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Old 01-14-2024, 04:07 PM   #1
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Driving to Alaska in January, want to join me?

Iíll be departing the Pacific northwest for Alaska in a couple of weeks. The current plan is to drive through Canada up the Cassiar highway and onto Skagway Alaska, where I will get on the ferry to Juneau. Currently, this part of the country is in a deep freeze with temperatures well below zero. My intention, is to wait until things warm up a bit, but if they donít, Iím still going. My departure date is flexible so thereís no reason to leave during the deepest part of the freeze. Nevertheless, one needs to be fully prepared to survive any brutally cold weather. Numerous extended trips in crazy cold weather has taught me how to comfortably survive. Multiple back ups for heat are mandatory, Iím currently equipped with a suburban propane heater that serves only as a back up, a Chinese diesel fired heater is my primary source of heat, and a 110 V AC heater that can be run either by my Honda generator, or if Iím desperate by finding somewhere to plug-in. I also have a block heater that will preheat the engine if needed. my starting battery is only one year old, and my house batteries are older but still working fine. The water tank is inside the van but has been known to freeze anyway, so most importantly, I fill the coffee pot prior to going to bed, since occasionally the daytime use water jug would be frozen solid, and I was unable to make coffee. Iíve added insulated curtains front and back, put reflectix over all the windows, and never open the top in winter. Iím running duratrac tires that are three mountain peak winter rated. Additionally, I built a set of V bar tire chains and I despise running them but occasionally they are required to at least be carried. Winter is my favorite time to travel, there are no crowds the winter scenery is spectacular and I love the challenge. There are more issues along this route in the winter than just the cold though, there are far fewer places to get fuel, so I carry a 10 extra gallons of gas, five of diesel, and there will be virtually nowhere to get spare parts. I Carry a spare water pump, idler pulleyĎs, belt tensioner, belt, ignition coil, fuel injector, ujoints, alternator, fuel pump, electrical tools like a voltmeter, wire, connectors, fuses, tire patch kits, an air compressor, two spare tires, starting fluid, plenty of food and water, extra oil and atf etc. A complete set of spares for the diesel heater, and more I canít remember right now. Additionally I carry all the tools to install any of those parts, and a good selection of recovery gear, a winch, the stock jack, a bottle jack, a high lift, traction boards, straps, and some wood blocks. Buried somewhere in the bottom of a cabinet is also a complete set of factory Ford service manuals. Survival gear includes heavy winter clothing, multiple sleeping bags so I can put one inside the other, a spot distress bacon, multiple two way radios, first aid kits, flares, fire starters, an ax and a propane torch. The van has been freshly serviced with an oil change, filters, lubrication, windows Rainexed, windshield washer fluid rated for winter, and an adjustable, insulated winter radiator cover. Anyone care to join me? I guarantee you it will be an adventure.
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Old 01-14-2024, 05:02 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great adventure, and a well thought out plan.

My only thoughts would be ant-gelling fuel additive (for both gas and diesel), some form of satellite communicator, and a really good, low temp sleeping bag (something like the Military Modular Sleep System).


Herb


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Old 01-14-2024, 07:07 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great adventure, and a well thought out plan.
Herb
Thanks Herb, I don’t thing gas gels, but it does absorb moisture which then can freeze. As far as I know, most gas driers add more alcohol which absorbs the water and then it gets burned in the motor. In cold climates, diesel has an anti jell additive in the winter, so I’ll wait to fill the heater fuel until I get further north, thanks for the reminder. I do have plenty of warm sleeping bags and blankets since I don’t run heat at night, and I have a SPOT emergency distress communicator in addition to a high power ham radio that I might be able to open a repeater with. Thanks…
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Old 01-14-2024, 08:11 PM   #4
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Jeff - I'd love to join you if I could. I used to drive up from WA State and do the Cassiar HWY - driving early Spring with no log trucks or tourists on the road. Got chastised once in Canada near Skagway border crossing for carrying too much spare gas "from US" ! Maybe next year I can join you !? Enjoyed meeting you at Deschutes Meet and Greet !

Safe travels !
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Old 01-15-2024, 05:18 AM   #5
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Iíd love to join too, but not this year. Maybe next year. Have fun and safe travels.
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Old 01-15-2024, 11:12 AM   #6
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You might get some of those chemical hand and foot warmers. They can warm up your bed or you can put one down by your water pump to keep it from freezing. The foot warmers are supposed to last eight hours and if you have insulation around your water tank it should keep that from freezing too. The plumbing still might freeze depending on the routing. Sounds like a nice trip.

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Old 01-15-2024, 11:26 AM   #7
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You might get some of those chemical hand and foot warmers. Roger

Thatís a great idea Roger, my wife Buys them by the case at Costco. Iíll throw a few in before I leave, I never thought about placing them around the water pump. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 01-15-2024, 11:37 AM   #8
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You're very welcome. I've gotten so many helpful suggestions on this forum I'm glad I could return the favor.

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Old 01-15-2024, 11:40 AM   #9
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Iíd love to join too, but not this year. Maybe next year. Have fun and safe travels.
There will be other opportunities, this trip is just a bit of a warm-up. Next year, a Buddy and I are planning a trip up the Mackenzie river valley ice roads. If youíve ever watched ďice Road truckerĎs,Ē that will give you an idea of what we hope to accomplish. With temperatures routinely reaching 40į below zero Fahrenheit, and long long stretches of total wilderness with extremely limited opportunities to get fuel, and basically zero chances of rescue should you have a breakdown, it will make the trip to Alaska look like driving to the local store in comparison. Sound interesting? Should I put you down on the list for next year?
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north...69j1dW79yVacgU
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Old 01-15-2024, 12:24 PM   #10
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I loved distressed bacon! Best kind. I'd take lots of it with me too.

Someday Jeff, someday.

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