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Thread: ALCAN in late March/early April?

  1. #1
    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Default ALCAN in late March/early April?

    If everything goes to plan my new wife and I will be moving to Alaska come late march to early april, maybe even later april. What can we expect for road conditions. I have a 08 4WD tacoma and will probably be hauling a small uhaul trailer as we don't have much. I know how to drive in the snow/ice, just wondering how the roads will be. Oh and we're coming from Oregon

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    I've driven the ALCAN twice in winter, once early in March with a Scion xB (one of the smallest cars out there!) no problems to speak of- I was impressed with how well the road crews kept things ship shape. Ironically, the biggest problem I encountered was parking lot snow in some of the towns I stayed in- doesn't take much more than 4-6" to really bog down a small car. The road conditions declined somewhat after reaching south central AK. . .

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    Member AK DUX's Avatar
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    I hope this is useful...I just drove it in late Feb 09. Its a month earlier, but I don't think it's going to warm up much by March. Weather was sunny (too sunny), but the roads beyond Ft St John were solid ice all the way. I was towing an 18 trailer with my pickup....caught a rut and did a complete 180...the good news is there are snow berms on both sides of the road to keep you from running off the highway. Other that no problems...on ice, just be steady with no quick movements and watch your brakes. Trucks will go by you fast...so watch out for them.
    Just be careful....stop at every open gas station because most are closed. TAke a couple jugs of gas with you....I used 5 gallons once to make it to a station. Muncho Lake lodge and Destruction Bay are open and good places to stay, eat, and refuel.
    Good luck....watch out for the buffalo on the road...that time of year you may see Stone Sheep too.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It depends year to year. We moved up in late April of '97, and didn't have any snow or ice, but we were prepared for it.

    You could be caught in nasty blizzard, or you could have smooth sailing. Just prepare for the worst and hope for the best. You'll need the winter clothing, snow shovel and snow/ice goodies for the truck eventually.

  5. #5
    Member AkKevin's Avatar
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    Default Mossyhorn

    You might say I'm a professional. I drive big truck. I've been on the AlCan at that time of the year.
    I would shoot for the first week of April. The weather snow wise should be tame. The road should be in good shape. If you wait until things begin to thaw the road will start to frost heave and bust up.
    Travel as light as possible. Look in to palatalizing your housewares and have them shipped up by a trucking company (not a furniture moving company). Get rid of the trailer if you can it will be less stressful on the vehicle and you won't have to worry about flats, seized bearings ect.
    Must haves:
    passports.
    map.
    extra gas.
    spare tires already mounted and the tools to change them .
    warm clothing(sleeping bags)
    something to eat and drink.

    good luck.

    AkKevin

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    Talking Come on up...

    You have be provided some good advice already... but thought I would chime in also...

    The roads are far better now then they were when I first make that trip in "late March/Early April" of '85.

    As earlier stated your problems are with sudden blizzards, other traffic and fuel.

    Watch the weather reports, travel accordingly... also watch for forecast of snow in the higher elevations... get past them if able... Pink Mt to Ft. Nelson. We stopped and relaxed at Pink Mt... only to be "caught" by an added foot of snow. Hind sight being what it is... we could have easily drove on and beat the extra snow to this area.

    Watch out for the other guy... stay over as much as possible when meeting the big rigs. Watch for road kills and try not to create any. The buff's don't know you are actually bigger than they are... and they react accordingly. A "small" stone sheep into a wheel well and A frame will send you where you don't want to go...

    If you are able add fuel capacity.
    This past October I drove a 40' bus up to AK... before leaving the lower 48, I added four each 40 gallon fuel tanks in the luggage compartments. Not only did I have the fuel needed to make it to fuel stops, but I now had the capacity to by-pass the higher priced locations... (Laird River). The effort well paid for the added expense of the tanks, pumps and lines by being able to refuel at lower priced locations... (Gasbuddy.com)

    Knowing you are carrying an extra hundred gallons or more will lower your blood pressure some... did mine.

    Always have enough fuel to set out several hours or a night in the ditch...

    It is not about your driving ability or the condition of your truck and tires... but about the other guys and the road conditions. Hopefully this and the other suggestions are worth the penny you owe us...

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    Member mossyhorn's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the information. We're going to try and make our trip as late as work will allow us to. It's starting to sound more like mid to late April. So hopefully that will be better.

  8. #8
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    It'll likely be worse. I'd much prefer to drive on the snow and ice in early April than the mud and break-up water of late April.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

  9. #9
    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    I've driven the highway every month of the year and it just depends on weather. Packed snow and ice on the road are fine (better get used to it) when it's cold out. Temps get above freezin' and hello skating rink. Just be ready for everything from -10 to +40 temps. If you've got 300 miles range with your truck you don't need extra. I was paying the equivalent of $4.50 US per gallon in BC and the Yukon a few weeks ago. I agree with not pulling a trailer if possible, it makes things a lot more complicated in nasty stuff. Done it before but it's not as fun as bobtailin'.

    The best part about traveling off peak season is the solitude. Slow down and enjoy the views and the lack of human activity. Keep the daily mile totals reasonable and enjoy yourself.

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