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Thread: THe Great Yukon Alaska Road Trip|Aug 28th-Sept 20th|

  1. #21
    Senior Member AF96XJ's Avatar
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    Dec 2014
    Hillsboro, Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by expeditionnw View Post
    You are right. Also, theres only so many roads to drive. I think we did quite alot more 4 wheeling than they did however. or maybe they didnt film it all. I know they tried to make it to the knik, but got turned around early in. I recognize the spot they stopped when I watched the show. If they would have worked a little left it would have been smooth sailing.
    That was one thing I was disappointed in the show was that there was a whole lot of gravel roads. I kept thinking why build up your rig like that to drive on gravel. I like your idea of exploring Alaska much better
    96' Jeep Cherokee XJ, 4.5" LA Lift, 33x12.5 BFG MT,s, Or-fab rock crawler bumper, 9500# Smittybuilt winch,


  2. #22
    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    May 2012
    east of portland
    Quote Originally Posted by AF96XJ View Post
    That was one thing I was disappointed in the show was that there was a whole lot of gravel roads. I kept thinking why build up your rig like that to drive on gravel. I like your idea of exploring Alaska much better
    I agree. too much fluff.

    I feel like we didnt compromise anything for this trip. there wasnt any point where I wished I could have gone further, or regret not exploring some place. we really did all we wanted to do.

    Thats not to say we saw it all, or even the majority... It would be impossible to do in one lifetime. The place is huge!

  3. #23
    A rough road is a filter NW Wheeler's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Sandy, OR
    I enjoyed your trip report Joe & Karen, gives one a feel for what it is like to travel in the Great North Land, thanks for sharing. Were insects much of an issue?
    1996 FZJ80 Land Cruiser - (the automotive version of granite), Triple Locked, 285/75R16 Wrangler MT/Rs, OME 2 1/2" lift, Metal Tech sliders, Slee & Custom skids, ARB & 4X4 Labs bumpers, Zeon 10-S

  4. #24
    Senior Member traciweiler's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Excellent Trip Report!! Thank you for taking the time to share with us all. You're very fortunate to have explored areas that some of us will never see...

  5. #25
    Mike!!...... barefootrunnerd's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Corbett, OR
    Ok, very well worth it. Just sat down with a cup of coffee and read everything so far and gotta say excellent write up and pictures and driving Karen, and you too Dog. And great whatever you did also Joe.

    Thanks for taking the time to post this up....can't wait to see the videos.

    Did you guys actually get to see the bus?
    --Red FJ

  6. #26
    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    May 2012
    east of portland

    The night in Walmart parking lot was about as good as imagined. Loud trucks, traffic, shouting etc. Once we were asleep we seemed to be fine though. We woke up and packed up to find the RV store.

    The people at Arctic RV were helpful and they had what we needed (we think). We bought a new regulator and a shorter line. Joe installed them in the parking lot and tested it out. It worked! Hopefully that was the problem and we wonít have a non working stove in the middle of nowhere.

    We hit the road and headed for Circle. Circle is 160ish miles northeast of Fairbanks. The road ends at Circle on the Yukon River. Again, the road turned to fairly smooth dirt shortly after we turned off of highway 2. We stopped at a rest stop to make some breakfast (breakfast burritos, I am loving our powdered eggs).

    Some guys stopped and Joe got to talking to them. They were out hunting. In Alaska they just buy their hunting permit and are free to hunt, period. While talking with them an suv pulled up with a huge moose rack on their rack. They had gotten lucky.

    We continued on and soon turned off towards Circle Hot Springs. We had heard that it was closed but followed the sign anyways. It was closed but looked like it was a cool place. There was a main house and then several cabins. It appeared there was a large outbuilding where the hot springs were. It was a shame that it was shut down.

    We moved on and made it to Circle 35 miles later. The road ended at the Yukon River. There was a beautiful lodge like building that was boarded up. It appeared it had never been used. What a shame. We asked at the small store and were told that it was to be a hotel funded by the townspeople, but the funding got squandered by bad contractors. It had been sitting like that since. The local tribe had just repurchased it and will be tearing it down soon because it would cost too much to be repaired.

    We lamented their position all the way back to Fairbanks.

    We stopped to camp at the lake where we saw the moose in the water a few days before.

