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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New York and/or Los Angeles
    Posts
    13

    Default New York to Alaska - Route Suggestions?

    Hey guys,

    I'm an avid road tripper and I've been to all 48 continental states. Next summer I'm planning my big trip to Alaska and looking up some potentially good routes and places to stop by on the way there. If anyone has any suggestions of specific routes or towns to stop in that would be awesome.

    Thanks so much and I look forward to reading more in this forum. This website is pretty cool.

    -The Liberal Traveler
    Last edited by AZBuck; 07-23-2010 at 05:55 PM. Reason: New members may not link to external sites

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

    Default A Few Ideas

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First, a minor 'correction': There are forty-nine continental states, including Alaska. Only Hawai'i is not on the continent. There are forty-eight contiguous states.

    Now, since you've seen all the 'Lower 48', I'd suggest that you concentrate on seeing as much of Canada as you can on this RoadTrip. Head up to Montréal for starters and hop on the Trans Canada Highway. Continue all the way to Calgary rather than heading up through Saskatoon and Edmonton. The Calgary route is longer, but Banff and Jasper are worth at least that much of a 'detour'. If you're looking to maximize your mountain scenic driving, you can strike out west from Jasper on the Trans Canada (AB-16/BC-16) through Prince George to Kitwanga and then north on BC-37 all the way up onto the Yukon. Otherwise the more direct route from Jasper is east (north) on AB-16 to AB-40 north to Grand Prairie and AB-2/BC-2 to Dawson Creek, the traditional start of the Alaskan Highway which follows BC-97/YK-1. The other 'tradition' worth mentioning is The Milepost, a magazine/guide/bible devoted to the Alaska Highway and its many alternate routes, which really has more information than any other source, including this one.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New York and/or Los Angeles
    Posts
    13

    Default Thanks

    Thanks AZBuck. I've always heard the phrase "48 continental states", or at least thought I did. "Contiguous" is more accurate. Thanks for the correction.

    I'm a little short on time so I figured I'd go through Winnipeg and Edmonton up to Dawson's Creek on the way there, and then hopefully calculate my time accordingly on the way back and take the BC-37 to Jasper and Banff on the way back.

    That pretty much sounds like what you were describing. The only difference is I didn't add in Montreal. I've actually been there (great city) so I'm leaving it out of this trip.

    One last question, if I was to go over the Great Lakes it would add up to 7 hours on my trip. Are you aware of anything between Sault Ste. Marie and Winnipeg that could justify taking that route instead of staying in the states?

    I do have the Milepost, a very informative book. I'm currently sifting through it's massiveness right now.

    Thanks again for your advice!

    -LT

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default How 'Short' Are You?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Liberal Traveler
    ...anything between Sault Ste. Marie and Winnipeg that could justify taking that route instead of staying in the states?
    Not if time is a major constraint. That area is largely glaciated Canadian Shield/Northwoods which means lots of rocks and firs and lakes, and not much else. I am a bit surprised that taking the eastern Canada option adds a full day to your drive, but that's what my software says as well - even if you take a more direct route via Syracuse and Brockville to get on the Trans Canada at Amprior west of Ottawa. In any event, even if you take the most time efficient route, staying on the US Interstates until North Dakota before heading up through Regina and Saskatoon, this is going to be a 10 day drive, minimum.

    AZBuck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New York and/or Los Angeles
    Posts
    13

    Default Very Short

    Unfortunately I can only get off work for 3 weeks, so my plan was to drive as fast and direct up there, and then enjoy a scenic route back. I'll have a friend with me, so we should be driving much longer days than I typically would on my own by alternating.

    I've driven to to Saulte, and between Niagara Falls and Toronto I'd say it was a little more exciting that Chicago and a brewery in Wisconsin.

    You seem like a very knowledgeable road-tripper. You happen to have a map or list of all the routes you've taken? And what software do you prefer to use for maps?

    Thanks again for all your advice. Hopefully I can return the favor one day.

    -LT

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    I use Microsoft Streets & Trips with a GPS puck. My old laptop fits under my center armrest with the lid all the way open perfectly.

