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RE: alaska 2021 ???

We plan on going in 2021 if all is well, this would make our third trip up to Alaska. we'll be entering through Nagara Falls this and traveling east towards Alaska. For those who never have been to Alaska allow lot of time to travel it's a long drive. I'll bet it was a really long drive to Alaska going east from Niagara Falls. You might want to stop and ask directions before you get to Nova Scotia.
Wadcutter 09/17/20 04:13pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Million Dollar Highway 550 Co

Sure. Should not be a problem. 2 years ago I pulled a 40 ft 5th wheel over it twice. It's a good road.
Wadcutter 08/10/20 05:36pm Roads and Routes
RE: Needles Hwy, Height Restriction.

If you are not aware, fog line is the edge of the normal lane of travel. It is not always a strip on the road! I am very aware what a fog line is. More so than you obviously are aware. In my career I measured a lot of roadways and diagrammed a lot of crashes where fog lines are included. Just to clarify since it seems you aren't totally aware what a fog line is it's not the center stripe on the road. Not always, not ever. So have you been thru the tunnels on the Needles Highway? Where did you see these fog lines? Same place you seen the angled tunnels?
Wadcutter 07/23/20 04:53pm Roads and Routes
RE: Needles Hwy, Height Restriction.

The tunnels are curved on the top. Height at fog line which is the low point, For some of the rigs I would also concerned about width. Fog Line? What fog line? Have you been there? There are no fog lines at the tunnels on Needles. Most of the tunnels are squared at the top. Granted, a few have some varying heights due to the formation of the rocks but what was cut thru by man is squared.
Wadcutter 07/23/20 09:03am Roads and Routes
RE: Ham radios

A CB is a worthy start for mobile radio. And there’s no need to skimp on a high-quality installation. Next to none of you has heard or used such (point being, Started playing with CB in 1963. First license started out 18QA(forget the last 3 letters). Soon after went to the conventional CB licensing of KNK4413. We ran CB on the farm with a base station in the house and mobiles in the trucks, tractors, combines. And used some very good antennas on all. Stayed with CB on the farm operation but then went to business band which had a repeater 3 miles from the farm. That worked until the govt took the band freqs. Now using GMRS with a repeater which works OK for our use on the farm. An Icom-718 or a Yaesu ft450d aren’t terrifically expensive as starters for Amateur, especially used. Have a look and see if either appeal. (It’s the antenna system where things get more complicated ). Both are good basic radios. A good used 718 will run $350-$400. 450D $150 or so more. Both need either a power supply or run off a battery. I've run both. I like the layout of the 450D but my 718 had a bit better receive. Now the 718 is taken when camping or CW at home and backup to my main. Both require a ham license. Tech class will only get limited phone out of either.
Wadcutter 07/21/20 08:41am General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

I will admit the radio works better with a Full Size antenna. I have assorted wires and sticks from 25 to 83 feet long not one of 'em long enough to be a good 75Meter antenna. A good antenna is where to spend the money instead of power. Most of the time the past month at home I've been using a homemade 30 ft EARCHI at 8 ft due to the electrical storms that have been passing thru. Worked Israel and Russia on it. When I'm operating out of my camper I'll usually string up the EARCHI simply because it's the easiest to get going. If I have room I'll run the 20M dipole that I can configure for 40M by clipping on wire.
Wadcutter 07/20/20 05:15pm General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

I do not talk to overseas on HF I type to overseas on HF but talking given my gear is more or less limited to USA especially right now as band conditions are not that great. (I think I have had one overseas voice contact) But when conditions are decent I talk from Mi to Ga on 40 or from SC to Ga and from both SC and MI to MI and several other states on 80 Propagation has been really bad the past month but there have been a few openings. I haven't had mine on much but in the past week I've worked Israel, Asiatic Russia, and Slovenia on 20M. Played with my antenna a bit to work some NVIS on 20M and worked IA from IL. I'm not running anything special. 100W and a 80-10 Carolina Windom. In the last 3 years during the bottom of the cycle I've worked 163 countries, every state on 40M and 49 states on 20M. I don't work much 80 but have worked 45 states on 80M. All on phone SSB. CW is a bit easier to make some contacts during this low period. I don't work digital.
Wadcutter 07/20/20 07:19am General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

