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Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip

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Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« on: August 13, 2020, 05:11:53 pm »
Are you stuck at home but dreaming of a future road trip to Alaska?

We have traveled the world (over 100 countries) and visited all 50 states. We drove to Alaska from Colorado in 2017 and I have a box of materials including guide books and campground guides. We consider our PC trip to Alaska one of our most favorite, interesting and invigorating trips. A real memory-maker! We had kept the materials because we planned to do it again but now realize that is not to be.
We are purging in preparation for a move and I would be glad to mail them to anyone who is interested to help fuel your dreams.
Private message me a mailing address.

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 05:44:13 pm »
We purchased a used Phoenix Cruiser earlier this year.  As Alaska residents and recently retired, our intention was to experiment with the alternative to winter darkness.  Traveling to more southern latitudes as "snowbirds" was the original intent..  Almost diabolically, our RV purchase, in February, proved to be a classic case of poor timing,  Not only because it coincided with the eventual concern over a possible pandemic, but unwittingly, we had arranged to accept delivery of the vehicle in the State of Oregon. There the restrictions were both immediate and more severe than other locations.  There, camp grounds and restaurants were not only closed - the state announced it intended to continue restrictions into the distant future.

The arbitrary, and contradictory decisions associated with the closures caused us to abandon travel plans.   We elected to place the vehicle in storage.  And, consider ourselves lucky to find accommodations.  Seems RV storage facilities are unusually busy.

For those planning travel to Alaska: let me alert you about what I have been reading.  The border crossing restrictions imposed by Canada have been extended into December 2020.  And, after having been lied to by a few travelers from the Lower 48  who falsely claimed their intention of driving to Alaska made the border crossing necessary, I now hear how difficult any crossing into Canada has become.  Incensed by the ruse of those claiming the border crossing was in order to drive to Alaska while instead lingering among Canadian tourist attractions . Authorities there have elected to strictly enforce the restrictions.  Several instances have been reported telling of US residents of Alaska who want to drive from Southeast to Central Alaska being denied border crossing.  In spite of geographical separation that makes travelling the ALCAN thru the Yukon necessary to connect state residents and their locations.

We have since changed the intended usage of our RV and have given up on trouble-spot travel   We are now making plans to use it here in Alaska instead.  With summer over, weather conditions are the consideration.  October thru April are considered too severe for RV travel.  Slippery roads, limited daylight hours, seasonal facilities closings and low temperatures have a tendency to curtail enthusiasm.  If the restrictions are removed next spring, we will be driving north instead of south.

Meanwhile, we will be monitoring restrictions and looking for an end to the seemingly contradictory and arbitrary approach to the implementations.  We would appreciate others contributing their experiences or plans.  Making sense of RV travel through the disruptive atmosphere that currently prevails would be easier with others providing anecdotal information on their experience.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2020, 07:47:34 pm by Taildragger »

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 06:51:01 pm »
NOTE:  Below from CBSA, the Canadian Border Services folks.   Also note the transit must be for non-discretionary purposes.


As of July 31, 2020, at 12:01 am PDT, if you are transiting through Canada to Alaska for a non-discretionary (essential) reason, you must follow stricter rules and meet additional entry conditions.

Specifically, you have to enter Canada at one of the following ports of entry (POE):

Abbotsford-Huntingdon (British Columbia)
Coutts (Alberta)
Kingsgate (British Columbia)
North Portal (Saskatchewan)
Osoyoos (British Columbia)
If you arrive at a non-identified POE for the purpose of transiting to Alaska, the CBSA will deny you entry and advise you to go to one of the five identified POEs.

No matter the reason for travel, if you have COVID-19 or exhibit any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, you will not be allowed to enter Canada.

Providing false information to a BSO may lead to consequences such as being denied entry and/or banned from returning to Canada.

