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Thread: Coming (Back) to Alaska-Do I bring the powerboat?

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    Default Coming (Back) to Alaska-Do I bring the powerboat?

    I have the opportunity to come back to AK for 3+ months starting in June (contract ending and the next one won't start for a while). I was there about 10 years ago for 9 months and brought only my canoe. this time I am considering bringing my powerboat for fishing/camping (and hunting if I can stay long enough). I was hoping that the members here would be able to advise me on whether or not this is a hair-brained idea.

    The boat is as follows
    15' Smoker Craft Alaskan (ironic) Semi-V hull with a high transom and only 1 (rear) seat, the rest of the boat is open. the semi-v is a v shaped bow and a flat bottomed stern
    25 hp merc 2 stroke (I think it is of early 1980's manufacture) Prop driven, short (shallow) drive shaft- I have had it in water as shallow as 2.5 feet deep
    Hummingbird depth finder
    Minn-Kota trolling motor
    Shorelander trailer with 12" tires

    I would be towing it up from outside.

    will this craft be of use in AK?
    Is towing it up a reasonable option?
    Do I need special protective equipment for the trip up the ALCAN?


    thanks in advance

    SMC

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    I just towed my Custom Weld 21' jet boat to Portland, Or 2 weeks ago, for I couldn't get it sold up here in Alaska. Coming back I towed a new utility trailer with some cargo that made it to Fort Saint John, BC and the tongue frame was bent so bad I had to spend an extra day getting it fixed at a welding shop. The Alcan highway from Haines Junction, Yukon to Glenallen, AK is very rough, especially from Haines to just past the border. The boat I towed had a tandem axle and it made OK. Just have your boat strapped down tightly and plan some extra time through that area. There's not much for any good motels between Whitehorse, Yukon to Tok, AK.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The boat would be useful on various lakes, I'd say except for very protected waters it would be unsuitable for saltwater use.

    Yup, the Alcan is tough on trailers that aren't tough. We habve one of those small 4X8 utility trailers that we boxed in with plywood and carried misc stuff in when we moved up. The tongue on the trailer bent, the axle bent and that made for a couple day delay in Dawson to get the repairs made. We also had 7 flat tires on that trailer. The small trailer tires don't seem to handle the gravel well. Our 14' wells cargo and both vehicles didn't have a single flat.

    I'd suggest at least 2 spares for the trailer, higher weight rated if possible, and put heavy mudflaps on your vehicle to keep from throwing up rocks that will ding your boat. Carry extra gas for your vehicle, gas stations can be spread far apart, and don't opperate 24 hours/day. Get a milepost, but be aware that not all places listed will still be in business.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    I would bring it up, but I would take the motor off the transom and put it in your truck to give your transome a break from the frost heaves etc..... Too bad its not a 4 stroke, it gives you more use if you wanted to use it in the Kenia in July. Also, with the electric trolling motor, it gives you flexibility of using it in numerous lakes that don't allow gas motors. You will gets lots of use out of it IMO. Get yourself a few extra tires and if you don't have the buddy bearing, install it so you can give your bearings a squirt now and then.

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    Thanks for the replies!

    I made the trip once before with a 4x8 utility trailer, and felt lucky I only blew one tire on the way.

    the bearing buddies are already installed, and extra gas cans mounted- great advice (nice to see that I don't always think like I am from Outside)

    I never thought about taking the motor off, but I see I will be following that advice as well.

    thanks again

    anyone else have any words of wisdom for a Cheechako?

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SMC527 View Post
    anyone else have any words of wisdom for a Cheechako?
    Enjoy the Trip, take plenty of pictures, watch out for wildlife and don't piss off the Guys at the Border or give them a reason to crawl up your Butt. The last 50 miles or so of Canadian Border is kinda like riding a bucking bronco with frost heaves so take your time. I haven't driven it in a few years, but I can't imagine them putting in any money into it and fixing it any time soon.

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    Default How about rivers?

    Are there rivers that I would be able to run up with this rig, or is a jet boat requires to really get anywhere?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    There are definately rivers that can be run with a prop, but bring a few extra props.

    Also it's a good idea to inspect the bearings on your trailer before you take off on your trip, and make sure they are well greased.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    which rivers would you suggest running/which ones would you suggest avoiding?

    I am actually going to bring 3 extra props=they certainly don't take up much space or weight

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadFisher View Post
    There's not much for any good motels between Whitehorse, Yukon to Tok, AK.
    Nope, but there's some darned fine fishing through there.
    You don't need a hotel if you have a tent.

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    Bump to the top for more recommendations on which rivers I can run up/camp with this rig

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    You can run down river from Burma Landing on the Little Su if the river is no too low. You can run down the Big Su to the Deska no problems. Most of those older 15-25 Mercs you can get a rock hopper for the lower unit. You can run the Lower Kenia except in July.

    http://rockhoppermotorguard.com/

    http://www.cabelas.com/prop-protecti...or-guard.shtml

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    thanks Chico! are there other river you would suggest? I would like to be able to use the powerboat to get as far back into the bush as possible

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    I'm sure there are, but those rivers I mentioned are the only rivers I've been on except up the Knik river put in at the bridge on the Glenn Hwy. I don't spend much time on rivers as I love the salt way more. With the rock hopper, you should be able to hit any river with 16 inches or more of water and that will depend greatly on the time of the year and rainfall. Rock Hoppers are used by lots of folks running rivers and as long as your engine is not locked down, when you hit a rock, the engine will come out of the water and if you come into gravel, it will do the same protecting your lower unit and prop. You can also tilt you motor up and putt up river if you don't have much current, in 12 inches of water depending on how much water your drafting, but in no way are you gonna go as far as a jet unit will. Hope you have good summer. BTW, even with a rock hopper, I suggest you carry an extra prop and file with you to turn down any nicks you may get. My prop on my Dads original 1972 20 HP mercury has a few chunks missing but it does just fine still with no motor shack.

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