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RE: Just back from two weeks in AK

"Safety glasses? It's that bad? Oh my. I'll have to check it out next time in the neighborhood. I'll bring some glasses. " Full disclosure, it's never happened to me, although admittedly, I've worked to avoid the Kenai / Russian areas for about the past 15 years. My friend was an ER Nurse in :) Slo-dotna and over the course of 4-5 years dealt directly or indirectly (i.e. saw them come in) with several (8-10 IIRC) in-the-face hook impalings. No eye incidents but could of the last few times I went, always had eye protection...usually sunglasses anyway, but clear if it was a crowded but overcast day. "That guy" down the bank with a full faceshield might have been a bit over the top though........
PA12DRVR 08/22/19 02:08pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Just back from two weeks in AK

When a particular watershed / river is - On or close to the road system; particularly if near Los Anchorage - Home to a strong seasonal run of a popular fish (i.e. either King, Red, or Silver salmon) - Near to infrastructure (i.e. motels, restaurants, guide services, etc) ...then there is the perfect mix for combat fishing. The Kenai (we won't look too closely at the King salmon situation) fits the bill perfectly as does the Russian River where it comes near the road system. The Kenai, particularly the upper part, is a great trout fishing location later in the year (up until a week or two before freezeup) I'll go there every so often for trout in September; it's just not enjoyable to fight for a spot on the bank for the dubious privilege of casting a line in an narrow 2'-wide slot and having to wear safety glasses while chasing salmon ...i.e. "combat fishing"
PA12DRVR 08/22/19 10:10am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Just back from two weeks in AK

"How can you call it Slo-dotna, when it's got beer and fishing?" Well, in all honesty, the name was earned (appropriately IMNSHO) about 20 - 30 years ago when Kenai was the booming energy hub of Southern Cook Inlet and Soldotna was largely known as the place where you went straight to get to Homer or turned right to get to Kenai. Soldotna's claim to fame then was the small town life....i.e. "Slo-dotna". Soldotna had the advantage in the 80's and 90's of being a bit less crowded than Kenai during tourist season, although that was all relative. In recent years, Soldotna has become (again just IMNSHO) the more attractive place than Kenai but that could be changing as Kenai is undergoing a bit of a resurgence. I work pretty hard to avoid the combat fishing experience, but I'd estimate that (absent fires) the Cooper Landing area is #1, followed by the Soldotna area, followed by Kenai, although the recent dipnet madding throngs bid fair to vault Kenai to the #1 combat fishing spot. Soldotna's other claim to fame (going back 20-odd years, maybe more) was that Hobo Jim played there more often than Kenai. Soldotna was also the venue for a fairly significant (for Alaska) karate tournament for several years... Having been a visitor to the Kenai Peninsula since the mid-70's, I can't give up the nickname of Slo-dotna (or Squarebanks or the Meth-Su or....).
PA12DRVR 08/21/19 05:52pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Just back from two weeks in AK

We had visitors (based in Los Anchorage) who took a side trip to Homer. They got caught in the fire delay and spent two nights / 2.5 days in Soldotna. Even with the option to tour the lovely town of Kenai, after 2.5 days, I believe it lived up to it's nickname of Slo-dotna. :)
PA12DRVR 08/21/19 09:34am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Just back from two weeks in AK

While the sunshine has been somewhat enjoyable, the hot weather is getting to be too much...hopefully, by September if not before it will start raining like it's supposed to. This weather is going to have an impact (not good IMO) on the flora and fauna. The birch trees are already losing their leaves due to dryness (and recent high winds) rather than due to fall arriving.
PA12DRVR 08/20/19 09:23am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Truck Caps

Thanks all for the input....there are no 5th wheels in the future and the truck doesn't fit in the garage anyway, so I might look at the higher-profile caps. Key purpose is to have a somewhat secure space to keep the (portable) truck box with some tools, straps, and breakdown stuff, plus space for fishing gear and camping (i.e. with tents, not "just" RV's) stuff during summers and sno-go gear during the winter. Previously had a no-name cap on a truck long ago in a galaxy far far away that had the bars on top. Just didn't work out the same as a real rack, so that's a priority as well. Thanks for the input and the data to consider.
PA12DRVR 08/07/19 05:49pm Tow Vehicles
Truck Caps

Hoping to get a few ideas here....perhaps not strictly on point for tow vehicles, but kinda' Any thoughts on truck caps/Toppers? What's worked? What doesn't work? I'm wanting to get a topper for my new F250 but also want to put a real ladder rack on / around it. Don't want to pick the wrong combo.
PA12DRVR 08/07/19 11:18am Tow Vehicles
RE: Break Out Another Thousand....

Don't over reach. Instead of a 10,000 pound trailer pulled by a 1/2 ton truck, I like a 5,000 pound trailer pulled by a one ton diesel. I added a kicker motor on my fishing boat after the main engine lost power last fall. With two engines I can always get home. Have to agree on both fronts: easiest towing is when the plow truck (F550) is going to a job towing the utility trailer with 2 snowblowers on it. The 9.9 kicker pushing the boat back across a big lake last year was a godsend...even if the trip took 2-3 hours, it was better than going diving in 39 degree water to get to the impeller. Of course without knowing it, we picked up Mr. Murphy's friendly cousin about 1/2 way back: when we pulled the boat out of the water, all the crud in the impeller had fallen out.
PA12DRVR 08/05/19 05:13pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Break Out Another Thousand....

