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Thread: Going the other way - Driving from Anchorage to Haines 3rd week of January?

  1. #1
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    Knik-Fairview, Alaska
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    Default Going the other way - Driving from Anchorage to Haines 3rd week of January?

    Hi ... 14 years in Alaska and we're getting ready to move out. The new job didn't happen during easy-drivin' summer, so we go when we can. We'll be driving from Anchorage to Haines to catch the January 18th ferry to Bellingham. We have an older Ford F-250 4x4 equipped with nearly new BF Goodrich A/T's. I have a few questions;

    - I assume we need to overnight in Tok, Beaver, or somewhere else ...don't mind leaving a day early and being bored in Haines if need be, but wonder where mid-winter hotels can be had along the way and if there are any restrictions on what time to arrive ...showing up at 2am due to weather just to find the place closed and nobody can be reached would not be a good thing.

    - What towns might have open hotels in them along the way?

    - How much slower is the trip in the winter, assuming no major storm?

    - Does my truck sound like it's rigged OK for this trip? The A/Ts work fine around Anchorage and the Valley, but I wonder about elevation, snow/ice, passes and that sort of thing along the way. (Yes, will buy a Milepost tomorrow)

    Anything else that I should know?

    Thanks,
    Brian

  2. #2
    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
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    Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
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    Default

    I have never made the trip to Haines, but I have friends that did often as they have family in Juneau. They told me of many a hard times driving it in the winter. I have an "older" F250 as well, but I wouldn't trust it mechanically. If you do then it should be fine, although a set of tire chains wouldn't hurt.

    All I can say is keep and eye on the weather, and if a storm is predicted during your time frame, you may want to get there ahead of the storm, or give yourself more than an extra day to get there....I don't know if they still do, but years ago I believe they used to actually close the road due to heavy snowfall until the graders could get it plowed sufficiently. You might want to find out about that for sure....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

  3. #3
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    Jul 2008
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    Default Have a plan B for everything

    How are your belts,hoses,battery,alternator,drivetrain,block heater? The cold ice mother will be checking all those things and you should too. My wife says the Alaskan Highway is better in winter as there's little traffic and the surface can be smoother but the last time we were in Haines Junction it was -55F. Coastal winter gear is just an under layer at those temps. A -20 bag is little help alone in that cold. I would be very wary of mechanical breakdown.

    Tok will be mostly open. Beaver Creek always looks boarded up though there is a good normal hours fuel and cinnamon buns stop there all year. We run hard and make Haines Junction from the valley but it's a long drive. Haines Junction has two or three motels. The Alcan Motel always has electric hookups and clean beds but not much else. A 24 hour fuel stop was outside the Junction last trip. It's unattended and uses credit cards. Canada likes chip cards so that might be a factor. I would not run late at night in a older vehicle as you may be waiting quite a while for the next vehicle.

    Traction improves with lower temps. Every thing else is a negative with the cold. The pull out of Haines Junction to Haines should be your biggest terrain challenge. That area is prone to snow drifts. There are online reports of road conditions which should be useful.

    If your a good winter driver with a good weather window and a solid vehicle it can be pleasant. Be ready to survive really cold temperatures though. Help can be long time away out there. If things go wrong your often on your own.






    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    I have never made the trip to Haines, but I have friends that did often as they have family in Juneau. They told me of many a hard times driving it in the winter. I have an "older" F250 as well, but I wouldn't trust it mechanically. If you do then it should be fine, although a set of tire chains wouldn't hurt.

    All I can say is keep and eye on the weather, and if a storm is predicted during your time frame, you may want to get there ahead of the storm, or give yourself more than an extra day to get there....I don't know if they still do, but years ago I believe they used to actually close the road due to heavy snowfall until the graders could get it plowed sufficiently. You might want to find out about that for sure....

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