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BigRedDog

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North to Alaska...
« on: May 07, 2017, 09:04:41 AM »

Yes, it's a song and I originally posted this yesterday in the 'What song is in your head' thread.  I decided to move it to it's own thread and hope to get some replies.
Quote
We're in the very early stages of planning a trip to Alaska next summer (assuming we're both still healthy enough).  My Dad spent the first 2 years of his military service in Anchorage working on the north half of the AlCan Highway...   12 hour days...   7 days a week (there was a war going on and they desperately needed that road). 

He had always talked about wanting to take a trip up and back along the road he helped build but just never made it...   so time for me to try to follow up on that for him. 

Even though it has always been called a 'highway' even today it is pretty much a twisty turny two lane road although it is now paved the entire length.  Part of the route has been changed over the years and by taking out some of the twists and turns the highway is now shorter than it originally was.

Have any of our members ever made the trip and if so what suggestions do you have?We're in the very early stages of planning a trip to Alaska next summer (assuming we're both still healthy enough).  My Dad spent the first 2 years of his military service stationed in Anchorage working on the north half of the AlCan Highway...   12 hour days...   7 days a week (there was a war going on and they desperately needed that road). 

He had always talked about wanting to take a trip up and back along the road he helped build but just never made it...   so time for me to try to follow up on that for him. 

Even though it has always been called a 'highway' even today it is pretty much a twisty turny two lane road although it is now paved the entire length.  Part of the route has been changed over the years and by taking out some of the twists and turns the highway is now shorter than it originally was.

Have any of our members ever made the trip and if so what suggestions do you have?



I typically tackle any major project with some research if possible.

In the Army we frequently heard the Acronym of the 5 Ps!!!

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance...

also wasn't uncommon to hear a 6th 'P' interjected at times ;) ;) ;)

I've already been reading lots of the online blogs and articles that have been posted by those that have made the trip and lots of comments and questions that those anticipating the trip have posted.

Looks like a publication called "Milepost" is considered the must have book to carry along.  Here's their website which includes some pretty neat photos:

https://www.themilepost.com/

I'll download the available Google maps to my tablet since there are long stretches of road with no cell service. 

Also just starting to investigate taking along a satellite phone.  It would be expensive if not needed but cheap insurance if something did happen in a stretch with no cell service.  Right now we're planning on leaving about June 1st and that is the 'high traffic' season along the highway.

Again, looking for any comments and would especially enjoy hearing from someone who has made the trip.

We'll take along a CD of Johnny Horton hits but this one is the one we'll play every morning ;D ;D ;D

 
North To Alaska ~ Johnny Horton


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Newport-Bill

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 09:59:24 AM »

A co-worker talked about doing this a few years back.  I remember him saying you need to include extra tanks of gas, extra spare tires, etc.  Not sure he ever did it though.

Did the Alaska Inside Passage cruise thing 10 years ago. Absolutely beautiful and looking to go back.  Next time will add some in-land time to get over to Denali and such.
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eriemermaid

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 08:03:46 AM »

I was planning on leaving June 1st from Montana.  Instead, I am heading back to Michigan for another birthing! Daughter due the first week of June. . . . Other daughter just got married in March, hopefully I will get a break and will make it to Alaska next summer! :)
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BigRedDog

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 08:36:41 AM »

I was planning on leaving June 1st from Montana.  Instead, I am heading back to Michigan for another birthing! Daughter due the first week of June. . . . Other daughter just got married in March, hopefully I will get a break and will make it to Alaska next summer! :)

Right now we're planning on leaving June 1st of next year but from home.  We'll head west on I80 first with a stop in Iowa to visit some very distant relatives.  Then when we leave there we'll head north toward Canada and then to the AlCan.

If you're on a similar schedule we'll have to plan out a MonroeTalks gathering at some point 8) 8) 8)

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BigRedDog

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2017, 08:59:28 AM »

A co-worker talked about doing this a few years back.  I remember him saying you need to include extra tanks of gas, extra spare tires, etc.  Not sure he ever did it though.

Did the Alaska Inside Passage cruise thing 10 years ago. Absolutely beautiful and looking to go back.  Next time will add some in-land time to get over to Denali and such.

For the trip on the AlCan it doesn't sound like either extra fuel or extra tires are necessary with the condition of the 'highway' now...   in the old days both were true.  However, if he was planning on driving some of the 'bush' roads then definitely both are necessary.

Our plans at this point call for staying on the main roads and some limited walking excursions that are near the main roads.  I would love to go do some off roading at some point but it most likely won't be this trip.