    There were a few other campers. You can only camp in an RV here, no tents. Joe went out fishing while I took care of the set up and dog stuff. I spoke with a few people who were from nearby. I have found all Alaskans to be super friendly and talkative so far. Joe came back with 2 nice trout, about 16 and 13 inches, rainbow.

    We, he, cleaned them and we packaged them up for another day as I had already made him a burger before he went fishing. We had a nice IPA from Hoodoo Brewery and packed in for the night.

    It was a 430 mile day. Joes knee had been bothering him since the hike in McCarthy. His shoulder is hurting (this is a chronic pain that pops up on the motorcycle, snowmobile and now the Rover). We are tired and I hope will sleep well after our Walmart sleep last night.


    We woke early to strong winds and rain. It was cold. We quickly packed up, filled our water at the hand pump and left. We stopped for breakfast at Delta Junction where Joe finally got his biscuits and gravy

    We continued to Tok where we fueled up. The turn off to Chicken was not far past Tok.

    We drove towards Chicken on a road that was more pavement than we anticipated. There were a lot of hunters out. THe entirety of Chicken consisted of a tourist bar and we didnt stop.

    We decided to turn north and go to Eagle. The road to Eagle was full of hunters and we saw at least a dozen caribou being gutted on the side of the road.

    The 64 miles to Eagle were long miles. The road was twisty and narrow.

    Eagle is a very cool , old town. As with a lot of these remote towns we've seen, it was originally an indian village. Because it is located on the Yukon, old time river boats made it grow. The yukon really was the lifeblood of early alaska. Eagle is less than 40 nautical miles from circle, but a 400 mile drive. in 1899, the US government established Ft Egbert army base in Eagle, to serve as a governing force until civil government was established. It was incredible to see such a massive settlement so for out of reach.

    We explored and drove the town roads looking at the original houses.

    Original City Hall. Still used. Sign on door says, "open most mondays, unless inclement weather"

    Most of these small alaska towns are dry. They do not have wells due to the destructive mining operations of old, contaminating the ground water. Usually there is one main well and everyone has a 100 gallon water tank next to the cabin. this is Eagles community water truck.

    On the way back down the road from Eagle we stopped and looked at a property for sale that Joe had looked at online back home. It was a cool 10 acres with many buildings, a generator and well, all for $100k.

  7. #27
    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    May 2012
    east of portland
    We stopped on a river bank and set up to camp. Joe threw a line in the river and quickly got a grayling. He cleaned it while I made rice for a side.

    We at dinner as it got dark and broke open the IPA from Fox brewing. We were soon visited by the BLM ranger who told us that camping was prohibited ľ mile from the bridge and we would have to leave.
    We finished our clean up and drove further down the road. Camping sets proved hard to find, due to the miles and miles of skinny road and sheer cliffs. We ended up finding a clearing to pull off onto,and quickly went to bed.


    We woke to snow and super cold temperatures. We started the stove to make coffee.

    The cold sub 20 deg temps and wind made water take forever to warm. The truck was all packed up and we were just waiting for the dang water! Finally the water was hot enough and we poured it in the French press and oatmeal. Coffee finished and hands warmed, we started towards the Canada boarder.

    We were soon back in the Yukon. We drove the “Top of the World” highway to Dawson City. To get to Dawson City we had to take a ferry (which was free!)It was awesome to ride as we crossed the Yukon River.

    Dawson City was an awesome city! It had a lot of original buildings and we walked around town on the wooden sidewalks to look.

    Had to get a pic of the mother of all burgers. Easily 400# of food on that plate.

    We fueled and moved on. We found ourselves at the head of the Dempster Hwy. This road drives miles straight north to Inuvik NWT. It is the furthest north point accessible by car in Canada, and very beautiful and isolated.

    The road was all dirt. It was very smooth in some places and terribly rough in others. We discovered a snapped rear body mount and found that the passenger door doesn’t like to open without force.

    We fueled at eagle point. The only fuel stop we found along the 457 mile road. 59 liters for $100, what a steal.

    (As i am preparing this trip report, I did a google search for Dempster. I found a review via Tripadvisor, written by a dad and son who we met at this fuel stop... the internet is a very small place indeed! *-LINK)

    We stopped 50 miles after the fuel. The end is 300 km off but we are tired. The long, slippery, and narrow road made us very weary. Trout and beer for dinner.

