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Author Topic: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning  (Read 15054 times)

Marsha/CA

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2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« on: October 19, 2010, 11:39:01 AM »
To all of those of you who posted journals/trip reports/logs about their travels to Alaska-Thank you.  It's a great help to those of us who plan to go in the future.  I've read through almost all of the Alaska Trip threads. 

But, what I wanted to ask is, those of you who have been there to:

1.  Give me the top 3 things your either did or saw that you considered the best part your Alaska trip. 
2.  Would you do anything differently?
3.  Did you take anything special with you (ie. Jeff and Sue took an extra tire for their motor home and carried it on the top of the roof.)
4.  Did you do anything special to the car and or toad (ie. wrap wire on the under part of the motor)

Marsha~ 
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

Tom and Margi

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2010, 11:58:54 AM »
Two memories come immediately to mind:  Driving the Top of the World Highway and the Cassiar Highway.   Both are too remote and "service-less" for some people, but I'm sure you and Tim would enjoy both experiences.

The Bounder came with a spare tire in a compartment, so we had that with us.  We replaced all belts before we left.  We kept Don Miller's phone number handy as well as George Van Luchene's in case we needed advice on the road.  We were pulling a little 1982 Suzuki which we intended to (and did) paint when we got home, so didn't do anything special to the toad. It was a wonderful trip.  I'm sorry we only went once. 

I'm already looking forward to reading your trip journal.

Margi
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 12:05:20 PM by Ned »

Tom and Margi

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2010, 12:02:22 PM »
I'm not sure what happened when I tried to modify my previous message.  Could someone on the staff please fix it for me?  Thanks.  ::)

Margi

Ned

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 12:04:41 PM »
1. The plane ride over Mount McKinley was the highlight of the trip for me.  Driving the Ice Fields Parkway through the Canadian Rockies was as good as any scenery in Alaska.  The Top of the World highway would have been much better if it hadn't been raining and cloudy.

2. Probably not.

3. Nothing special other than some friends :)  You can get just about anything in AK that you can here, but it will be more expensive.

4. We bought 2 rolls of Transit Shield and applied it liberally to the front end of the car to protect it from stone chips.

Lorna may have different answers.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Ned

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2010, 12:05:56 PM »
I'm not sure what happened when I tried to modify my previous message.  Could someone on the staff please fix it for me?  Thanks.  ::)

Done.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Tom and Margi

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2010, 12:57:58 PM »
Done.

Thanks, Ned.  I appreciate all you guys do to clean up after us.  ;)

Margi

BernieD

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2010, 04:29:58 PM »
Marsha

1. The two areas we enjoyed the most were the T.O.W. from Dawson, Yukon to Tok, AK and Route 16 between Prince George, BC and Prince Rupert, BC. Check our 2003 trip report for all the details.

2.  Not really.

3.  Nothing

4.  We had bought the Underbra which works great in theory, but we only used it once and never put it on again. The Lynches had it also and it worked OK for them. The best protection we had was our auto insurance policy, a full paint job and replacement of windows when we got back. The coach had no noticeable damage.
Bernie & Marlene Dobrin
Home is Goodyear, AZ
Missing our Travel Supreme

ArdraF

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2010, 06:17:41 PM »
Two trips and no damage to speak of except some paint dings.  Cover your headlights with something like the 3M film - both RV and toad - cause they're really expensive to replace.  We usually carry extra belts, but not much else.  Yes, the Icefields Parkway, Lake Louise and that area are gorgeous and the SnoCat onto the glacier is fun.  Take warm and cool clothes because it can be quite chilly but Fairbanks can be quite warm in summer.  Take lots of money!  Everything has to be flown or shipped in there so there's more cost.  We did Top of the World twice and really didn't see much either time because of bad weather.  Loved Dawson City though and spent about five days there.  We also enjoyed the boat ride in Fairbanks where you see where a non-glacial river and a glacial river join and form "flour".  Very informative .  We were also lucky enough to meet Susan Butcher and her dogs, but of course she succumbed to breast cancer.  While in Homer be sure to take your toad and drive up into the residential areas above the spit.  Some of those residents have really fabulous views of the volcanic mountains and the bay.  Enjoy the wonderful salmon and halibut.  For that I'm envious!  ;D  I'm sure you already have your Milepost.  Hope you have wonderful weather because, as you know, it can be really good or really bad.