We won't discuss the past 18-24 months and the money going into my 2500HD Silverado. When the unscheduled repair costs hit circa 35% of a new one, I estimated that I've done enough repair work that the rig will last a long time. might, but since the last failure came within minutes of leaving me as THAT GUY stuck in the middle of a boat ramp, I'm getting a "for sale" sign and pulling the trigger on a new truck.
PA12DRVR 07/31/19 12:53pm Tow Vehicles
RE: front hitch

Here is front hitch for your posted vehicle.Front hitch FWIW, I used this hitch (on a different vehicle) for about 9 years as my "move lots of trailers around in a crowded spot" accessory. Probably overloaded it a time or 20. Quite happy with this hitch and it's usability and durability. Only carried "stuff" on front a few times and for a couple hundred miles (and in Alaska)....hitch rack with coolers, bike rack,etc. Engine and transmission temps went up enough to be noticed, but not to the critical stage. ..again however, infrequent use, short duration, and in Alaska where I'd be surprised if a road trip experienced higher than 65 deg. F ambient temps.
PA12DRVR 07/30/19 01:22pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Looking for a tow vehicle for boat

A couple of thoughts: - I had a 2004 (IIRC) 2500 Suburban with the 6.0. I added 4.1 gears on the aftermarket. - I towed a circa 8500# travel trailer with it: local roads, interstates, a few mountains. I would definitely not want to tow anything above 9,000#'s with that combo, although a boat vs. a trailer may result in easier towing for any given weight...maybe I'd go to 9,500#'s or so. - I currently have a (estimated, never been weighed since it left the fab yard) 7500 # boat that I tow with a 2500 HD Silverado diesel. The truck doesn't really know the weight is back there (although the 31' trailer makes it's length known)....but I really like the "overpower" (and the 4WD) on boat's good to be able to just push the pedal and pull boat/trailer out of the water along with all the water that accumulates, etc - With all that said, I'd go with an Excursion or an 8.1 'burb if you need seats. Otherwise, a 2500 pickup truck ...and definitely get 4WD, particularly if you're in an area that could get icing in the late season or moss / weeds the rest of the time. Being the guy that spins out on the ramp isn't a good spot to be in.
PA12DRVR 07/23/19 05:51pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Current GM / Chevy Reliability

double post
PA12DRVR 07/19/19 12:26pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Current GM / Chevy Reliability

"What is "every conceivable way?" I suspect if you list out what has actually needed work, things aren't really as bad as they seem on the surface." FWIW, without digging out my folder of work, every conceivable way includes what I'd call "mechanical" "electrical" and "Electronics". I don't have all the right names of switches and parts that failed but a bit of a summary list: - Mileage is circa 100,000 miles (issues have popped up since about 95k and continuing to current circa 110k) - Brake (discs/drums/actuator) failed: developed holes where there weren't supposed to be any (and without any water immersion or salt use up to the time of failure)... what I'd label as a mechanical issue $1,000 - Injectors failed.. mechanical issue, $8000 (and the injector failure was only determined after a series of 3-4 fuel filter changes at about 1/2 - 2/3 of the expected mileage between changes and when the local lab didn't find anything out of the ordinary in 3-4 samples of diesel fuel supplied) - O2 sensor failed .... "electronics" issue: $1,000 with labor and parts - Fuel flow sensor (or similar nomenclature) failed: electronics, circa $750 labor and parts - Mass Air flow sensor failed....electronics issue, circa $1,000 with labor and parts (probably a bit below $1000) - Throttle position sensor (IIRC) failed...electronics issue, circa $1000 - Transmission position sensor (or similar nomenclature) failed...electronics issue, circa $1000 - Integrated Trailer Brake controller failed (added aftermarket one for $400)..."electrical" - Trailer electrical connection failed (perhaps to be expected, but it's one more thing to be replaced): $100 - Transfer Case sending unit (or something like that, vehicle stuck in 4WD), electronic $1500 ...and there's more. The issue is not just the money (although circa $25k all told is significant), its that the electronics failures leave me on the side of the road or in limp mode. I haven't blown the head gaskets nor burned up cylinder I guess it hasn't failed in "every conceivable way"...but lots of issues that run the spectrum from iron to electronics, so I think a bit of inquiry is justified.
PA12DRVR 07/19/19 12:25pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Things to do in Alaska?

