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RE: Fairbank AK -- Northern Lights ????

To the OP....AKSilverEagle provided a good thorough explanation Only thing I would add is that...after looking at the information...don't "not go" because of cold weather and Fairbanks being miserable in the winter. It can get cold (really cold sometimes) and short dark days in the cold can be sort of miserable, but that's the nature of the beast and a bit of what one gets while chasing the aurora. I guess I count as a local again, but for a getaway from Los Anchorage, particularly if one avoids January and February, a drive to Fairbanks for a 3-4 day weekend is quite relaxing to me. I'll gladly call Fairbanks "Squarebanks" (just like I say "Los Anchorage") but don't believe all the negative stories about it.
PA12DRVR 10/26/20 10:48am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Front hitch

FWIW....I've had front hitches on 2 pickups in the past. Mostly used for spotting trailers and the like. Very infrequently (in the past) used to slide in a "hitch mount" winch for getting un-stuck. If the pull on a front-hitch-mounted winch is not fairly close to straight ahead, remember that there's a couple feet of moment arm between the attachment points and the force of the pull: sideways pull puts a pretty significant strain on the cradle and attach points.
PA12DRVR 10/23/20 10:38am Tow Vehicles
RE: Tire Chains

If you've never used chains before, on the side of the highway isn't the place to learn their quirks and foibles. Especially on an RV. While technically, that may be true, ;)Murphy's Manual of Tire Chains (with examples and scenarios, 1965 ed.) :) says in Chapter 1 that one has not had the true tire chain experience until they've had to put chains on on the side of a road, in a snow-rain mix, late at night. Extra credit is given if the user has left his or her coveralls at home. A one time 5 point bonus is given if the user's work gloves are left on the dresser at home as well. A one-letter grade promotion is given for each of the following which occur: i) the chain tensioners are left in the garage; ii) the chains in the RV are meant for the car; iii) the incident happens in below zero weather; and iv) the incident occurs as one is already running late to get somewhere. Without undue puffery, suffice to say that I've long since graduated, with all honors and bonus points, from Mr.Murphy's advanced course in Tire Chains, (minor in focus on Alaska). :B ^^All the above is triggered due to last night's hour spent organizing tire chains for the ATV, pickup, and Plow Truck.
PA12DRVR 10/23/20 10:30am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Tire Chains

I have far too many vehicles up here in Los Anchorage. Plow truck, daily pickup, old pickup that I can't sell for enough money, ATV, etc. I have chains for all of them. Over the past 5 years (as best I recall), I've only used the chains on anything except the plow truck only once to get out of my 120' driveway, on a slope, in March, when it snowed 12" then rained, then dropped to -5. The plow truck wears chains pretty much non-stop December - April. Chains are worth their weight in gold on a steep icy hill. Nice to have but don't help as much in "just snow". You won't need them for your trip. Have made somewhere north of 20 trips up/down the Alcan (quite a few mirroring the OP planned trip) and only needed chains (that I had fortunately) one time back in the dark ages (79 or 80 IIRC) and that was for traction in the mud.
PA12DRVR 10/22/20 10:52am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Fairbank AK -- Northern Lights ????

Interesting perspectives. Couple of things I'd offer from viewpoint and opinions of an Alaskan: - While there's no guarantee of seeing an active aurora at any given time or location, IMNSHO, it's certainly worth a trip to try. Seeing the multicolored moving curtain (that I have seen last for 30 minutes or more at a time) is an incredible and unique experience. - My experience indicates that there seems to be more aurora activity in the fall and early spring...but that doesn't mean a Christmas trip = "no aurora", and Christmas is a good milestone to build a trip around - With 20 - 30 people, you'll have lots of leverage with airlines, hotels, tour operators, etc. - IMNSHO, the scenery is much more striking in the winter: best viewed from inside a warm vehicle, building, or airplane, but very striking. If one has the interest, a flightseeing tour would be something unique to do in December. - Fountainhead Auto Museum and UAF Museum of the North are two non-aurora activities to do. There will be dog sledding, sno-go tours, and possibly ice-fishing for the more adventurous. One can also (IIRC, haven't looked into it for a long time) take a driving tour to the Artic Circle (may not be offered in the winter). - FWIW, not something to be undertaken lightly, but driving up the old road (Anchorage- Glennallen-Delta-Fairbanks) on a cold clear winter day is a very scenic drive and one sees a hint of Alaska that isn't usually seen from the asphalt. - If there was schedule flexibility, combining a "see the aurora trip" with the Iditarod (Feb/March) would be doable with 2 caveats: a) that would be a 2022 trip, presumably; and b) (very much IMNSHO) the Iditarod is one of the greatest marketing efforts ever to be foisted on the public. What it is today is not what it was meant to be. Soapbox stowed for another short while.....
PA12DRVR 10/21/20 11:49am RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Fairbank AK -- Northern Lights ????

