Need Help Planning a Trip to Alaska in our 2014 Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by DoubleDAZ, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    I know there are a few folks here who have driven their Prius to Alaska and we're planning to do the same later this year. We'll have over 85,000 miles on it when we go, are we asking for trouble? Is there anything in particular we should have serviced before we leave?

    I'm having a little difficulty coming up with an itinerary. I know the routes I want to take up and back and what we want to do while in Alaska between Anchorage, Fairbanks, Homer, Seward, etc., but deciding on overnight stops along the way has been troublesome. So far, I've got the tentative itinerary for Peoria AZ to Tok AK included below. One change I'm thinking of making is cutting Dawson Creek and going straight from Hinton to Fort Nelson. The trouble is I'm not if that's too far to try to go in Canada. The distance and time is within our range for the road trips we've been taking, but I'm concerned about the lower speed limit and potential for construction delays.

    I've looked though the 2017 edition of Milepost and plan to buy the 2018 edition when it gets released in March. We plan to leave here sometime around mid-June, but we can leave just about any time after that and have no set time to be back. As you can see, I pretty much stuck with Choice Hotels with a few others based on Trip Advisor reviews, but those are not set in stone either.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Day
    01 – 9:21 (610mi) to Sleep Inn, Provo UT
    02 – 856 (623mi) to Malmstrom AFB MT
    03 – 617 (389) to Quality Resort, Canmore AB
    04 – 4:40 (238mi) to Quality Inn, Hinton AB
    05 – 4:57 (284mi) to Comfort Inn, Dawson Creek BC
    06 – 4:52 (281mi) to Woodlands Inn & Suites, Fort Nelson BC
    07 – 6:46 (320mi) to A Nice Motel, Watson Lake YT
    08 – 5:36 (291mi) to Sundog Retreat, Whitehorse YT
    09 - 7:18 (387mi) to Young’s Motel, Tok AK
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you'll probably be fine, but be well prepared for bad roads from what i read in one of the other alaska trip threads. and make note of dealers along the way.
     
  3. scona

    scona Junior Member

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    Definitely plan on travelling the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to Alaska. If you have any problems enroute the facilities to get you sorted out are on this road. Including people passing by frequently (at least for up there). Travel on the back roads and if you have trouble you are all by yourself. Good trip.
     
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  4. Munpot42

    Munpot42 Senior Member

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    Don't forget your passports!
     
  5. S.Bell

    S.Bell Junior Member

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    Scona, great advice for them.

    I use Cost2Drive.com and gasbuddy.com to plan my fill ups. Cost2Drive is best used on a tablet or computer vs cell app. Print it out beforehand and then again during your trip, as needed for modifications to the trip and fill ups.

    I just dealt with the snow and ice in Nevada and California on tires that I am pushing their limits due to beginning of sidewall cracks in all 4 tires and a couple tiny bubbles in my front passenger tire. My thread is fine. Needless to say, I ended up using my traction control for the real first time. Car and I were fine - just took longer, especially with the turns from a dead stop. So take that into consideration with driving timing.

    Another fact is you might want to consider not only chains for your tires but also a block heater for the engine, especially in the more windy areas that gets colder than other areas. I had my car fridge hooked up and all but then had my car sitting without driving it at all for a couple days from beautiful weather to stormy, windy, and cold up in the San Diego mountains. I had cut on my car finally for a brief bit and then had problems the next time cutting it up (my head unit screen was Nothing but black). Finally after I unplugged my car fridge, did the car work just like always. It was a bit too much right at first in such cold weather.

    Don’t forget to use Events apps and sites to learn about cool and/or free stuff to do.

    Lastly, be sure to get your batteries checked and have research done on how much a mini tube up of your hybrid battery will cost and entail. If the hybrid is going to need fixing or tuning, I understand that it’s best for it to do so before 100 k miles for warranty coverage reasons.

    I look forward to hearing how your trip goes.




    iPhone ?
     
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  6. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    The most recent thread I found was from 2014, so I don't know how accurate road reports are. I know they do repairs that time of year and to expect some delays up to 30 minutes or so when the roads are down to one lane. I haven't made a list of dealers yet, but that's on my list of things to do.
     
