Driving (A Sprinter) From San Diego to Anchorage -- Few Questions...

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Ben Carufel, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Hey ADVers...

    My grandfather in Anchorage is getting ready to go into a pioneer home in Fairbanks (he and my grandmother lived in Fairbanks from ~1968 - 2013) and as I'm self employed and have a Sprinter van, I get the job of driving up and back to collect a bunch of family heirloom stuff like furniture and whatnot for family in the Bay Area and here in San Diego.

    Looks like I'll be shoving off from San Diego on/around July 11.

    I have a couple curiosities...

    - It seems like a huge waste to drive up with an empty van. Is there anything I can buy down here and re-sell up there to help offset the gas cost? Someone mentioned dirt bikes being really valuable up there, but then I have to find good ones here, title them in my name (I presume -- to get through Canada), and deal with selling them when I get to Anchorage. What about other things that could get through Canada with no need to title in my name?

    - On that note, since I've never done this before, I wonder what Canadian customs will think of me driving into Canada with a van full of furniture/stuff -- either on the way up or on the way back. How does that work!?

    - Grandpa was a real outdoorsman and hunter. I've already inherited most of his guns as no one else in the family is interested, and he gave me his whole reloading setup when I was visiting a few years ago. Both of those are already with me in San Diego. However, there's a bunch of loaded cartridges (30-06, 357/38, 22) that he wants to give me, which are still in Anchorage. Is it possible to bring those back through Canada with me? What about unloaded primers and powder in their factory containers -- OK, or a no-no?

    Anyways...those are my pressing questions for now...I appreciate any light you guys can shed on the above questions...I've been googling but I tend to trust opinions of ADVers more than just the google machine.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. mitch

    mitch Long timer

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    Have you tried asking Canadian Customs ? get it strait from them.
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  3. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Nope. I've spent my whole career (15 years) dealing with customs offices of various governments around the world when traveling with high-dollar camera equipment. They'll be the LAST folks I ask, because their "official policies" don't always get followed at all. I've found it much more accurate to ask folks who've actually done things like this what their experiences have been...then start inquiring of the local customs offices before making a final decision.

    Just something I've got into the habit of...like I said, 15 years of traveling around the world on commercial projects with expensive gear.
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  4. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    not quite the same as you asked but I shipped a bike through with a friend last year no problem. I got info from the CBSA website and a communication with a (helpful) agent through this link:

    CBSA-ASFC_CONTACT <CBSA-ASFC.CONTACT@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca>

    forget handguns all together. long arms require forms, some are not allowed. up to 5000 rounds of ammo and other loading supplies are allowed under certain rules.... like you can forget tracers, etc. the link below has a pretty good outline on that. I doubt the loading press, etc. would be a problem

    http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d19/d19-6-1-eng.html

    main site:
    http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html
    #4
  5. keith in alaska

    keith in alaska Valley Gruver

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    I think you could bring up some motorcycle lifts and make a few hundred bucks. The freight to get them up here is pretty steep!
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  6. mach1mustang351

    mach1mustang351 Long timer

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    I could be in for a lift
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  7. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Looks like your ammo question has been answered and you have one good suggestion on what to bring up. I'd consider posting a thread in this forum offering hauling service for goods and see what folks up there might want to preorder. In general, like the lifts suggested above, things that are heavy/bulky and not necessarily expensive is what you want. When we lived up there, you'd often pay more in shipping fees than value for anything like that (exercise equipment, TVs back when they were still large and very heavy, etc.). If you don't get pre-orders, you're going to have to deal with shilling on cl or similar which sounds like a hassle to me.

    Another thought is to find someone or (or maybe a couple of someones) who wants to ride to AK but only has time to do it one way - you haul their bike up there and they fly and ride. You could try posting that offer in this forum as well as your relevant regional forum.

    I don't think you'd need to have the bike titled in your name. I think you'd want to find someone up there who wants a bike from down here and have a bill of sale written out from the seller to them. Then just tell customs what you're actually doing - going up to pick up family heirlooms and hauling up a bike for a friend in exchange for gas money.

