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Thread: Driving to anchorage from pennsylvania

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    Default Driving to anchorage from pennsylvania




    Hello all, i'm new here but have read many relocating experiences. My girlfriend and I have been planing this trip since January, and plan on leaving around august 7th. It seems like time is speeding up as we get closer to august. I am estimating 10-14 days for the drive. I have made a simple chart to help organize my options for driving up. If anyone has any suggestions throw them at me!

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    If I drive the truck and trailer I can sleep inside my truck bed under a cap. Has anyone ever camped outside of a campground in Canada, or is that really frowned upon? Around my area I see people stay in campers in Walmart parking lots. Or is it better and safer to just stick with campgrounds?

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    I guess my question is what is the purpose of the trailer? It appears in your first two options that you aren't bringing much if you only have the truck bed to load. Are you actually moving or just going for a short period of time?

    Looking at your last line, I see where you can bring up a mattress and some furniture. If that is the case then you might also want to factor into your decision what the approximate costs might be to purchase those items upon arrival versus towing them up in a trailer. Hauling the trailer costs you $1600 according to your notes but will it cost you more than that to replace the things you leave behind?

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    When I have driven through Canada, I have just slept in the back of my car in pullouts along the way. It was just 3 nights total and in the middle of winter, so not sure how things are in summer with more traffic. I think I recall seeing signs in the turnouts saying something like "No Camping" or something along those lines, but was never bothered. Most nights I would be the only one there when I pulled in, but would have a number of semi trucks around doing the same thing when I got up to start again early in the morning (usually stopped driving around 7 or 8 and was back on the road around 4-5am if not earlier). They may not bother you if you are sleeping in your rig, but might not be as happy if you are setting up a tent and a more formal campsite. Can't say for sure though. I know my parents say the campgrounds are pretty nice along the way, they are just never open in November-January when I am going through so I can't say myself.

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    Canada's a huge place and what may be cool in the Yukon might not be in Saskatchewan, and vice versa. I did camp out one night in the Yukon in an abandoned RV part - that was pretty cool. Otherwise, I'd echo what anchskier said. Generally the further south you are the more this sort of thing is an issue.
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    Buy a Milepost book. It will answer most of your questions and is VERY valuable along the drive. http://www.milepost.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    I guess my question is what is the purpose of the trailer? It appears in your first two options that you aren't bringing much if you only have the truck bed to load. Are you actually moving or just going for a short period of time?

    Looking at your last line, I see where you can bring up a mattress and some furniture. If that is the case then you might also want to factor into your decision what the approximate costs might be to purchase those items upon arrival versus towing them up in a trailer. Hauling the trailer costs you $1600 according to your notes but will it cost you more than that to replace the things you leave behind?
    Thanks those are some good points. Yes the trailer would be able to haul more of my things, the reason for the move is because my girlfriend grew up in Anchorage and she wants to be closer to her family. So this will be a long stay in Alaska.

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    Thanks for the input @anchskier ... I did buy a milepost book and it is very informative. Has anyone ever towed a trailer through Canada into Alaska? I will be entering Canada through the east access. And trying to stay east of the Rockies to avoid mountainous terrain especially if I have a trailer. I do realize that eventually I will have to cross mountains. This will be the first and last time we make this drive for a few years, anyone have any must see points of interest that you loved?

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    I have done it six times from Syracuse NY. Only took me 6 days. I sleep in the truck camper anywhere I wanted too. No one has ever given me any problems camping anywhere in the US or Canada.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daveinthebush View Post
    I have done it six times from Syracuse NY. Only took me 6 days. I sleep in the truck camper anywhere I wanted too. No one has ever given me any problems camping anywhere in the US or Canada.
    O cool, the reason I am allowing 14 days is to do some sight seeing and allow for hold ups at the border, or flat tires, or maybe we might take a canoeing trip one day. We are only going to drive during the day. We both drove from pasco Washington to Pennsylvania in 3 days and that was really enjoyable so we are going to try and take our time this trip because it will be the last one for a few years at least. Which part of the border did you cross? Sweet grass? Or over near Winnipeg?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eroupe117 View Post
    (snip) Has anyone ever towed a trailer through Canada into Alaska?

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    Yup, that's how we moved up 17 years ago. We pulled it with a toyota truck with the gutless 3 liter v-6 engine and the trailer was a 14' wells cargo that was likely grossly overloaded. We made it just fine, though going up the mountains we'd be going about 45 mph, and by the end of the trip the brake rotors were starting to warp from going down the hills. With a 1/2 ton truck you should have no problems, but have at least one spare tire for the trailer (we had no flats)

    We ended up staying in hotels every night, we had two small children with us and after multiple stops for nursing and diaper changes every day, the last thing I wanted to do was set up a tent. If I was doing the drive w/o small children I'd say sleeping in the back of a truck in a camper shell would be the way to go. Put a nice air mattress in there and you're set.

