Jeep Artic Circle Expedition July 2011

Woody

New member
Premium Member
This July, Jeep Expeditions is planning a 5 week long Expedition to the Arctic Circle and beyond.
We will be traveling up through the Canadian Rockies and Icefield Parkway from Alberta, Canada to British Columbia on the Alaskan Highway to the Yukon Terrritory and into Alaska to Fairbanks.
There, we will make provisions before heading up the Dalton Highway (Ice Road Truckers) past the Arctic Circle to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay.
After returning to Fairbanks, AK we will then travel down to Denali Park. At this point I will leave the main group to travel down to Anchorage, AK to put my Jeep on the Alaska Marine Ferry. I will sail along the Inland Passage to Juneau, Ketchikan, and drive off at Bellingham, Washington.
The main group will head back across the Yukon to the NorthWest Territories to travel once again past the Arctic Circle on the Dempster Highway to Inuvik and then back down to return home.
We have 8 Jeeps signed up so far, besides the time and money required for such a trip, you will also need a Passport and an International Amateur Radio Permit for your Ham License to operate in Canada.
This should be the "Trip of a Lifetime" if the Grizzly Bears or Mosquitoes don't eat us! :cool:
Woody
 
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Woody

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Premium Member
Got back around August 10th after approx 6 weeks on the road.
Had a great trip, the weather was good in the Canadian Rockies but we had mostly light rain and overcast skies in Alaska.
Saw lots of Black Bears, some Grizzly Bears, Caribou, Moose, Dahl Sheep, Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, but what we saw the most of was Mud & Mosquitoes.
To try and condense 6 weeks into a short writeup with pictures is almost impossible, so I will just cover the basic trip with about a dozen pictures.

Carole & I left Sparks on June 26th and headed north from Winnemucca to the west side of Glacier National Park in Montana.
On the way up through Idaho the rivers and streams were at near capacity due to the late snowfalls and rapid melting.



We visited Glacier NP and then crossed over the border into Canada and stayed at Banff, AB where we connected with 2 other Jeep members that also left a week early to spend more time in the Canadian Rockies.
We did some hiking at Moraine Lake and above the Chateau at Lake Louise.





Continued up the Icefields Parkway and stopped at Bow Summit to take in the view.


We rode a Glacier Vehicle to get on top of the Columbia Icefield Glacier.




We then met up with the rest of the group coming from Phoenix, AZ. at Dawson Creek, BC and the start of the Alcan Highway.
 
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Woody

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Premium Member
Part 2:

On the way up the Alaskan Hwy we saw a Mother Grizzly and her 2 cubs by the side of the road:


We then entered the Yukon Territory on our way toward Alaska.


The roads in the Yukon were about the worst that we traveled on for the whole trip.
Because of the frost damage they cover their roads with a large stone gravel which the oncoming Logging trucks at 70 mph will kick up into your windshield. I was lucky and only had 1 large egg in the center of mine, the others were not so lucky.
We finally reached Fairbanks, Alaska our halfway point in the trip and took a half day to change our oil before heading up the Dalton Highway (Ice Road Truckers Fame) to our northern most destination Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean.

Part way up the Dalton you cross the Arctic Circle and of course have to take a picture.


There is only one fuel stop at the half way point at Coldfoot, AK and although we did not need it we each had an extra 5 gals onboard.
The road is not well traveled and you mainly see refinery trucks and contractors on the road. We did have to stop and help a couple of motorcycle riders, once for holes in his tire and another where he bottomed out in a pothole and cracked his bottom case.
We also came across an Italian woman on her bicycle with a trailer that had rode her bike from South America and was headed north as far as she could get.



At the end of the Dalton Hwy north is the Arctic Ocean and Prudhoe Bay a refinery town and several well heads, not much to look at, and of course we had to stick our toes into the Arctic Ocean. All the Arizona boys thought the water was cold but to me it didn't seem any colder than Lake Tahoe or the Truckee River.


The mud on the Dalton was really thick and sticky and it would coat the inside of your wheels with layer upon layer.
On the way back from Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks the sun came out and we took some poser pictures next to the pipeline.