And we do hope to be able to return for a cruise some day 'down the road'.
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BigRedDog

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2017, 09:37:56 AM »

We're going to make a 2 or 3 day run up to Port Huron and across the bridge into Canada.  I'm curious how close the security people will check over the RV and us.  Been a few years since we crossed into Canada for anything.  Back in the day we used to cross over just to go to lunch and for ice cream :D :D :D

I also want to find out how much in the line of consumables we can carry across without having to pay duty.

I'm talking cases of bottled water, paper towels, paper plates, toilet paper, etc.     The stuff we'll use all along the trip and that will definitely be less costly here than up there. 

Some info is easy to find online and some is just not anywhere I've looked.
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blue2

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2017, 10:07:29 AM »

It's been a few years since i've been over the Blue Water going to Manitoulin.  I had some boxes of food they found in the vehicle.  i told them i was camping and wanted some food until i could get to grocery store. Wasn't a problem 5 years ago.
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BigRedDog

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 09:17:36 AM »

It's been a few years since i've been over the Blue Water going to Manitoulin.  I had some boxes of food they found in the vehicle.  i told them i was camping and wanted some food until i could get to grocery store. Wasn't a problem 5 years ago.

We used to 'run' over to Canada quite often but never for any longer than an overnight.  When I was pre-teen we went over there camping for a few days.  We were driving the road that went around Lake Superior but when we got to the end of the paved road it became almost impassable so we had to turn around and come back.  I'd like to go back and finish that trip someday maybe.  Road is all paved and can be driven with any vehicle.  I've traveled most of the Lake Superior shoreline on the Michigan side...  probably more than most people as I've traveled 'roads' that still require a good solid 4 wheel drive...   and a narrow one unless you want to get a new paint job when you're done.  The most important accessory for us in the jeep back then wasn't a winch but rather a chain saw...   many times we'd have to stop and cut up a tree that either across or at least partially blocking the road.

I did find this website but I haven't had a chance to see how many of the cameras actually work.  My past experience hasn't always been real good with some of these websites.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28923-i349-k3817475-Alaska_web_cameras_statewide-Alaska.html
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SidecarFlip

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 02:18:22 PM »

I'd share out friend's Alaska trip but it's a private blog, don't think they would appreciate it....

He's a retired US Customs officer and I know there are numerous restrictions on food stuffs going into Canada right now.  He told me that.  No handguns either and long guns must be licensed and declared and pay a $25.00 USD fee for each one.
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BigRedDog

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2017, 08:29:30 AM »

I'd share out friend's Alaska trip but it's a private blog, don't think they would appreciate it....

He's a retired US Customs officer and I know there are numerous restrictions on food stuffs going into Canada right now.  He told me that.  No handguns either and long guns must be licensed and declared and pay a $25.00 USD fee for each one.

There are lots of online forums and blogs that discuss the handgun situation.  I don't recall seeing the $25 figure but I haven't spent a lot of time studying that part either.  I wonder how long that $25 buys you...   up and back in 2-3 months or $25 each way ??? ??? ???
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BigRedDog

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2017, 09:06:38 AM »

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The snow was deep at Jasper in BC.  We are getting lots of interesting pictures of Elk, Bear, Rocky Mountain Sheep....  and snow, tall mountains and steep grades.

Like I said, they wanted us to tag along, glad I didn't.  Healy is the land of the Midnight Sun.  It never gets dark there in the summer, I'd have issues adjusting.

Denali National Park is a beautiful place but the park is closed to motorized traffic. from what I understand.

Healy is at the eastern edge of Denali.  It's a mining town.  All the people who live there work in the open pit mines, mining coal.  Been told all the coal travels by rail from Healy to Valdez and is loaded on ships bound for China.  Also been told that all the homes in Healy are heated by the coal thats mined there, for free.

If you do a Goggle Earth view of Healy and pan to the north east a bit, you can see the mines and machinery used to extract the coal.

I found it interesting to whom the coal was sold (China is the only customer so I was told) being mined from American soil.  Bet it's a pure Biatch up there in the winter, when its dark all the time and snowy and COL:D...

The above is from Sidecarflip that was posted in the 'What are you thinking about right now' thread.

Most of the time my Dad was stationed up there he was stationed at Fort Richardson and then just before he left for Europe he spent some time at the right next door Elmendorf Army Airfield.  (Remember, these were the days before the actual Air Force so it seems kind of strange to have two Army bases right next to each other.  They finally straightened that out just a few years ago.  Here's the Wiki article on that:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Richardson_(Alaska)

When my Dad was growing up his Dad owned a gravel pit and my Dad learned very early on how to run a drag line.  We're talking an 'old' cable with clutch and brake drag line...   nothing hydraulic back then.  When he got drafted they asked if he had any 'special life skills' that might help the Army so he mentioned his background on the drag line.  Someone figured out real quick that they could use him to run a crane.  The plans for the AlCan highway were already underway and so he was soon headed 'North to Alaska'. 