Following admission into Canada, you:

will be allowed a reasonable period of stay to carry out the transit
must limit your travel within Canada to the most direct route to your intended POE of exit, avoiding all national parks, leisure sites and tourism activities
must report to the nearest CBSA POE to confirm your exit from Canada, before entering the U.S.
The CBSA will issue you a vehicle "hang tag" to attach to your rear view mirror for the duration of your transit. The tag will include the date you must depart Canada as well as information on the conditions imposed upon entry, the Quarantine and Emergencies Acts and a list of public health and safety measures to follow. These measures include:

avoiding contact with others while in transit
remaining in the vehicle as much as possible
not making any unnecessary stops
practicing physical distancing at all times
paying at the pump if you need gas
using a drive-through if you need food
wearing a suitable mask or face covering while in transit
ensuring good hygiene practices if you need to use a rest area
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 06:54:53 pm by donc13 »
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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2020, 06:14:01 pm »
 Excerpted from Alaska Newspaper October 2020
 
Want to Travel Between Alaska and Canada? Think Again…
October 12, 2020/by Tom Scarborough
Editor’s note: a staff member successfully traveled through Canada, last week. However, at the border with Alaska, the Canadian custom’s officer was exceptionally rude and hostile. His interrogation regarding the travel was aggressive. A black powder firearm (.50 caliber muzzleloader) and shotgun were disclosed with the proper forms at the outset and he asked incredulously, “Why in the world would you need a .50 caliber rifle for hunting?” When he asked about the shotgun and was told it was for bear defense since camping was the only way to sleep on the way through Canada, he yelled that if a bear were to be shot on the trip through Canada, the shooter would be sent to jail for a very long time. He then said that “even if you are being eaten, you let the bear kill you, you may not shoot a bear in Canada. Do you understand? You will let the bear eat you!” According to this staff member, who has traveled numerous times throughout Canada, she was treated as if she was a member of a hostile nation, bent on doing harm to Canada. Travelers beware.

In early July, 2020, we crossed into Canada at Wild Horse. Interesting experience. Encountered an angry, sullen Canadian Border Agent. He growled at Judy and I and asked a few COVID-19 questions and we told him where and why we were traveling to Alaska. As we have a business and I hold professional licenses in Alaska, we complied with the Canadian regulations on being allowed to travel through Canada. Therefore, after a short review, we were allowed to proceed north. We passed on into Alaska about 3 ½ days later. As we were in an RV, we had very little contact with anyone on our drive through Canada. Stayed in private RV parks.

On September 9 we closed and winterized our summer living quarters in Fairbanks and proceeded to drive toward the Alaska/Canadian border in our RV. We spent the night at a now closed fueling station a couple of miles from the Canadian border. While there we talked with hunters that were staying there and were told we had very little chance of being allowed to travel past Beaver Creek border station. Anyone with a permanent address in Alaska was being turned back. No idea why. Only Military with travel orders, commercial truckers and anyone moving out of Alaska was allowed to go south.

We had read the Canadian travel restrictions and it appeared we qualified to travel through Canada. Since we were only 20 miles from Beaver Creek we would give it a try. If we would have had any idea how we would be treated, we would never have proceeded.

When we got to the Beaver Creek Border station we were asked a few routine questions and we handed the Border agent our Passports and drivers licenses. After a short while we were asked to put on masks and come into the Boarder station. Never had to do that before in our 30 + trips over the Alaska Highway.

On entering the Station we observed that none of the Canadian Agents wore masks or face coverings, there was no social distancing, wearing of gloves or hand sanitizer visible. This was not a safe place from a COVID-19 perspective to be.

We were then treated like criminals and repeatedly interrogated. Told we were lying to the Agent. About what, we were not sure. The Agent had a report of our crossing the Wild Horse border. No idea what that Agent had put in his report.

We were asked where we were headed and we told him Rapid City, SD. Then he wanted to know how we were employed in Alaska. Any attempt to explain that I do not have an 8-5 job and I oversee the work of highly skilled technicians, and analyze survey work for a Major Construction Contractor in Fairbanks. All appeared to fall on deaf ears.

Some of the questions asked were very strange. Wanted to know why we had our dog with us. Was the dog required for my work? We were asked for pictures of both our living quarters in Fairbanks and Rapid City. In our opinion, much of what was asked had nothing to do with our potential travel in Canada.

It has to be noted, we were never asked a single (zero) question about our health or COVID-19.

No concern was given that traveling south in our RV was by far the safest way for us to travel. Our other options were to take the Whitter Ferry or fly. Ferry was not an option as it was already booked through November. Other option was to fly. Both options placed us around many people of unknown health status

We were of no threat to the Canadian’s as we were self-contained in our RV. All we had to do was to purchase fuel and stay in private RV parks where we could legally walk the dog. Depending on roads and weather, we would be across the border into Montana sometime on the 4th day.