Sure, you can toss 1500W on HF out with a linear and wrap your signal halfway around the globe in the early evening or late morning when most HF bands are active.. Do you really work much HF? You do realize that 40m or 80m you can work a lot closer than "halfway around the globe". 10, 12, 17 haven't been too reliable the past couple of years but 40 is usually open somewhere 24/7 and in the evening 80 has been doing OK. Even during the worst of solar storms I've been working people on 40 and 80. And with those freqs the range can be from 100 to a few hundred miles, not quite the 'halfway around the globe" as you're making it sound. If you have been a ham for a while, done more than get a Tech ticket, and not just one of those who memorized answers to questions you may have heard of Winlink. Winlink will get you email anywhere you can send an email over the internet. I packed in to some really remote locations in NWT, Yukon, BC, and AK. Never had a problem hit a Winlink gateway and getting emails back home and was doing it with 50W max. As I mentioned previously, ham radio is just another tool. When you're out there in real remote locations it's about backing up your backup to your backup. You have a backup for everything or you have nothing.
Wadcutter 07/18/20 03:04pm General RVing Issues
RE: Ham radios

It won't hurt anything to add a ham VHF/UHF to your kit. It's just another backup to cell, CB, FRS, GMRS, whatever you have already. One may work, the other may not. Or both may not work. Or one may work sometimes and in the same place not work at a different time. You never know. I run with a VHF/UHF mobile in the truck altho I very rarely get on it. If I have a general idea where I'll be traveling I'll load in the repeaters for those areas. I always monitor 146.520 which is the ham 2 meter simplex calling freq in the US. As with 146.520 and all repeaters maybe someone is listening, maybe not. Just because you don't hear someone talking doesn't mean they're not monitoring. Same as when people say they've been calling while traveling and no one is monitoring. Maybe they are. Just because you call doesn't mean they have to answer. A lot of people won't answer because they don't know you and don't care to strike up a conversation with someone just passing thru. People don't generally like carrying on a long winded conversation with someone they don't know just because it's on the radio. But if you throw out your call followed by you need assistance they are more likely to answer. When we're camping I have my HF rig along. There are smaller mobile antennas that let you work HF while moving. It's not something I'm interested in doing so I don't mount one on my truck. When I set up in camp I throw up either a dipole or end fed. I have run a vertical but don't care for the performance I get compared to a simple dipole or end fed. Last summer I set up my HF rig at the Arctic Circle. Strung an inverted V dipole with the peak at 15 ft and ends at 3 ft. 100 watts. Propagation on HF has been very poor the last couple of years and my set up was far from ideal. Still was able to work FL, CA, TX, and OH from the Arctic Circle on 20 meters. A few weeks later I set up the same configuration near Moose Pass, AK and couldn't make contact with anyone. At Moose Pass I was set up in a valley with mountains all around. When you're preparing for an emergency never rely on just one method of anything. Everything from communications to water to food to navigation requires a backup to a backup to a backup.
Wadcutter 07/17/20 09:12am General RVing Issues
RE: Recommendations for a a route from PA to CO avoiding IL

Don't worry about traveling thru IL. There's a lot of BS on the internet repeated by people who don't have a clue about IL law. IL firearm laws are not as onerous as some of these ill-informed internet firearm 'experts' portray. As long as you have a valid CCW from your home state you can have a loaded firearm in your vehicle while traveling thru IL. Here's IL's statute: 430 ILCS 66/40 (e) Nothing in this Act shall prohibit a non-resident from transporting a concealed firearm within his or her vehicle in Illinois, if the concealed firearm remains within his or her vehicle and the non-resident: (1) is not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law; (2) is eligible to carry a firearm in public under the laws of his or her state or territory of residence, as evidenced by the possession of a concealed carry license or permit issued by his or her state of residence, if applicable; and (3) is not in possession of a license under this Act. If the non-resident leaves his or her vehicle unattended, he or she shall store the firearm within a locked vehicle or locked container within the vehicle in accordance with subsection (b) of Section 65 of this Act. Thank you this is useful and new information to me! Greg You are welcome. I spent my career making sure people got the correct legal information so they can avoid problems. As you can tell from some of the others who posted 'stuff' they don't know beans from applebutter about IL law. Have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Wadcutter 07/13/20 03:04pm Roads and Routes
RE: Recommendations for a a route from PA to CO avoiding IL

