If you ever get the chance, you have to make the drive up the Alcan! My first trip up was in 2003, when two friends and I set up a moose hunt about 30 miles north of Tok, AK in the 40 Mile area. My oldest son was stationed at Fort Richardson with his small family, and they were expecting a third child during the time my wife and I were up there.
I hit the road at 4 am on a Friday morning, drove up I-15 from my home in SE Idaho, through Great Falls, one of my old stomping grounds, then on up through Calgary, Edmonton, and finally putting tires on the Alcan at Dawson Creek. Odometer said right at 2,700 miles traveled when I parked in front of the son's base housing unit on the following Monday morning. BTW, I made the trip up on the first of September, and by that time of the year, didn't suffer the frost heaves that can make the trip an abusive, excruciating drive earlier in the year.
While there, the wife and I, and the son's family also drove down to Seward for lunch, and back to Anch for a great 'day trip', but we didn't get a chance on that trip to make it the rest of the way around the Kenai Penninsula to Homer, nor down to Valdez. Another trip, perhaps after the wife retires, and we can meander around and take our time doing what we want to without a compressed time schedule. Besides, I want to finally do some salt water fishing, and perhaps tie into a 'barn door'. I do love Halibut and Salmon!!
I took the time to prepare the 'Burb by replacing anything, and everything that I could imagine might be worn or questionable. It paid off! I took along a full set of tools, two spare tires, u joints, bearings, well, pretty much what you'd prepare for any extended 'way-back-country' expedition.
Pay for everything in Canada with a credit or debit card, and let the bank worry about the exchange rate. The locals I ran into along the way weren't really entertained when having to calculate the exchange rate between US and Canadian currency. I only took $200 cash through Canada, and stopped in Great Falls at a bank, and exchanged it there for Canadian currency. I spent the last two dollars on a bag of chips before we re-entered Montana on the way home.
Oh, for those who might not have had the experience of engaging some of the Kanuks before, there's some things you absolutely must know.
Do NOT ask who the ugly lady with the crown is in the photograph above the counter when you check in at the Canadian Customs! Especially not at 3 am!!!
Do NOT try to keep pace with a Canadian when drinking! EVER!
You will never learn the correct way to enunciate 'Canadian speak', so don't try to come off sounding like the boys in "The Great White North", eh?
The Mounties WILL be behind a tree, no matter where along the way, if you try to go a couple of miles over the speed limit. (Remember to adjust you speedometer, or change your GPS to read kilometers per hour!) Also, they have NO humor for 'foreigners' trying to explain their way out of a ticket.
There is no "seven miles an hour over the speed limit" rule up there, except on the major highways between and around Calgary and Edmonton, where your outfit had better be able to do the quarter in about twelve seconds, and be able to get to and maintain somewhere around 85 mph. Best comparison I know of is trying to merge into traffic around Dallas/Ft Worth, or Oklahoma City on I-40 or the business loop around OKC.
ALL females northwest of Edmonton are absolutely gorgeous! Even if they have no teeth and weigh upward of 300 pounds or more. Also, they ALL have a huge, hulking male attached to them that will jealously protect them. The only thing that they value more than a woman is their sled dogs! Also, it is impossible for a mere American to come out ahead in a drunken altercation with a backwoods Kanuck! Do not try it.
The speed limits are posted in kilometers per hour, you purchase gas and diesel by the liter, AND northwest of Dawson Creek, fuel up every chance you get, as it can be a VERY long walk or wait for help.
Cell phone service, at least by 2005, my last trip, is spotty at best.
Get the little card from your insurance company that specifically states that you are covered in Canada!!! Do it!
Don't try to sneak or take a handgun of any sort through. The RCMP has absolutely NO humor. If in doubt, find someone in Alaska who has an FFL, and ship your guns up prior to traveling, pick them up there, and ship them home.
Finally, remember to never, ever, disparage the Queen. Or hockey..........