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May 23rd
RV Trips Up The Alaskan Highway PDF Print E-mail
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If you are living the RV lifestyle, taking interesting road trips is paramount. A trip up the legendary Alaskan Highway is certainly one to take your breath away.
RV Trips Up The Alaskan Highway
The Alaskan Highway is legendary for a variety of reasons. When it was first built, it wasn’t so much a beautiful drive as a survivor episode. The trip took you through huge remote areas and relatively small problems could quickly become catastrophes in this wild land. Today, things are much more serene and the trip is long, but undeniably beautiful. More and more people are loading up the RV and taking it on each year.
The Alaskan Highway runs from Dawson Creek, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska. The total length is officially just over 1,500 miles but you need to travel a couple hundred extra miles when you take into account the drive to the start of the highway and from the end of it into Fairbanks proper. The only significant population area along the trip is Whitehorse in the Yukon.
The Alaskan Highway was started in the 1930s, but it was an odd project. The highway runs primarily through Canadian land, but the government in Canada was not particularly interested in funding it. Why? Well, they argued that it added nothing to Canada since there really were not any major population areas along the route. In truth, this position was correct. Since nobody had much of a counter-argument, the Canadian government put little effort into the project and it more or less wilted away on the vine.
As you know, World War II spurred on massive government projects in the United States. One of the many issues that came up was how to connect air bases located in the upper Yukon area to the continental United States. Since Canada was just leasing the land to the US, it had little interest in putting in roads. After political wrangling, the US Army was charged with essentially building the Alaskan Highway. The Army changed the route slightly to address its goals, but it did complete the construction. In 1943, the route was completed. Following the war, the Canadian government purchased the route and surrounding lands for $123 million, made modifications and opened the route to general traffic in 1947.
If you are considering taking a RV trip up the Alaskan Highway, there are some things you need to know. Caution is the general rule you should live by. The entire route is paved, but some areas are better than others. Ice can be a factor, but it maintenance issues that are the most problematic. Potholes, gravel and dangerous shoulders are not uncommon. Although facilities along the road have increased in number, you will be traveling through very remote areas. Be very careful when driving as help is often not close.
If you want to experience one of the great open expanses of nature left in the world, you could hardly do better than a trip up the Alaskan Highway. Take it slowly and you will have a trip to remember.