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 Post subject: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:33 pm 
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Been thinking and talking about driving to, and spending a few weeks in Alaska sometime... but it's usually never more than a daydream.

Till now.

Although it's a long way away, I'm trying to get together information and a game plan for making this happen during the summer/early fall of 2012 (if possible). The only real destination that I have so far is Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse via the Dalton Highway. Maybe over to Barrow also, if time/money allows.

Because planning is so early (meaning, I decided I wanted to make this happen.... yesterday), I don't have many details yet. I've been sending requests out for maps of the region, and all the literature I can find to help in planning.

I'm putting this out here as a planning thread... and wouldn't mind some input from anyone who has traveled through Alaska before, or that lives/lived there... more specifically, the northern area that we plan to visit. Routes to take? Points of interest? Things to be careful of? Things to not do? Any input would be great. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:44 am 
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Don't know what literature or maps you might have, but you really need to get "The Milepost". Google it and buy it. It gives info on every mile of the Alaskan highway; where to eat, where to sleep, where to get fuel, and what to expect in terms of road conditions. Everyone we have talked to about the trip said this is a must have. We are planning to go there this summer with our motorhome towing our '03 Liberty Renegade.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:21 pm 
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You're the 3rd person that has told me to get this book... so I will be getting it for sure. Especially if it's that in-depth. :D

Where do you plan to go once you get up that way?

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:13 pm 
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Everywhere we possibly can. We plan on touring for a couple of months once we reach Alaska.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:15 pm 
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Nice! :D I'll have to check with you too then, to see what things you find worth the trip.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:09 am 
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I don't know if I ever told you this, but I was born and raised in Fairbanks. We'll have to get together sometime and I can probably answer most of your questions about the trip. You're going to have to pick and choose what you're doing though with only 3 weeks... if you haul butt it'll take you 3 days to get there and there's a LOT of ground to cover to get from one place to another ;)

I can also get you a free place to stay/wrench/shower once you get to Fairbanks. Also know plenty of people with garage space and equipment should you need it. I've made the drive between AK and the states 12 times now so hit me up sometime... You're going to love it... :BANANA:

Oh yeah... I also have some older mileposts you can have for free if you like... I think they're 2000-2003 or something like that. Most things have stayed in the same place AFAIK :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:50 am 
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You know, I do remember you saying that before... and I forgot. :roll: That's great though - it never hurts to have too many points of reference. :D I'll be more than happy to get your insight!

A couple of weeks from now we have a 'Adventure in Travel' show that comes to Chicago. (http://www.adventureexpo.com/Default.aspx?id=a8383584-b8b3-4a9d-8be5-223cd2db9ab2) We usually go to that purely because it's fun... but this year I want to collect all the Alaska info that they have (mostly maps). Once I have that done, and I get a copy of the Milepost, then I'll start making some definitive destination plans.

Denali is HUGE on my list... so definitely there. Aaron wants to go up to Deadhorse (Dalton Hwy). That's all I've got so far. I know I'll have to really pick and choose where we go, but want to have a better idea of destinations and routes to get there before I really do much more planning.

I registered on Expedition Portal a few days ago to research other planning ideas, routes, and such... so there's that. Hopefully in a couple of weeks, I'll have our spare bedroom turned into 'command central'! :mrgreen:

PM sent about the Milepost.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:52 pm 
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We lived in Alaska for 5 years, but all of them were in the Bush in the Southwest. Had to take 3 planes to get there. I do know that you can't drive to Barrow. Have to fly there but it may be worth the visit. You can get a flight out of Fairbanks. The Milepost is a decent book. We got one once before we drove down here for the summer. One must stop place is the Liard Hot Springs. We saw a bear there, and a couple of years before that, a guy was killed there. Camping is close by. We took a big rock hit in the windshield once. An egg sized rock got kicked up by a passing RV. I saw it coming, but couldn't get out of the way. We saw many caribou around the Milk River and some moose. 6 bears. It took us 9 days to drive to Grand Junction from Anchorage. Once you get up past Edmonton alberta, you really get a sense of the wildness. Before then, just make as much time up as you can. Haul booty. You will come to the milepost place where many travelers leave a sign or license plate. I found that interesting. Hit a few grocery stores while in Canada and look for a cookie that is shaped like a maple leave. It has the best maple flavor, almost concentrated. Another quirk I found out about was most Canucks eat french fries with brown gravy. Damned good!!! We have family in Fairbanks, and a friend from down here drove up last summer. Skagway is a touist trap, but a must see place. A little out of the way though.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:11 pm 
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I found that out about Barrow - maybe we'll get there another time. It wasn't high up on the priority list anyway.