.but overall this doesn't seem like a terribly buggy year. That's awesome news for me! Hopefully that holds true on Kodiak as well. We fly out in just over two weeks. 5 1/2 days on Kodiak then about 6 1/2 between Anchorage, Homer and Whittier. It's been 2 years in the making (had to cancel last year) and now I am getting nervous that something will go wrong and we'll have to cancel again. Kodiak has had a bit more moisture than SC Alaska and has not had the record heat (IIRC) that Los Anchorage the bugs might be at par for this year, but much of coastal Kodiak gets sea breezes which really helps. Anch/Whittier/Homer should have a lower bug incidence than usual...again, at least in the somewhat developed areas: Was out on the boat last weekend out of Seward and pulled nearshore just because and got swarmed with gnats until a breeze took them away. Strange, but I don't think that will be the usual. Of course, it may hit 1-August and start raining everyday..who knows.
PA12DRVR 07/18/19 02:30pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Things to do in Alaska?

Forgot to ask. How have the "bugs" been? We saw all the jokes 3 years ago, about buying mosquito hunting licenses, and so on, but never saw any swarms of them at all. I think we were there late enough that the worst was over. It was late August, early September. Just curious, as we're thinking of heading up late summer again. FWIW, based on my experience, bugs are always an issue once one is off the beaten (or quasi-beaten path). That being said, this has been (at least in an around Los Anchorage, although I think most of the state) a pretty dry summer. Bugs therefore aren't too bad around roads, campgrounds, etc.....always an exception where there is standing water (mosquitoes) and "blooms" of gnats seem to appear at the strangest times. ...but overall this doesn't seem like a terribly buggy year.
PA12DRVR 07/18/19 09:20am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Things to do in Alaska?

If heading to Homer: - Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center at Portage...see moose, bears, etc. A Canned setting, but possibly interesting anyway - The drive on the spur road to the Begich-Boggs visitor center at Portage Glacier is fairly scenic (and short) even if one doesn't stop at the center or take the boat trip to see the Glacier - If time and convenience permits, swing in to Anchor Point / Deep Creek / Ninilchik to watch the tractor boat launching...Interesting - If Homer is definitely on the agenda, a trip on the Danny J is a fun excursion. - Also if Homer is definitely on the agenda, if one finds the right bar (I can't remember the name of it right now and it's been at least 2 years) you can see one of the younger Kilcher's (related to Jewel, part of the "Alaska the Last Frontier very quasi-reality show) playing on weekends - Great martini's at the Lands End
PA12DRVR 07/16/19 09:10pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Current GM / Chevy Reliability

Thanks, all Appreciate the insight and experiences.
PA12DRVR 07/16/19 08:40pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Current GM / Chevy Reliability

I'd get a Tundra in a second if they made one that had the capabilities I'm looking for. For the current / recent GM diesel much trouble have you had with various electronics (Mass Air Sensor, O2 sensor, xmission range sensor, etc) on your vehicles? That's the kind of stuff that is just going bad in waves on my current truck.
PA12DRVR 07/16/19 02:57pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Things to do in Alaska?

What to do in Los Anchorage: - FWIW, if you want to visit Homer, then go for it as a "Visit Homer" objective. It's too far and (strictly IMNSHO) not worth the travel other than just for the scenery as a "meanwhile" activity while visiting Anchorage - Some folks like the Native Heritage Center... - Hike in Chugach State Park from either Glen Alps or Upper Huffman parking areas...or from any number of stops between Anchorage and Girdwood: at a minimum, there's nice mountain views from near the Glen Alps parking lot..or one could climb Flattop (short but fairly aggressive) from Glen Alps. - Alaska Aviation Museum on Lake Hood - Anchorage Museum "downtown" on 6th & somewhere ( I can picture it, can't remember the address) - Have a drink or two at the Millenium Hotel on Lake Hood and watch the float plane traffic - Visit Portage Glacier Visitor center...bit ho-hum but interesting nevertheless..... - is the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center also in Portage - Take the 26 Glacier Cruise out of Whittier. - Go fishing out of either Whittier or Seward if interested. Seward (2.5 hours from Los Anchorage) is a neat little town to visit on it's own merits aside from the "what can I do from here" aspect. If you have a whole day, take the Alaska Railroad to and back from Seward - Whitewater rafting is available around Hope (going south from Anchorage) or on the Matanuska River (going North) - A visit to the Alaska Public Lands Information Center is kind of neat, even if not for a specific purpose. - Watering holes that I like: F Street Station, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Club Paris, Ginger (all downtown, Club Paris and Ginger are good restaurants, for their cuisine types, as well); 7 Glaciers (at the top of Mount Alyeska, also a good restaurant); - Flightseeing (of various lengths/costs) from Lake Hood - Eagle River Visitor Center at Chugach State Park (Not the Eagle River campground)
PA12DRVR 07/16/19 02:53pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Roll Call Alaska 2019

Reading the comments is interesting to learn perspective. Driving the Alcan quite a bit (commencing in 1976), it was a bit of a truism that the Canadian side...with it's at least relatively-well-maintained gravel...was generally smoother and allowed faster transit (at least for autos & trucks) than then contemporaneous crappily-paved roads in Alaska. Obviously, things have changed in 40+ years, but I've always thought that a well-maintained gravel road had less disruption from the frost-heave effect than an asphalt road and that some Northern routes should have remained gravel.....but just opinion there.
PA12DRVR 07/16/19 01:41pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
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