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  1. #1

    Default Florida to Alaska!!

    Hello -

    Okay, so...I'm moving to Alaska this summer for school. I currently live in South Florida and my boyfriend, my best friend, and her boyfriend are all making the move with me. We were planning on making a 2 week road trip out of the trip from Florida to Alaska....I need suggestions!!

    We all are a bunch of 22 year old geeks pretty much. We love video games, art, sci-fi, dark&mysterious, etc. The route we are taking is about 4800 miles and according to mapquest, will take about 5 days. Since there will be 4 of us, we plan on switching driving shifts so hotels won't be necessary. The route itself we plan on taking will take us up the middle of the east coast and then cross into the dakota's, then into Canada, and finally Alaska.

    Here is a link of the exact route > http://www.mapquest.com/maps?1c=Boca...en_US:M:/bl:/e

    Jungle Jim's international market is one place I was thinking...as well as seeing the worlds biggest ball of twine! Anything is an option.. I dont mind going off route, we just want to have fun and make it a trip we'll never forget!!

    Thanks in advance :D

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default First: Deal With the Misconceptions

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There's probably no 'good' way to tell you these things other than just flat out so....

    Boca Raton to Anchorage is NOT a 5 day drive. It is around 5,000 miles when you add in detours for sightseeing and it will take 10 days or more of driving to complete this trip. MapQuest assumes that you can keep driving for 24 hours a day, day after day, and never have to stop for food, fuel, or restrooms, and never have to slow down for traffic or accidents. It is not real

    You cannot get any meaningful sleep in the car with 4 people. Period. I don't care how well you all like each other now, or what you've done on the odd spring break in the past. Trying to get away without a good night's sleep every night is a recipe for disaster, and assuming that you'll all still be on speaking terms after two weeks as 'spam in a can' is wishful thinking at best. It is not real.

    So the two suggestions you most need are: Take the time necessary and Spend the money necessary to make this trip safe and enjoyable or otherwise it will be a trip you wish you could forget.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default

    Sorry, but your idea that the trip will take just 5 days and that hotels won't be necessary because you'll be able to keep switching drivers for that whole time might be fine for a computer that never has to sleep or take a break, but its pure insanity for a human. Take a second and think about it - you really think you're going to be able to get enough sleep sitting up inside a car for 5 straight days to safely navigate any road, much less a challenging route like the Alaska highway?

    That's not a plan to have a trip you'll never forget, that's a plan to have a nightmare where you could very likely end up dead.

    Realistically, you're looking at 100 hours of pure driving. The only way you're going to have any fun at all is to start by realising this is a major trip that is work and requires rest for it to be both safe and enjoyable. You've got 2 weeks, so enjoy it. You're still basically going to need to be on the road almost all day (8 hours of driving) every day for those 2 weeks, but if you don't make getting rest a real priority, there's no point of even using the word fun.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Agreed

    I cannot but agree with AZBuck and Michael. There is no way anyone can get proper rest in a moving car, let alone with four people on board and day after day. It is not only suicidal, it's homicidal.

    As one who has driven to Alaska and back twice now, you would be wise to allow twice the time you state. And then you will be pushing. From Florida, I would look closer at two weeks, if you want to see anything along the way. Many, if not most of the roads on which you will be travelling through Canada and Alaska, will not be roads you want to be on in the dark. For one thing, the danger of hitting wildlife is very real in the daytime, and could be disasterous at night. Furthermore, during the summer roadworks are extensive on all these roads, hold ups are frequent and progress behind a pilot car slow. You will not be able to achieve what Mapquest can on a computer.

    If you are at all interested in seeing this wonderful world through which your route will take you, then you will, like most travellers to Alaska, take the route and stops which are geographilcally spaced for a safe and comfortable day's driving..... i.e. Edmonton - Dawson Creek - Fort Nelson - Watson Lake - Whitehorse - Tok - Anchorage. The Fort Nelson / Watson Lake leg is particularly slow, and Haines Junction to Tok can be a minor nightmare, such is (was) the condition of the road. Remember all of these roads are two lane roads, no divided roads up north.

    Your maximum speed will be 100km in Canada, and mostly 80km on the Alaska Highway. You will soon realise why. These remote highways, albeit busy in summer, are not high speed roads. In areas of high wildlife activity, it is often as low as 60km (35mph).

    My suggestion is that you add to this trip the spectacular Icefields Parkway from Calgary to Jasper. Do not be misled by the distance, it is a full day's driving. This scenic tourist road through the Rockies is lined with breathtaking scenery, gushing waterfalls, magnificent glaciers and a camera full of photographs. Roadside stops and view points are frequent. It would be a shame to go all that way, and not experience one of the most beatiful routes there is.