    Crossing the Arctic circle again! No tour bus to be seen. In fact, there are nearly no other vehicles on the road, aside from a few haul trucks. Maybe due to rental companies forbidding travel on the Dempster.

    We are a bit discouraged by the Rover’s hastening destruction. Talk has started about what we will do about it as the body is showing its age. It has been such a good little truck and carried us on such epic journeys, it is hard to look at what is next.


    We woke and made coffee and oatmeal. and turned north.

    The weather dropped quickly, hovering around 20 deg Fahrenheit when we reached the NWT.

    There are several ferries that operate in lieu of a bridge, shuttling across the Peel river, and also the Mackenzie.

    Waiting to board a ferry...NWT license plates are absolutely the coolest!

    We reached to Inuvik around 1pm.

    It was a large town and we explored it. Not many pictures somehow. These are hardy folks out here. We resupplied at a one stop shop, a huge rambling building with sloping plywood floors and elevator music over the speakers. This single place had EVERYTHING! Literally. two aisles down from the milk and cookies sat new snow machines, clothing, generators, deli, outboard motors, and new fish nets. The best store ever. It was at home for me as a dennys coffee cup.

    I dont think these folks throw anything away.

    End of the road, Inuvik

    Heading down to the river bank, we had lunch. As we marveled at the landscape, a beat up truck drove down onto the mud near us. A huge surly looking indian guy hopped out, lit a smoke, and started over towards me. I thought, " oh crap, Im about to get taught how the cow eats the grass" and quickly started formulating our exit plan.

    As he neared, he bellowed, "where'd you come from!" "Washington" I said, wondering if I could get to my truck before his hammer fists beat me into the mud like a fence post. A deep wide grin transformed his weathered face and he stuck out his hand. "Welcome to GODS Country!"

    We fueled our vehicles empty diesel tank, and headed back down the road. We started searching for a camp stop about 5, and didn’t find one until 9:30. We pulled in, K made dinner. Joe searched for why our fridge and USB chargers were not working. He found a bad fuse and fixed it.

    We turned in for the night, tired, and our thoughts resting on life in the northland.
    Last edited by expeditionnw; 10-11-2015 at 11:58 AM.

  8. #28
    Web Wheeler dropzone's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    My old 1st Sargent's address is Eagle, 300 mile round trip for lumber and hardware. I would be screwed.

    1994 4Runner - Work In Progress aka: project Recycle

    Wheel Responsibly

  9. #29
    Trail Leader Andrew's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    Portland, OR
    Epic trip you guys! Phone pics are just fine :-) And a very great write up

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  10. #30
    Joe Time! expeditionnw's Avatar
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    May 2012
    east of portland

    The next morning was fueled by coffee and oatmeal. We spent a few hours getting down the rest of the Dempsey.

    We hit the pavement about 11am, which we would stay on until we reached home. We were one day ahead of schedule, and hadnt planned any further than right here.

    Around 4:00, while pulling a long grade, I felt a THUNK, and the landy began to lose speed. I coasted to the side of the road and attempted to find a gear. It was no use. The transmission had given up, and we were forced to coast to the side of the road. We were 168 miles from the nearest real town of Whitehorse. We couldn't believe our luck, breaking down on pavement, and on the return trip. It could have been far worse, and in a far more remote place. We soon realized this place was plenty remote though, with a single car once every 1.5hrs on the road. Not one stopped, or even slowed down to help, a little disheartening.

    Ironically, this is the only place on our trip that the bugs were terrible.

    Our phone did not have service, But we had our Delorme Sat text device. We were able to contact Pete, who worked on a AAA tow and Traci, who looked for a rental yard that had the equipment to haul the rover home.

    The towing co, located in Whitehorse, couldnt collect us until tomorrow and wasnt willing to haul passengers. they suggested we hitchhike the 160 miles to their tow yard.

    We pushed the truck off the road into the ditch, with nothing to do but wait.

    We woke up and made breakfast and coffee. We knew the day would be a day of waiting. Pete checked with the tow company and got us an eta of 1 pm. Pete got on the phone with AAA and told them passenger transport was a must. He discovered that the tow truck did have a jump seat.

    Traci did a lot of checking on our options to get home. Our friends even offered to come get us. We decided to get to Whitehorse and then explore our options.

    The tow came shortly after 1. He asked if we could drive the truck up on the road- HA! He winched us up and on the tow truck.

