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Open Roads Forum  >  RVing in Canada and Alaska

 > Trip to Alaska

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Bone Idle

Ft Worth Tx

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Posted: 02/01/12 10:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks guys,
Here are some examples of what I was wondering about.
How would it be to take a DP on the following roads;

Taylor Hwy (Hwy 5) from Mesquite Fork through Chicken up through Eagle.
Taylor Hwy then on to Top of the World Hwy.

Dalton hwy from Livengood to Dead Horse

Edgerton Hwy from Chitina to McCarthy to Kennecott

Are these roads you just would not drive your MH over again?
Are they OK if you take it slow?

There are a few other roads I'm wondering about, but didn't write them down.
Yes the most direct route would be driving through Canada. I just plan on spending as little time there on my first trip North. I'll exlore Western Canada in 2013. My wife's maiden name is Keele so I hope to make a trip up the Canol Hwy.

paulj

Seattle

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Posted: 02/02/12 12:43am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are thinking about Eagle, Dalton, McCarthy and Canol, you'd be happier with a pickup and camper than with a DP.

You can 'drive' a lot of the routes via Google Maps streetview.

McCarthy

turn off to Eagle

Canol

AKsilvereagle

North Pole, Alaska

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Posted: 02/02/12 06:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Quote:

My apology if I sounded all gloom and doom but you just cannot drive the Alcan like a Florida turnpike. The road is under a constant state of repair, it never ends, the frost heaves can break up a trailer, it did to mine....


You are right about one thing, there are portions of the Alcan you cannot drive like a Florida Turnpike...however since your trailer had 'broke' due to the frost heaves you claimed, it sure sounds like to me you still drove too fast over them allowing the trailer to end up in that result.

I have driven the entire length of the Alcan a total of 15 times since 1985, and also driven into Canada travelling thru portions of the Alaska Highway on four other occasions in between, and time and time again I see people driving their heavy RV's, heavy large trailers loaded to the max thru these uneven road surfaces way too fast bouncing around like a ping pong ball for what the rig is designed for as people are in such a hurry, yet still complaining and claiming how bad the road is.

All my trips combined on the Alcan thru 2010, the only problems I had were tying up my exhaust in 1989 when it was dragging (due to driving too fast in a very low clearence car), and a broken headlight in 1991 (due to a passer by flying thru a construction zone with fine gravel).

My worst (and only bad encounter driving my camper rig) on the Alcan as far as damage is concerned was my return trip in 2011 at mile 12 just out of Dawson Creek when a dump truck crossed paths with me flying by at 65mph had not covered either truck or trailer load as this debris I never seen struck my windshield violently hard which had nothing to do with road conditions (on smooth road surfaced paved two lane road and non construction zone) and shattered my windshield :



Since driving my camper rig thru the roughest stretches of the Alcan in 1998, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 plus driving on even rougher stretches than that throughout the far north roads in my camper rig since 1996, I have not had one single mishap nor broken anything on my 42 year old truck that is hauling a lot of weight due to two factors :

Driving slow over rough and uneven road surfaces, and driving slower over rougher and uneven road surfaces.

That is the key to not break down....I driven three quarters of the way to Deadhorse in 2006 before I turned around because of the weather, and made it all the way to Yellowknife and back in my old camper rig in 2008, and those roads are about as remote as you can get other than the Dempster Hwy which I also driven part of that route, still driving slow enough and taking your time is the best insurance to deter breakdowns in any heavy rig and trust me - you do not want to breakdown on those remote roads in Canada or Alaska.

There are some road surfaces that I will drive over as slow as 5mph or perhaps less that tend to be a lot more bumpier versus some 5mph speedbump in a country club or parking lot, however the same people with their heavier rigs will pass me and hit those same deep cratered road surfaces at 20mph or even faster, and complain about how bad the road is but yet they seem to always slow down 5mph for any type of speed bump within a country club or parking lot.

It is these same people that pass me over these frost heave areas in their deluxe travel trailers and 5th wheel rigs 3 to 10 times faster than I would dare to, only to see these same rigs pass me again the following day on a good stretch of road while I am cruising at 55mph or so as they pass me at 75mph.

The worst stretch of the Alaska Highway is just north of Burwash Landing thru the Alaska Border of 130 miles or so which it took me over 6 hours driving time in my rig (still averaging over 20mph) as I slow down on the rough surfaces and take it easy, I am in no hurry.

These images between Burwash Landing and the Alaska Border are about as bad road surfaced as you are going to witness as they are intermittent stretches of frost heaves with other stretches of good surfaced road...

Mile 1118 Alaska Hwy :



Mile 1148 Alaska Hwy :



Mile 1174 Alaska Hwy :




...and yes you will hit some form of construction zones along the way as they will resurface some road stretches or work on widen the road projects.

They are working on the Pink Mountain Area of major reconditioning of the road in a 20 mile stretch when I passed thru last September, there is a major widening project just south of Fort Nelson, and a couple of small resurfacing projects between Steamboat Mtn. and Fort Nelson on the BC portion of the Alcan.

As of last year they resurfaced the Alaska side portion of the Alcan from the border around 10 miles or so once again, however who knows how long it will last before it regresses back to it's same ol' frost heaved state thru Northway Junction in the coming years.

