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Author Topic: Alaska roadmeet ever?  (Read 35327 times)

TheHighwayMan394

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #50 on: August 03, 2015, 02:41:54 PM »

I really don't know why everyone wants to drive the Dalton - although it would be interesting, it would also be pretty darn boring.

Because it's there.

It's so much different than anything we have in the mainland US.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #51 on: August 03, 2015, 06:55:04 PM »

I really don't know why everyone wants to drive the Dalton - although it would be interesting, it would also be pretty darn boring.

Because it's there.

It's so much different than anything we have in the mainland US.

Also, Deadhorse is the northernmost point you can drive to in this hemisphere.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #52 on: August 03, 2015, 08:15:09 PM »

I really don't know why everyone wants to drive the Dalton - although it would be interesting, it would also be pretty darn boring.

Because it's there.

It's so much different than anything we have in the mainland US.

Also, Deadhorse is the northernmost point you can drive to in this hemisphere.

The Dalton Highway fascinates me as well, but I don't see myself ever driving it. I'd be too afraid of getting stranded in the middle of nowhere with hundreds of miles between services. If I were more handy with car maintenance (like, if I knew how to change a tire, diagnose problems, etc.), that would be one thing. But I'm not handy with that kinda stuff. Wouldn't trust myself to do it. On the other hand, if I were riding with someone else (or on a bus tour or something), I'd be all for that.

It would be so neat to take a highway to the Arctic Ocean!

fixed quote? --sso
« Last Edit: August 03, 2015, 08:49:29 PM by SSOWorld »
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brianreynolds

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #53 on: August 03, 2015, 11:41:18 PM »

I really don't know why everyone wants to drive the Dalton - although it would be interesting, it would also be pretty darn boring.
Ah, the Dalton.  Interesting?  Boring?  The two would seem to be in conflict. but not really.  Parts of this road would be intensely interesting, other parts less so.  The first time I travel any road it is not boring to me.  This would be necessarily a two-day venture.  Day One northbound would be too cool for words.  I know for sure I would still enjoy the Day Two southbound trip, but I understand why others might not.  If I do this (Oh hell, let's be optimistic.  WHEN I do this), I may very well drive the warhorse Prius to Fairbanks, but rental from there.  http://www.alaska.org/detail/arctic-outfitters-car-rentals  With the right equipment at the right time of year, this does not seem scary to me.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #54 on: August 04, 2015, 11:44:03 AM »

Ah, the Dalton.  Interesting?  Boring?  The two would seem to be in conflict. but not really.  Parts of this road would be intensely interesting, other parts less so.  The first time I travel any road it is not boring to me.  This would be necessarily a two-day venture.  Day One northbound would be too cool for words.  I know for sure I would still enjoy the Day Two southbound trip, but I understand why others might not.  If I do this (Oh hell, let's be optimistic.  WHEN I do this), I may very well drive the warhorse Prius to Fairbanks, but rental from there.  http://www.alaska.org/detail/arctic-outfitters-car-rentals  With the right equipment at the right time of year, this does not seem scary to me.

I would definitely be up for riding with you on this drive, Brian. Someday... let's make this happen. :)
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skaguy

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #55 on: August 06, 2015, 12:36:06 PM »

On a recent road trip, my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to drive to Alaska.  I'm like, don't ask me such questions, of course the answer is yes.  We're still in the early planning stages and while I would love to drive the Dalton, I think I would drive to Fairbanks on a first trip and then take another trip where I drive the Dalton.  We would probably take her Ford Explorer and I would do all the driving.  I personally don't think it would be that bad in the summer and I think it looks pretty awesome.  She already has one full size spare tire and we would just need another.  I would take an actual hydraulic jack, some jack stands and a breaker bar to not have to rely on the jack and tire iron that comes with the vehicle for safety in case I do have a flat (or 2).
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #56 on: August 06, 2015, 01:27:29 PM »

What is the issue with the Dalton and flat tires? Is there an enhanced danger of having a flat, or is it because services are so isolated?

