our time and enjoy the trip.

    Dave be may I ask what you budgeted for gas and food? We want to camp as much as possible but I understand the need for a good nights rest. I still have sleep apnea (lots better since I lost 50 lbs) so we were thinking every other day camp/hotel or something like that.

    We we also plan on doing the picnic thing at least one meal a day. Possibly two. Our children are young (3yr and almost a year when we take trip). Heck we may just buy plane tickets mad then buy vehicle up here. But I'd hate to see our car to to waste in the lower 48.
    I'm having flashbacks of when we moved up. Our children were 2 1/2 and 7 months old. We ended up driving two vehicles, a friend drove one of them and both were pulling trailers. Our truck was pulling a 14' wells cargo and it worked like a champ. Our car was pulling a little 4'X8' trailer they sell at home depot that I'd built a 4'X4'X8' box on and was filled with tools and misc stuff and likely overloaded. That trailer had 7 flat tires over the 3500 mile trip, and before we even hit the Alcan we had to have the axle replaced and a new tongue from heavier steel welded on.

    By pulling a trailer and putting a canoe on top of your outback you're going to kill it's mileage and put a fair bit of wear and tear on the engine and brakes. Whatever your normal freeway mileage is, figure at best you'll get 2/3rd's of that, and going through the mountains don't be surprised if it's 1/2.

    As far as traveling with young ones, you will be stopping every 1-3 hours to feed them and take potty breaks or change diapers. Factor that in as well as an average road speed of 50 mph when figuring out how long you'll need for the trip. Because of the reality of traveling with young ones and delays from the trailer problems we ended up staying in hotels every night vs. setting up a tent in the dark in unfamiliar areas.

    I don't mean to be a negative Nancy, but taking a multi week road trip with a toddler and an infant is an adventure in its own right. It was literally a few years after we moved up before I was willing to take a longer drive with the kids.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    I'm having flashbacks of when we moved up. Our children were 2 1/2 and 7 months old. We ended up driving two vehicles, a friend drove one of them and both were pulling trailers. Our truck was pulling a 14' wells cargo and it worked like a champ. Our car was pulling a little 4'X8' trailer they sell at home depot that I'd built a 4'X4'X8' box on and was filled with tools and misc stuff and likely overloaded. That trailer had 7 flat tires over the 3500 mile trip, and before we even hit the Alcan we had to have the axle replaced and a new tongue from heavier steel welded on.

    By pulling a trailer and putting a canoe on top of your outback you're going to kill it's mileage and put a fair bit of wear and tear on the engine and brakes. Whatever your normal freeway mileage is, figure at best you'll get 2/3rd's of that, and going through the mountains don't be surprised if it's 1/2.

    As far as traveling with young ones, you will be stopping every 1-3 hours to feed them and take potty breaks or change diapers. Factor that in as well as an average road speed of 50 mph when figuring out how long you'll need for the trip. Because of the reality of traveling with young ones and delays from the trailer problems we ended up staying in hotels every night vs. setting up a tent in the dark in unfamiliar areas.

    I don't mean to be a negative Nancy, but taking a multi week road trip with a toddler and an infant is an adventure in its own right. It was literally a few years after we moved up before I was willing to take a longer drive with the kids.

    Just to be clear, it is either canoe strapped to top or canoe carried on boat trailer. Not both. WE will not carry anything other than the canoe if I even go that route. I have to factor in the added fuel costs and I am drawing the conclusion that strapping the canoe to the top of the car would be better than pulling a trailer. I'm also looking at canoes closer to Alaska than GA. Figure if I could shave a 1000 miles or so of carrying it might be worth it.

    The kids are a concern for us. We've flown with them...but that is totally different. We have taken our oldest on a few 500 mile trips (but we quickly learned to drive at night while she slept).

    There are so many factors and part of me wants to tackle the adventure, but part doesn't. There is also the ferry option.
    With five tickets having to be purchased the car trip might be a little more economical. And then we would have the car in town for us (renting is a better option in winter, but not during summer).

    As of last night, we will leave GA with a month before school starts. That should give us plenty of time. There is the idea too of sending the car up with someone else, or selling it and just buying a cheap car up here.

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    Forgot something. On my first trip in 99 I carried 4 - 5-gallon cans of extra fuel. Other trips I downgraded to 2 - 5-gallon cans of fuel. I have only needed it once as I argued with some greenie park ranger in Canada about paying a park fee. I told her I wasn't interested in her park, but in driving the road that goes through it. After the second toll booth, and another argument.... they got $5 and I ended up at some upscale lodge and paying the highest cost for fuel on the whole trip. Oh well.... I just wanted to be left alone...

