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Thread: Driving up from WA State

  1. #1
    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Default Driving up from WA State

    I'm heading to Spokane tomorrow to drive a vehicle to Anchorage at the end of the week.

    I'm in need of information about whether it's wprth taking the Cassiar Highway instead of the Alcan once I get to Prince George. I'll be towing a small UHaul trailer.

    I understand that the Cassiar cuts about 120 miles off the trip to Anchorage, but if it means a rougher, harder road to navigate, I'll head to Dawson Creek....

    Advice?

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    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    I'm heading to Spokane tomorrow to drive a vehicle to Anchorage at the end of the week.

    I'm in need of information about whether it's wprth taking the Cassiar Highway instead of the Alcan once I get to Prince George. I'll be towing a small UHaul trailer.

    I understand that the Cassiar cuts about 120 miles off the trip to Anchorage, but if it means a rougher, harder road to navigate, I'll head to Dawson Creek....

    Advice?
    Jim:

    I wouldn't advise taking that route this time of the year, probably pretty nasty.

  3. #3

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    Stick to the main route this time of year. The Cassiar is far less traveled and the distance between fuel-up points and other help (tire repair, etc...especially with a trailer) is greater in many cases. Maybe not an issue if nothing goes wrong, but if you hit bad weather or need to use fuel faster for some other reason, you might have proboems. The truckers typically stick to the main route and they have a vested interest in cutting time/distance if possible.

    For you, you are looking at 3-5 days of travel (depending on how you drive it). A couple hours isn't going to even be noticed and the risk you would take to shave it off isn't worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    I'm heading to Spokane tomorrow to drive a vehicle to Anchorage at the end of the week.

    I'm in need of information about whether it's wprth taking the Cassiar Highway instead of the Alcan once I get to Prince George. I'll be towing a small UHaul trailer.

    I understand that the Cassiar cuts about 120 miles off the trip to Anchorage, but if it means a rougher, harder road to navigate, I'll head to Dawson Creek....

    Advice?
    Stick to the ALCAN for now, that'll just give you a reason to go check out the Cassiar during the summer at another time. It's a beautiful run, just not in the winter. Not much for services or ammenities this time of year. I personnally wouldn't do it. Good luck...

  5. #5
    Member Cliffhanger's Avatar
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    Default Thanks

    I'm getting on the plane to Spokane in a couple of hours. Thank you all for the good, and consistent, advise. I'll stick with the AlCan.

  6. #6
    Moderator kingfisherktn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    I'm getting on the plane to Spokane in a couple of hours. Thank you all for the good, and consistent, advise. I'll stick with the AlCan.
    Hope you get out before they shut down the airport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cliffhanger View Post
    I'm heading to Spokane tomorrow to drive a vehicle to Anchorage at the end of the week.

    I'm in need of information about whether it's wprth taking the Cassiar Highway instead of the Alcan once I get to Prince George. I'll be towing a small UHaul trailer.

    I understand that the Cassiar cuts about 120 miles off the trip to Anchorage, but if it means a rougher, harder road to navigate, I'll head to Dawson Creek....

    Advice?
    Just my .02 cents. If you leave from Spokane, go to Golden, BC then to Lake Louise, Jasper.
    Then head east to just before Hinton, go north on 40 to Grand Cache, Grande Prairie. Then head to Fort St. John, etc.
    Yes I know you'll hit snow, best way to go from Spokane. Traveled it many times in the winter.
    After saying all of that, if going to AK, I always take the Cassiar . You can fuel at the south end, Dease Lake and the north end.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    Just my .02 cents. If you leave from Spokane, go to Golden, BC then to Lake Louise, Jasper.
    Then head east to just before Hinton, go north on 40 to Grand Cache, Grande Prairie. Then head to Fort St. John, etc.
    Yes I know you'll hit snow, best way to go from Spokane. Traveled it many times in the winter.
    After saying all of that, if going to AK, I always take the Cassiar . You can fuel at the south end, Dease Lake and the north end.
    Hope you don't mind me jumping on this thread for info. too.
    I am leaving from Spokane April 1st.
    I was wondering if there was a reason for going to Golden BC rather than
    taking 93 from Radium Hot Springs to get up to Lake Louise.

