EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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June 8, 2014

Prepping for road trip to Alaskan wilds

We’re off on another lengthy road trip to Alaska from California. My wife Julie and I have made the trip twice previously, and it provides spectacular scenery, wildlife viewing, a history lesson, and some high adventure.

The trip through Northern California, Oregon and Washington is nice, but the real fun begins after crossing into British Columbia. We travel 560 miles north through the most beautiful scenery via the Western Access Route to Prince George, the only large city we’ll encounter in Canada. We then run 300 miles west to the Cassiar Highway, the remote, narrow and winding 500 mile shortcut to Watson Lake BC. From there, we rejoin the Alaska Highway for another 550 miles through Yukon Territory to the Alaska border. Continuing on, it’s another 600 miles or so of great scenery, including the Matanuska Glacier, to our destination in Moose Pass on the Kenai Peninsula. Fuel stops can be few and far between, and breakdowns simply can’t happen as the nearest repair facility could be perhaps 500-800 miles away. We tow a heavy, oversize boat, so great care and preparations have been made to truck and trailer to insure reliability.

The truck received all new belts, hoses, filters, fluids, a new front wheel bearing and battery, and careful attention to tires, brakes, U-joints and such. I’ve packed a spare fuel pump, fuel filter, and tools to re-secure or replace whatever may break or jiggle loose. The roads we’ll travel are mostly paved with occasional gravel sections and heaving. Sometimes there’s a huge rippling of the pavement — a real surprise if not seen in time!

The trailer received new brakes, and all wheel bearings were replaced and packed, along with two spare tires. Spare trailer parts include two leaf springs, two loaded hubs (bearings already lubed and installed), spare boat tie-downs, lights and other miscellaneous parts.

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