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Utah to Prudhoe Bay Trip Advice

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Gunshot-6A, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Aug 2, 2018 at 1:24 PM
    #1
    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A [OP] Not a Fed

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    Hey all,

    So a friend and I are putting together a trip plan to Prudhoe Bay next summer, and are doing some initial research. As part of the trip, we are going to be doing the ALCAN and Dalton Highways in their entirety starting in Salt Lake City. Maybe some of you can answer some questions we have?

    1. What's the best summer month to visit? Hoping to avoid rain/mud as much as possible. The summer AK temps don't bother us at all, but want to make sure everything is dried out as much as possible.

    2. Seems like most of the ALCAN and Dalton are passable in smaller SUVs. We will each be carrying a full size spare, but is a 2nd spare really necessary? Seems a lot of folks say it isn't, but a few say it is.

    3. We are racing the clock big time to finish this trip based on our vacation days, but is there any thing you recommend taking a short detour to go see?

    4. Bears? For those that car/RTT camp, do they present any additional challenges? I am a fairly adept backpacker, and know about separating food/camp/etc, but having an "overland" vehicle setup seems to make this a little more challenging.

    On a related note, should we be bringing some form of bear gun? I figure an 870 with slugs is about the most effective thing I would be able to pack, especially since we will be going through Canada and have to deal with their laws regarding firearms. I have bear spray as well, but am well aware of its weaknesses.

    5. Anyone want to meet up? It would be cool to meet new people.

    Alaska Trip v2.jpg
     
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  2. Aug 2, 2018 at 1:29 PM
    #2
    wheeliest

    wheeliest ///////////////////

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  3. Aug 2, 2018 at 2:34 PM
    #3
    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A [OP] Not a Fed

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    Just one of those things I guess. Can't really do much about it.

    Pro-tip: Keep your "Overland Beekeeping Suit" away from your idiot stove Skottle! :bananadead::rofl:
    upload_2018-8-2_15-34-7.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
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  4. Aug 2, 2018 at 3:16 PM
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    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    August is the start of the main rains. And August 10 is the start of caribou season, September 1 for moose. You don't want to be driving with tons of people all frantic when it's raining, so go in late June or July. Mid-late July is probably best.

    If you both are sharing the same size tire I definitely wouldn't carry 2 spares, but I would bring a patch kit, and have an air compressor (even if one of those cheap walmart ones) between the two of you.

    If you want to do any wheeling up here I can point you to some places. Some easier than others.

    Guns... I love mine and always have a 10mm or larger in the back woods. Not sure how Canada laws limit you there, but make sure you have everything you need at the border crossings.

    I can organize a 907 Yotas taco night or something if you give me a week or more headway on when you'll be in Anchorage.
     
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  5. Aug 2, 2018 at 3:17 PM
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    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and when you are in Canada buy some good gas cans. You won't need them in Canada but on the Dalton you will be glad to have them most likely.
     
  6. Aug 2, 2018 at 3:20 PM
    #6
    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A [OP] Not a Fed

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    Thanks for the heads up. My friends in Anchorage gave me similar info regarding dates. I knew about the hunt as well. If its anything like Utah during elk season, I want no part of that!

    Canada basically bans handguns for travellers, but hunting type weapons seem to be able to get a traveller permit, hence the slugged 870.

    We will be on a common tire size, and have patches, and plugs. I also have a hard mounted ARB compressor. Should be fine there based on what I am reading.

    We both have 2 as of now. I think I'm gonna get 2 more just to get a full tank's worth. Seems to be a common warning with the gas stations being not open all the time, etc.
     
  7. Aug 2, 2018 at 3:25 PM
    #7
    Unner

    Unner Well-Known Member

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    Don't have much of any suggestions, but this looks like an awesome trip! That drive is on my bucket list.
     