    Having moved back and forth between AK and the lower 48 a few times, and always doing so by road, I don't think customs for either country will bat an eye at what you're doing as long as you're straight about it. People do what you're doing ALL THE TIME in both directions. Heck, the first time I moved up there from WA I was driving a car that sort of belonged to my 17 year old girlfriend (I was just about to turn 19), but had until a few weeks before belonged to her just deceased grandfather, was still titled in her name, and which she was really borrowing from her dad. It was a Chrysler Laser that we'd pulled the back seat out of so we could cram totally full of all my crap, which was then covered in a sheet so people couldn't see all my crap. I was a long hair with earrings and all that; they basically said, what's in the back, I said, all my stuff, and they said, ok - drive safely. If that's cool, you in a sprinter with furniture and tools should be not worth a blink.

    On a sidenote, I hope your grandfather enjoys the Pioneer Home - I haven't been to the one in Fairbanks, but I used to volunteer at the one in Sitka quite a bit - not fancy but the staff was really committed to quality care and the residents, who were a colorful lot to say the least, on the whole seemed to be enjoying it there.
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  8. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    That is fantastic, thank you. I don't know how I didn't find that earlier with all of my Googling. Seems like I'll be able to bring all his powder and primer down with me, as well.
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  9. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    I'd be interested in that!
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  10. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Awesome advice, thanks. I like your idea about the motorcycle. I honestly think I'd have room for a decent sized bike on the way down even, depending -- I'll likely end up with 2-3 chairs, a grandfather clock, a small curio cabinet, and a bunch of boxes. The Sprinter has a cargo area that's 11' long, 5.5' wide, and 6.5' tall. It's pretty amazing what can be crammed in there!

    And thanks for the kind words about Grandpa. He's a stubborn SOB so he'll have a good time at the Pioneer Home in Fairbanks. I think a couple of his old buddies are up there, but with Grandma's failing mental health in the years before she passed away a little over a year ago, it made more sense to move them down to Anchorage where I have an uncle. Now that Grandma is gone and Grandpa is mentally sharp but physically weak, he'll be able to sit around and talk shop with his buddies at the Home.
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  11. legion

    legion Ancient Chinese Stir Fry Tool

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    Unless you plan on staying for an indefinite period bringing up stuff to sell on a speculative basis seems a tad sketchy to me. Were I in your shoes I'd see if a few here needed stuff picked up in the western US and brought here for a fee. Bikes, junk, whatever.

    ...and you don't have to have bikes titled in your name to make it through with them but you do need copies of ownership docs and a letter to confirm that you're bringing them through for a specific person and purpose.
    #11
  12. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Good call. I don't really feel like saddling my uncle in Anchorage with the task of selling a couple bikes I brought up on spec...especially since he's not a motorcycle guy in any way, shape, or form.

    Good to know about the title thing. Sounds like I'm better off for sure going with "contract hauling" type of stuff versus speculating.
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  13. legion

    legion Ancient Chinese Stir Fry Tool

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    Depending on how far out of your way you're interested in going (or the route you'd need to take to pick up other people's stuff) I have a bike in PHX that I've been thinking of bring to ANC.

    Good luck.
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  14. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Shoot me a PM with some details -- I might have a reason to be in PHX for a day or two for work before I head up to AK, and might be able to bring it with.
    #14
  15. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer

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    ya.... tube benders & tire changers, milling tables & vices... all kinds of good heavy stuff. I can think of all kinds of stuff I struggled to get.... what the heck.... TIRES for the bikes

    the problem is how to collect the bits, and where to dump them
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  16. akgsa

    akgsa '16 R1200GSA

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    I need tires and heavy items are near impossible to get affordably here. Most of us have family that ships these things from vendors who refuse to....like tires.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
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  17. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Shoot me a message if you have any specific requests!
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  18. BDO

    BDO Been here awhile

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    Sign up for a u-Ship hauler account? You might be able to haul a bike or two at $3-400 each?
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  19. FakeName

    FakeName Wile E Coyote SuperGenius

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    Maybe you could haul up some top-quality large format lenses?

    (I'm SO sorry I just couldn't resist ; ))
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  20. Ben Carufel

    Ben Carufel Boxer Addict

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    Hadn't thought about that. Wonder if commercial insurance is needed.
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