Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default Florida to Alaska

    My wife and I love long road trips in a mid-size SUV. This past summer we drove from Tampa to Seattle and back, last year Tampa to Chicago and then Route 66 to Santa Monica, and the year before that from Tampa to Nova Scotia. Never for any particular reason, we just love traveling the country. Trips have taken six weeks and covered almost 12,000 miles each. No problem.
    For 2016, we're considering driving to Anchorage Alaska, either diagonally across the U.S. (again) or straight up to Canada and then across through Winnipeg and Calgary. Never been there.
    Any thoughts? Anyone done this? Are we bonkers? We travel well together and both hate flying- you don't see from 35,000 feet up what we see from the windshield of a car.
    If you have any thoughts or suggestions, we're open to all. Thanks.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 10-22-2015 at 07:08 PM. Reason: Fixed Typo

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default The Milepost

    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    The very best advise I can give you is to purchase a copy of The Milepost - the bible of all who take the track north from the lower 48.

    Having driven to AK and back three times in the last dozen years or so, I can say you are in for a treat. If you can, may I suggest you leave more than just 6 weeks, and take your time both there, and back. There are many different routes you can take both through the lower 48 and Canada. The Milepost describes them all... services along the way, scenery, condition of roads and points of interest. Be sure you get the excellent map which comes with The Milepost.

    You could either pick up an old copy now, or wait till the the new one comes out next March.

    If you have any further questions or hesitations about this trip, be assured, the answer will be in The Milepost.

    Might see you on the road. Am planning my fourth trip for next year.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,504

    Default

    There are a few of the regulars, including myself, who have made the trip up to Alaska. When my husband and I went up, we departed from San Diego at the end of June, went up through British Columbia to Dawson Creek, took the Alaska Highway up to Fairbanks, toured through Alaska, and came back down the AK Highway as well. We traveled with my parents - they were towing a travel trailer with their truck, and we were towing a 5th wheel with our truck. We came back down to Dawson Creek and then headed into Jasper, Banff, and Yoho National Parks.

    Another trip, a long time ago with my parents, we traveled through Winnipeg and Calgary, but the purpose of the trip was to travel between Chicago and Banff, Jasper and Yoho.

    Now....next question....how long are you prepared to take for this trip? Going up to Alaska via the AK Highway, or any of the smaller highways, is definitely not a freeway trip. It takes a lot longer, and with so much to see and do on the way, especially along The Highway. When we went up, some days we drove as few as 50 miles, but the most we drove on one day on the highway was about 275 or 300 miles.


    Donna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,315

    Default A Primary Route

    I wouldn't suggest heading straight north to Canada, then across Canada, before heading up to Alaska for a couple of reasons. First, this trip is already going to be considerably longer than anything you've done so far, so there's no reason to needlessly add even more miles. And second because, with all due respect to Canada (especially western Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta) that would be an awful lot of flat prairie. Remember the central plains of North America get wider as you go farther north.

    What I'd suggest is that, yes, you go 'diagonally across the U.S. (again)' but by a completely different route, aiming for Calgary instead of Seattle. North of Calgary are some of the most scenic ranges of the Rockies and these are well represented in several Canadian national parks including Banff and Jasper. Going up through those parks would put you in position to continue northbound on AB-40/AB-734/AB-43/BC-2 to Dawson Creek BC, the traditional start of the Alcan Highway.

    Then again, on the way back, find yet another routing. But since you're already going to be covering over 10,000 miles by relatively direct routes, eschew heading for eastern or even central Canada and instead save that area at the top of the Great Lakes as destination for another trip.

    AZBuck

  5. Default

    Thanks, I'll do just that. Will have some reading and research to do!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    Hi, and Welcome to the Great American Roadtrip Forum.

    The very best advise I can give you is to purchase a copy of The Milepost - the bible of all who take the track north from the lower 48.

    Having driven to AK and back three times in the last dozen years or so, I can say you are in for a treat. If you can, may I suggest you leave more than just 6 weeks, and take your time both there, and back. There are many different routes you can take both through the lower 48 and Canada. The Milepost describes them all... services along the way, scenery, condition of roads and points of interest. Be sure you get the excellent map which comes with The Milepost.