    You are going to be pushing it with only 3 weeks. I mapped NYC to Tok via fastest route, and it's 4100 miles. It calculates to 68 hours, and mapping algorithms assume driving at the speed limit with no stops or delays whatsoever. We generally recommend you add 20% to the times to allow for reality. Even with 2 drivers, I'd plan on 8 days to get up there.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by glc; 07-24-2010 at 09:09 AM. Reason: Mapped the trip out

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    Default If...

    ...twenty-one days is all you have for the round trip, then you basically have time to drive to Fairbanks by the straightest possible route, get out of the car and say "We made it." and get back in the car and drive home by the straightest possible route. Unfortunately, having two drivers does not really help you that much. The car can still only go so fast (the speed limit, or 'thereabouts') and you need two people to be awake at all times. It is simply unsafe to try to push yourselves beyond your physical limits, and 'sleep' in a moving car is just not of any useable quality. Even at that you leave no margin for weather or road construction delays, both of which are inevitable on the old Alcan.

    Yeah, I keep an old atlas with all the roads I've driven highlighted. Some pages are pretty much unreadable for the mark-ups, but navigation is not the purpose of that atlas. I've probably done a million miles by now. I've certainly driven in all 50 states, all the Canadian provinces except Newfoundland-Labrador, and in about a dozen European countries. But the main thing I've learned from all that is that I'll never see it all - so just slow down and enjoy where I am.

    AZBuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    New York and/or Los Angeles
    Posts
    13

    Default

    GLC - That's actually pretty close to what I was thinking. 8 days going, then maybe 10 or 11 coming back. It'll be rough, I know, but it's either I do this now or wait till I'm retired. One one of my trips I did use Streets and Trips. I like how it saves your exact route to a savable map. Pretty neat.

    AZBuck - I myself can't sleep in a moving car, I just can't do it. But my roadtrip buddy can, and quiet peacefully so he says. Typically we can wake up at 8am and drive till midnight (with all the appropriate rest stops and touring stops) and still get 8 hours of sleep. What we try and do is plan our route so that we're driving through less scenic areas at night (ie: Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska).

    It's amazing that you have the time to enjoy these trips. I'm jealous. It's funny you mention Newfoundland because my friend and I were discussing our next trip after this and were thinking about heading to Happy Valley - Goose Bay.

    Attached is a National Geographic map which I plotted out all the trips I've done. My girlfriend got it framed for me for our anniversary.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  9. #9

    Default

    Sorry for the double post but my computer froze twice trying to edit so I just posted a reply. As you can see, my original post was all over the place so I edited it.

    So what you are planning is a speed run of epic proportions. I am fond of speed runs because I want to just say I've been to a particular state at this point in my life. (I'm 25) I did a 4 day speed run in 2008 from Allentown, PA to Texas and then east to Greenville, SC and back north. I'm not sure of how your other road trips went but we drove from dawn until dusk. So if you got in at 12 you won't get to sleep until 1 (after check in and winding down) and if you want to be on the road by 8 you have to get up, 7:30 am minimum. That's 6 and a half hours of sleep. If you have one shower at night and one in the A.M. then waking up at 7:30 is a good idea. I know how tired I am after a speed run and I get at least 9 hours of sleep. I need a day or two to catch up on rest afterwards.

    I don't know how a 21 day speed run is going to be. AZ may point out the length of the trip as a stretch in terms of milage, but I'm going to say your trip is also going to be extremely physically demanding along with a time issue. If you really want to see Alaska now, is there a chance you could fly to even Minnesota from your home town for example and take 4 days off of the driving so you can spend a few days in Alaska, especially since you won't get back there until retirement? You have been to every state so this may be a good option.

    Also, Being that I went on my trip in November, that equated for 11-12 total hours on the road since we drove in the daylight only. First, night time driving is more dangerous, in my opinion, than day time driving because, also in my opinion, a familiarity with the roads. I don't like driving on roads at night that I am on for the first time in an area completely foreign to me with nobody around who I am familiar with for hundreds of miles just to be cautious. Getting in at 12 and leaving at 8, again, is going to leave you with no more than 6 or 6 and a half hours of good sleep and that can wear you down after 3 weeks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    8 days really isn't a speed run. That's only just over 500 miles a day and if you space things out correctly (doing more miles in the US on Interstates each day and less miles on the Alcan) you shouldn't be on the road for more than 12 to 14 hours a day assuming normal stops.

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