Road trip from PA to AK?
My girlfriend and I are planning a 3 week roadtrip for the April/May timeframe. Originally we were going to head west and see as much of the US as time allowed, but recently she asked me: what about driving to Alaska? Now, THAT would be awesome-- from PA to AK, going far enough north to stick our toes in the Artic Ocean. And seeing the towns and cultures in-between would make it a VERY unique experience and something new for both of us.
From the little reading I've done thus far... I *really* want to do it, but I'm a little apprehensive about what might happen to my car. It's a 98 Crown Victoria (RWD) in good shape-- aluminum wheels, nice paint, new tires-- and I don't want to ruin it on the gravel roads. I've heard some real horror stories about the stones tearing apart tires, breaking windshields, and puncturing gas tanks which is causing my adventerous spirit to be put on ice. Does anyone here regularly travel those type of roads and can offer some advice on how bad it really is? I'll take it slow and can deal with flat tires, but I don't want the rest of my car looking like it came out of a riot zone.
Specifically I'm worried about the Dalton Highway, but also the Alaska Highway and the Yellowhead. I know the later two are paved, but if someone could help put my mind at ease it would be appreciated. :-)
I'll go slow, use caution and common sense. I can deal with flat tires and winter driving. This is a big thing for me as I don't even know the AK seasons... before I spend a lot of time researching, is this a trip I can seriously consider (read: adventerous but relatively safe)?
Comments appreciated... I know about TheMilepost. Going to get a copy soon! Thanks!
April is a little early
First of all, if you are concerned about gravel damage to your car -- this may not be the best road trip for you. Although much of those highways are "paved" there are sections that seem to be in a continous state of repair. Gravel damage is a given on any trip to Alaska.
If you can delay your trip to the frozen north until the middle to end of May, you will find better driving conditions. April could be a bit early -- although it would be an adventure!
Also, it would be tough to reach the artic ocean by car. The road to Prudhoe Bay is private (oil reserves) and in these post 9/11 days darn hard to gain access to.
Finally, although you might plan to drive reasonably, slow and responsible -- opposing traffic is not always so considerate -- you have to plan on getting zapped with some high-speed gravel at least a few times.