This past summer we took 7 weeks (middle of August to middle of September) and had an incredible time in BC, Yukon, Alaska, and Alberta.
We went up the Fraser Canyon to Prince George and then west and up the Stuart Cassiar Highway to the Alaska Highway. From Whitehorse, (with a train trip to Skagway) we went north to Dawson City and took a day trip out to Tombstone Territorial Park on the Dempster. Then we went across the Top of the World Highway, over to Tok, and Fairbanks. We then headed south to Denali and on down to Palmer and Anchorage, before heading east along the Glenn Highway, with a short side trip down the Haines Highway to Dezadeash Lake. From Whitehorse (second time through) we went east through Watson Lake and down to Dawson Creek before heading south to Calgary, Alberta. We returned home across the bottom of BC on the number 3. We prefer to camp without a hook-up.
The following are points we would like to share with others thinking of taking this trip:
Before embarking on a long trip, it has been recommended to us that you establish a line of credit for just in case scenarios such as a major breakdown, accident or medical problems. We now agree.
This is a big area with a lot of driving and a lot to see. Book more holiday time then you think so you can enjoy it.
Drive the road, not the speed limit.
Black circles on the road surface are pot holes that might be filled or maybe 6 to 8 inches deep
Red/orange plastic bags, or flags on the side of the highway indicate that there is, or was, a road hazard, so slow down.
Double black lines (picture two sets of two stripes going with the road) 4 or 5 feet apart across your lane are made my semi trailers. The second set of tires
hits the top of the frost heave while the first sets are at the bottom. Slow down for a bump.
The Stewart Cassiar has less traffic and a more peaceful feeling than the Alaska Highway.
The Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to half way to Muncho Lake is HEAVILY used by the oil and gas industry. They know the road and they usually drive aggressively, well over the speed limit. If it is raining the road can be very muddy as most of the access roads are mud. The road tends to be narrow with little or no shoulder, so pulling over to let others pass is not always an option, but the locals will pass anyway, which can be very scary.
There are few vehicle repair facilities east of Whitehorse, so major problems are taken to Whitehorse. If you break down north of Muncho Lake, they tow you to Watson Lake, and then if necessary on to Whitehorse. If you are South of Muncho Lake, they take you to Fort Nelson or further south.
Cell phone coverage is limited to town. Thankfully people are very helpful if you have trouble.
Tow trucks in the north have sleeper cabs; do not let that alarm you.
If you are staying in a non-commercial campground, carry your own water, regardless of what the Milepost says.
Asking people about road conditions provides you with information based on what the other person is used to traveling on. So use it as a guide.
1/3 of the yearly Yukon Highway budget is spent on the stretch of the Alaska Highway between Beaver Creek and Burwash Landing. 90% of the dirty vehicles we meet picked up their dirt on this stretch.
Public Libraries will let you use their computers for internet access or emails, and they often have WiFi. Just let them know that you are visiting and would like a visitor pass.
Doing laundry late at night might allow you to see the Northern Lights
Top of the World Highway can be dangerous in the rain as the surface is more clay and mud than anything else. (we had sun and dry conditions, but we sure heard some horror stories)
Rental units tend to crowd the center line as they do not know where their edges are. Stop so they have to go around you.
The food allowed across the border varies depending on the location of the crossing and what the current concerns are. We lost our eggs coming back into Canada, but only our firewood going into Alaska.
Fill up when you see it. (Most expensive gas on our trip was $1.98 a liter at Muncho Lake)
Stop often and look around. We had our best moose sighting while pulled over to let traffic pass. A big bull moose down in the swap eating weeds.
Take a bug proof enclosure for meals and relaxing.
Just in case you are wondering what happened, our sienna van died, and repairs exceeded the value of the vehicle, so we had to buy a new tow vehicle to get home. When in truck country buy a truck.)
Most important of all - remember you are on holiday.