  7. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    I was thinking of taking AK-2 to Dawson and then AK-9 over to Tok, but have kind of decided against because i'm not sure the scenery is different enough to warrant the extra time and mileage. I also don't know when AK-9 opens for the season and like you said, AK-1 is the more traveled route with facilities along the way.
     
  8. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    I use GasBuddy and plan to top off the tank quite often. I had never heard of Cost2Drive, but I just checked it out and while it shows service stations between here and Montana, it doesn't seem to know about those in Canada. And it's estimated trip cost is way low compared to GasBuddy's estimate, not that I really care about that part of it.

    I could be too optimistic, but in Jun-Aug I'm not expecting to have to deal with much snow or temperatures low enough the need an engine heater. In June, the average high in Dawson Creek is 67° (though they do get some rain), 68° in Homer and 71° in Fairbanks. And the Michelin Premier A/S tires are less than 2 years old with plenty of mileage left.

    And, yes, we'll have our cellphones with us and our plan includes Canada, not that I expect service the whole way.
     
  9. scona

    scona Junior Member

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    It should also go without saying that it would be nice to have a full size spare tire. If not make sure the one you have is in good condition, and that all your other tires are in great shape as well. And check to see the jack and wheel wrench are there and functioning correctly. Perhaps overkill to have a small air compressor, I am not sure how available air service is along the route any more. I would not like to make this trip without a spare tire but I am sure not too many folks would try it either.
     
  10. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    Absolutely! :)
     
  11. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    Doesn't look like too many are interested and maybe others no longer own their Prius, but I thought I'd post what I came up with. It's going to be interesting to see how the Prius does, especially if we hit some roads that need repair. Hopefully, I've got enough time built in so we can take it slow when we need to if we hit bad roads that haven;t been repaired. I still need to figure out what service I need done besides the standard oil/filer change. Maybe another transmission fluid change? Obviously, tire and brake check. Perhaps a new 12v battery?

    June/July Trip To Alaska (subject to change)
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    June -----
    17 - Sleep Inn, Provo UT
    18 - Malmstrom AFB MT
    19 - Quality Inn, Whitecourt AB
    20 - Woodlands Inns & Suites, Fort Nelson BC
    21 - A Nice Motel, Watson Lake YT
    22 - Sundog Retreat, Whitehorse YT
    23-25 - Eielson AFB AK
    26-27 - Denali Park Hotel, Healy AK
    28-30 - Elmendorf AFB AK
    July -----
    01-02 - Land's End Motel, Midship Bay Room, Homer AK
    03-05 - Elmendorf AFB AK
    06 - Young’s Motel, Tok AK
    07 - Sundog Retreat, Whitehorse YT
    08 - Arctic Divide, Dease Lake BC
    09 - Bulkley Valley Motel, New Hazelton BC
    10 - Round-Up Motel, Clinton BC
    11 - Fairchild AFB WA
    12 - Hill AFB UT
    13 - Home
     
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  12. paprius4030

    paprius4030 My first Prius

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    DoubleDAZ I will be following your trip with great interest. In Sept. while not driving to Alaska we will be traveling in our 2012 Prius with 155k from Fl. To Vancouver to take a cruise to Alaska. We plan on lots of stops and visiting along the way. I'm very optimistic our tried and true Prius will get the job done.
     
  13. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Not to familiar with Northern B.C. and the Yukon but ...


    • If you can, try and carry a full size spare tire. (buy a steelie at end-of-winter sale or craigslist)
    • There will be gaps in coverage through Northern B.C. and the Yukon. (so use a Garmin or built-in nav or offline Google Maps if you're not using paper maps)
    • If you're undecided on the route to Alaska, you can always call the visitor centre in Whitehorse (I assume they're closed now and probably will open in May)
    • For the northern part of your trip, the Toyota dealers are Peace Country Toyota (Dawson Creek), Mic Mac Motors in Whitehorse (the only Toyota dealer in the Yukon) and Glacier Toyota in Smithers. Your Toyota nav should have them (Check under Destination --> Emergency --> Dealer)
    • With a trip that long, plan on where you want to service the car (whether it's in Alaska or in B.C.) unless the whole trip is less than 10,000 miles...?
    • Bring an extra bottle of washer fluid. There will be mucho bugs (maybe more so June than August)


    Useful Links:

     
  14. ToyXW

    ToyXW New Member

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    Aside from normal yukon precautions (food/supplies for at least 72 hours), I'd carry a small metric tool kit, rescue tape, a gallon of oil, a gallon of coolant, and a couple gallons of distilled water.

