If you are planning a trip to Alaska there are many things that you will want to do ahead of time. But first and foremost, you MUST purchase the most current copy of The Milepost. Although you will be able to buy this guidebook anywhere along the way, I would advise you to get it ahead of time as it will help you with planning your trip. The reason that this is THE Alaska Guide Book is that unlike other books that only provide you with tourist information and itineraries, this book also lets you know what services are available mile by mile on all of the major & remote roads to and in Alaska. These highway logs let you know at which mile there are grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, campgrounds, fishing spots, wildlife viewing, etc. If you are looking for a pull-off to have lunch or let your dog out for a walk, that will also be in there, along with information regarding the length of the pull-off, and if the pull-off is double-ended. For anyone who has had a large RV with a toad this information is critical since you cannot back up, or may not have enough room in the pull-off to turn around. Since most of the roads seem to not have shoulders, you will need these pull-offs if you have to stop. Road conditions and wildlife alerts will stand out as they are highlighted in red. And although The Milepost cannot give you current road conditions, it will let you know where to expect frost heaves on the road. And you can expect to find many frost-heaves in the road as you travel further north. In fact, if you see temporary signs that are sitting on the shoulder of the road that looks like mountains, it means to expect frost heaves ahead. We saw numerous signs along the way. My daughter who was driving behind us in our little convoy thought the signs were telling you that there was a view of the mountains in the distance lol. Sometimes, you will even see permanent signs for these frost heaves, which means that there is no way that the road crews expect that they will ever be permanently fixed.
Frost Heaves Ahead road sign that my daughter thought meant look at the view of the mountains, lol.
Loose Gravel Road Sign is much clearer to understand
But I digress. Back to The Milepost. As I stated, any potential hazards will be highlighted in red, including when you are approaching a road grade of 6% or above, known construction project areas, changes in the speed limit, eroded shoulders or narrow roads.
For all of you who think that having this information in physical form, or as a pdf download on your tablet or laptop, is archaic in this day and age of cell phones, where you can utilize a website or app, let me just assure you that for most of your trip, you will NOT have cell coverage. It will only be available in some of the towns and cities along the way and may be spotty at best. Meaning, that if you are looking for gas up ahead, your trusty Gas Buddy app will only work once you are in a town. Since some of the stations that you will come across will be in between towns, there will be no way of knowing how close you are to that station without this book. And even if you planned ahead each morning with the gas buddy app, you won't find any price updates for these remote spots, since without cell coverage crowdsourcing does not work. And most stations don't even post their prices since they have no competition, so they must figure why even bother with the cost of a sign.
I love the history that is contained in the mile logs also. When we caravanned up to Alaska in 2017 with my sister & her husband with their trailer, my brother & his wife with their 5th wheel, & my daughter Kaitlyn & future daughter-in-law Becky in her car, we kept in touch using walkie-talkies. And what was so cool about The Milepost is that when one of us would be speculating about something along the highway, such as what appeared to be a recent fire, another one of us would reach for their trusty guide, to find out the history of said fire, including the number of acres burned.
The Milepost employs people to drive the roads all year long, taking photos & talking with owners and travelers alike. So they have their finger on the pulse of each stop, and will even warn you when a place is up for sale that may not be available in the upcoming year and so to plan accordingly. On our travels along the ALCAN in 2017, we ran into a woman that was a Milepost employee in Teslin. We asked her how you could get a job such as hers since getting paid to travel to and in Alaska would be many people's idea of a dream job. But it sounds as if you might have to wait for somebody to die before there is ever a job opening lol. She informed us that she was in her mid-70s, and had been employed by The Milepost for many years, and by no means was she the oldest employee of theirs, nor had she been employed the longest.
The 2018 Milepost is now available on Amazon by clicking the link below:
Shop our unique line of travel clothing and products from our travel collections page