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  8. Aug 2, 2018 at 6:09 PM
    #8
    mjs90

    mjs90 Well-Known Member

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    The ALCAN in the summer is a breeze. I did it two years ago over the course of a month from SoCal, and aside from one like twenty mile stretch of graded gravel the road was perfectly fine. How many days are you looking at because there's tons of cool shit in Canada that I wish we would have stayed a night or two at.
     
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  9. Aug 2, 2018 at 6:50 PM
    #9
    Pickeledpigsfeet

    Pickeledpigsfeet Well-Known Member

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    If you bring your shotgun you will have to deal with extra scrutiny at the border. Make sure you have your receipt for when you purchased the shotgun as well as submit all transit paperwork well in advance. Even the US BP will want to see it and confirm that you have proof that it is a US firearm. CBP went thru and made me completely unpack my truck each time looking for loose shells and other made up crap related to firearms. Last time I just brought bear spray and wasnt hassled, and this was a big leap for me as I always carry when camping, but the hassle was just so much that I didnt want to deal with it all again. We went all over interior BC on the way up and had close encounters with massive numbers of bears but they have always left us alone. They didnt seem to equate us with food like the lower 48 bears do.

    When I went a couple years ago, even if you brought your shotgun you were not allowed to use it in Canada even to protect your life. It was to remain locked at all times. I havent checked lately but I doubt they have gotten more lax about it. So you need to have a non firearm bear defense plan for at least Canada even if you bring your shotgun.

    Driving thru checkpoint:
    With my shotgun: " pull through sir, park in this stall, secure your vehicle amd come inside". 1-2 hours depending on how big of a checkpoint.
    With bear spray: "where are you from? Where are you going" any firearms or alcohol? Have a nice day". 5 mins
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
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  10. Aug 2, 2018 at 7:38 PM
    #10
    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A [OP] Not a Fed

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    I'm hearing this route isn't nearly as daunting as it used to be "back in the day". Glad we can make some good time along the route. We have 2.5 weeks, likely june 7 afternoon to the 26th. There's a lot I wanna do, but since I don't have 6 months, we gotta pare down the list something fierce.

    Looking to go SLC-Calgary-icefield parkway-whitehorse-fairbanks-deadhorse. On the way back, drop down to anchorage to see some friends/shower/regroup, then down through WA, ID and back to SLC.

    I knew about declaration forms, etc, and I also knew about the illegality of bear defense in Canada. The RCMP site made it sound a lot more..."straightforward" I guess... Shouldn't be surprised, having worked for the feds for a time. It's never that easy.

    Honestly, the more I think about it, I think I'm just gonna leave the 870 at home and bring the bear spray. The only alternative I can think of is to mail it to my friend that is in Fairbanks, but they might PCS back stateside before we embark.
     
  11. Aug 2, 2018 at 8:11 PM
    #11
    addicus24

    addicus24 Well-Known Member

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  12. Aug 2, 2018 at 9:21 PM
    #12
    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A [OP] Not a Fed

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    Ha! Gonna have to break out my Oneida. Not sure I wanna try my hand at bear defense with a bow.
     
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  13. Aug 2, 2018 at 10:14 PM
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    SnowroxKT

    SnowroxKT Well-Known Member

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    You don't need 4 gas cans each. One is plenty. Canada gas cans aren't as heavily regulated as ours so they work better (so I hear).

    Good call on leaving the 870. I'm an avid firearms guy that just got back from the range today, but sometimes it isn't worth the trouble.
     
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  14. Aug 2, 2018 at 10:25 PM
    #14
    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A [OP] Not a Fed

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    Sounds good. And yeah, they don't have to deal with the California CARB bullshit that makes for gas cans that spill MORE gas :crazy:

    This will be a new one for me since I'm strapped like 95% of the time I leave my driveway. :quickdraw:
     
  15. Aug 2, 2018 at 10:32 PM
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    mjs90

    mjs90 Well-Known Member

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    Some of the places off the top of my head that I really liked driving through were:

    Banff & Jasper but they're kind of a given. As long as you walk half a mile from where everybody is you'll basically be alone and it's awesome.