    We are taking 2 vehicles and the wife is not thrilled about driving on slick
    roads so I want to stick to the easier routes.
    If there is a particular pass or difficult section of highway I can avoid
    It will drop her stress level a few notches.
    Thanks,
    Bryan

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Weather Updates?

    Hey Cliffhanger,

    Sent you a PM, I'm driving up right behind you, hope to leave Portland Fri aft or Eve,3/12 after gettin' some new rubber underneath my Saab "Snowmachine"

    If you get blasted by or just hear of heavy weather I'd appreciate a heads up,

    Got 9 days to get to Homer so don't need to push any blizzard action

    Is it still dumping up there Homer, or Skagway, Haines folks?

    I'll be online sporadically, Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan V View Post
    Hope you don't mind me jumping on this thread for info. too.
    I am leaving from Spokane April 1st.
    I was wondering if there was a reason for going to Golden BC rather than
    taking 93 from Radium Hot Springs to get up to Lake Louise.

    We are taking 2 vehicles and the wife is not thrilled about driving on slick
    roads so I want to stick to the easier routes.
    If there is a particular pass or difficult section of highway I can avoid
    It will drop her stress level a few notches.
    Thanks,
    Bryan
    A little faster going to Golden and you take out one mountain pass.

    If you want to take out more passes, 76 klicks north of Lake Louise go east on 11.
    Then north on 22, then west on 43. It's good roads, but a bit longer.

    Lots of ways to go on the southern end of your trip.
    If you go from Lake Louise to Jasper, you will most likely hit snow. I wouldn't worry to much about the passes, the roads are all good.

    I think the least amount of passes would be to go to Osoyoos, Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George and head north on 97 to Fort St John. Remember on the east routes you are zig zagging in and out of the Rockies.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelers View Post
    A little faster going to Golden and you take out one mountain pass.

    If you want to take out more passes, 76 klicks north of Lake Louise go east on 11.
    Then north on 22, then west on 43. It's good roads, but a bit longer.

    Lots of ways to go on the southern end of your trip.
    If you go from Lake Louise to Jasper, you will most likely hit snow. I wouldn't worry to much about the passes, the roads are all good.

    I think the least amount of passes would be to go to Osoyoos, Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George and head north on 97 to Fort St John. Remember on the east routes you are zig zagging in and out of the Rockies.

    Thanks!
    After looking at the Osoyoos -Kamloops route it looks like it might actually be shorter or at least faster anyway.
    What do you think?
    Bryan

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    I always started from Seattle and went up the Fraser River, even when leaving from Idaho; a little longer, maybe, but better roads. Never made much sense to me to "zigzag in and out of the Rockies." Make sure you stop at Liard Hot Springs; it's about halfway up the highway and heaven on earth. And go slow on the bare gravel!
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bryan V View Post
    Thanks!
    After looking at the Osoyoos -Kamloops route it looks like it might actually be shorter or at least faster anyway.
    What do you think?
    Bryan
    Not really much difference in distance any way you go (within reason). Of course it depends where you are leaving from. I live in Bonners Ferry so the Osoyoos thing is out of the way for me (all though I've gone that way just to see the area).
    If your wife would be more comfortable on the less mountainousness (spell check says that's a word?) roads, I'd do the Osoyoos-Kamloops route. Less mountainousness in BC terms anyway.
    The bad thing about the Osoyoos way is you don't get to drive through Bonners Ferry. You could stop at the Chatter Box cafe, listen to us guys bad mouth those that need it and brag how smart our friends are .
    Like anchskier said, couple of hours won't make that much difference.
    We used to do the Grand Cache thing back when it was gravel, thought we had some kind of secrete route I guess. I still go that way when heading up the east side. I sure don't like paying just to drive thru the park though.
    I'm sure you'll have a good trip.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    I always started from Seattle and went up the Fraser River, even when leaving from Idaho; a little longer, maybe, but better roads. Never made much sense to me to "zigzag in and out of the Rockies." Make sure you stop at Liard Hot Springs; it's about halfway up the highway and heaven on earth. And go slow on the bare gravel!
    I went by Liard Hot Springs in Mar 2003 at -30 degrees, so I was looking for a nice hot dip, BUT it was closed up tight for the winter when I stopped there. My other 4 trips were during the summers and fall, so it was opened.