Don't worry about traveling thru IL. There's a lot of BS on the internet repeated by people who don't have a clue about IL law. IL firearm laws are not as onerous as some of these ill-informed internet firearm 'experts' portray. As long as you have a valid CCW from your home state you can have a loaded firearm in your vehicle while traveling thru IL. Here's IL's statute: 430 ILCS 66/40 (e) Nothing in this Act shall prohibit a non-resident from transporting a concealed firearm within his or her vehicle in Illinois, if the concealed firearm remains within his or her vehicle and the non-resident: (1) is not prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law; (2) is eligible to carry a firearm in public under the laws of his or her state or territory of residence, as evidenced by the possession of a concealed carry license or permit issued by his or her state of residence, if applicable; and (3) is not in possession of a license under this Act. If the non-resident leaves his or her vehicle unattended, he or she shall store the firearm within a locked vehicle or locked container within the vehicle in accordance with subsection (b) of Section 65 of this Act.
Wadcutter 07/13/20 08:14am Roads and Routes
RE: hauling trailer to Alaska

Great advice, just beginning planning hopefully for May-June 2021. Just reading your post is getting me excited. We are looking at a used 18 footer, unfortunately it is a single axle, but the price is right and the layout is good for us. My husband drives and I do all the planning so I really appreciate the advice. If you think of anything else let me know. Would you mind sharing your itinerary from Illinois to B.C. And where did you cross? Thanks again Just telling about it gets me excited to go again. Strange feeling but it's like Alaska is calling me to return. Had I visited when I was young before kids, grandkids, and other commitments I think I could have stayed. Every day was amazement and the next day was even better. I've only talked to 1 person who said it was not worth the trip. I ran into him a few years ago in a campground in LA. He said "Don't go. There's nothing there." I replied that's what I want to see, the nothing before someone messes it up. He said "You don't understand. There's nothing there. Just trees and animals." I got to give him that at least. He was right. Trees and animals. That's what I went to see. If you have a single axle don't sweat it. Lots of single axles on the road. Another couple tagged along and they had an 16 ft single axle. The only trouble they had was a water pump in the trailer. Got it fixed in Whitehorse and that's all the trouble they had. As another said make sure the wheel bearings are repacked and new tires. I had repacked my bearings but still lost one. Made it 5300 miles before the bearing went. It happens. Just part of the trip. We crossed into Alberta at Sweet Grass MT. Route basically was Banff, Jasper, Rt 40 (Big Horn Hwy) to Grand Prairie, Dawson Creek, side trip to Ft Liard NWT area, Whitehorse, Skagway, Haines, Tok, Fairbanks, sidetrip to Coldfoot, Denali, Palmer, Seward, Homer, Anchorage, Valdez, Tok, Chicken and Top of the World Highway, Dawson City, Whitehorse, Watson Lake, Rt 37 south to Steward/Hyder, Prince George, Kamloops, and re-entered the US at Oroville, WA. We saw most of the bears around Ft Nelson area and to Ft Liard.
Wadcutter 06/29/20 07:44pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: hauling trailer to Alaska

Thank you, lots of good info. Do most people who boondock run a generator? I saw a lot with generators. Ran them to keep the camper battery charged so had water pump and lights. I never saw anyone boondocking who ran it all the time when we were around. When boondocking people want to hear the sounds of nature.
Wadcutter 06/29/20 02:32pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: hauling trailer to Alaska

Someone asked me off list what tools they should take, other items, and the roads. Might be useful to others. Basic tool kit of the usual wrenches, pliers, adjustable wrenches, screwdrivers. Assorted lengths of rubber bunges. Several rachet straps. The most used things we packed were a piece of old carpeting about 6 ft by 3 ft to lay or kneel on, duct tape, and bailing wire. I took 2 extra unmounted tires for the trailer and 1 unmounted tire for the truck. Also had 1 each mounted tire for the trailer and truck. We never had any tire trouble but I would take them again. I can change a tire on a rim, some people don't know how. You might have to drive a ways but you can find someone who knows how to put a tire on a rim but they may not have an extra tire. The people we ran into who live there outside the cities are a resourceful bunch. They know how to get things done. And friendly and willing to help. I took an air compressor. Never needed it but if I had to change a tire out I would need the air compressor. I took 2 hydraulic bottle jacks. I only needed the one when we lost the bearing/axle on the trailer but 2 bottle jacks can be handy. In addition to the 5 gal of diesel fuel for the truck I also carried 5 gal of gas for the generator. I also carried 10 gal of potable water. I kept the trailer fresh water tank full whenever possible but there were times it was nice to have the extra 10 gal when dry camping. In addition to keeping your fuel tank full, keep your fresh water full and your waste water tanks empty whenever possible. Take an outdoor gas grill. The area is beautiful. You don't want to cook inside. You can't always depend on having a wood fire. 2019 was very dry and there were fire bans in effect. No campfires in a lot of places. I was surprised by the road conditions. All I've ever heard was how bad the roads are. The main roads are either blacktopped or hard pack gravel. We found the hard pack gravel to be smoother. Downside to the gravel is it's either dusty or it's sort of a mud. You will hit road construction/repair. No big deal. You're in Alaska. You're not in a hurry. Enjoy the scenery while waiting. Watch for frost heaves. Canada and Alaska does a pretty good job of marking them with a flag or an orange cone but they miss a few. As long as you're not going too fast the frost heaves are not a problem. They'll just give you a roller coaster ride or pitch you a bit. We did see an empty flatbed semi with all his wheels go off the ground when he hit a frost heave at probably more than the speed limit. The worst road we encountered was the Tok Cutoff between Glennallen and Tok. The surface condition was OK but it pitched, rolled and gave you a real ride. Nothing terrible or impassable. Been on worse in the lower 48.
Wadcutter 06/29/20 07:40am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: hauling trailer to Alaska

