Difference between revisions of "Alaska Highway"
Revision as of 06:18, 21 September 2008
It is fun to George bills with Beverly.
Give your car a good mechanical evaluation before you attempt this trip. Sign up for roadside service such as AAA/CAA, but verify that they will cover the entire cost of towing you long distances. Many services will only cover a few hundred dollars, which is not sufficient for the Alcan.
You should carry enough emergency supplies to last yourself one or two nights. Most of the highway has NO mobile telephone service. The nearest tow truck can be 1000 km / 650 mi away. It is even more important to carry emergency supplies in winter to avoid hypothermia and death. At the very least, bring food, water, blankets, a first-aid kit, and a spare tire[s]. Wintertime temperatures can dive as low as -40 C / -40 F. Bug repellent may be very nice to have in the summer.
For winter driving, you need winter or all-weather tires and low-weight oil (5W30 or as recommended by your manufacturer).
Be sure to verify that you have the appropriate entry documents for Canada or the United States, depending on your direction. Note that Canadian immigration can request that you show proof of enough funds to cover your trip and an emergency. A bank/ATM receipt, a few credit cards, traveler's checks, or cash will suffice. They will refuse entry to Canada if you can't demonstrate enough funding for your trip.
Gas (petrol) stations in this part of Canada are frequently NOT 24-hrs, especially in winter, and most of them do not have a pay-at-the-pump mechanism. Many stations have very long distances between them. You should keep your tank as full as you can, and be prepared to wait for a station to open if you arrive in the middle of the night.
Getting to the Alaska Highway is no small feat in itself. It starts in Dawson Creek in Northern British Columbia. You can get to Dawson Creek either by driving north from Southern British Columbia through Prince George or by driving Northwest from Edmonton.
Whitehorse is the largest city along the highway, until you reach Fairbanks at the end. The Whitehorse airport (YXY) is served by Air Canada, Air North, and First Air. Nearly all of the flights are to or from Vancouver, with some schedules to Fairbanks or Juneau, Alaska. There is also summertime nonstop or one-stop service to Frankfurt, Germany, via Condor airlines.
Dawson Creek does have a regional airport that is served by Central Mountain Air and Hawkair. However, it would not be advisable to try and rent a car in Dawson Creek for this long drive. It would be more reasonable to rent a car in Edmonton. Another alternative would be to rent an RV for this drive. However, this is usually quite expensive and after the cost of gas, probably more expensive than staying in a hotel every night. However, with the sparse provision of hotels, having an RV can be more convenient.
The only real possible way of doing this trip is driving. Many travellers do this trip with a Recreational Vehicle (RV).
Although Canada generally uses metric, most points along the Alaska Highway are identified by the Mileage:
Remember that you will have 20+ hours of sunlight during the summer months, and less than 5 hours of sunlight in the middle of winter.
Highway 37 goes North from Terrace and joins the Alaska Highway near the BC-Yukon Border.
Rather than going west from Whitehorse, you can go North along along the Klondike Highway to the Historic Gold Rush town of Dawson City then take the Top of the World Highway to the Alaska border at at Poker Creek and then Take the Taylor Highway back to the Alaska Highway.