    Lastly, rapidly becoming the route of choice for those travelling to Alaska, is highway 2 through North Dakota and Montana (as an alternative to I-90). Then I-15 to cross the border and on to Calgary, Jasper and Dawson Creek via Grand Priarie.

    Lifey who hopes you will have a memorable trip

  5. #5

    Default

    Hey guys, thank you for the replies. I realize that the mapquest says it should take 5 days, but that is why I said I wanted to spread it out over two weeks because of course we're going ot make stops for fuel, food, etc.

    It definitely makes sense that not getting good rest in a moving vehicle will be accurate and I have made a plot in the itenery to stop in Tennessee with Family to rest for a night. From there on out, looking at maybe 1 or 2 nights of rest.

    I have travelled the Alaska Highway and at night...It was scary >< In november I went up with my dad and we drove from anchorage to fairbanks and back the long way in one day... Half of the driving was at night and we saw many animals that could have potentially ended the trip early for us.

    Thank you for the tips! I am, of course, not suicidal and may be homocidal after the trip, however I am on sort of a deadline. School starts Aug 27th and orientation is the 13th so as long as I get to Alaska by then, I'll be happy. July 26th is the earliest I can leave unfortunately, due to finances.

    Lifey, Thank you for the awesome tips. I will check into making the route changes!

    Another question I have is with the current laws for crossing the border...We each will need a passport is what I gather even though we are just passing through. Is this correct? Also, we will be moving some of our items in the vehicle with us in the trunk, and very back of the vehicle...Are they going to check the car? Will they not allow us to take certain items?

    Also, will I need proof that I am moving to Alaska and not Canada?

    Thank you again for all the advice!! I greatly appreciate it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,066

    Default

    Ok, so now you're looking at stoping once or twice on a 4000 mile trip? How exactly is that anything other than homicidal? You've got enough time to make this trip safely, but you don't seem to be taking seriously just how big of an effort this trip will be.

    Let me be clear, because you missed something in the previous 3 posts: You can not safely make this trip by only stopping once or twice for rest. This is at least a 10 day trip and you need to be getting a full night of sleep every single night of that trip. 4 people sitting in a car - moving or parked - is not going to work to provide nearly enough rest to do this safely.

    Yes, you will need passports and comply with all requirements for entering Canada. It is entirely possible that your car will be searched, and providing proof that you plan to be continuing through to Alaska would not be a bad idea at all.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Homework

    Quote Originally Posted by Asphodell View Post
    I have travelled the Alaska Highway and at night...
    I am glad you are aware of how dangerous (not just scary) it can be. However, the road from Anchorage to Fairbanks, does not see even the smallest percentage of what you are likely to encounter on the Alaska Highway. And by the way, neither Anchorage nor Fairbanks are on the Alaska Highway. Seems you may need to do a little homework to see just what is what and what goes where.

    And don't imagine for one moment that you will be driving with the same maturity and experience as your father was. That is some years off yet!

    Best thing I can advice you now, is to buy The Milepost. The essential for all those travelling up north. The new issue will not be out till March, but even if you pick up a 2009 or 2008 copy (with the map), you will get a much better idea of where you are going and the country through which you will get there, the services available, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asphodell View Post
    ...... however I am on sort of a deadline. School starts Aug 27th and orientation is the 13th so as long as I get to Alaska by then, I'll be happy. July 26th is the earliest I can leave unfortunately, due to finances.
    Those dates give you two weeks... even if you planned on twelve days and left a day hanging in case of unforeseen circumstances, you could make this into a great and unforgettable adventure. If budget is tight, why not get a cheap four man tent and some sleeping bags (you won't need 'cold' weather ones at that time of year) and make sure you stop every night and have a good night's sleep. Camping spots abound! See The Milepost.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asphodell View Post
    Lifey, Thank you for the awesome tips. I will check into making the route changes!
    You're welcome. I hope that you will make this into a trip you will never forget, for all the right reasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asphodell View Post
    Another question I have is with the current laws for crossing the border...We each will need a passport is what I gather even though we are just passing through. Is this correct? Also, we will be moving some of our items in the vehicle with us in the trunk, and very back of the vehicle...Are they going to check the car? Will they not allow us to take certain items?

    Also, will I need proof that I am moving to Alaska and not Canada?

    Thank you again for all the advice!! I greatly appreciate it!
    Get onto the government website for both US and Canada and find out all the requirements. Especially coming back into the States, my car was searched, including sniffer dogs. I would imagine that a car full of young people would be even more so. At most, but not all, border crossings the regime is pretty strict. If you are aware of what to expect it won't bother any of you.

