My friends and I (5 of us) will be driving from Calgary to Yellowknife in late November, stay for a couple of days and leave in early December. Our current driving itinerary is as follow:
Day 1 :
Depart Calgary at 2-3pm
Drive all the way to High Level, which I suppose will reach around 2-3am.
We'll rest for the night, and continue with the rest of the journey up(approx 8 hours).
Day 2 :
We'll leave our accom at around 8-9am and start driving up Yellowknife. Deh Cho Bridge's grand opening is on 30th November so hopefully we will be just on time!
I'm actually from a non-snowing country and have been in Calgary for 3 months already. During the past 3 months I've rented vehicles frequently with all seasons tires and managed to drive to Banff(3-4 times), Jasper(once), and even Fort Mcmurray just last week. This time though, we will be fitting winter tyres onto our full size vehicle ( Either Chevrolet Impala or Dodge Avenger)!
We have primary concerns and I hope that you guys can help us out!
1) Road condition up from Edmonton to High Level, and High Level all the way up to Yellowknife. Are the roads well-maintained enough for comfortable driving? We will not be travelling in the dark(except for the journey to high level)
Should we buy an extra container and put petrol inside, in case our vehicle runs out of petrol!
2) Lack of handphone signal and GPRS(does it lose signal?) In the unfortunate event of an accident or car breakdown, how do we contact help? Also, how long will they take to reach us considering that we're so far up north!
We're thinking of renting a satellite phone for this trip though. Advisable?
3) Important items to be brought along in the car. Sure, we will be bringing along water, snacks, blankets and warm clothing. But are there any other items that we are missing out on? We read the article on winter driving and they advised to bring traction mats, road flares etc. However, we will be leaving Canada in a month's time, so I personally don't find it necessary, correct me if i'm wrong.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!