I think the goal was to make us angry. In that the agent was a failure. We just wanted to get out of there, either north or south.

All this could have been over in a few minutes. We were there over an hour. It is now apparent to us that we were to be sent back to Alaska because of our permanent business address. The fact that we have no winter living quarters in Alaska meant nothing. No reason to go through the “dog and pony show”. When permitted we got our passports and drivers licenses back and proceeded to drive the 300 miles back to Fairbanks. Got airline reservations as soon as we could fly with our dog, winterized our RV, and proceeded to return to Denver. Takes some planning, as you cannot fly a dog into Rapid City.

We were told not to return to Canada until all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted or we would be arrested. Not sure what that had to do with anything as it appeared that no one in the Canadian Border Station was the least bit concerned about anyone’s health.

We had a friendly chat with the Alaska Border Agent. He told us 50% of all east bound traffic through there was being turned back. He did not know the reason.

The sad part here is that we will never view Canada again the same. Do not want to repeat this experience. I suspect the other people being sent back will feel much the same.

The other observation we have made is that the economic effect on the businesses along the Alaska Highway that depend on tourist traffic for their survival has to be considered almost criminal. What happens when they close and there are no longer any places to purchase fuel, etc.?

This appears to be a lesson in what happens when technocrats make the rules to live by.

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Ron Dittmer

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2020, 07:57:23 pm »
That is a "bummer" of a story.
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2020, 11:46:19 pm »
As we explained when first posting to this venue,  we are interested in using our PC for something other than a doorstop in a parking garage.  Because of travel restrictions - that is the only use it has had since acquired.
Any prospective travel includes a first step.  Namely, considering the alternatives.  Recognizing anecdotal  information provided by others.is an alternative to driving long distances - only to end up in a predicament that could have been avoided.  For that reason, we figured others with an interest might benefit from "local news".
Members who have information on driving the Alaska Highway should be encouraged to share what they have learned.  our posting was pulled from a Fairbanks Paper.  We offer it without bias.  We hope it helps raise consciousness. Strange things are happening.  Don't blame the messenger.

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2020, 07:25:02 am »
Don't blame the messenger.
I am surely not blaming the messenger.

I am sad and also surprised to hear that passage through Canada is not only a hassle now, but harassment now.  We had no plan to travel in or through Canada during the pandemic, but anyone else would surely find your information extremely valuable.

One day when the pandemic is history and our grand daughters are older, my wife and I plan to drive up to AK in our PC.  We live near Chicago, so it would be quite a long journey for us.
Ron (& Irene) Dittmer

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Update from Alaska Public Media - SE Alaska Border Community
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2020, 12:51:47 pm »
Canada has relaxed border restrictions for residents in Hyder. The Southeast Alaska town’s only road out runs through British Columbia.

Since March, the tiny town’s 60-odd residents have been chafing under COVID-19 travel restrictions that have left them largely cut off from their Canadian neighbors.

But on October 30 the Canadian government announced a number of exceptions to strict 14-day quarantine rules for a number of border towns, including Hyder which is separated from the rest of Alaska by mountain peaks and open water.

“There is a lot more freedom of movement across the border, but it is not completely open for locals to go back and forth,” said Jennifer Jean, a Hyder resident and co-chair of the Hyder, Alaska and Stewart, B.C. COVID-19 Action Committee. It’s spearheading the effort to reopen the border and attracted support from elected officials on both sides of the border.

She says crossings will be limited for “necessities” like groceries, fuel, firewood or helping out family members in need.

Recreation and socializing doesn’t qualify.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2020, 12:53:18 pm by Taildragger »

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2020, 01:36:44 pm »
Alaska congressional delegation communicates with Canadian officials

 In an effort to address U.S.-Canada border crossing issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, Congressman Don Young, and Governor Mike Dunleavy (all R-AK) sent a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, raising issues severely impacting Alaskans. In their letter, the Alaska Delegation highlighted specific, persisting challenges impacting the health and safety of Alaskans and proposed reasonable solutions.