    And don't forget the speed limit is signposted in kms, and the breaking of them is not tolerated, as it is in the US.

    But first, get The Milepost.

    Lifey who knows you won't regret it
    Last edited by Lifemagician; 01-30-2010 at 06:18 PM. Reason: added info

  8. Default My Road Trip Experience to Alaska

    In 1985 I graduated high school and that same year my Dad was relocating with the military from Louisana to Alaska. My dad and brother picked me up in Michigan and with our VW bus and a trailer we began our trip. We drove north of Michigan and crossed over into Wisconsin and traveled direct west through Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington State. From there we headed north along the Alaskan Highway.

    We didn't do much site seeing, but I can tell you we had some hiccup along the way. When we arrived at the very top of the Grand Canyon in Montana we lost our transmission. We only had 1st gear and coasted down hill to this bed and breaksfast. We had breaksfast and my dad had to call a tow truck to take us to the nearest car dealership.

    My dad had to buy a new car and leave the VW bus there to get repaired. My Uncle later flew to Montana to drive the VW bus home. From there we traveled on with no other problems.

    When we crossed over into Canada it was so amazing to witness the beautiful mountains of Vancouver, British Columbia. After passing that we hit the Alaskan highway.

    All I can say is at that time the Alaskan Highway was exciting, wonderous, treacherous and slow. I would estimate the travel on the Alaskan highway on average 30 miles of road, 15 miles of gravel, 10 miles of hard broken rocks back to normal road.

    During that trip on the Alaskan Highway we blew a tire on our trailer while in the Yukon. I think we were 75 miles from Whitehorse. I remember we were praying the other tire on the trailer wouldn't blow because we only had one spare. Sure enough about 50 miles out of Whitehorse the other tire on the trailer blew.

    It was a Sunday afternoon and my Dad decided to unhook the trailer and leave it on the side of the road. We drove to Whitehorse and spent the night. My Dad got both tires repaired the next day and then we had to drive 50 miles back. We were so surprised to fine our trailer hadn't been broken into.

    After putting the tire on we continued our drive with no further issues. I will say I laughed a little cause when we crossed into Alaska the road was pristine with no pot holes for like the first 20 miles. After that it was just a normal road.

    The length of time it took for us to drive from Michigan to Washington State was probably 3 days. The trip from Vancouver British Columbia to Anchorage took about 10 days.

    Be prepared for the unexpected and safe travels!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default unforgetable indeed !

    Hi unforgetable, welcome to the RTA forums !

    That's quite a story, thanks for dropping in and sharing the info.

    Enjoy the forums and other RTA pages !

  10. #10

    Default

    Hi,

    If you have 2 weeks to go from Florida to Anchorage, I don't see why you would even need to have drivers going constantly. You're route says 85 hours, so let's say 12 hours a day and you're going to be at about 7 days if you really rush. I don't think 12 hours of driving a day split by 4 people is all that crazy, it seems like some of the other posters didn't read your initial post carefully. You could stop for plenty of sleep at this pace, although the cost of hotels goes up the farther north you go, I don't think there are many Motel 6's along the Alaska Highway. I know you're trying to save money, but you may want to check online to see if you can find anything cheap if for nothing else than a bed and a shower (a shower may be important with 4 people in the car).

    As for going 35mph on the Alaska Highway as someone suggested, I think that's a bit cautious. It's a rough road to be sure, but it is a paved road and doesn't really get nasty until you get near the Alaska border. So even if you go through a few rough spots it's not like you're going to spend an entire day going 35.

    I recently went from Ohio up to Alaska and we went all the way up to Deadhorse in a Hyundai Sonata. Be careful going over the potholes and dips on the Alaska Highway and you should have ample time for a great road trip.

    If you cross the border in Niagara or Detroit expect to zip through, if you are crossing in North Dakota or Montana expect to be checked (that's my experience at least), so don't take anything that will get you in trouble. You will need passports for everyone, but worst case scenario you're looking at an hour or two while they check you out. Also your car insurance company can send you a Canadian Insurance ID card (probably for free).

    In looking at your route I might see Glacier National Park first and cross in Montana instead of North Dakota. You also may even want to cut across South Dakota and see the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Devil's Tower in WY (from Close Encounters of the Third Kind) before heading up to Glacier, but no matter how you go this should be a fun trip.

    Lastly, gas is expensive in Canada and even more expensive the farther north you get, plan for $4+ per gallon.

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