ArdraF
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Jeff

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2010, 07:03:11 PM »
Marsha:

1. We loved the Kenai Peninsula, we had a beautiful ferry trip from Valdez to Wittier, to be sure to take the evening dinner cruise from Seward out to the Kenai Fjords National Park,  and take Tim fishing from Homer. We also had a great week in Fairbanks including the Discovery Riverboat cruise and a drive out to Chena Hot Springs to see their ice house and carvings. (My list goes on and on ::) )

2. On our next trip we are going to ride the ferry up from Prince Rupert and spend a few days each in Ketchikan, Sitka, and Juneau on the way to Haines/Skagway. We'll drive back south through Canada on our way home.

3/4. In addition to the m/h tire on the roof of the toad (that we never used) we had a roll of clear carpet protector like Ned and used it on the toad and m/h. Also used fine mesh screening on the side radiator and under the radiator cooling fan for protection from rocks.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 07:06:22 PM by Jeff »

NCsleeves

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2010, 08:22:00 PM »
1.  Give me the top 3 things your either did or saw that you considered the best part your Alaska trip. 
2.  Would you do anything differently?
3.  Did you take anything special with you (ie. Jeff and Sue took an extra tire for their motor home and carried it on the top of the roof.)
4.  Did you do anything special to the car and or toad (ie. wrap wire on the under part of the motor)

We last went up in 1992, so I'm sure things have changed.  And we were a family of five camping out of a Suburban, so that would definitely be different.  Met the in-laws and their Winnebago in Edmonton on the way up, and our lives suddenly got much easier.  :-) 

1. The one most memorable thing we did was visit the Kennecott Mine.  It was a 60 mile gravel road to the edge of a wild river, over which the only passage was by a cable car for which passengers provided all of the motive power.  Beyond the river was the town of McCarthy with a few residents, and the abandoned Kennecott mine.  Spent the day, weather was great, the mine and the nearby terrain was photogenic.  I think there is now a pedestrian bridge across the river.  Don't know whether the road is paved (much of the Alaska Highway was unpaved at the time).    Also enjoyed the riverboat in Fairbanks, and Homer, and Dawson City,..  yeah, it was a great trip.  Never saw Mt McKinley while we were there, regrettably.

2. We'd be very glad to have upgraded from a tent to a motorhome!  I think we'd spend more days staying put.  We spent 2 weeks in AK, but could happily have spent double that. 

3/4.  Other than taking protective measures for headlights if you plan to spend any time on gravel roads, normal long trip prep should suffice.  And if you do plan to travel on gravel, do budget for windshield replacement.
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Tony_Alberta

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2010, 08:22:16 PM »
Thirty years ago I had to overnight in Prince Rupert on my way to Stewart, BC so I asked around and was told Smiley's had the best seafood.  It was a great meal in an small dining room, with five tables, with a view of the harbour.   There was also the main cafe type area with linoleum and metal and plastic chairs but the dining room was excellent.   Cloth napkins and table cloths, etc.

However some of the reviews are "brutal"   So maybe ask the locals if you are there.  http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g154939-d709050-r76734458-Smiles_Seafood_Cafe-Prince_Rupert_British_Columbia.html

Marsha/CA

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2010, 08:42:21 PM »
Thanks everyone....keep them coming; I'm creating a list.  :D

One of the things we are considering, is towing our Chevy Diesel 2500 4 wheel drive truck.  We will be "outfitting" it with camping equipment so that we can drive back into remote places, spend a few days then come back to the motor home.  We would be sleeping in the back of the truck.  I'm not sure I can return to those "good old days"; but it might be fun, so we are considering it. 