Seems to me that if it's the latter, a tire plug kit, a portable compressor and a couple of cans of Fix-A-Flat would take up a lot less space than multiple spares.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #57 on: August 06, 2015, 01:57:20 PM »

It's my understanding it's combination of both isolation and massive potholes.  I recall seeing somewhere that Oscar has driven it and didn't have a flat, but I can understand the logic.
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oscar

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #58 on: August 06, 2015, 02:50:09 PM »

What is the issue with the Dalton and flat tires? Is there an enhanced danger of having a flat, or is it because services are so isolated?

Probably a combination -- mostly gravel surfaces (and much of the "pavement" is pretty bad too), long distances, and high speeds. That means too high a risk that if you get one flat, you'll get another before you can reach a place where you can get the first flat fixed -- or you can always get two flats at once, which is not unheard of. On the highway, tire repair is available only at mile 56, mile 175, and the north end at mile 414.

That said, the only times I've heard of problems with flats (aside from "Ice Road Truckers") are with people driving on regular passenger car tires. More rugged light truck tires seem to fare better. Mine had no flats or other problems doing a round trip on the Dalton, and many other roads in the Arctic that are as brutal as the Dalton or sometimes even worse. The van I rode in one-way on the Dalton in 1994 also had no flats on that trip.

Seems to me that if it's the latter, a tire plug kit, a portable compressor and a couple of cans of Fix-A-Flat would take up a lot less space than multiple spares.

I routinely bring a portable compressor and one can of Fix-A-Flat in my truck. I have no experience with tire plug kits, though I've heard people use them on some rotten back roads in the Death Valley area. On the Dalton, I imagine the mosquitoes might devour you during the time needed to plug a flat tire roadside. I'm also unsure how well a quickie Fix-a-Flat repair would last on an unpaved road like the Dalton. Veterans of that road might know more on these points, though they are the same folks who insist that you bring two mounted full-size spares.

It's my understanding it's combination of both isolation and massive potholes.

Potholes are not the main surface problem on the Dalton, unless it's rained and the graders haven't had a chance to smooth out the surface. I've driven on much worse.
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skaguy

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #59 on: August 06, 2015, 05:26:56 PM »

I've carried a portable compressor with me for years on road trips and storm chases.  The one I have now also has a jumper on it as well.  I've never had to use it, but it never hurts to have it.
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brianreynolds

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #60 on: August 07, 2015, 12:32:30 AM »


I would definitely be up for riding with you on this drive, Brian. Someday... let's make this happen. :)

That would be great, A.J.  Summer of 2017?  2018?  Earlier today I was talking with a guy who just got back from two weeks in Alaska with his wife and two daughters.   It was hugely expensive for him, but part of that was accommodating the kids.  There are ways to economize. One way is to split the costs as many ways as possible.  Would a Ford Escape handle four adults and all the gear?
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A.J. Bertin

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #61 on: August 07, 2015, 12:40:12 PM »


I would definitely be up for riding with you on this drive, Brian. Someday... let's make this happen. :)

That would be great, A.J.  Summer of 2017?  2018?  Earlier today I was talking with a guy who just got back from two weeks in Alaska with his wife and two daughters.   It was hugely expensive for him, but part of that was accommodating the kids.  There are ways to economize. One way is to split the costs as many ways as possible.  Would a Ford Escape handle four adults and all the gear?

If the road meet happens in the summer of '17 it's possible we can swing the Dalton drive around that time. However, I'll have to see how much vacation time I have and how much I might need. My original thought about attending the Alaska road meet did not include a trip on the Dalton but if that's your best opportunity to do it, maybe I can take extra vacation days and swing it.

The more people, the merrier. A Ford Escape sounds like it might be reasonable. :)
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #62 on: August 07, 2015, 01:33:23 PM »

Read somewhere that you have to be on an official tour to get to the Arctic Ocean from Deadhorse:

http://www.arcticoceanshuttle.com/AOS/
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oscar

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #63 on: August 07, 2015, 05:42:30 PM »

Read somewhere that you have to be on an official tour to get to the Arctic Ocean from Deadhorse:

http://www.arcticoceanshuttle.com/AOS/

Yes. You have to sign up for a tour at least a day before, supply an ID number such as from a DL or passport for the oil companies to check out, then show the same ID when you're picked up for your tour. Can't have Commie saboteurs passing through their oil fields, y'know. :)

I arranged my 2012 tour through the "hotel" (converted construction camp, similar to other lodgings along the highway) I had reserved for the evening before. I also went in 1994, but that was part of the van tour I took up from Fairbanks before we went to the airport to fly on to Barrow or back to Fairbanks. The 1994 tour was preceded by a half-hour of oil company propaganda, essentially "we haven't spilled any oil up here, the Exxon Valdez spill was someone else's fault, and could we please please pretty-please start drilling in the wildlife refuge next door?". None of that in 2012, but I had to pay for that tour.