Tuk is our next summers trip. Soup COOL!!! Not for us. 2022 would be the earliest.
Wadcutter 06/28/20 11:55am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: hauling trailer to Alaska

I forgot to mention one thing. The only regret we had visiting AK was that we had not done it years before. We're already planning when we'll make our next trip. I have already started my list of places we're going. 1-McKenzie Highway in NWT. 2-Denali Highway. 3-Spend time in the Brooks Range. 4-Still considering to Inuvik and on into Tuk just to say we did it and saw it.
Wadcutter 06/28/20 09:57am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: hauling trailer to Alaska

We spent the summer of 2019 in AK. It was not long enough. We drove 12,103 miles from central IL. We bought a used 26 ft trailer specifically to pull to AK. The shortest you can live in the better. We looked for a twin axle trailer and are glad that's what we got. We lost a bearing and damaged the axle north of Wasilla. Having 2 axles we were able to limp to a repair shop. A single axle we would have been sitting. The nearest tow service that could have towed us was in Anchorage about 75 miles away. We didn't find the prices to be all that much higher than in the lower 48, maybe a bit higher as around large cities in the lower. Our total cost came to about $1/mile. There are plenty of places to dry camp. And you'll want to do that just to experience it. Here are some suggestions for traveling: 1) Take your time. There's a lot to see. 2) Watch your speed. Disregard the speed limits. Keep it slow so you can watch for wildlife. You definitely don't want to see a moose up close. On our way back from the Arctic Circle a moose ran out of the brush and stopped close enough to the side of my truck I could have touched her. Surprised both of us. We saw several vehicles on the road that had hit moose and bear. 3) Take a generator. It will make dry camping a lot more enjoyable. 4) Carry an extra 5 gal of fuel. As another said, never miss a chance to fill up even if you just filled up a few miles ago. There are places it's a long ways between stations. Even if the map says there's a town ahead don't expect to find services there, or in some cases even find the town. 5) Visit Anchorage and Fairbanks but don't spend a lot of time in them. They're cities. Cities are not Alaska. Go to the U of AK Museum in Fairbanks and the museum in Anchorage. Good exhibits and well done. 6) Leave early, avoid the crowds. We left IL May 16. I wish we would have left 2 weeks earlier. We had some cool nights in Alberta and some places the lakes were still frozen over. But we avoided the crowds. The later in the summer you leave the more crowds you'll run in to. 7) When at Denali, if you take a tour bus to see The Mountain, get the earliest bus in the day you can. It's a long trip from where you catch the bus to the visitor's center for viewing. The later in the day you get to the visitor's center the less chance you have of being able to see Denali. Clouds roll in during the day. Only about 30% of the visitors get to see Denali due to cloud cover. You do not want to go all that way and not see Denali. 8) Keep a daily diary of everything you did each day. What you saw, what you spent, things that happened. You will see so much that by the time you get home you'll be on information overload. You won't remember some of the things that you thought you'd remember. 9) Take a camera for each person. Old school, but get pocket cameras. Something you'll always have with you. Then make sure no one goes anywhere without their camera, even if it is stepping out of the camper for a few minutes. And get an extra battery for every camera. Phone cameras are OK but you'll find a separate camera more useful in the end. And take pictures of everything and pictures everyday. We took over 4000 pictures and each one is a memory. 10) Spend the time and money on day tours/cruises/ferries out of Homer, Seward, Valdez, Skagway, Haines, etc. Particularly Haines to Juneau. The captain does more than just take you from Haines to Juneau. When whales and other wildlife are spotted he stops and gets closer for pictures. 11) Stop in visitor centers in each town. Each has an interesting story to tell no matter how small the town. 12) You'll no doubt go thru Watson Lake Yukon. Do a websearch on Sign Post Forest if you have not heard of it. Make your sign before leaving home. 13) Avoid Seward, AK over July 4. That's the Mt Marathon race. Town will be packed and there's not a lot of room there to begin with. 14) Most important - Get the latest edition of Milepost. It will be your Bible. Read it before you leave and then follow it mile for mile as you travel. 15) If you see a road - take it. There aren't a lot of roads in AK and everyone we took had a great view or story.
Wadcutter 06/28/20 08:07am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Double Towing Length Laws