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

Jeff

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2010, 09:24:03 PM »
Marsha:

If you want to drive the Haul Road north from Fairbanks that would be the way to do it.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2010, 06:42:28 PM by Jeff »

BigLarry

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2010, 02:22:08 PM »
We particularly enjoyed the remote areas.  That's where you get a feel for the real Alaska.  We drove the Haul Road and would recommend it highly.  Staying at a B&B in Wiseman on the way up gave us a chance to see how the locals live in remote areas.  We also enjoyed the Top of the World Hwy, along with the trip on up to Eagle on the Taylor Hwy.  The flag stop RR trip that runs from Talkeetna to Hurricane Gulch and back was also gave us a chance to see how folks live in areas that are accessible only by train or aircraft.

We were very fortunate to have no rock damage that I am aware of.  I will say that I felt a lot more comfortable driving many of the gravel roads with a 3/4 ton truck with 10 ply tires. 

 
Larry and Betty
Bryan, Texas
2017 GMC Sierra 2500HD 4x4 Diesel
2016 Cougar 28RLS

ArdraF

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2010, 03:31:17 PM »
Marsha,

Mention of the Kennecott mine reminded me that there are numerous neat "factory" type places to tour.  We went to North America's largest aluminum smelter, as well as plants producting lumber, oriented strand board, finger-joined boards, and such.  Our second trip took us up through B.C. to Prince Rupert where we got the ferry and it was B.C. that had all those factories.  When you enter B.C. go to a visitor center and back then they had a list of the places that were open for tours.  We learned so much!

ArdraF
ArdraF
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Marsha/CA

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2010, 07:24:18 PM »
Thanks Ardra....we'll be sure to check it out.  We usually stop in at the Visitors Centers each time we come to a new area.

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

rhmahoney

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2010, 10:45:06 PM »
Getting to Seward before 10 am and scoring a waterfront facing site in the city CG gave us the best seat in the house. Same deal in Valdez at Sea Otter CG sites 40 & 41
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Betty Brewer

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2010, 10:52:47 PM »
Marsha and Tim,

I am sure you have read my  Journal of our trip in 2006 with Russ.  Be sure to get the Tour Saver coupon book. One of my most vidid memories is of the plane flight over  Mt Mckinley. Also the gravel  road in toad over the Demster HWY to Inuvik and the flight out to Tut Tut.  I  wish we could go with you.  I want to go again. What a wonderful trip.  NO matter what you pre plan all will be well and a wonderful trip.  Do not plan on any special festivities for  July 4 if you are in Denali.  The owners do not  value our Independence day  as their heritage is not American.

Relax and take what comes.  Just bring  money.
BB
Betty Brewer

see where we are

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2010, 10:46:05 PM »

1.  Give me the top 3 things your either did or saw that you considered the best part your Alaska trip. 
2.  Would you do anything differently?
3.  Did you take anything special with you (ie. Jeff and Sue took an extra tire for their motor home and carried it on the top of the roof.)
4.  Did you do anything special to the car and or toad (ie. wrap wire on the under part of the motor)