 

Woody

New member
Premium Member
Part 3:

Upon reaching Fairbanks again we took another half day off before heading down to Denali Park.
In Denali Park, Carole and I took the 12 hour long bus ride to the very end of the road and back as they won't let you drive it.
We saw some Bears and the neatest thing was to see a Wolf chasing a Caribou mother and young across the river bed, but all in all it was a little too long of a ride.
This put Carole and I a day behind the main group that opted to skip Denali and head across the Old Denali Hwy, another muddy road east.
They then turned south to visit a copper mine and we connected back up a day later and drove up to Chicken, Alaska.
Chicken, AK is a little tourist trap old mining town on the way to Eagle, AK and the Yukon River.


This is where I split off from the others as they were headed back to Canada to do the Dempster Hwy to Inuvik in the North West Territory before heading back home to Phoenix, AZ.
Carole and I were headed back South West down to Talkeetna, Alaska where my neighbor here in Sparks has a fishing cabin up the Clearwater River. You can only get to her cabin by boat and we spent 3 days with her and got to see and eat some of the last of the King Salmon as they were headed upstream to spawn.

After Talkeetna we headed past Anchorage down to Seward, AK for a couple of days before we had to catch our Ferry on July 25th at Whittier, AK. While at Seward we hiked up to another Glacier, Alaska has over 100 thousand Glaciers most of them are unnamed.


The tunnel that goes to Whittier is both a train and automobile tunnel and they take turns using it. It is a single lane so traffic will run for 20 minutes one direction, then they clear it for 10 minutes, then the traffic will run the opposite direction for 20 minutes with the train traffic fitted in whenever they need it. It is over 2 miles long and is the longest tunnel in North America.



We then put the Jeep onto the Ferry for a 4 day ride down to Juneau, Ketchikan, and off at Bellingham, Washington.
By the way this photo was taken around 11pm at night.


The Inland Passage was neat to see but we got bored stuck on the boat for 4 days with just a few hours off at each of the ports that we stopped at.


Up to this point my Jeep had run really great with no problems at all.
Then on my way to visit some of Carole's family in Washington we took a side trip toward Mt. Raineer to get a better picture and due to my own stupidity ended up stuck in "the ditch from hell".
Although I was running AT tires for this trip instead of my MT tires, I figured with my Detroit TT in the front and a locker in the back that a little gravel on the side of the road was not a big deal. As soon as my tires hit that gravel I realized that it was way deeper and loose than I thought and the bank gave way and sucked me down into the ditch. This was not a ditch like we are use to seeing in California or Nevada. It rains a lot in Washington and this ditch was deep enough to warrant guard rails if located around here.

To make a long story short, I snapped my front right outer chro-moly shaft when large gravel jammed between the brake rotor and the wheel and then rotated until it hit the caliper. Then after getting towed out and back on the road at 35 mph the wheel snapped the damaged caliper off of the knuckle and the wheel popped off. This let the axle tube hit the pavement hard enough to bend the tube and snap the axle a second time inside the diff and most likely took out the D30 ring & pinion.

I got it towed to where the relatives lived and they put us up for a few days while I got a rental truck and trailer to haul my Jeep back to Reno.
Since it was the OEM LP D30 front axle anyway, I am sure that I was going to destroy it eventually and I did get a couple of years out of it with the 4.56 gears.
Time to upgrade to bigger axles! :)

Oh, and here is my picture of Mt. Raineer: :eek:

 
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Bitosin

New member
Thanks for the pics and the report. That's the kind of trip most of us only dream of being able to make. Congrats on a successful trip thru Canada and Alaska. Too bad about the breakage toward the end basicly on the home stretch.

That lady on the bicycle...South America to Alaska...WOW !
 

Shamus30

Active member
Excellent writeup. Some day I plan on riding much of that same route on my motorcycle. I also plan to head south someday to through to the tip of South America. That part may have to wait a while, but the Alaska trek I want to do in the next 5 years or so.
 
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