Not sure if you need a travel agent...maybe a travel coordinator for 30 people, but I suspect any of the major airlines would be happy to help out. For Northern Lights, one needs electromagnetic activity, clear skies, and absence of light pollution. I'm not sure of any source that can predict electromagnetic activity much more than a month or so in advance, but it may be out there. Fairbanks has lots of cold, clear, dark nights in the winter, but, anecdotally only, not sure if the Christmas timeframe is typically the best for clear skies and/or aurora activity. There are several companies that offer aurora tours out of Fairbanks (google ...) as well as various resorts (i.e. Chena Hot Springs) that offer lodging and tour activities. Aurora can also be regularly viewed in the Knik area (outside of Anchorage) and the Eureka area on the Glenn Highway. Might consider a couple of days in the Anchorage area to mitigate the risk of weather and/or electromagnetic cycles. FWIW, I'm sure you know, but Fairbanks is cold in the winter. Was up there this January for a kids hockey tournament: Several public displays (i.e. bank signs, etc) showed close to -40 for a couple of days. Not the coldest I've seen, but cold enough that a broken down car or improper clothing will lead to bad results.
PA12DRVR 10/20/20 04:26pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Brain Teaser

When my now 8 year old granddaughter sung that at 4 - 5 years of age, it pretty much made grandma and I useless for anything other than sitting around listening to her. ...although if one expanded the root word, I'm not sure "scintillating" carries the same impression as "twinkling".
PA12DRVR 10/20/20 01:38pm Around the Campfire
RE: Halloween Or Not

Don't get trick-or-treaters much at our place. Will be ready if they come, but the long driveway and gap between houses seems to push them somewhere else. For me, I was never thrilled with dozens of snotty-nosed kids coming to the more or less thrilled this year, but don't expect many in any case.
PA12DRVR 10/19/20 12:37pm Around the Campfire
RE: Over loaded pickup

I suspect that "overloading" happens fairly frequently; overloaded to the degree in the picture, probably not too often. Prominent local lumberyard won't load for non-account customers (they will put the lumber on the forklift at truck height for the customer to manhandle). The account holders, when signing up, have to execute a very strong liability release that, in part, says "...loading only done upon customer request and per customer direction...".
PA12DRVR 10/12/20 11:37am Tow Vehicles
RE: alaska 2021 ???

Would suggest folks planning a trip to Alaska take it as soon as possible as Alaska is changing (like everywhere) and not always for the better: - A year might not make much difference, but the more physically fit / less impacted by age one is, the more Alaska can be enjoyed. - Right, Wrong Or Otherwise, many of the "not-pure-tourist-trap" stuff is going by the wayside: The AMHS ain't what it was as little as 5 years ago; the villages accessible by scheduled air transport are shrinking; certain national parks/preserves are reducing means and methods of access..etc, etc. and the list goes on - RWOO, although it may be a 2020 phenomenon, many of the remaining "tourist" services are seeing significant price increases: fishing charters than can only put 4 people on a boat charge more, flight services that can carry full loads but bear the cost of COVID mitigation programs charge more, etc. ....and many places are just closed and unlikely to make it.
PA12DRVR 09/18/20 12:13pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Great Smoky Mountains Bear FoundScavenging On Human Remains

"This is not something to get alarmed over." ... that's it in a nutshell
PA12DRVR 09/16/20 10:15am General RVing Issues
RE: New tow vehicle!

"Am curious and ask you all who think warranty ratings do not mean you all follow the ICE's RPM rating ? AKA....tach red line for your ICE Or Coast Gaurd max occupancy for all certified boats ? Ditto elevators, airplanes, etc" Not the target audience since I at least factor in the mfg. ratings, but: a) always watch the redline on the ICE's, more carefully on the 0-320 on the PA-12 than the engines in surface vehicles; and more carefully on the KEM on the boat than on the pickemups; b) I am aware of the CG max occupancy for my boat, but never come close since I like to run in skinny water; and c) always factor in the Gross Weight limit as well as balance calcs on the ol PA-12; and d) exceptionally claustrophobic, so avoid elevators as much as possible. I have a 2006 Wrangler Rubicon / LJ that I use every so often to spot the boat and sno-go trailer around the property. Works OK for that, but, since it's the original gutless wonder, can't imagine towing with it.
PA12DRVR 09/15/20 03:32pm Tow Vehicles
RE: alaska 2021 ???

