Road trip, need suggestion on a car

Hey to all! I am planning to drive from Florida to Alaska. Here are the details: I want to avoid the interstate as much as possible, camp where possible to keep cost down, only goal is to get to Alaska, and make it back to Florida in 1.5 months.

I have a Mazada millenia but do not want to drive there in that mess. Rather, could I get suggestions on a car that’ll get me to Alaska and back? I do not plan on spending more than what my millenia is worth. I am opening to all options.

I have no idea what a millenia is worth. We have a 2003 Toyota 4Runner which I think would work for such a trip that you are planning. However, you will have to find your own 4Runner–we won’t part with ours.

That’s the problem, sounds like the Mazda is a ‘mess’. First make an estimate of what $$ you’ll have, let us know. Something like a 4Runner would be great, but they’re not cheap to buy in good enough shape to make it to Alaska.

Agree that you should not take the Millinia. It’s hard to get even a good Millinai fixed becasue it is a relativelky rare car. Buy something with a reputation for reliability and popular enough so you can get it fixed, since you will have some breakdowns for sure!

A Ford Ranger pickup would be good since you can sleep in it as well. I trust you will be doing this in the summer. It still gets quite cold at night in Alaska, even in the summer. If you are only going you Juno on the Pacific coast the choice is easier.

You want a truck or at least a 4x4 with good rubber if your going to avoid the major highways.
90’s model toyota 4x4’s have always been good to me and doc…i live in alaska i wouldnt say it gets cold at night …not in the summer…the sun only goes just past the horizon for a few hours. 24hrs of light

The OP needs to define things like; budget, where in Alaska, and what time of year in Alaska? While Alaska has lots of logging roads, it also has good highways which are easily traveled on the summer months. A FWD rugged vehicle is a must in winter, but not necessarily so in summer. MPG might be more critical to be able to afford the trip over a 4 Runner that gets about 20 mph on the highway. A 40 mpg Honda Civic might work. More info needed. Why not the Millenia? What do you mean by mess? Are you heading into back country Alaska?

My 4runner gets mileage in the mid 20 s if you keep your speed under 60 mph and above 50 mph. I have done it often. It is an ideal bad weather trip mobile, which you no doubt will be facing, with an awd option, even in the base model. Earlier 2003 and 2004 models which Tri and I have, are reasonably priced for what you get standard. Climate control, power lumbar support etc. and a good ride are worth the mileage difference. This, along with the ability to sleep inside makes it worth a look. Other options are a CRV of any year and an after 2005 Rav. The older hylanders have Camry like rides.
I would not venture out on this kind of a trip during winter conditions without awd and a little more than sedan ground clearance. I would equip my Suv with all terrain tires. There are a few that do well on the highway and give excellent winter traction. They will be a little noisy though but well worth the security and a great travel compromise for winter and spring conditions.

I have done a number of road trips in a number of cars. First off is the car reliable, and second if I end up in Podunk wherever can they fix it. I would avoid exotic brands, jaguar, bmw, audi and volkswagon, but there is a reliable support system for most other cars.

I checked the Kelley Blue book value on my millenia- its worth about$2,000, the sun roof is jammed and the CD player is broken as well. The car overall is in okay condition, but the wear is becoming apparent. I want to drive a car with more freedom- that is, I want to drive a car that makes me want to be adventurist and be able to take me there. The 4runner sounds like a great option but I need a cheaper option. I have never sold a car before.

kevin; you can’t buy anything for $2000 that’s reliable enough to go to Alaska and back!!! Expect to spend at least $5000-$6000 to get a decent vehicle. If you are going in the summer, you don’t need a 4x4, British Columbia and Alaska have good highways connecting major centers.

If you want to bushwack you’ll need a 4x4.

You still need to tell us where in Alaska you plan to go. Some places have good roads, some have crappy roads, and some can’t be reached without an airplane.

Doc’s right, no matter where you’re going I wouldn’t do it in a $2,000 car. The trip up the Alaska Highway is long, with few services available.

Thanks texases. Many years ago I went to school with a German exchange student, who wanted to tour North America before going back home after graduation. He asked me to help him buy a cheap car. He was not going off the beaten track. We found a 2 door stripped Pontiac 6 with a stick shift. It had 80,000 miles on it but it ran well.

He paid $135 for it and was on his way at the end of April. At the end of September he phoned me after having made a 32,000 miles trip all over the USA and Canada. He bought me a great Wiener Schnitzel dinner at his favorite German restaurant.

I asked him how the car ran, and he told me he spent $28 fixing the gear shift! He resold the car for $100 or so. Being German he religiously checked oil, coolant, tires, every morning.

I mention this because a trip through populated areas in a reasonably good car that anyone could fix or had parts for is not too risky. If this chap had wanted to go Alaska I would have insisted on him renting or buying a much newer Jeep, since in 1960 the Alaska highway was not paved, roads in British Columbia were poor, and you had to dodge boulders and potholes.

Texases and Docnick ive already proven you both wrong and more than once with 90’s model toyota trucks and 4 runners

Ya cant kill em…

I once paid $800 for a 87 toyota pickup that the front fenders were almost rusted right off. I replaced the fenders…did fluid checks and changes where necessary and drove it 15,000 miles on a road trip without a problem. Sold it and caught a plane to Alaska.

Canada doesnt like me

Oops. Lets add 80’s model toyota’s to that list of recommendations

Bad Bearing: I also know how to travel very far with a cheap car, but would not recommend that to anyone else unless they are mechanics and healthy.

We once took a 3000 mile trip with a camper in a 1966 Chevelle Malibu which was 11years old at that time and had nearly 100,000 miles on it. The car was well prepared and the only problem we had was a leak in the top tank of the rad which we plugged with “Stop Leak” until we got home.

I don’t know how much time you have spent in Alaska or Northern Canada, but I can’t recommend any risky behaviour in that part of the world.

People who have done this have fly screens over their grill to avoid getting the rad covered with bugs, and take at least 2 spare tires. Old style sealed beam headlights used to perish quickly, and plastic covers were recommended.

Badbearing - What you or I might get away with has nothing to do with what I would recommend a stranger do with unknown mechanical talents and luck. I’m sure you’ve done exactly what you say, that doesn’t make it a good recommendation for everybody. Might work out, might not.

Ok so i neglected to consider this persons mechanical skills… my bad

I don’t mind some adventure, but you wouldn’t catch me trying this trip in a $2,000 car.