Marsha~

1.  The animals in Denali, the park on the south side of Anchorage that had moose, (yes, MOOSE!), the boat trips out of Valdez (Stan's) and Whittier--we avoided the big one with all the tourist buses.  Our third thrill would be getting to see Mt. McKinley.  Schedule enough days there so you can have a chance to see it, and start looking for it from your first day.
2.  We would skip Top of the World--the road conditions are too unpredictable, and we hit it at a terrible time.  The fine dust got in our GPS system and everything else, it jammed up our steps, and really messed up our coach.  When we were there we saw a lot of dead and deformed spruce trees (bark beetle), and it was overcast, then rained at the end.  The road beat us to death.  For a first time, we would follow the same route.  However, next time we go, hopefully in 2012, we will hit Denali earlier because we should see more animals there then.  The trade-off is giving up the better weather in Valdez and the Kenai when you get to see the marine animals.  I would have loved to go salmon/halibut fishing, but Dean doesn't like it.  We would have bought more cedar planks and started eating halibut earlier.  I've don't usually like halibut because it is so dry and tasteless; the fresh halibut and salmon is to die for!  I think if we lived there, we'd become fishitarians.
3.  We took padded reflective material (cut-to-fit) to block out the midnight light, and we didn't use it.  The light didn't bother us at all; we slept like babies.   If you want us to bring it to Quartzite, we'd be happy to give it to you.  I also have some books for you that I enjoyed reading.
4.  We got a clear film to protect the paint, but it is very difficult to apply to anything except a flat surface.  Be sure to get windshield insurance for your coach.  There is a website that tells where the construction is and when they are putting the calcium carbonate on the Top of the World.  We found the construction info helpful.  Be sure to get an early start each morning because that is when the animals are out.  Summer solstice in Anchorage was a big celebration.

Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2010, 04:07:54 PM »
Marsha, one afterthought.  We didn't get to the Icefields Parkway, and we will definitely do it next time.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Marsha/CA

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2010, 05:20:49 PM »
Thanks Linda, I've added your ideas to my list.

We drove the Icefields Parkway in 2006 when we were in Canada; then went onto Baniff, Jasper and Lake Louise.  On this trip we will be going straight up through CA, OR, WA and then into BC.

At the moment I'm researching everything I can about Medicare...<aaarrrggg>  I turn 65 in September and it looks like I need to sign up and get stuff figured out before I leave in late May/June so that I can get signed up correctly.   Talk about a convoluted MESS.  I have a college degree and this stuff is still confusing. 

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2010, 12:29:51 AM »
Thanks Linda, I've added your ideas to my list.

We drove the Icefields Parkway in 2006 when we were in Canada; then went onto Baniff, Jasper and Lake Louise.  On this trip we will be going straight up through CA, OR, WA and then into BC.

At the moment I'm researching everything I can about Medicare...<aaarrrggg>  I turn 65 in September and it looks like I need to sign up and get stuff figured out before I leave in late May/June so that I can get signed up correctly.   Talk about a convoluted MESS.  I have a college degree and this stuff is still confusing. 

Marsha~

You have my sympathies.  If misery loves company.....I turn 65 in April, and Medicare decisions are what I have to do when we return.  I am dreading it.  However, as with so many things, if we put one foot in front of the other, eventually we will get the path walked.

 I LOVE BC--it is amazing.  My daughter and I spent 2 wonderful weeks in Vancouver and Victoria.  If you have time, go to Mintner Gardens. We liked them even better than Buchart Gardens. There's a great raptor center in Corvallis, OR.  You are going to have such fun!

Linda
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2010, 10:31:28 PM »
At the moment I'm researching everything I can about Medicare...<aaarrrggg>  I turn 65 in September and it looks like I need to sign up and get stuff figured out before I leave in late May/June so that I can get signed up correctly.   Talk about a convoluted MESS.  I have a college degree and this stuff is still confusing.

Marsha,

If you are already drawing Social Security you don't have to do anything. They will automatically enroll you in Medicare part A and B.

You do need to decide on a supplement provider of your choice.
Don & Peg
Alaska/Arizona
Currently located here.
Weather at Camp Verde, AZ.

Marsha/CA

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2010, 01:00:27 AM »
Hi Don,

We get Railroad Retirement instead of SS and they do the same.  I've been researching supplemental plans; but (drumroll....) I think I have it figured out.  My problem is that we will be gone from home and in Alaska from late May until the first of September when I turn 65.  It seems like I can get this all set up to kick into place 6 months before my birthdate month.  I was worried about paperwork and getting information back and forth while on the road.