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    Regarding the idea of carrying the canoe on the roof: Depending on the type of canoe you get, you might want to take into account the load limit for the roof rack. I think the factory rack on my Outback has a load limit rating of about 100 pounds. Many of the larger canoes could easily weigh more than that. Yes, I have carried a Grumman 19' freighter with a 15-20 pound lift on the roof of mine, but that was only a fairly short trip and I knew the roads were in pretty good shape (no big frost heaves, dips, bumps, etc... that I might hit at speed). I doubt I would consider trying to haul one that is noticeably overloading the rack multi-thousands of miles across the kinds of roads you will find on your trip (especially in the area of the Alaska/Canada border that last day or so of driving). The other problem with the canoe on the roof for a trip like that is it blocks you from being able to fully open the tailgate, something you will probably be doing regularly throughout the trip. Although a trailer adds to the drag on the car and is another thing to deal with regarding potential flat tires, etc... it will give you more versatility on the trip, allow you to throw a few extra bulky things in the canoe, and allow you normal use of the car along the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    Regarding the idea of carrying the canoe on the roof: Depending on the type of canoe you get, you might want to take into account the load limit for the roof rack. I think the factory rack on my Outback has a load limit rating of about 100 pounds. Many of the larger canoes could easily weigh more than that. Yes, I have carried a Grumman 19' freighter with a 15-20 pound lift on the roof of mine, but that was only a fairly short trip and I knew the roads were in pretty good shape (no big frost heaves, dips, bumps, etc... that I might hit at speed). I doubt I would consider trying to haul one that is noticeably overloading the rack multi-thousands of miles across the kinds of roads you will find on your trip (especially in the area of the Alaska/Canada border that last day or so of driving). The other problem with the canoe on the roof for a trip like that is it blocks you from being able to fully open the tailgate, something you will probably be doing regularly throughout the trip. Although a trailer adds to the drag on the car and is another thing to deal with regarding potential flat tires, etc... it will give you more versatility on the trip, allow you to throw a few extra bulky things in the canoe, and allow you normal use of the car along the way.
    Thank You. On your short trips, how big of a difference does the canoe make on your gas mileage? I've been told very little to a lot The canoe I am looking at is around 80 lbs. But your point about the hatch back makes total sense...I didn't think about that. Good thing I started this thread.

    I will say that I am very hesitant to drag a canoe across the two countries, so it will not take to much to convince me not to go that route, but the used market up here is almost non existent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
    Thank You. On your short trips, how big of a difference does the canoe make on your gas mileage? I've been told very little to a lot The canoe I am looking at is around 80 lbs. But your point about the hatch back makes total sense...I didn't think about that. Good thing I started this thread.

    I will say that I am very hesitant to drag a canoe across the two countries, so it will not take to much to convince me not to go that route, but the used market up here is almost non existent.
    I haven't paid too close attention to the fuel mileage as the time carrying the canoe is usually only part of a tank (fairly short trips), so hard to tell it's real impacts. Seem to recall seeing the instantaneous readouts being maybe a couple mpg lower, but just a rough guess. They are really pretty aerodynamic, so shouldn't be a huge hit to the fuel economy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukon Cornelius View Post
    Thanks for info so far. I'm sure that are more numerous points of crossing. I just plugged it into map quest and got the Montana route but I knew I could go through other areas. If we don't pull the trailer I have no idea what the plan is other than take our time and enjoy the trip.

    Dave be may I ask what you budgeted for gas and food? We want to camp as much as possible but I understand the need for a good nights rest. I still have sleep apnea (lots better since I lost 50 lbs) so we were thinking every other day camp/hotel or something like that.

    We we also plan on doing the picnic thing at least one meal a day. Possibly two. Our children are young (3yr and almost a year when we take trip). Heck we may just buy plane tickets mad then buy vehicle up here. But I'd hate to see our car to to waste in the lower 48.
    Keep in mind the restaurant/lodge food is expensive and not good.

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    I just made the trip. Pulled a heavy 24' enclosed trailer. Had 30 gallon of gas and didn't use any of it. I was averaging 6.5-7 mpg. Got the closest to running out around Calgary. If you have any specific questions, please ask. We came through Sweetgrass Montana too.
    EricL

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    Calgary almost got me too. You just really expect to see gas on this side of Calgary and there apparently isn't any for quite a ways.

    Also, get a milepost if people didn't say so already.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EricL View Post
    I just made the trip. Pulled a heavy 24' enclosed trailer. Had 30 gallon of gas and didn't use any of it. I was averaging 6.5-7 mpg. Got the closest to running out around Calgary. If you have any specific questions, please ask. We came through Sweetgrass Montana too.
    Do you remember what it was costing per liter or gallon?

    Quote Originally Posted by mike h View Post
    Calgary almost got me too. You just really expect to see gas on this side of Calgary and there apparently isn't any for quite a ways.

    Also, get a milepost if people didn't say so already.
    I do plan on getting one.

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