First big trip...
I'm moving to AK next month and am driving to catch the ferry in Washington from Maine. I don't have much extra cash or extra time. I'll be heading off on my own and have never driven this far by myself. I'm very excited and looking for any tips. What do I need to do ahead of time? How far will I get most likely in a day? and how long will the whole trip take me? I'm not sure what to expect once I get out of New England as far as finding places to stay etc? Any tips?
Moving to Alaska in March?
This sounds like a wild adventure!
Where in Alaska is your destination? It is very likely to hit rough winter weather on any trip north. How far will you be traveling on the ferry?
If you take five days you (as long as the weather cooperates) you should have a reasonable drive from New England to Seattle. There are plenty of places to stay along the route. What highway were you planning to use?
Route 90 is probably the most direct route, but this time of year can be pretty rough because of the weather. If you take Route 90, you're close to Yellowstone Park. Of course, it could be closed because of the weather. You can check via website to see if it's closed or not. If you haven't seen Yellowstone, it's definitely worth the time.
Your trip sounds like a lot of fun. Are you taking the Alcan highway? Keep us posted.
Have a safe trip.
not sure what route yet
Well, thats the thing...I'm not sure what? highway I'm taking. I thought it would be best and most expediant to travel from Maine up into Canada then straight across through the Great Lakes and then down into the mid-west and across to Eugene, OR, where I plan to spens a few days before heading up to catch the ferry ride in bellingham, WA. Have you any experience with these highways? Considering my time and money constrants I'd considered bypassing the various sites, like yellowstone this time around. Although I don't know what to expect, could I drive through this territory and experience it anyway? Thank you soooo much for your replies! Oh and The ferry ride with take me and my car three days up to Juneau.
Most direct and least weather
If it were me and time and money were both significant constraints I would take QB-401 through Toronto and Detroit cut down to I-80 and follow it the entire way to I-5 before heading north to Eugene. You still run the chance of winter weather, but that route is favored by many truckers for ease of travel.
Question: What are you planning on doing with your car in Juneau? Is your final destination Juneau? Juneau's longest road is only twelve miles and so you won't be doing much driving up there.
Thanks for the info. I'll have to go check it out on the map. Once I get to Juneau I prob. won't have much use for the car you are right, but...as this is my first move from home I felt compelled to have my own transportation i.e. escape, should I want it : ) I'm also really looking forward to the trip across the country. Chances are I'll put my the car by the Summer and head up into the interior with a friend. The ferry ride sure is expensive but I would never risk a drive like the AL-Can right now. SO how far do you suspect can be travelled in one day, and how long will this route take me to get to Eugene? Thx so much! You have been very helpful.
As I mentioned in my posting dated 02/16 -- five days is a reasonable period of time to travel the distance. Eight to ten hours per day of travel.
I'd love to hear how this goes..I'm heading to Alaska as well!
Wow - I was so glad to come across your post. I'm also planning an extended drive to Alaska, hitting as many national parks and hiking/canoeing routes as I can.
It's sketchy now, but I'm thinking of leaving mid-May, swinging south from PA through Shenandoah, into GA, hitting Texas, then up through AZ, CO, UT, MT, over to CA then up through Oregon and Washington, through Canada from the Yukon into Alaska...destination is Anchorage first to hook up with my uncle, then to Fairbanks for a cousins wedding on June 20.
Anyone with suggestions is super appreciated. Just received my Eagle pass for the national parks, will be mostly camping and hostelling (and sleeping in the truck when need be). Have lots of friends I'll see along the way...want to keep a weblog and post photos to the web so people can follow along with me virtually :-)
I'm anxious to hear all about your experiences, how you planned, what came up you didn't expect, etc. Ugghh..so much to plan for but it's so exciting...I'm very anxious to join all the folks here, like yourself, that have made an extended trip in their lives. Good luck!!!!
Think twice about bypassing anything. When I was your age I just assumed I'd be back to spend more time but it never happened. If you can, take the time now.
I recommend I90. Michell's (SD) Corn Palace, doll museum, and the Mandan Indian Museum. The Bad Lands, Mt. Rushmore, and the Black Hills make for interesting and reasonably quick and cheap stops. Do be careful of the weather.
I forgot Wall Drug in South Dakota where you can get a free glass of water and a refreshing break while gawking at the incredible amount of "stuff" for sale.
In Oregon, stop at the rest areas. They have (or had) terrific displays on the history of the Oregon Trail. Heading across country in a covered wagon was, of course, just an earlier version of the road trip without the road.
If you just want to roll, go I80 and I84. Once you're west of Chicago it is just miles and miles of road. Don't worry about places to stay; even the great open spaces have signs that point you to beds. On I80 look for Little America in Wyoming for instance - a motel that was built specifically because there wasn't one for miles and miles. Of course, it isn't as true as it was back when the motel was built.