    A couple words of advise is plan on averaging 50 mph through Canada and Alaska when figuring out how many miles you'll cover per day. You're not driving on super highways and every summer is construction season so you'll have sections of gravel road and sections of 1 lane road with pilot vehicles. Carry 5 or 10 gallons of extra gas as there might be a long section of two where you can't find a gas station that's open, and try and fill up whenever your tank gets below 1/2 full.

    Enjoy the trip and allow some time to stop and see the sights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    ... and try and fill up whenever your tank gets below 1/2 full.
    This is very good advise, and not just because there might be long stretches with no gas stations, there might just be longer stretches between reasonably priced gas stations. My rule of thumb was to fill up in any big town where prices were "normal" even if I was 3/4 tank or more. You might be able to make the next small town just fine with what you have left, but many of the gas stations in the smaller communities in between the big towns/cities cost close to double what you find in other places. It will mean you will need to stop for gas a few extra times, but you will save a lot of money by doing it.

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    Thanks for the advice @paul H and @anchskier. I may be leaning towards the trailer now. I just need to see if I can find one in my budget. Filling up at every major city is a very good idea

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    One thing I found when we drove up was when you do stop for gas remember that the posted price on the stations sings is $ per LITER, not per gallon. Might want to take that into consideration.

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    My dad has done the Alcan many times.
    One thing he told me was to always put your gas on your credit card.
    It's easier than cash and you get the best most current exchange rate. I guess some of the small stations don't keep up on the exchange rates and will take advantage of you for their benefit when you pay cash.

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    Check with your card carrier though. Some companies charge extra fees for use out of country

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    My dad has done the Alcan many times.
    One thing he told me was to always put your gas on your credit card.
    It's easier than cash and you get the best most current exchange rate. I guess some of the small stations don't keep up on the exchange rates and will take advantage of you for their benefit when you pay cash.

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    Visa charges an international exchange fee on each transaction, and that gets pretty spendy. I prefer to pay cash, preferably Canadian, or if necessary in "Yanks". Either way I've never had an issue getting a square deal on the exchange rate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eroupe117 View Post

    Hello all, i'm new here but have read many relocating experiences. My girlfriend and I have been planing this trip since January, and plan on leaving around august 7th. It seems like time is speeding up as we get closer to august. I am estimating 10-14 days for the drive. I have made a simple chart to help organize my options for driving up. If anyone has any suggestions throw them at me!

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    When I first came to Alaska, I drove through BC. I stopped at an RCMP station and the Mountie there advised me to just camp wherever I found a good spot. When I voiced my concern about personal safety, he said "This is Canada." I've driven the Alcan north bound three times and south bound one time. I drove the entire length of the trans-Canada highway, from the AK border to the tip of Gaspesie peninsula in Quebec, and never felt I was in any danger (except that one time, when I camped on a small pull out, so small I parked my VW at a 45 degree angle to the road, and put my tent on the other side of the car...THAT was scary.)

    I've side of the road camped...in a tent, or just slept in my car, in every province in Canada without issue. You see a lot of Vanagons in the summer doing it. (I met a Québécois coulple in BC that had done it all the way from Montreal and were heading back. We passed them off and on for several days eastbound.)

    HOWEVER, I will say that, on my last trip (last summer), I did notice new signs in the rest areas that said no overnight parking, but only in Yukon Territory...and I parked overnight anyway with no issue. Yukon Territory has some really nice campgrounds anyway.

    My first drive up was in September, and the scenery was beautiful, right in the thick of fall colors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    My dad has done the Alcan many times.
    One thing he told me was to always put your gas on your credit card.
    It's easier than cash and you get the best most current exchange rate. I guess some of the small stations don't keep up on the exchange rates and will take advantage of you for their benefit when you pay cash.

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    That only works if you have a card that has the little chip AND the station's chip reader works. My last trip into Canada, no gas station would accept my card, and Inwas close to trying to steal gas with a siphon hose. Several phone calls to Bano of America got our chip card activated, then, in Whitehorse, I filled up at a station that had a broken chip reader. At one point I thought I would have to just drive off and run for it. They took a mix of Canadian and US dollars-basically everything I had on me.

    I will never go into Canada again without enough Canadian cash to get me all the way through the country and back to the US side.

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