The tourism-related businesses have been hit pretty hard up here from all the impacts of the virus, whether border crossing, State mandates, City mandates, Village mandates, lack of revenue etc. Many places had pre-emptively shut down for the year...including a couple of very well-known flight outfits...but others saw a bit of an uptick for August, although probably not enough and not much of an uptick for businesses dependent on road traffic. Anecdotally, we've gone to Seward a few times and: a) had no problem getting a hotel room in July and August...usually very difficult; and b) would have had no problem getting a fishing charter except 4 people would have been paying for 6 we took our own boat instead. Similarly anecdotally, Brand X and Y were shutdown for flightseeing around McKinley and River Charter Co. ABC was shutdown because they couldn't justify paying the seasonal help with the reduced customer demand. I guesstimate that the critical path to RV travel in Alaska in 2021 will depend on the border status: businesses being open is probably a bit of "who knows" but again my guesstimate would be that some (as opposed to "Most") of the tourism-based venues and activities will be available. Regarding the AMHS, there is the cross-gulf ferry option that gets one from Southeast into "Southcentral" (Valdez, whittier, etc) but it's a real likelihood that that will be on a very reduced schedule in 2021.
PA12DRVR 09/15/20 03:20pm RVing in Canada and Alaska
RE: Wolves as Pets

FWIW, I know of (choosing those words for precision) quite a few dog breeders from back in the day that were of the opinion that, for sled hauling (not racing) purposes, it was a waste of time and effort to try to raise / use full-blood wolves for that use: the wolves would eventually revert to form, lose training, usually run away, etc. The breeders seemed to prefer some mix of wolf and dog along the 1/4 - 3/4 ratio. direct knowledge or any knowledge of wolves or wolf hybrids used for pets.
PA12DRVR 09/14/20 01:37pm Around the Campfire
RE: Total outdoor flame device ban Oregon SP

No. 1 Son runs a hotshot crew, based up here in AK, but currently deployed to Colorado. They are anticipating only statutorily-mandated breaks for the next 45 days (one of which ends Monday, 14-Sep) and anticipate an assignment to Oregon. It's pretty ugly in the West.
PA12DRVR 09/10/20 02:51pm General RVing Issues
RE: Tire pressure gauges

Well, we have kids, grandkids, and great grandkids, and everybody needs to check their air pressure now and again. If I only had one gauge, it would disappear in short order. :) "....and everybody needs GRANDPA to check their air pressure AND PROPERTY INFLATE THEIR TIRES now and again...." ^^^ My version....but I also adopt the "put one in every spot I might need it" approach.
PA12DRVR 09/04/20 10:54am General RVing Issues
RE: Need advise on which new truck - 1/2 ton or 3/4 ton?

Without getting into the debate about "will you want a bigger trailer", I'd suggest a 3/4 ton for a couple of reasons: - it will likely hold some better percentage of it's value on resale (if that's a consideration) - More capacity to carry additional weight in the bed - Generally more capable for non-RV towing stuff (other towing, hauling, etc)...if that is of any consideration. - With the Ford and Chevy brands, I suspect it's easier to get a strong engine/towing combination in a "standard" package on the 3/4 ton than on the 1/2 ton. Even if the numbers otherwise work out, a bigger engine / more towing capacity wouldn't be amiss in the mountains. My DW is 5'-3" as well: at a little bit north of 60, she much prefers to ride / drive her Sequoia than my F250, but access to the F250 is straightforward with running boards and a grab handle on the door pillar. She does need a step stool for the F550 dump truck.... Our Sequoia is a couple years newer than the OP's Tundra, but (based on towing a variety of things with it, no RV), if the Tundra couldn't tow something, I'd jump straight to a 3/4 ton or SRW 1-ton.
PA12DRVR 09/02/20 11:01am Tow Vehicles
RE: Seen a Good Movie Lately?

Watched "Ford v. Ferrari" on the tube the other night. That one hits the sweet spot for me. Also happened to catch "Once Upon a Time in the West" as well as "Once Upon a Time in ....Hollywood" in the past week. Obviously, " the West" one of the greats; " Hollywood" is a good movie, I'm just too set in my ways to appreciate the time setting and period effects. Never saw it in theater, but "The 13th Warrior" also was intriguing on the tube a couple of weeks ago.
PA12DRVR 09/01/20 10:52am Around the Campfire
RE: GVWR over 10k on new truck, need commercial plates?

All states are different. Up here in the GWN, my F550 registered for personal use but registered at 19,200 GVWR has to pay Alaska's commercial fee for registering. Don't have to jump through the other hoops associated with "commercial vehicles"....DOT fees, proof of safety program, proof (as opposed to affirmation) of insurance, etc.
PA12DRVR 08/19/20 03:03pm Tow Vehicles
RE: Tow Capacity for a 2013 Toyota Sequoia

Very limited info to offer, but for my 2012 Sequoia: - Have on occasion towed my 23' boat with the Sequoia when the truck was down - weight (boat, trailer, everything on it) is about 6200 #'s) - Usual load in the Sequoia is 2 adults, 2 kids, minimal gear - Pulls fine, but of course, no wind resistance to speak of - Stops OK; Sequoia not wired for trailer brakes, so that needs to be factored in - Uphill pulling is OK, but nothing to write home about - Downhill stopping is OK, but not comfortable (see comment above about trailer brakes) - My Sequoia is setup for a cushy ride on "P" tires....when towing the boat, it's soft, squishy, and wags quite a bit. I'd go with the lightest choice on your list. The Sequoia will pull "above it's weight", but it's not the best for stopping and general handling if a heavy trailer is behind it.
PA12DRVR 08/17/20 10:43am Tow Vehicles
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