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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    I have stopped many times at laird hot springs and for sure it's a good place to lay over. We where going thru there last winter and stopped and If I recall they may have had the gate closed so you couldn't drive in but they told us at the lodge across the the road from there that you can still walk in with no problem. Winter is a great time for soaking there. The water is still warm but it's a little bit cooler then other times of the year. I will never forget the one time in late march many years ago we stopped and the snow was still deep but getting into 40s in the day. We where the only ones there for hours and the strange thing was there where these huge frogs sitting all around the pools edge. It was almost like it could not be real there where so many of them on the edge of snow and warm water. I would not use their composting outhouse they built back by the first pool a few years back. I have been in some bad places but that is right up there. Also in that area I would not do much night driving as there are lots of animals on the roads. I mean like lots and the buffalo are almost impossible to see and you do not want to hit one of them as it would be like hitting a concrete bridge. Safe travels and great soaking!

  16. #16
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Great Driving Today, so Far

    I'm coming up by hwy 1 east and then 97 north and the driving is really nice

    Bone dry roads, with a tail wind of 30 knots makes for a great drive.

    Just pulled into Prince George, first 700 miles behind me coming up from Portland through Bellingham, border cross was ten minute wait.

    For those doing this drive soon, It's a cruise so far, no tourists on the road, hardly anyone on the road pokin' along.

    I even saw a wolf off the road about 50 mi south of Prince George, working the edge of a farm field. Excellent sighting, positive ID, I could hardly believe it

  17. #17

    Default Llaird Hotsprings

    When I drove through in November and December, the hotsprings were open, but nobody else was around. Strange walking out in the middle of the woods when it was pitch black (except for the stars). It was around -20 or so both times, so water felt good, getting out was another story. The walk to the upper pool was closed off and didn't look like anybody had been up there.

  18. #18
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Liard was Great

    Just pulled into Anch last night after a fantastic drive

    Have to say Thanks for reminding me of Liard Hot Springs, I really had a great Soak there but had to be reminded to plan for that stop. Seems it is easy to get too goal oriented and be tempted to blast by there so after reading these posts on my way up I planned for and hit it right at 7pm, a bit after dark and What A Soak!!

    They do close the gate at 10pm for the night so make sure you plan for it. Then also don't plan for much driving afterwards as you will be TOO RELAXED. I pushed on to Watson Lake that night and it was really hard to pull off, should have stayed there for the night after a couple hours in the pools

    Drive was Smooth, roads were real good, It was pretty heavy Frost Heaves north of Burwash Landing til 50mi south of Tok but otherwise No Construction and dry roads, temps on 20's and 30's all the way

  19. #19
    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Glad you stopped. I always stay there and try and get a second soak in early in the morning before going again. It seams to be a good way to start a days drive, but if I had been driving then stopped I would not want to go on after the evening soak. I think some times of just driving over there for 2 days and than come back home. You know that's a pretty good idea I had not been thinking about again till now.I like it there in this late winter early spring time, it's the best.

  20. #20

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    I know this is a little off topic but I didn't want to start a new thread
    just for this one question.

    Has anyone had any experience driving in to Canada with temporary
    license permits on their car?
    I will have 2- three day temp. permits to get me up to Alaska.
    It should give me 2 or three extra days just in case I break down or something.

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