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  1. Default Moving from Florida to Alaska

    Hello All.

    I am new to this forum so I apologize if this question has already been answered (I searched but couldn't find what applied).

    I currently reside in central Florida and have plans to move to Wasilla, AK in May 2015. I've lived in Alaska before, so I know enough to know my cost of living and demographics. My question has to do with the actual travel from Florida to Alaska...

    I have 2 dogs, 4 cats, myself and my husband that are making the trip. We currently have 2 vehicles that I would love to bring with us, however they are not 4wd, so I'm not sure they'd be worth the cost of having them shipped (close to $6500 for both of them).

    I've looked into the most reasonable way to make the trip. The options that I've come up with are:
    1. Drive the whole way. The best way (financially) would be to rent an RV - because of all of the pets; cheaper for food and if we feel that we can travel longer than an 8 hr day, we'd be able to.

    2. Fly. I dont much like this idea because the trip w/layovers would be a minimum of 10-14 hours....long time for my pets :(

    3. Drive to Washington, then fly to AK. Considering some of the worst roads to travel on is the Yukon and Alaska Highway, I thought I'd same myself some heartache and flat tires.

    Does anyone have any experience with this? I'm open to all suggestions. I've done more research on the RV rental and I really like the idea, however I've found that most RV's wont do One Way without having someone to bring them back down to Florida. Plus, I would like to tow at least one vehicle with me so we can have transportation once we're in Alaska. I've been told that the tow weight cannot be more than 2500lbs...which both of our vehicles exceed that limit.

    I've attached some figures that I've come up with. Basically, I've calculated what I would need to survive for 3 months when I move up to AK. It includes costs of travel. I'm not happy with the final figures and I cant help but feel I'm over estimating or missing something.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback you have!!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome to RTA!

    Just curious - what are your 2 vehicles? How much "stuff" do you need to bring with you?

    Have you considered buying a RV, then selling it when you get there? I would imagine there may be a decent market for used RV's in Alaska that haven't been beaten up by the harsh conditions there. Same goes for a 4wd vehicle - maybe you would want to bring one up with you.

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

    Default The Milepost.

    Quote Originally Posted by jasmineray View Post
    Considering some of the worst roads to travel on is the Yukon and Alaska Highway, I thought I'd same myself some heartache and flat tires.
    Not sure where you got your information. I have driven to AK and back three times, including the complete length of the Alaska Highway, and much of it more than once. It is a very good road for its full length. The speed limits are lower than what you may be used to, but the road is a good two lane road. It certainly does not require four wheel drive. Unless you venture off the road, I see no reason why you should need to be worried about flat tyres. (The only flat tyre I have ever had was in the Brooks Range.)

    The Alaska Highway is a magnificent trip. If you are going in May, you will be travelling with the huge convoys of motorhomes moving north. A large percentage of these will be travelling with pets. One thing they will all have in common is their - in some cases total - reliance on the information in The Milepost. With more than 12 months to plan this trip, I would start to study it now, and get a realistic picture of the road and services along the way.

    The only part which is not an excellent part of the road is the section between Haines Jnct and Tok. Here the road is affected by permafrost, causing frost heave bumps in places. These are marked, and keeping speed down should not worry you, or your pets. The only annoying thing along the Alaska Highway is getting stuck behind a dozen or so slow moving motorhomes, or those who have stopped to view the abundant wildlife.

    Patience is definitely an essential. The more time you have the greater the journey can be. I hope to have a chance to do it all again.

    Lifey

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default options and math

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your budget attachment is simply too small to read, but a couple things immediately come to mind.

    The words "Best way financially" and "RV," especially rental RV rarely go together. The cost of the rental, mileage fees, extra fuel, and campground fees all would vastly eclipse the little bit of money you'd save by cooking your own food. Its also doesn't make sense in the "travel more than 8 hours a day" category, as you'll be traveling slower in an RV and because it is a larger vehicle it is more stressful driving - so if anything you'd be looking at covering fewer miles in a day. All the humans still need to be buckled in while the car is in motion, and while it would provide more space for your pets, I suspect they (particularly the cats) will still be much happier once the vehicle has come to a complete stop for the night.

    I will also say I would be very surprised if you found any RV company that would allow you to go one way to Alaska, and I'm a bit shocked that any RV rental company would let you tow any car behind their vehicle. I'm not sure what your plan is for your stuff, but it should also be mentioned that an RV does not make a good moving van, so you'd still have to have the vast majority of your stuff shipped.

