Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016 - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-08-2016, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016

Welcome to the trip planning page of my upcoming trip to the Arctic Ocean via the Ice Road and Inuvik! I'll be leaving April 2nd for 6 weeks from Dallas TX. In the past, I've always made reservations for lodging but most recently I've tried the "make last minute reservations that night depending on where you end up" strategy, which has worked out very successfully for me. This way, there's no pressure to make it to a certain location each night. The basic route is as follows:

Dallas to North Platte NE 12 hrs
North Platte NE to Mt Rushmore to Bozeman MT 16 hrs (possibly + the Minuteman Missile Historic Site in SD)
Bozeman MT to Edmonton AB Canada 11 hrs
Edmonton AB Canada to Fort Nelson BC Canada 11 hrs
Fort Nelson BC Canada to Whitehorse YT Canada 12 hrs
Whitehorse YT Canada to Inuvik NT Canada 21 hrs (2 days)
Inuvik NT Canada to Tuktoyaktuk NT Canada 4 hrs
Tuktoyaktuk area then back to Inuvik NT Canada 4 hrs
Inuvik to Whitehorse 21 hrs (2 days)
Whitehorse to just outside Denali NP AK 13 hrs
Denali NP AK
Denali NP AK
Denali NP AK
Denali NP AK to Haines Junction YT 12 hrs
Haines Junction YT to Juneau AK 9 hrs

MILES up to Juneau - 6,500

Tuesday 4/19 to Friday 4/22 - Juneau AK to Bellingham WA ferry
Bellingham to Vancouver and back 4 hrs
Bellingham to Seattle WA 2 hrs
Seattle WA
Seattle to Portland OR 3 hrs
Portland OR to Coos Bay OR via 101 5 hrs
Coos Bay OR to San Francisco CA via 101/1 12 hrs
San Francisco CA
San Francisco CA to Santa Barbara CA via 101 8 hrs
Santa Barbara CA to Death Valley NP 6 hrs
Death Valley NP
Death Valley NP to Las Vegas NV 2 hrs
Las Vegas
Las Vegas NV to Hoover Dam to Grand Canyon 7 hrs
Grand Canyon

MILES Bellingham to Grand Canyon 2,300

Grand Canyon to Canyonlands NP UT 7 hrs
Canyonlands NP White Rim Road
Canyonlands NP White Rim Road
Canyonlands NP White Rim Road to VLA NM 7 hrs
VLA tour to Fort Stockton TX 11 hrs
Fort Stockton to Houston 7 hrs

MILES Grand Canyon to Houston 1,800

TOTAL MILES 10,600 (17 mpg, $2.50 per gallon, $1,600 gas)

Since I'm going solo and won't have the support like @Vegas_Nick , I appreciate any tips or advice. I'll be doing a full service on the FJ prior to the trip and building a sleeping platform inside for those really cold nights. If everything goes to plan, I should only be paying for gas + Alaska ferry fee + food, saving over $1000 on hotels. The "must reserve in advance"...reservations...are for the ferry ($1200 for FJ and me from Juneau to Bellingham) and White Rim Road.

More details to come. I'm planning on writing a live trip report once I'm underway in about 2 months.

Tl;dr: epic Arctic Circle trip in April, appreciate recs.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-08-2016, 07:57 PM
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Re: Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016

Is your FJ stock?
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-08-2016, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016

Quote:
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Is your FJ stock?
Negative. Small lift, BFG ATs, Chitown4x4 fuel storage.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-08-2016, 08:18 PM
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Re: Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016

I feel like 17 mpg is a little generous, especially for a long trip you will probably be loaded up. I'm sure you know already Gasoline in Western Canada is around 1.00 CAD per litre but with the weak Canadian dollar it should be more or less still around your 2.50 per gallon number.
BTW this is a dream trip for me as well, I'd be starting from Ontario near Detroit though
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-09-2016, 06:56 AM
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Re: Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016

Not to sound smart or anything, but you know you can't drive to Juneau? That will be a ferry from Haines to Juneau.

I did almost the same trip a few years ago on my motorcycle, starting near Portland OR. I only went a short ways up the Dempster Hwy towards Tuk before continuing on towards my ultimate goal of Prudhoe Bay. Then back to Anchorage where I met my wife (she flew in). She then rode with me on the rest of the ride out to Homer for a visit and fishing with my uncle that lives there. Then back to Anchorage, down to Valdez (DO THIS!), back to Tok and down to Haines to catch the ferry. We splurged and got a room as it was 4 nights/5 days back to Bellingham. It is spendy, but well worth it in our opinion.

Other tips: Spend at least a day (or 2) in Dawson after coming south from Tuk. It's a cool town. After you leave there cross the Yukon and go to Chicken. You'll pass through the the northern most U.S. border crossing. But make a side-trip north up to Eagle. I've heard it's cool, although we had to miss it because it was raining pretty bad. Also note that that border crossing closes at night so you MUST time things correctly to get through it while it's open, or you'll have to drive all the way back to Dawson for the night (or sleep in your rig in the middle of nowhere). Also note there's a 1-hour time difference at the border so do your math correctly on the border-closing time.

Make your ferry reservations as soon as you're positive you're going. They sell out. We wanted to ferry north then ride but the north-bound routes sell out first, and early in the season. Also note you are not allowed on the car deck while the ferry is under way, so no sleeping in your rig. Folks setup tents on the decks (be fast, space goes quickly). You can also just sleep in the chairs (like plane seats but not lie-flat) or toss your sleeping bag out anywhere you can find space.

Using a SPOT satellite messenger is a great way to let folks follow along on your trip. Mine has the tracking subscription so it "drops bread-crumbs" all along the route about every 20 minutes. If you don't want to pay the extra for it you can just push the button to make marks. If you do get one go get it setup on Spotwalla.com, an excellent free trip tool a friend of mine wrote. Unlike the SPOT page itself Spotwalla will keep your trip history forever so you can do cool things like share it with your friends for years. Here's the link to my trip.

LINK TO DENNIS' MOST EXCELLENT MOTORCYCLE RIDE TO ALASKA

You'll have the trip of your life doing this (speaking from experience!). If you ping me with details about when you'll pass through the Portland area we could setup a meet-n-greet with some of the most excellent FJ owners in the area so we can hear about your journey.

Have fun!

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Good point. Maybe I'll just get the ferry from Haines to Bellingham. It's about $100 more.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-09-2016, 08:04 AM
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Re: Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016

And be sure to pack along a copy of The Milepost. It's a wealth of information. The new edition will be out in time for your trip.

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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-09-2016, 08:37 AM
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Re: Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016

Sounds like an AWESOME trip. Enjoy. Definitely do plenty of planning. Guessing you've already planned spots along your trip for service?
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Re: Arctic Circle trip planning - April 2016

Are you sure you can get up,the Dempster to Inuvik in April, not to mention on to Tuk. The road is closed during the thaw between being an ice road and the ferry being able to run you can't cross the Peel river?

And agree with LDRlyr that you could run from Dawson City via Top of the World highway via Chicken to Fairbanks rather than doubling all the way back to Whitehorse.

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I checked with the Inuvik visitor center and the ice road is historically open until late April. I'll have to double check right before I leave.
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