Notwithstanding what was stated in the link above, I was able to wade into the Arctic Ocean on both tours. The shallow waters where we went had temps in the low 50s, warmed by a few months of 24-hour daylight.
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SSOWorld

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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #64 on: August 08, 2015, 09:57:01 PM »


I would definitely be up for riding with you on this drive, Brian. Someday... let's make this happen. :)

That would be great, A.J.  Summer of 2017?  2018?  Earlier today I was talking with a guy who just got back from two weeks in Alaska with his wife and two daughters.   It was hugely expensive for him, but part of that was accommodating the kids.  There are ways to economize. One way is to split the costs as many ways as possible.  Would a Ford Escape handle four adults and all the gear?

If the road meet happens in the summer of '17 it's possible we can swing the Dalton drive around that time. However, I'll have to see how much vacation time I have and how much I might need. My original thought about attending the Alaska road meet did not include a trip on the Dalton but if that's your best opportunity to do it, maybe I can take extra vacation days and swing it.

The more people, the merrier. A Ford Escape sounds like it might be reasonable. :)
I might be able to be involved *slim chance* given it's that far out and I sacrifice any home project plans I would make to the next year.  Gas isn't cheap in AK. :sombrero:
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #65 on: August 09, 2015, 12:15:41 AM »

  Gas isn't cheap in AK. :sombrero:
I've been obsessing about Alaska for the past few days, looking at various scenarios for travel (lots of videos on Youtube).  Best I can tell, nothing is cheap (or even affordable) in Alaska.  It will cost a small fortune to get there, another small fortune to travel to the places you can see by road, and a third small fortune to travel to those places only served by the marine highway.  After all that, it will take yet another medium-sized fortune to get to the more remote outposts.  Without a group effort to share costs, I doubt that I will get very far.  I would really like to partner with three or four frugally-minded road-trippers to do this.  Summer solstice of 2017 anyone?
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #66 on: August 09, 2015, 12:25:14 AM »

I might be interested in the way future (2017 or 18 at the earliest). I have relatives in Anchorage, so I'd probably only need to pay for airfare  if it's being held there.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #67 on: August 09, 2015, 01:00:10 AM »

Gas isn't cheap in AK. :sombrero:

Not that bad in the major cities. The Canadian parts of the Alaska Highway are worse, both because of remoteness, and also because Canada, if that's how you plan to get there.

As Brian points out, a lot of other stuff in Alaska is pricey. But one thing it's good at, for the frugally-minded, is abundant camping opportunities and B&Bs in season.

It will cost a small fortune to get there, another small fortune to travel to the places you can see by road, and a third small fortune to travel to those places only served by the marine highway.  After all that, it will take yet another medium-sized fortune to get to the more remote outposts.

All the more reason to plan on multiple trips to Alaska, so your wallet might have a chance to recover between trips. I did it all, but it took me four trips (plus a fifth largely devoted to the worst roads I couldn't do in a subcompact car or a rental). We both know of county-counting crazies who tried (not always successfully) to do it all in on one trip, but that is truly insane. A first trip as a "sampler", with plans to go back for more later, is a better strategy.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #68 on: August 09, 2015, 12:48:49 PM »

Of course, planning to come back works better when you're willing to fly.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #69 on: August 09, 2015, 01:08:20 PM »

Of course, planning to come back works better when you're willing to fly.

Yeah, much as I hate to fly, my trips 2-4 to Alaska were flyouts. (I could accumulate enough leave to take off two months for my first trip to Alaska, which was a drive-out, but new managements pressed me to take more "normal" vacations for trips 2-4. I had retired by trip 5, which was also a long drive-out trip though mostly in Canada.) At least trip 2 was just before 9/11 so TSA was less aggravating than it is now, and trips 3 and 4 each included several TSA-free propjet flights in western Alaska.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #70 on: August 10, 2015, 12:18:14 PM »

I would love to drive to Alaska from my home in Maryland.  Coast-to-coast, in a way. 

