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Thread: Advice, Experience, and Suggestions about our trip to Alaska from Tampa, FL. Thanks.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Matanuska-Susitna, AK / Tampa Bay, FL Areas

    Default Advice, Experience, and Suggestions about our trip to Alaska from Tampa, FL. Thanks.

    We are asking for people's advice, experience, and suggestions about our trip to Alaska from Tampa, FL. We are starting up the 2nd of April and should reach Edmonton, Canada from the Tampa Bay, FL Area around the 15th of April or shortly thereafter. We will be traveling 250 to 500 miles a day and taking our time trying to make this a trip of a lifetime for my teens along the way.

    I was wondering how the road conditions may or may not be like and in our case... how deep the snow around the Sutton-Chickaloon Area might be around the 3rd or 4th week of April?

    I have new Mudders on my lifted Jeep but on my small 21 foot motor home the tires are at the point where this may be their last trip. I have seen on several posts people have mentioned taking extra tires. I certainly do not want myself and my teens to be stranded any where. Is the Alaskan Highway that bad?

    Thanks to those giving advice. If one knows a little bit, whether good or bad, it helps one think about what is needed and needed done before such a trip is undertaken. Any suggestions about traveling through Canada would be helpful too.

    Thanks everyone. We really do appreciate the help.

  2. #2
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    KP, the dingleberry of Alaska


    The highway is improving every year; it's the improvement that makes it bad. When they strip the road to re-pave, there's stretches of gravel, sometimes miles long, that love to shred your tires. GO SLOW THROUGH THE GRAVEL! It saves your rubber and the drivers going south. One time an oncoming truck spit a rock at my windshield that blew glass all over the inside of the car. Windshield held, barely. If your tires are siped, you'll probably lose a couple anyway. Don't even think about coming without AAA.
    " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

  3. #3
    Member hooternanny's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Interior, AK

    Default drive through bc as much as possible!

    somewhere in bristish columbia there is a park named "canadian rocky mountain national park" SEE IT

    the area is or was full of animals this time of year. or more like may 1st from what i remember. also still went through some snow, both on the road (little bit) and it snowed some (little bit).

    take some extra gas cans possibly, (i did and have been thankful for that). sometimes is so far beteen gas stations that you may run out.

    the border partol going into canada is often a little bit of a run around hassel. you need to have "X" amount of dollars, and not have a crimal record.......and if you got a car/truck full of stuff- there probably going to unload it all on the ground and route through it a bit. it only happened to me once, but 2 others i know as well.

    for some reason anything criminal you have on your record they know about, be it 20 year old speeding ticket or not. once you get past the border check it is awesome in canada.

    i think yuk254 is, who you'll find is a user on this site is in canada. likely others as well. perhaps they can tell you more.

    early april is probably still too early. the road gets heaves from the frost (not so much in canada as here) so one good bump at high speed and you could be crashed. expect some construction in progress somewhere fixing that. and often vehicles crashed in winter time may not be removed yet, so you'll see them on the side of the road possibly

    safe traveling

  4. #4


    That time of year, expect any kind of weather. You will hit snow for some portions of the drive. It could snow significantly still at that time of year, so be prepared. Warm clothes, food, etc... in case you end up having to pull over for an extended amount of time until it gets taken care of. Most likely you won't have any issues, but better to be prepared.

    I just drove down from Alaska through Canada to Washington and further south in November and back up again in December. Roads were in pretty good shape, but you will be further to the east for a good portion of your drive, so I can't say anything about that leg of the trip. The worst section was north of Whitehorse until a ways south of Glenallen, primarily due to frost-heaves. With some vehicles and older suspensions, these can really throw you around a lot. Best is to just slow down and work your way through. I found driving in the dark was actually easier because the low angle of the headlights really showed the shadows of the heaves, but most people are not going to opt for night driving especially with the increase in possible animal conflicts. Watch for black ice, especially with the older tires on the motorhome. It doesn't take much to lose control on a road that looks just fine.

    Oh, watch for animals! The bigger they are, the less interested they are about getting out of your way. I swear the bison know you don't want to hit them and are just being arrogant with their sleeping in the middle of the highway at night. The deer are just playing their own game of chicken but are too dumb to get the timing right (thus they become hood ornaments). Elk seem to try to avoid cars, but moose just think you are getting in their way. By the way, I saw all of the above within a 2 hour span in the Llaird Hotsprings area on my way back north in December.

    I had a packed car and had no issues at any of the 4 border crossings I did. I don't know if there is a need anymore to carry cash like they used to require, but it wouldn't be a bad idea to have $500+ just in case. Credit cards work fine, but be aware that at least VISA charges a currency conversion fee that comes to around $1.50/purchase (depends on the amount of the purchase). I don't know about other credit cards. Maybe getting a good wad of canadian cash could get you around this extra expense.

  5. #5


    One other thing that you will need is a Passport. Everything else will be wasted time without that. Good luck on your trip and enjoy.

  6. #6
    Member power drifter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Down wind of 2 Glaciers


    In BC Canada Its well worth going a bit out of your way to go thru Jasper and Banff. Very nice part of the Rockys. Laird Hot springs are a for sure lay over spot. Extra gas as some one said is good idea as over the years there where lots of small places built between the bigger places, but now most of them are closed down and just be sure to fill up in all the bigger places if you need gas or not. Also a year ago on a run down south I found that a lot of the gas pumps in the yukon doesn't take cards at the pumps and if they aren't open you get no gas. Trust me we slept at the pumps one night at about 0 degrees waiting for morning so we could get gas. The worst part of the road is about the last 100 miles in the yukon. I think the way they fix the frost heaves is to red flag them. when you see red flags slow down. If you are pulling a trailer slow down even more. Most of the road today is so much better then it used to be. For sure keep a eye out for big animals on the road. I have a photo of a big sign that says caution caribou on the road and there is like 15 caribou standing right there in the road. I had one of them that just wanted to run just in front of the truck and would not get out of the way even for the horn. almost had to bump him in the @$$ to get him out of the way.Good luck! Drive Safe!

  7. #7
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Eagle River

    Default The miles...

    The Milepost ( would be helpful in planning and guiding your trip. Larger Tampa bookstores likely have it. I'd consider it an indispensable guide.

    Tires: The thing about tires for us, driving up from the Pensacola area in 2000, was that even when you get to the next town, replacements may not be available. Agree with advice by cdubbin - slow down on gravel. We had a flat on gravel, on our skiff trailer. Wasn't til Whitehorse that we could find a replacement for the spare. Services in smaller towns was generally less than expected for similar size towns in the USA.

    Distance covered: While in the US, it's easy to dial-in number of miles to be covered daily, we found on this drive, it's best to let the conditions dictate how far you travel each day - which varied a lot depending on factors such as construction, rainfall, and in your case possibly snow. If you're in no hurry, it'll matter less.

    Good luck.


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