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Old 06-09-2011, 02:54 AM   #1
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Tacoma vs. Alcan Highway

I just bought my sweet 2011, TRD Sport, 6 Speed Manual, Access Cab Tacoma! I am heading down to Oklahoma on an epic road trip. The Air Force likes to move people around.

This thread is being created to offer Tacoma owners, or any car owners for that matter, a forum to discuss the drive from either to or from Alaska on the Alcan Highway. First, some background info on the highway.

I think that we can all agree that the Alcan Highway is one the most badass highways in North America.

The Alcan Highway (Alaska-Canadian Highway), originally built during WWII as a supply line. Side note, the Japanese actual invaded Alaska, a little forgotten fact. The highway spans roughly 1400 miles from Delta Junction, Alaska to Dawson Creek, Canada. The road is paved, but is only a two lane road. There can be significant gaps between fuel and lodging stations; although, this is less of a concern during the summer months, as additional businesses open. The biggest risk is simply driving the giant distance with limited access to maintenance shops and roadside assistance.

For the most part, the Alcan Highway is not a huge challenge these days. Although most big-city pansies from places like San Francisco and Los Angeles, well... maybe all of Californians for that matter (unless you own a toyota truck) would wince at the idea of the drive.

To recap, this thread is for those who would like to post advice, tips, tricks, and secret stop spots (restaurants, sites, etc) along the way. Comments should be aimed at informing thread readers of ways to make their travel easier, safer, and more enjoyable!

I will be posting pictures of my trip, and will update this thread with things I encounter, both good and bad. I can't wait for my trip, I know it will be really great. Any advice for me and any other thread viewers is much appreciated.

Thanks all,

-Tad
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:06 PM   #2
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Just did the ALCAN up from Seattle, it was a great ride. I recommend trying to get gas in the larger towns because it gets really expensive in small areas. I paid $1.55 per liter at one point. If you have questions throw them out while my mind is somewhat fresh.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:08 PM   #3
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If you can, post a pic of your route, such as on google or something...I'm making this trip in a week, headed to the Seattle area. How long did it take you? I'm shooting for 3-4 days in Canada....Am I having pipe dreams? What about snow? Did you encounter any?
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KodiakToyTRD View Post
If you can, post a pic of your route, such as on google or something...I'm making this trip in a week, headed to the Seattle area. How long did it take you? I'm shooting for 3-4 days in Canada....Am I having pipe dreams? What about snow? Did you encounter any?
I made it to AK from CA in 4 days. But it was with 2 drivers so we drove most hours of the day.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by especk View Post
I made it to AK from CA in 4 days. But it was with 2 drivers so we drove most hours of the day.
I have one driver, I'm planning on 12 hour days or more...
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KodiakToyTRD View Post
I have one driver, I'm planning on 12 hour days or more...
That's going to be tough but not impossible at all. It was about 3500 miles for me. So we did 800-1000 miles per day. I would recommend planning it out in miles per day because it gives you a better idea of what you can really do.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:26 PM   #8
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My trip is looking like 4000 miles total...from Homer AK to Windsor CO...

1525 miles from White Horse to Bellingham, 539 miles from Homer to Tok and google maps won't let me check the distance from Tok to White Horse. I'm guessing about the same distance. So considering its a rough estimate of 2500 miles, let say 850-900 a day, 3-4 days. I can do that, lol actually I have to do that!!!
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:31 PM   #9
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I have made the trip from the lower 48 to Fairbanks AK or vice versa 11 times 6 times in my Duramax and 5 in my Tacoma. I generally used the Cassiar as I liked it better and felt it was faster than the Alcan it is shorter mileage wise but towns and fuel stops are more limited. I don't recommend this but with one driver (myself) and the goal of averaging 1000 miles per day roughly 16 to 17 hours and sleeping in the truck while traveling through Canada I could make it 5 days from southern New Mexico to Fairbanks AK roughly 4800 miles.

One of the best tools for planning a trip through Canada is the Milepost http://www.milepost.com/ Hope this helps and safe travels.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n0rth View Post
I have made the trip from the lower 48 to Fairbanks AK or vice versa 11 times 6 times in my Duramax and 5 in my Tacoma. I generally used the Cassiar as I liked it better and felt it was faster than the Alcan it is shorter mileage wise but towns and fuel stops are more limited. I don't recommend this but with one driver (myself) and the goal of averaging 1000 miles per day roughly 16 to 17 hours and sleeping in the truck while traveling through Canada I could make it 5 days from southern New Mexico to Fairbanks AK roughly 4800 miles.