    I will also agree with Lifey that I don't really know where 4 wheel drive comes into play here. While I could see where having such a vehicle could be useful once you are in Alaska, the "need" for 4 wheel drive is one of the great marketing inventions of the past couple decades. You certainly don't need 4 wheel drive to make the trip to Alaska, and even once you are there, a regular sedan should be completely fine for the vast majority of your driving. If that's what's holding you back from taking your own cars, then I'd rethink that plan.

    Finally, I will give you one more suggestion it doesn't appear you've considered, especially if you are concerned about driving the Alaska Highway: The Ferry (aka, the Alaska Marine Highway System). You could drive to Washington, and use the boat to complete your trip to Alaska. I would do that long before I'd consider driving to Washington and then getting on a plane (If you're going to fly, I'd fly the whole way).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Pets are a hassle on the ferry - they have to be kept in cages on the car deck, and you can't go onto the car deck when the ferry is in motion unless accompanied by staff.

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

    Default Furthermore.....

    There is a not insignificant number of folk who travel the Alaska Highway by motorcycle and even bicycle. I've seen at least half a dozen bicyclists each trip. Without bike lanes I think it extremely dangerous, but they seem not to have a problem with the road.

    My trips have been in a Ford sedan, Dodge Caravan and Ford Econoline Van, none of which were four wheel drive. The Ford Van went all the way up to Deadhorse without a hitch (other than the flat tyre).

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Here are my experiences:

    We moved from San Diego to Alaska a number of years ago. It was a military move. We drove one car to Kent, WA, where we turned it in for shipping up to the Aleutian island where my husband was going to be stationed (Adak). We took a shuttle up to the airport and then flew to Anchorage and then out to Adak. One word of experience: have a reservation if you are going to need accommodation in Anchorage in the summer! We put the other car into "working storage" with my parents for two years, and sadly gave away two pets because we ran into shipping issues with military flights.

    About 10 years later, we drove up the Alaska Highway and back down again. LOVED IT. We had our own RV (5W trailer) and had NO issues towing it up and down. Like many, many people on the AK Highway, we did need to have a windshield repaired in Canada after a short stretch of gravel road and a high-flying tractor-trailer sent a stone flying. That was a non-4WD one-ton dually crewcab pickup truck. If we ever have another chance to drive up the AK Hwy and back, we'd do it.

    The idea of purchasing an RV and then either keeping or selling it when you get there, is a good one. Pick your favorite vehicle and tow it, if you can. Sell the other one.


    Donna

  8. Default

    Hi All...thanks for the great suggestions!!

    I have a 2005 Jeep Liberty and a 2003 Ford Focus. I had not considered purchasing an RV, but thats a great idea. Does anyone have a preference over a pull behind style camper and an RV that I would pull my vehicle behind?

    I've always heard that the roads were rough for this, so I'm glad to hear otherwise from people who have made the trip.

    Thanks again for your help!

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

    Default Whichever you prefer.

    There are literally thousands of recreational vehicles travel the Alcan every year. Not only the Alcan, but also the Cassiar and Top of the World Highway - through Dawson City. There are huge bus sized RVs, right down to tear-drop trailers. The choice really is yours.

    The Top of the World Highway is a bit rough, especially when it has been raining. The AK side is atrocious, on the way to Chicken, at least it was in 2009.

    If you have studied The Milepost, you will by now be aware, that whatever vehicle you drive, there are sections of roads both through Canada and throughout AK where you simply need to take it easy, slowly, carefully. The only roads you will not want to be on, the roads which are unpaved and a bit rough, are the James W Dalton Highway and the Denally Highway.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default RV fuel consumption and purchase cost won't be cheap.

    A full size RV would do well to average 10mpg which for a trip of this lenght would be a considerable cost, possibly a couple of thousand dollars. Buying an RV is an option, but to get a fairly modern and reliable unit is going to be quite a large outlay. If you drove all the way you will need to budget for at least 12 days on the road I would say, you have 10 solid days of driving with pets to cater for and you will want a couple of shorter days and/or one or two days off from driving just to get a break. If you decide to drive it would be worth considering selling the Ford and possibly buying a small trailer for the Jeep to hold the luggage so as to give the pets some room in the vehicle.

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