Link to full text:  https://www.sullivan.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/alaska-delegation-proposes-us-canada-border-crossing-solutions

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2020, 01:26:46 pm »
This is all good, valuable  information, thank you for the time & energy of the input. We purchased our PC last month with the intention of making the trek northward, from Southern Utah to Fairbanks in 2022. I have been to Alaska twice, so far, on cruise/inland tours, and am looking forward to seeing more of the scenery accessible only by driving.  Looks like I will need to monitor the border crossing conditions a little more closely to ensure an enjoyable trip. Too bad that the crossing officials have such a bad attitude. Have to wonder what the cause behind that is?

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donc13

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2020, 02:48:30 pm »
Boredom I would bet.   Especially at some of those isolated crossings.  Plus I would also bet it's from US Folk who cop an "I'm entitled" attitude.  And those US Folk who think "stupid" rules like "most direct route" don't apply to them... You know "it's only a few miles off the route and I just had to go there!" types.  Etc.
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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2020, 10:12:25 pm »
We are told "don't be discouraged by the current concerns over the virus and the efforts to curtail its spread that have prompted increased restrictions leading to closure of the border.   The control measures are in place to discourage unnecessary travel and to help enforce the quarantine placed on individuals.  Once the virus is considered a diminished threat, travel should resume."  All this from those who have spent the last seven months confused and contradicting themselves.
So, based on the current turmoil, I don't know about that.  I am concerned and intend to gather all the information I can about the street level reaction to restrictions being lifted.  I want to get an assessment because of those self-appointed enforcers who have expressed so much resentment and open hostility to vacationers traveling with nonresident status.  There is an abundance of need for caution, with reports of confrontations where the person feeling offense resorts to damaging property
I am going to be cautious and read from others about their experiences before I propel myself onto the road..  In addition to the return of civility, I want to know borders, parks, resorts, and public facilities will be open and not threatened with closures leap frogging my route and causing my wife and I to be stranded.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 10:31:23 am by Taildragger »

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2020, 08:05:55 am »
I got a little attitude on the phone while working in the National Park in northern Washington. this past summer. A woman called from California and said she was tired of being cooped up. She asked about campsite availability. I explained we were usually full with people fighting for the last first come-first serve sites. Her reply - Why are all those people traveling? We are on lock down. They shouldn't be there. I want to come to the park. Where am I supposed to camp?

The irony is huge. I had to bite my tongue and give the pleasant reply instead of what I wanted to say. She was very unhappy. If I was a border guard getting hit with this in person over and over... I imagine people already on the road that arrived at the border expecting an exemption just for them would be even more unpleasant to the person saying no. The guards must hear I WANT over and over.
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Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2021, 02:25:48 pm »
Alaska News

I believe this pronouncement reveals Canada's tendency to continue excluding travel by non residents.  And, if they  won't allow cruise ships to stop at port, I doubt they will be inclined to concede on border crossings to allow trans Canada vehicle travel.  That decision is Irrespective of the difference in the environment of a cruise ship and a self-contained motorhome,

I can easily imagine the extension of Highway Border Crossing restrictions to be announced next.  In the past, the updating of restrictions as month to month extensions, made advance travel planning an exercise in futility.   And, announcing closures for the travel season would be more realistic.  With the uncertainty associated with month by month announcements,  overly zealous plans for a summer long round trip to Alaska could result in the return trip being denied and highway travelers trapped.

From today's announcement:

JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) - Southeast Alaska tourism businesses are reeling after Canada extended its cruise ship ban until February 2022, likely ending Alaska’s large cruise ship summer sailing season.

Because of the JONES ACT, non US Flagged vessels such as large cruise ships cannot travel between two US Ports without stopping at an international port such as Canada first.

Alaska in general, faces another year of economic hardship if no large cruise ships come. Southeast Alaska reported that the region lost $800 million in revenue from the non-existent 2020 cruise ship season.

« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 09:03:44 am by Taildragger »

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Re: Dreaming of Alaska Road Trip
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2021, 11:32:36 am »
Yes it is odd to ban cruise ships to a year out but continue to extend the general border closure to non-essential travel on a month to month basis.

Canada has also just ruled that being vaccinated doesn't mean you can cross the border for non-essential travel.

I had hoped to take an Alaskan trip this summer but it takes time to prepare for one. For me, past mid- April would be too late to try and plan a trip. I am not expecting Canada to change their position before then and so have been working on plan B.
Mike & Pat Astley,