One of the best tools for planning a trip through Canada is the Milepost http://www.milepost.com/ Hope this helps and safe travels.
I have the milepost and I will be sleeping in the truck...prolly taking cat naps when I get tired and then driving more.
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Old 06-11-2011, 04:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KodiakToyTRD View Post
I have the milepost and I will be sleeping in the truck...prolly taking cat naps when I get tired and then driving more.
Nice, you should make it no problem in 4 days. I always felt I lost miles in Canada but would make them up in the US. My favorite route is Tok to Whitehorse to Watson Lake hop on the Cassiar south down to Highway 16 "Yellowhead" east through Banf National park to Calgary and head south to Great Falls MT, Wyoming, Colorado then New Mexico.
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by n0rth View Post
Nice, you should make it no problem in 4 days. I always felt I lost miles in Canada but would make them up in the US. My favorite route is Tok to Whitehorse to Watson Lake hop on the Cassiar south down to Highway 16 "Yellowhead" east through Banf National park to Calgary and head south to Great Falls MT, Wyoming, Colorado then New Mexico.
I have family along I-5 north of Seattle that I wanna visit before heading to CO, so I will be coming down from Tok to White Horse, and then down to Prince George and taking the Sea to Sky Highway past Whistler into Vancouver. Should be a sweet trip!
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by KodiakToyTRD View Post
I have family along I-5 north of Seattle that I wanna visit before heading to CO, so I will be coming down from Tok to White Horse, and then down to Prince George and taking the Sea to Sky Highway past Whistler into Vancouver. Should be a sweet trip!
That will be a sweet trip, I have family around Seattle and came down that way in 2005.
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:20 PM   #14
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Good tips so far! Still haven't heard anything about restaurants. Anyone discover a hole-in-the wall joint that has the best chicken wings in the world?
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:23 PM   #15
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Lol, I heard to stop at the hotel in White Horse, get a hair cut and then go across the street to the bar. I guess there's free condoms at the door and I was told to use them...prolly not gonna happen.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Comanator View Post
I did that trip up and back in my 99 F-150 (2004 and 2006). Recently purchased a Tacoma. I'm not sure how bad the roads are now but there were def some rough spots in my travels. I ended up with 2 cracks in my windshield. It was recomended that I put some screen material over the grill to keep out the gravel/rocks but I didn't bother and had no problems there. Be sure to stop by Whitehorse, Canada..Take a hike on their cliff trails around the lake, get your hair cut by Murd the barber, and then spend the night in the bar across the street from his shop. They've got free condoms in a grab-basket as you walk in the front door...use 'em. Enjoy your trip!
LOL!!!
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:10 AM   #17
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This was my journey with all my stops listed. I didn't want to push it too much because I was getting paid to do the drive so I decided to enjoy it.

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=53....0~&form=LMLTCC
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:28 PM   #18
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I don't remember which roads we took but we went from Ak to FL and back 3 different times. We vistied all 48 states they were very long awesome trips though. The one thing I always remember is the constuction on the alcan. We saw one of those big dump trucks roll over which was crazy the whole load blocked the highway for 20 mins
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:59 PM   #19
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in the yukon

I'm currently traveling the Alaska highway on my way from North Carolina to Anchorage. Bringing the whole fam damnly (Wife, Baby and dog) so we are taking our time and enjoying the trip. Stopped in Haines junction for tonight. Gas hasn't been a problem as there is a place to fill up about every quarter tank that i burn. Food stops however are tricky. Some towns only have one restaurant, if that. We packed some coolers to make sandwiches and plenty of snack foods. The road is pretty easy traveling although there are some rough sections that sustained perma-frost damage so watch out for loose gravel. Other than that enjoy the trip and don't forget to take in the scenery!
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Old 07-15-2011, 02:05 PM   #20
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I'll jump on this wagon. I have driven the Al-Can up and down 2 times by myself (between the ages of 20 and 23). In my 1999 Tacoma. I remember coming home (north) in early March the 2nd trip i did, and i ran out of gas at Watson Lake and had JUST enough gas in my gas can (3 gallons) to get me IN TO the town of Watson Lake, only to find the gas stations were closed (this was at 1am). The temperature was -40f, and i didnt want to spend money on a motel JUST to wake up again in 5 hours when the gas stations opened. So I slept outside of the motel in the parking lot, in my extended cab (im 6'2) back seat on top of suitcases and guitars, curled up in a ball. (which was actually KIND of comfy) and having to wake up every 35 minutes to warm up the truck (and engine for that matter). THAT was when i woke the next morning and thought, "Damn! This will be a cool story to tell my kids". Not near as cool as the stories i have from the family road trips down the highway from North Pole, AK. 5 kids, and it was actually at the time CHEAPER to DRIVE outside to visit family, so every few years mom and dad would pack us kids and drive straight through. I DO remember distinctly leaving North Pole on a Friday morning, and making it to Disneyland on that following Monday. My dad was a speed freak i think. haha. I get my ability to drive 16+ hour days from him, not to mention my love for the open road.
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