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  1. Default Moving to Anchorage, AK after the Holidays

    My husband is being transferred and going up ahead of time. Don't know if he'll stay up there or come back to Houston to help me move. Biggest issue is 3 cats. Looking for the quickest/safest route. Do I need a 4 wheel drive? I have read not totally necessary in Anchorage, but I am worried about the long ride up the Canadian coast. I hate the thought of shipping them..it would be like shipping my kids!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Hi, and welcome to RTA!

    It seems to me that you have two possible routes, if you are planning to drive. First is to go up the Alaska Highway. You would have to get to Dawson Creek, BC, which is the southern terminus of the AK Hwy, somehow. Since you didn't mention where you were coming from, I can't help you with routing. Once on the highway, you have a 1500 mile drive through British Columbia and the Yukon in Canada. You will need a passport, I believe, to enter Alaska from Canada these days. If you decide to go this route, get a copy of THE MILEPOST magazine. In the winter, you may have some weather-related issues and will want to plan your stops carefully both both your sake and that of your cats. Reason being, many tourist places are closed during the winter months. Not every motel is open 12 months a year!

    The other way up is by ferry. Frankly, I don't know what the rules for transporting pets are, on the ferry. The ferry does not run as often in the winter months. It's a beautiful trip, I'm told, though the price of it kept us from using it because we were towing a long travel trailer.

    The only other way to go is to fly up there and have your vehicle transported. Then you have the issue of shipping 3 cats in the belly of an aircraft in mid-winter.


    Donna

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The Milepost is your guide.

    If you are planning to drive up with cats, you will need to make enquiries as to vacinations and paperwork, for both border crossings. Virtually every crossing I made, I was asked about pets.... sometimes three or four times by the same person.

    Forget about the coast road through Canada. I am assuming you mean the Cassair - hwy 37. There are nowhere near the number of services along that route, and I doubt that many of the few would be open during winter. Along The Alaska Highway, through British Columbia and the Yukon there are many more services - and likely to be more open all year round.

    As mentioned above, it is essential that you purchase The Milepost (check out the store on the green bar above), and get updated as to what you may expect. Accommodation is very limited during the colder months, and very few of the establishments are pet friendly. I would allocate time to phone and check with each individual establishement before you even decide which way to go.

    If this were me, I would be flying. Even though it too, may stress the cats, it is by far for the shortest time. Driving you would be looking at around 9 or 10 days, at that time of year. Going by ferry would be a three or four day trip to Bellingham. And then there is the issue of the ferry being held up or delayed by winter weather. On top of that, I doubt you would be allowed to keep cats in your cabin on the ferry.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Pets are allowed on the ferry with restrictions.

    Even if you do take the ferry, you may have to drive the rest of the way from Haines which will involve 3 border crossings.

  5. #5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jserbe View Post
    My husband is being transferred and going up ahead of time. Don't know if he'll stay up there or come back to Houston to help me move. Biggest issue is 3 cats. Looking for the quickest/safest route. Do I need a 4 wheel drive? I have read not totally necessary in Anchorage, but I am worried about the long ride up the Canadian coast. I hate the thought of shipping them..it would be like shipping my kids!
    Traveliong to and from AK in the winter by car can be problematic. Many facilities are closed along the route and weather conditions can be extreme. While BC and AK both do a pretty good job of keeping roads open, closures are not uncommon and can be lengthy. If you do decide to drive follow the advise contained in Milepost for winter travel in the north. Having traveled from AK to the lower 48 by car in winter several times I would offer the additional advce. Get a second battery installed in your vehicle. Be sure to get an engine heater installed. Carry a second set of chains. Carry spare head lamps. Pack for survival in the cold, temps can drop to 30 below in the Yukon in winter.
    So, that said, I would not choose to drive it in winter for the first time. Alaska Airlines is experienced in transporting pets and does a good job. You will need health certificates for the animals and it would be best if you could ship them to your husband rather than try to travel with them to allow for any delays in dispatching them due to extreme weather. Shipping a vehicle is a simple procedure and can be arranged through major moving companies.

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

    Default Not in winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Even if you do take the ferry, you may have to drive the rest of the way from Haines which will involve 3 border crossings.
    Having driven that road, just last May, I would recommend you not consider that option. It was lonely and desolate enough in May, very few (if any) services, light snow falling in places, and snow blown over the road. I would question if these roads are even maintained during winter. That information is in The Milepost. (My copy is still in the US.)

    During winter months your only option really would be The Alaska Highway. It is open and maintained year round, as truck traffic needs to get through.

    But I would still fly, and get the car shipped.

    Lifey

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

    Default Thank You.

    Hi faw, and Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum. Good to have you on board.

    Thanks for jumping in with first hand experience, to offer advice to this member. Few of us have driven the Alcan in winter, though I have a few times in summer. I can only imagine what it would be like in winter.

    Feel free to offer advice whenever and wherever appropriate.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Even if you do take the ferry, you may have to drive the rest of the way from Haines which will involve 3 border crossings.
    That's not necessary. You could take the ferry the entire way from Bellingham to Whittier, although you would have to transfer - likely in either Juneau or Ketchikan.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default A thread worth reading.


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