Wrong? I'll give you a "Maybe", but will balk on the "absolutely". Bet if you check, you will find the yellow means I should stop if I can do so safely. Like I said that green was stale, I was dropping speed and gears as I approached until I got to the point my trailer would clear the intersection before cross traffic got the green. If the cop wanted to write me up, my lawyer would of of argued in front of judge. At that time I was packing that weight that route 5-6 times a day. I had control, I did not let anybody in the distance I needed to stop. If it was not for the silly "no jake" law (that was overruled by state a few weeks later) I would of been there with cool brakes, and felt much better. Your attorney may argue it but it's not a winning argument. Sorry, what you think is the law isn't as you imagine. I'll venture an even bet my legal training and experience is more than what you just think you know about the law. If you went thru a red light because you couldn't stop then you weren't in control. Jake brake or not is totally immaterial. To me, the legal gross is the max weight the state puts the scale under me, and I drive away without giving money to state or lawyer. In that area, 22,400 per axle. 4 axle truck pulling a 2 axle trailer, with the right tires, do the arithmetic. If your total weight was only 13K then you were well within legal limit. Don't know what your plated weight was. That's just a tax for hauling that much weight. A 4 axle truck and only pulling a 2 axle trailer? That must be some truck with 4 axles and only a 2 axle trailer too. Sorry, there's no maybe you might have been. If some other bozo had gone thru the red like you say you did and hit you then you'd be then one whining the other driver should be hung at dawn. BTW, I taught traffic and truck law for a lot of years and enforced it. I was recognized by the IL Supreme Court as an expert witness in both. I know what is not a maybe. I didn't get my knowledge sitting around a campfire or listening to someone blow off on the internet about what they thought the law was about but clearly doesn't.
Wadcutter 06/25/20 04:40pm Towing
RE: Double Towing Length Laws

Often the right attitude can improve outcome; CB tells me LEO is at bottom of hill, so I use service instead of jake brake to hold speed down. Half mile later I'm slowed as I approach a stale light. Right at the wrong time, just as I step on the go, light turns yellow. With brakes already hot, can I get stopped, or just slowed enough to let car get in front of me? Pour power to it. HP comes up from behind to stop me. Now, I'm crowding my legal 130000 gross, and know a lot more about time/distance needed to stop than he does, but first thing I say to him is "Little late on that light huh?" as I hand out the folder with ins, reg and copy of DL. He took a few min to check all my lights, and let me go. Were you in the wrong? Absolutely. So many times I heard "It had just turned red and I couldn't stop." Yeah, tell that to the guy you just hit who had the green light. Had they been the one with the green light and hit they'd be screaming bloody murder wanting the other driver hauled to jail. It's the same as the guy who loses control on wet or icy roads. They think because the speed limit says 70 mph they can legally drive 70 mph in all weather and when they slide off the road they did nothing wrong. The same old story was "But was only going 55 and the speed limit is 70." Failure to maintain control. If you can't control your vehicle then you're placing all other drivers at risk. Don't know what your "legal 13000 gross" means unless you mean your licensed gross. If so that's just a licensing tax. A tax on what you say you're going to haul.
Wadcutter 06/25/20 09:30am Towing
RE: Double Towing Length Laws

I double tow a little over length and so far haven't been ticketed. When I'm double towing I'm usually not terribly far from home so I could drop the back trailer and come back for it in the event I get pulled over by an unreasonable law officer. Unreasonable law officer hmm. If you are legal, you are legal, if not you are not. LE's job is to enforce the law,not to adjust it as the urge hits him! When someone gets stopped they all think the cop is unreasonable. Cops are there to enforce the law against the other guy, not the ones who think they should be allowed to do whatever they want. Those were the ones who were always fun to write tickets to and let them tell it to the judge how 'unreasonable' they thought they were treated because they got caught violating the law. Pretty much explains how they were brought up by their mommy and her little precious.
Wadcutter 06/24/20 05:26pm Towing
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