    You could either pick up an old copy now, or wait till the the new one comes out next March.

    If you have any further questions or hesitations about this trip, be assured, the answer will be in The Milepost.

    Might see you on the road. Am planning my fourth trip for next year.

    Lifey

  6. Default

    Donna and AZ, time is not a problem. We retired a few years ago (hence the three long road trips the last few years) and just enjoy being on the road. We thought that IF we make this trip, we'd leave somewhere around the 1st of June and take a couple of months. We're not RV'ers, my wife loves to search for hotels along the way using hotels.com and we kind of "wing it" as to when and where we stop.

    I do have a question about the road conditions- I had heard that some sections of the AK highway are gravelly, especially in late spring. I have a newer car and I'd hate to have it pitted during this trip. I don't expect (and don't want) four lane superhighways, but I don't want to bounce along the road and gravel either. Is there truth to this?

    Thank you all for responding. I had used this forum a couple of years ago planning our Route 66 trip, and that was a bucket list item that was totally satisfying with the help of the people on RTA.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,922

    Default Back to the Milepost.

    Quote Originally Posted by piccer18 View Post
    I do have a question about the road conditions- I had heard that some sections of the AK highway are gravelly, especially in late spring. I have a newer car and I'd hate to have it pitted during this trip. I don't expect (and don't want) four lane superhighways, but I don't want to bounce along the road and gravel either. Is there truth to this?
    The Alcan, as well as all other main routes north such as the Cassair are good ashphalt two lane roads with speed limits typically 95kkph.

    It is true that you will likely strike quite some road construction sections, as it is road construction season as soon as the snow melts. However, the new copy of The Milepost should give you a good guide as to where the main sections are likely to be. Last time I went, there was a section of road construction on the Alcan where we had to follow the pilot car for some 4km. The Milepost gets all this information from the authorities as to which roads are due for major maintenance. (I prefer to take the route I want to, and take road construction in my stride.)

    The Milepost will answer that and all your questions. It is absolutely invaluable. (No. I don't have shares in them.)

    If you could leave a wee bit earlier, you would be in AK for most of the period when the sun never sets - some three or four weeks. North of the Alaska Range, e.g. Fairbanks, you can read the newspaper without light at 1am. That, and sooooo much more. It is an experience not to be missed.

    You might also look at Dawson City, the Top of the World Highway and other more remote highways which all vary annually as to condition

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,504

    Default

    As Lifey said, there's an adage on the roads in the north: "There are two seasons: winter, and construction." You will likely hit some gravel sections. You are likely to have a rock hit your windshield. Sometimes the long distance truckers fly through the construction areas faster than they should, and throw a rock at you. There are frost heaves in the north - the Milepost usually warns you that they're coming. Be aware of those, as some can be like a series of low-lying "traffic bumps".

    Make sure that your insurance is good for Canada. We were able to get a windshield "ding" repaired in Whitehorse for a cheap amount without going into our insurance. It was a good repair, too, for it held another 7 years before we had to replace the entire windshield. (Our trip was about 15 years ago, so I am not quoting prices.) We were hit by a flying rock from a guy towing a boat on a trailer. My parents had to have their windshield fixed as well, as a trucker flew through a construction zone.

    I second the motion of getting the Milepost as soon as the new one comes out. If you can't get one locally (our Barnes & Noble carries them), Amazon and other online places carry them. It will have ads and information about motels and restaurants along the way, all of which should be open by Memorial Day. Also information is in there about things to see and do. We brought a sign for the signpost forest, enjoyed looking at the collection of caps at the Toad River Lodge (and contributed one as well), but our favorites were the unexpected -- like the moose, bear, and other wildlife that we got to see.


    Donna

Similar Threads

  1. S. Florida to Sedona to Denver to Maine & Back to Florida
    By megantpatrick in forum Planning Summer RoadTrips
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 10-22-2015, 09:35 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
  • Find the Perfect Hotel
    Search RoadTrip Motels
    Enter city name

    Loading...



  • MORE STORIES