My question re supplemental is whether I am covered out of the country.  What do people do who travel to Europe while on Medicare?

Marsha~
2017 Heartland Mallard IDM231 Travel Trailer....Small but mighty.

Jeannine

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2010, 11:24:31 AM »
My question re supplemental is whether I am covered out of the country.  What do people do who travel to Europe while on Medicare?

Depends on your supplemental insurance.  My Medigap policy covers foreign travel.  There is a $200 deductible.  After that I pay 20%.  The good thing about going with original Medicare is that you can see any doctor that will accept Medicare.  The supplements aren't cheap, but we have been very satisfied with the AARP Medigap policy. 

Jeannine
2009 HitchHiker 37CKRD
2014 RAM 3500

Jeannine

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2010, 11:27:32 AM »
Back on topic....

One of the highlights of our second trip to Alaska was a tour to Kotezbuhl (spelling!) and Nome.  We flew there from Anchorage and added an overnight in Nome to the tour package. 

Our favorite part of Alaska is the Kenai Peninsula.  Try to be in Seward for the 4th of July celebration.

Jeannine
2009 HitchHiker 37CKRD
2014 RAM 3500

Alaskansnowbirds

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2010, 07:16:29 PM »
.....Kotezbuhl (spelling!) and Nome.

You were real close Jeannine.   Kotzebue   ;D    ;D
Don & Peg
Alaska/Arizona
Currently located here.
Weather at Camp Verde, AZ.

trvlnthrds

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2010, 08:29:12 AM »
Fishing with the bears had to be a highlight. We took a float plane from Soldotna that flew us across Cook Sound landed, then right into a boat. The bears were awesome. The two of us caught 4 fish. Allowed 6. Good eating but the bears were the best show. 

I agree about the flight around Mt. Mc Kinley.

We are going up to BC this summer. Going to do the TOW and Cassier. Not going any farther into AK than Tok as we have been there done that. Then over to the Ice Fields.

On the way up at Whitehorse, don't miss the Follies. Great show.

Derby6

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2010, 06:33:37 PM »
Marsha,
  I live in AK and have made the drive three times (99, 02, and 07).  Each time I was in a pick-up pulling a 21’ car hauler loaded with about 10K.  That is my ‘credentials’, so for what it’s worth, here is my .02…
  Top 3- I could list more, but you can’t do everything on a vacation.
Cassier Highway – This was in 1999 and everyone said I couldn’t/shouldn’t and I did.  90% unpaved and muddy then, not sure now.
Homer – It’s a quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem…nuff said
Combat Fishing – Russian river Reds
2. No regrets on my travels.
3. Full size Spare and a Milepost are a must.
4. I knew common issues with my vehicle and had them.  Like Belts, idler pullies, fuel filters and every tool had and knew how to use.  Even a floor jack – saved my  butt when I lost an axle in Whitehorse! 8)
In 99 rocks took all the paint of the trailer fenders and shattered every light I had on it, I like lights and it had plenety….lol ;D
Also see my post @ http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php?topic=38486.0
2015 Ford Explorer (Wifes Ride)
2011 Ford F350 4x4 Lariat Crew Cab/Long Bed/SRW
2011 Honda Civic-- (Beater with a heater)
2007 28' Desert FOX Toy Hauler             
TOYS:
01 Yamaha Kodiak 400
09 Yamaha Grizzly 550
12 Yamaha Grizzly 450
13 Yamaha Rhino 700 (Wifes Ride)
13 & 14  144" & 155" SKI DOO

Tony_Alberta

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Re: 2011 Alaska Trip Planning
« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2010, 11:28:48 PM »
Cassier Highway – This was in 1999 and everyone said I couldn’t/shouldn’t and I did.  90% unpaved and muddy then, not sure now.
According to random looks on Google Streetview it would appear the Cassiar Highway is now paved.  And new enough that it looks in decent shape.

 

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