The objective was to build the road in two segments...  part from the south heading north and the other from the north and heading south.  I have no idea of distance involved and that is part of what I'm hoping to figure out on our trip.  Where did the two sections actually meet up? 

So, 7 days a week, 12 hours a day (or night) he spent in a crane unloading ships at Anchorage.  The ships were hauling supplies and equipment to work on the highway and it was definitely a high priority wartime effort as Japan was already stalking some of the ships along the coast and supposedly looking for locations to invade so a secondary route was important. 

Whenever he would talk about his time up there he always mentioned the high tides and the short and long days!  When he would start a 12 hour shift he would be in his crane and looking down into the cargo bays of the ships because the water was so low.  12 hours later that same ship would be above him so that he might need one or two spotters to help him get hooked up to whatever they were trying to lift.

He talked about the 'land of the midnight sun' and how strange that was but they were so busy and so tired when he did get to sleep that it didn't mess with his sleep pattern at all.  If you're tired enough you can sleep anywhere I guess.

Once the AlCan was finished or at least for the time being he moved over to the airfield and worked as a firefighter.  His favorite story was how they went out on a run one night for a plane that had landed with the wheels up (big ooooppppsss). 

Many of the buildings on any military installation at the time were not much more than temporary shacks and made out of whatever they could scrounge (no building codes for sure).  Their 'fire station' was just a shack covered in tar paper and heated with a big coal burner (as Flip mentioned...  lots and lots of coal up there).  While they were out getting the crew out of the plane they looked back and saw that their fire station was on fire!!!   I know from my later days in the Army and even later as a volunteer firefighter that they had to endure a lot of good natured ribbing from their fellow military buddies.
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nails

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2017, 10:43:17 AM »


My cousin is currently on a trip to Alaska with his 5th wheel. I asked him about taking a gun into Canada. I knew handguns were out, but I thought shotguns were OK. He said they wouldn't let him. Had to go back to a KOA nearby and they locked up his shotgun until he returns. He said Canada customs  told him they don't allow RV'ers to travel around with any guns.

Not sure I like the thought of RV traveling without a firearm of some sort.

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BigRedDog

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2017, 06:21:40 PM »

My cousin is currently on a trip to Alaska with his 5th wheel. I asked him about taking a gun into Canada. I knew handguns were out, but I thought shotguns were OK. He said they wouldn't let him. Had to go back to a KOA nearby and they locked up his shotgun until he returns. He said Canada customs  told him they don't allow RV'ers to travel around with any guns.

Not sure I like the thought of RV traveling without a firearm of some sort.

I've read several different sources for taking long guns into (or actually just across) Canada and each one seems to give a slightly different twist.  They're even adamant that you wait and sign all documents in front of them right there at the crossing.  You can fill them all out ahead of time but don't sign them!!!

It's far less complicated just to ship anything you want to a pickup point in Alaska and then just pick them up when you get there.  You do have to do some prior planning though.
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blue2

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2017, 06:53:11 PM »

My wife and I had a female Canadian border agent read us the riot act about having hand guns even though we obviously didn't have them entering Canada.  I don't know how we got to the matter..I think maybe she ask if we had guns.  And my wife said something about concealed and why we couldn't bring into Canada.
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SidecarFlip

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Re: North to Alaska...
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2017, 10:11:20 PM »

My cousin is currently on a trip to Alaska with his 5th wheel. I asked him about taking a gun into Canada. I knew handguns were out, but I thought shotguns were OK. He said they wouldn't let him. Had to go back to a KOA nearby and they locked up his shotgun until he returns. He said Canada customs  told him they don't allow RV'ers to travel around with any guns.

Not sure I like the thought of RV traveling without a firearm of some sort.

Thats bullshitte.  Our good friends Jerry and Nancy are doing a 4 month tour of Alaska with their truck camper (matter of fact Jerry sent Amy and I a 15 pound box of fresh frozen Halbut he caught off Valdez), sent it on Monday, got it on Tuesday morning, Fed-Ex next day air...  No, we ain't sharing either. ;D

Anyway, Jerry want to take his Sig up but had to have it shipped by an FFL in Montana to Healy, Alaska, where Nancy's son lives.  He did take his 12 guage pump shotgun along and crossed the border at Sweetgrass, Montana with it, no problem.  You have to have ownership documentation plus your passport and a certified copy of your birth cert.  Thats it.

Your people obviously had something amiss.
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