Quote:

Thanks guys,
Here are some examples of what I was wondering about.
How would it be to take a DP on the following roads;

Taylor Hwy (Hwy 5) from Mesquite Fork through Chicken up through Eagle.
Taylor Hwy then on to Top of the World Hwy.

Dalton hwy from Livengood to Dead Horse

Edgerton Hwy from Chitina to McCarthy to Kennecott

Are these roads you just would not drive your MH over again?
Are they OK if you take it slow?


Driving a motorcoach thru the stretch between Chicken to the Canadian Border is bad enough as many people do...I would drive a toad or truck camper if you plan on driving to Eagle and dont even consider taking a motorcoach on that portion, it is somewhat narrower with many hills and sharp curves in between with the same type of road surfaces and a much longer distance thats quite remote...

Mile 106 and 107 Taylor hwy :




Mile 128 Taylor Hwy :



Top of the World Hwy is fine for a motorcoach or anytype of vehicle as it has intermittent patches and paved road surfaces and has been widened since 1998.

The Dalton Hwy. can be real rough on rainy days just like the other unpaved roads, I would not take a motorcoach on that road at all either...I find the smoothest part of the Hwy. road surface is north of the Brooks Range over Atigun Pass...The roughest road surface is north of the Yukon River Bridge for about 10 miles or so and worse after a rainfall, and north of Coldfoot for about 30 miles or so give or take...., even mile 5 to mile 56 at the Yukon River Bridge can be rough at times too, they might have improved some of it since I was last there in 2006....Remember the semis own that road and haul plenty, they don't call it Haul Road for nuthin.

Mile 45 Dalton Hwy :



Mile 276 Dalton Hwy with caribou herd :



The McCarthy Road is the roughest road I ever driven on and is quite narrow, only driven my camper rig on it once in 1998...motorcoach is a no no on this road and leave it in Chitina (besides that there are two bridges with weight restrictions), best to travel in a truck camper or a toad on this stretch.....it used to be the old railroad track to the Kennecott Mine and converted into a road, as over 100 years since there has been vehicles known to this day ending up with a loose railroad spike for a souvenoir by puncturing their tires, as I was lucky to have spotted a loose spike which surprised me to see one out in the open.

Mile 32 McCarthy Road :



Mile 58 McCarthy Road :



The end of the road is at the Kennecott River with a pay to park lot as there is a walkbridge across the river which is the only general access to McCarthy and Kennecott, however vehicles during the winter have access to cross to the other side due to the frozen river or low water level in case you wonder how they have tour vehicles available and ATV's on the other side of the river that can transport people to Kennecott four miles away.


Drive slow on bumpy and rough stretches you might encounter, always check weather reports and road conditions along the way...as constant rain on unpaved surfaces of remote roads during the summer is the biggest enemy on travel, sometimes it rains so bad some roads get washed out for an intermittent time.

Enjoy your future trip, you and your parties will have a blast.


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PA12DRVR

Anchorage, AK

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Posted: 02/03/12 07:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can't speak to the Taylor, but I wouldn't take a big MH on either of the other two roads. Just wouldn't be any fun at all and (as mentioned above) size/weight/practicality limits will keep the MH off the Edgerton.


CRL
Arguably Displaced Alaskan AGAIN !
My RV is a 1946 PA-12

Bone Idle

Ft Worth Tx

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Posted: 02/07/12 01:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

m37charlie wrote:

I've driven my MH to McCarthy and up the Dalton several times. Of course it's a Unimog U500 with 47" tires.

Charlie


Can you even get a new U500 anymore?

m37charlie

Anchorage, Alaska

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Posted: 02/06/12 09:04pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've driven my MH to McCarthy and up the Dalton several times. Of course it's a Unimog U500 with 47" tires.

Charlie

bmcdonald

georgia

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Posted: 02/07/12 03:09pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have been up the Dalton twice.. Once in a truck camper all way to Deadhorse and back and second time pulling a 35 ft fifth wheel which we left in Coldfoot and drove truck on up to Deadhorse.. No problems neither time.. just that road can be messy so if your scared of getting your rig dirty, don't do it. Plan on going again this summer up the Dalton and Denali Hwy. with fiver..

Bone Idle

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Posted: 02/07/12 03:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks bmcdonald.

We're still weighing our options. Most of the roads seem to be doable in a day so parking my rig somewhere and driving a toad may be the best option. The disappointment is not being able to spend more time nozin around. There are always lodges, but that defeats the purpose of taking a MH up there anyway. Staying on the highway would be trip enough even if we didn't get to see what the Top of the World Hwy looked like.

m37charlie

Anchorage, Alaska

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Posted: 02/07/12 06:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bone Idle wrote:

m37charlie wrote:

I've driven my MH to McCarthy and up the Dalton several times. Of course it's a Unimog U500 with 47" tires.

Charlie


Can you even get a new U500 anymore?


Not in North America.

Charlie

oldbeek

lancaster CA

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Posted: 02/17/12 11:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Dodge with 27ft 5r. Denali hwy is true Alaska. We spent 3 days and 3 nights crossing. Beautiful. Ak has commercialized greatly in the last 10 yrs. Mc Carthy is hard road even in just the pick-up. I would start early in the toad. Mostly can be seen in one day. I found Chitna and the dip netting and fish wheels as intresting as McCarthy.


1994 27sl Alpenlite, 2001 Dodge Cummins auto 3.54 stock

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