I did get my hands on a copy of the 2008 Milepost - I just started reading through there yesterday. Lots of great information to a newbie such as myself. I the photos and write up for that milepost forest... looks cool. I might have to strategically place a LOST sticker up there somewhere. :D

Over the weekend, put up a couple of bulletin boards in the spare room, and posted a couple of different Alaska maps I have... for reference in planning. At this stage, it looks like we will boogie on up to Deadhorse and then work our way back from there. We were reading about a tour group that will take you all the way to the Arctic Ocean from Deadhorse (can't get their on our own since it belongs to the oil companies :roll:). Once there, you have the opportunity to become a part of the 'Arctic Polar Bear Club.' :shock: :dizzy: I don't know if I'll have the nerve to test those waters... but, the tour operators carry towels/blankets for use afterwords. :lol:

After Deadhorse, we're talking of heading back down through Fairbanks, to/through Denali, make an attempt to get to the 'Magic Bus', and down through Anchorage before we loop back out of the state. Again - all preliminary planning right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:43 pm 
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You could go on down to Seward from Anchorage. It's about another day down and back, or combine it with a trip out on the Kenai
Pennensula to Homer for some Halibut fishing. When we were down on the Alaskan Penninsula, we would fish for halibut right on the beach. Throw sort of a trot line with a big circle hook with a chunk of salmon on it out, then tie off on a drift log. Check it every 3 hours or so. We put out crab pots for monster dungeness crabs too. Made those crabs in the Puget Sound look like little crawdads. There are very few roads in Alaska that take you out into the real bush. It will be hard to squeeze all that Alaska has to offer in just a few short weeks. You should be there long enough to know that you must come back for another trip. One thing I found out was, that once you are in Alaska, you can come back home, but Alaska never gets out of your system. You are hooked for life. We may go back up for another tour of duty when our son goes off to college.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 5:40 pm 
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Been away from the forum for a bit, but i live in Fairbanks, and would love to answer any questions you have regarding the interior. I know a handful of trails here in the area, as well as some points of Interest.

If you are driving up, might I suggest taking the trip up to Chicken, Eagle, & Dawson. They are about a Day's drive up the Taylor Hwy. Most of the area has recovered from the Forrest fires. There's a lot of history and beauty up that way.

In Fairbanks, Might I suggest Chena Hot Springs. There are a lot of trails of the road, and the Hot Springs are nice after a trail ride.

Be sure to head south to Healy. Tons of great trails including the infamous Stampede Trail. You can get most of the way back to the bus in 2 wheel, but unfortunately you can't make it all the way in a Liberty.

I'll post more ideas as they come to me...

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 7:24 pm 
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Thanks, Fairbanks KJ. Keep 'em coming.

My wife has already declared that the Chena Hot Springs are a must and she also wants to do the road to Dawson. That road is gravel isn't it? Do you think the road to Dawson is too bad for a large motorhome? I would hate to damage ours.

Our travelling friends also have a motorhome and a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Any specifics you know about trails would be greatly appreciated, especially ones that have good views/vistas. Are there any maps that you know of that show the trails and maybe ratings?

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2010 11:10 pm 
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Fairbanks_KJ wrote:
Might I suggest Chena Hot Springs. There are a lot of trails of the road, and the Hot Springs are nice after a trail ride.


A couple of people have suggested this to me so far... we'll probably make this one of our destinations. :D

Fairbanks_KJ wrote:
Be sure to head south to Healy. Tons of great trails including the infamous Stampede Trail. You can get most of the way back to the bus in 2 wheel, but unfortunately you can't make it all the way in a Liberty.


If the KJ won't make it all the way back to the bus, do you know if the remainder of the distance is doable on foot (hiking)?

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 1:45 pm 
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If it's on or near a road system, it's not in the "interior."

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2010 3:25 pm 
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BVCRD wrote:
If it's on or near a road system, it's not in the "interior."


Huh :roll: :?: :?:

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 1:34 am 
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....and all this time I thought I grew up in interior Alaska :lol: :lol: :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 9:37 am 
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durangotang wrote:
....and all this time I thought I grew up in interior Alaska :lol: :lol: :roll:





Nope. not if you were in the banks. You basically have to have been in the bush like we were to be clasified "interior." That's the only real Alaska that I am aware of. You know that tang. :roll: I get a kick reading about how folks in a Jeep drove out to the "bush today". It's not something you can drive to. lol....... It's like people living in Denver saying they live in the interior. Well, techniquely they are correct if you start measuring from say...Kansas. lol They say, "yep we live in the Rocky Moutains." I consider "living in the mountains" only if you don't have to look UP to see them. Fairbanks at best would be discribed as the gateway to the interior.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:18 pm 
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Fairbanks falls in the 'interior' region of all 3 of my maps, so I'll probably end up referring to it that way as well. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 2:48 pm 
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yellocoyote wrote:
Fairbanks falls in the 'interior' region of all 3 of my maps, so I'll probably end up referring to it that way as well. :P




It's a bush thing. You had to be there. :SOMBRERO: You know what we called folks on the road system....tourists. :P Truely, to experience the REAL Alaska, you have to leave the roads behind. It would be like someone coming to Colorado from say...Kansas City. They stop at Limon on the eastern plains and go back home all excited about how they saw Colorado. If you can, stay away from the tourist stops. Buy a bush plane ticket to Barrow, King Salmon, Dillingham, Bethel etc. Up there, they are called air taxis. It will be an adventure you will always cherish.

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 Post subject: Re: Early, early, early stages of planning...
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 5:49 pm 
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I've been living vicariously through this guy lately. Simply inspiring. 8)

http://www.andrewskurka.com/AK10/index.php

I wish I had the time/money to prepare and do the things he's done. In the meantime, I can watch his journey across Alaska.




I'm perfectly fine with being a 'touristy' to a degree for the first voyage... but the trip definitely will not be about travel company guided tours and lush accommodations - I'm sure you can see and do a lot with them, however, we are of the exploring mindset. ;)

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