    K rode the Rover to Whitehorse with dog. She read books and tried to nap, but it was a bumpy ride.

    I took the jump seat in the big Peterbilt along side Vlad, a big Ukrainian guy who couldn't believe someone would drive a land rover anywhere but to the junkyard.

    We got to Whitehorse and were offloaded in walmart parking lot. Right across the road was a restaurant with beer and wifi. We set about making a plan.

    Truck rentals seemed impossible. Some needed to be dropped in Vancouver BC, most were local only. all had no availability for over a week. We even considered renting an rv. They have sweet Cummins trucks with camper set ups, they would have been perfect to tow the Rover. None allowed towing.

    In the end we decided to suck it up and rent a u haul and trailer. After many phone calls we walked the 4 miles to the u haul place. Once there it was such a hassle. The prices were more than the price quoted on the phone. Joe got back on the phone with u haul and after a very frustrating phone call got it figured out. We discovered that the Uhaul store owner, seeing we were American, had been attempting to capitalize on the difference in currency rates and pocket the change. I bet he has made thousands with that scheme.

    We paid and left to load the Rover. At the is point both Joe and I just wanted to leave. We winched the Rover on. The tires were too big for the straps! We winched it down and found a hardware store that sold large ratchet straps and got the Rover secured.

    As I loaded the truck, a man who was living in a decrepit motorhome nearby, came across the lot just to tell me what a piece of crap land rovers are. He went on to tell me how his nissan pathfinder could go anywhere my truck went, on and on. I commented that its a shame walmart parking spots dont have room for both a decrepit motorhome and a pathfinder, and he stomped off.

    It was now 8:30 pm. We drove for about 80 miles and found camp. Seemed odd to be pulling into a campground with a big obtrusive shiny uhaul. It was a long, frustrating, trying day. We were both feeling defeated and hated that our trip would end this way. We had a large, empty, gas sucking box truck towing our broken Rover 2400 miles home.

    We woke up, made coffee and left camp. We drove and drove and drove. The U haul is uncomfortable and we missed our Rover.

    THere was one stop that we weren't going to miss. Laird Hot Springs. This was well worth it. This hot springs is one of the greatest springs we've been to. A 1/2 mile long boardwalk was built, to get visitors from the parking area over the Swampland surrounding the springs.

    There are teak changing rooms built over the spring, heated by the warm steam coming up through the slats in the floor.

    There were two pools- The large (swimming pool sized) hot pool is where the springs originate, and reach 140deg temps at its head. the large pool has a dam on one side where it falls into the lower pool, cooling it off.

    The cooler pool was even larger, winding through the jungle until it is barely wide enough to walk through.

    The edges of the pools are all natural, the water super clean and clear with a rocky bottom.
    Joe worked his way all the way up to the spring feeding the pools and sat for a time. It was hot enough to leave burns.

    Liard was a surreal experience for us. It revitalized our mind and bodies, more so than any other springs has done. Perhaps our situation made it so much more enjoyable, Either way it will forever be remembered.

    After an hour or so we loaded back up and hit the road. We started looking for camp around 10:00. We struck out on so many camps. By the time we found something it was very late (early?). Not many options for a big Uhaul pulling a trailer. We stopped at a pull off that had garbage cans for travelers to get rid of garbage. We crawled into the rover, and were soon joined by a double tanker truck who idled all night. We'll take it. We traveled 650 miles today.

    6am, Up and on the road. There was a gas station a couple of miles down so we decided to grab coffee there. We set to covering some distance. We had to stop to fuel every 200 miles as that was about the range of the truck. 6mpg woohoo!

    We stopped in Prince George and had burgers at Hartís, the the north side of town. It was delicious and Bentley was rewarded with a burger patty from the cook. We fueled and continued on another 200 miles of so before finding camp 15 ish miles down a dirt road. at Helena Lake. We got set up and went to find the bathrooms. We came across a large toad and Bentley played with it. He must have mouthed it, and soon his entire mouth went numb. It was hilarious to watch him try to handle that!

    We woke early and hit the road hard, arriving home that evening.

    We had an incredible time, seeing a lot of country. We both feel like we didnt miss anything. Even when we were broken down in the yukon, it was still yukon territory Aside from the Uhaul debacle, the people in remote canada and Alaska are the friendliest there are.

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