    But I wouldn't worry too much about the prius -- 85,000 miles is just broken in. I would prefer 15" wheels/tires though; the roads can be pretty bad.

    If you haven't traveled to/through Canada before, be aware that they can be pretty strict when it comes to criminal records/background checks. If they run your info, a past DUI will definitely get you turned back at the border. I've even heard of guys getting turned away for reckless driving tickets.
     
  15. 5 Speed

    5 Speed Member

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    Spent 2 months driving and 20K miles from Santa Barbara to Deadhorse and back and drove on every road in Alaska 13 years ago. Greatest road trip ever but it was in my Toyota Tundra with a FourWheel Camper. I found that I averaged about 45 miles an hour and get ready to hit your front bumper on a series of frost heaves if you aren't paying attention. You will understand that the lower 48 really doesn't have mosquitos. I purchased an inexpensive set of new factory tires off a friend for the trip and it wore them out. I did a lot of gravel road driving too. I drove the haul road out of Fairbanks to Deadhorse plus every accessible road I could find. Even in a truck I found it difficult to pull off the road in Canada to take photos where there were not pullouts like in the US. Go to Chicken! In Alaska they don't use gravel it is more of a crushed rock which is pretty sharp. You will probably crack your windshield when you pass trucks on gravel sections. It is just part of the journey. The gravel sections on a truck wasn't that bad but on a Prius I would watch your speed on sharp gravel because you could cut a sidewall on some of the big stuff.
     
  16. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    Of all the trip reports I've read from people who have driven the AlCan recently (not in RVs) not one mentioned those supplies, so I'm going to have to give that some thought. I do have 15" wheels with Michelin Premier A/S tires. We've driven most of Ontario, to Nova Scotia and to Vancouver. I have no DUIs or reckless driving tickets, so I'm not at all worried about the border. Our passports are good until November, but chances are we'll get them renewed before we leave because we'll need them again next year for sure.
     
  17. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    I have both a Garmin and the built-in nav, so I should be good. The only time we expect to get off the main road is at Dawson Creek BC to visit the curved wooden bridge just to the east.

    I have the routes up and back all mapped out and will follow the 2018 Milepost to see what's along the way, especially stops for gas and food. Given the distances between overnight stops though, there should only 1 stop for gas between each destination, though I plan to get gas as often as practical, even if just a couple of gallons. I still need to go through Gas Buddy to see where gas stations are once we get past Fort Nelson. There are only 2 major towns, Watson Lake and Whitehorse, between there and Tok, so that stretch is the most concerning.

    I'd already made a list of all Toyota centers, including Kendall Toyota in both Anchorage and Fairbanks, but thanks for the tip on how to find them quick;y in the nav system.

    Even with driving to various locations within Alaska, the whole trip will be under 10,000 miles and I plan to have the car serviced before we leave. I had the transmission fluid changed at 60,000 miles and the engine air filter was changed at 70,000 miles. However, we have 2 more trips before the Alaska trip, so I may also change that. 75% of our mileage is highway miles, but we still have the original 12v battery, so I'll have that checked when I get it serviced. I'm not sure what else to have checked.

    Thanks for the links on road conditions, I hadn't thought to look for those yet.
     
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  18. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    We're not going farther north than Fairbanks and driving on gravel roads should be minimal. Even so, your points are appreciated for those times we do find ourselves on gravel.
     
  19. DoubleDAZ

    DoubleDAZ Senior Member

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    If we could drive our 1999 Pontiac Montana van with over 150,000 miles on it to Seattle and back and to Savannah and back in 2010, I'm sure your Prius will do just fine. :)
     
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  20. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Ahhh, I looked at your avatar and realised you only have the 6.1" Display Audio System w/ Nav. If that's the case, there is no "Emergency" section. You may have to find it by the "POI" search tab or by address. (Or find them ahead of time and save them in My Destinations --> Stored)
     
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