    Stone Mountain Provincial Park - More bears in the few hours we were here than the entire first two weeks in Yellowstone & Glacier, and Muncho Lake just past it is gorgeous. You get to drive along the length of it which is awesome, and there's a resort there that has a gas station that saved our ass since one of the seasonal ones before it malfunctioned.

    Destruction Bay area outside of Whitehorse - That shit is surreal. It went from partly cloudy and beautiful to one bigass dust storm on the other side which was awesome to see in person. Beautiful mountain view on the road towards it from Whitehorse that looks like a painting.

    ALSO:
    - Fill up if you see a gas station and you're at half a tank. No matter what. It's not worth it to risk it.

    - You're gonna have some looooong driving days. Make sure you guys get along and can laugh at stupid shit for hours on end like we did because some sections like Banff to Watson Lake are boring as shit.

    - Buy a goddamn Milepost book so you know where gas stations are. That book is a lifesaver since cell reception is non-existent most of the time and with all the mountain driving you burn through your gas.

    - Don't speed. We almost hit a moose(it turned around when it was in the shoulder, thankfully) when I was doing like 70 even with ditch lights and a 52" light bar illuminating the quarter mile ahead of us. Don't be a dumbass like me.

    - Stay super wide if there's traffic coming and you're on a graded gravel section. We had a good 15-20 feet between us and a semi and it still kicked up gravel and cracked out windshield.

    - Your car is going to be CAKED with bugs. Our lightbar smelled so bad when we would stop since it basically was a bug barbecue.

    That trip is the best one I've ever had by a long shot and I plan on doing it again now that I have a Tacoma, but without the whole driving from Seward, AK to Bellingham, WA in about 39 hours lol.
     
  16. Aug 2, 2018 at 10:35 PM
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    Martimus

    Martimus Well-Known Member

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    Back in the early 1970's my family lived in Anchorage. You are quite correct about the ALCAN "back in the day". When I was a kid the ALCAN highway was mostly gravel.

    It was rare back then that a vehicle could traverse the ALCAN without a ripped up tire......... or a broken windshield.
     
  17. Aug 2, 2018 at 10:38 PM
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    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A [OP] Not a Fed

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    We are planning to do the Icefield parkway so we will be doing the length of jasper and banff on the way up.

    We get along pretty well but we will also be in 2 trucks so we will have our own space if we just need to get away. Its gonna be a long drive, but a bucket list item for me.

    Milepost book is ordered on the advice of many.

    Not looking forward to the bugs but it comes with the territory. Long sleeves and deet!

    And yeah, I'm already budgeting a windshield for this trip. Maybe a side window too if Im unlucky. I'm always on the lookout for game too. Almost took an elk through the windshield last december going from SLC to Escalante. Them critters are huge. Only ever come across a moose on my bike in park city.
     
  18. Aug 2, 2018 at 10:41 PM
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    mjs90

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    Any reason for doing it in two? Personally it'd be more fun and memorable with just one and we did it in a hunk of garbage Ford Escape
     
  19. Aug 3, 2018 at 7:58 AM
    #19
    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A [OP] Not a Fed

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    Well I was planning to do it solo, then I invited my friend to stave off the solo boredom, and hes a gung-ho tacoma type as well, and you can't just go to the Arctic Circle in someone else's truck...and so the story goes.

    I am likely gonna have another friend of mine fly in from the East Coast that I haven't seen since college that'll ride shotgun with me. He'll just be rotating back from the sandbox, so this'll give him some decompression.

    Speaking of, any hassle with bringing dogs from the US through Canada to AK? My east coast buddy may be bringing his german shepard, which has all his shots, etc.
     
  20. Aug 3, 2018 at 11:22 AM
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    mjs90

    mjs90 Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully your other friend can tag along. I posted about our trip on Facebook for like a year before we even left to try and muster up more bodies to no avail. It would be such an awesome thing to do with a solid group of people
     

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