Regarding tires - I think if you drive a pickup or larger SUV (Explorer, Suburban, Cherokee), with good-quality mud/snow tires (I prefer Michelins, pricy but pretty resistant to road hazards), I suspect it would not be a problem on the Dalton.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #71 on: August 10, 2015, 04:45:51 PM »

Regarding tires - I think if you drive a pickup or larger SUV (Explorer, Suburban, Cherokee), with good-quality mud/snow tires (I prefer Michelins, pricy but pretty resistant to road hazards), I suspect it would not be a problem on the Dalton.

That sounds right, but some of the el-cheapo OEM tires (like the ones that came with my pickup truck, but were quickly replaced) I might not trust. I definitely would not trust the crap tires mounted on most rental SUVs and pickup trucks (not counting the ruggedized vehicles specifically allowed on the Dalton).

But still bring a full-size mounted spare, in addition to the one you already have.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #72 on: August 10, 2015, 07:30:19 PM »

Regarding tires - I think if you drive a pickup or larger SUV (Explorer, Suburban, Cherokee), with good-quality mud/snow tires (I prefer Michelins, pricy but pretty resistant to road hazards), I suspect it would not be a problem on the Dalton.

That sounds right, but some of the el-cheapo OEM tires (like the ones that came with my pickup truck, but were quickly replaced) I might not trust. I definitely would not trust the crap tires mounted on most rental SUVs and pickup trucks (not counting the ruggedized vehicles specifically allowed on the Dalton).

But still bring a full-size mounted spare, in addition to the one you already have.
A well-graded gravel road shouldn't claim any tires at all, mind you, as long as you don't get mind-numbed by the scenery and miss a pothole or errant pointy rock.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #73 on: August 10, 2015, 10:23:05 PM »

All the more reason to plan on multiple trips to Alaska, so your wallet might have a chance to recover between trips. I did it all, but it took me four trips (plus a fifth largely devoted to the worst roads I couldn't do in a subcompact car or a rental). We both know of county-counting crazies who tried (not always successfully) to do it all in on one trip, but that is truly insane. A first trip as a "sampler", with plans to go back for more later, is a better strategy.

Yeah. That's why I'm a bit hesitant on 2017 for the Dalton drive. 2018 might be better, but on the other hand, I really want to attempt this with other folks just like Brian suggested (to help split the costs). If '17 or '18 is Brian's only opportunity to do the Dalton drive, I might have to be flexible on that - just because I don't know when I'd have another opportunity to do something like this for with like-minded folks.

There are at least three Alaska trips I'd love to take in my lifetime: 1) the road meet in 2017 (driving there and back), 2) a drive up and down the Dalton Highway (with the Arctic Ocean tour that Oscar was talking about), and 3) a flight to Nome and back while exploring Nome for a few days. I just hope I can somehow combine numbers 1 and 2.
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Re: Alaska roadmeet ever?
« Reply #74 on: August 10, 2015, 11:05:15 PM »

Yeah. That's why I'm a bit hesitant on 2017 for the Dalton drive. 2018 might be better, but on the other hand, I really want to attempt this with other folks just like Brian suggested (to help split the costs). If '17 or '18 is Brian's only opportunity to do the Dalton drive, I might have to be flexible on that - just because I don't know when I'd have another opportunity to do something like this for with like-minded folks.

There are at least three Alaska trips I'd love to take in my lifetime: 1) the road meet in 2017 (driving there and back), 2) a drive up and down the Dalton Highway (with the Arctic Ocean tour that Oscar was talking about), and 3) a flight to Nome and back while exploring Nome for a few days. I just hope I can somehow combine numbers 1 and 2.

If you do Nome, do Kotzebue too, which gives you that borough (Northwest Arctic) with little extra time and cost from the triangular trip. I went to Nome and back without Kotzebue, in 2001 before I got into county-counting. Big mistake! My later trip just to snag Kotzebue cost me $600 just for the airfare. But Nome is a great first venture off the main road network (Dutch Harbor and Kodiak would be my second and third choices), with an extensive unpaved and unnumbered highway network of its own.

On the Dalton drive, keep an eye on the project to relocate the first < 10 miles sometime this decade, if you care about clinching that segment along with the rest of the highway.
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