I did this trip last summer and only took one spare and never needed it. I was warned I would get rock chips in my window too, and not one. I think part of the key is to take it easy and not try and do 60 MPH. Here is a link to my trip with some info that may or may not help. Dalton Highway trip
1999 Ford F-350
2005 Gearbox 295FS
2011 Ford F-350 DRW (Sold)
2004 Eagle Cap 850 (Sold)
If you are running great conditioned tires, you should have no problems whatsoever IF you take your time and drive slow enough in that regard with the Dalton Hwy. (or as they call it "Haul Road")....By all means this road is maintained year round by Alaska DOT and does not have the notorious shale rock fragments compared to the Dempster Hwy.
The only options for a flat tire repair along the Dalton Hwy. is pretty much seeing if you can get it repaired at the Yukon River Camp, Coldfoot Truck Stop, or at Deadhorse...maybe an Alaska DOT Station might help if you are in distress....The sure option is getting the tire transported to Fairbanks for repair or replacement.
The only two occasions I have carried two spare tires for my camper rig just for piece of mind was commuting in the more remote areas which were :
Travelling on the Dalton Hwy....
Travelling on the Dempster Hwy....
Travelling in the Northwest Territories on the entire Deh Cho Route loop via Fort Simpson-Yellowknife-Hay River-Wood Buffalo National Park areas.
Since I owned my camper rig in 1996, I have yet to be victimized of dealing with a flat tire, as the current tires I am running now have been rolling since 2003.
What you cannot control however is some of the other drivers operating their vehicles and semis that tend to make time and drive fast to where they will cross paths with you heading in the opposite direction to where you will be subject to flying rocks and debris hitting your rig on the non paved portions of the roadway....I always yield to all the fast moving traffic, especially the semi traffic coming from both directions as their agenda is to 'haul' as they do not want any slowdowns (especially from 'tourist traffic') if they can help it sort of speak.
The last time I driven my camper rig in the area was in 2006... once you cross over Atigun Pass, the roadway north of the pass was noticably much smoother.
The bumpiest stretches in the four times I driven portions of the Dalton Hwy were usually between :
-Mile 5 thru Hess Creek at mile 26 or so..
-Around Pump Station 6 area between mile 49 to mile 54-ish just south of the Yukon River Bridge at mile 56..
-North of the Yukon River Bridge for the next 12 miles or so ending around mile 68-ish, then you will enter the neat 'roller coaster' portion foothills thru mile 76.
-North of Coldfoot will also get intermittently bumpy within the mile 185 thru the mile 225 area....this stretch is where I seen two cargo trailers and one boat trailer broke down and stranded - as to my guess driving way too fast (as the same boat trailer passed me three days before) as it seemed the owners were making arrangments coming back to repairing and retrieving them.
In my old 1970 rig I cannot recall ever driving any faster than 30 mph on the unpaved portions, and not driving faster than 40 mph on the paved portions of the roadway as I always take my time driving the far north roads.
When the rains hit the Dalton Hwy., it will be quite rough and bumpy in worse condition but still drivable by all means.
I took a look at the link provided by ace44 and is a very nice blog, as I also recommend Marion Creek Wayside - crystal clear creeks north of the Arctic Circle like Marion Creek here :
Mile 72 and 74 Dalton Hwy -portions of the roller coaster :
One of my favorite boondocking spots I encountered is this location at the middle fork of the 4th Koyukuk River crossing at mile 204 Dalton Hwy., (just north of the 3rd crossing where there is rest stop accomodations), as this spot here was also an easy access for any rig and parked right next to the high riverbank :
Someone told me last year that this tree and sign no longer exists at mile 235 Dalton Hwy at the base of the two mile hill climb, as this tree was such an icon marking the farthest north spruce tree ending the treeline in this area....Some low life vandal the year before this picture was taken had removed part of the treebark in order to eventually kill this tree :
The top of Atigun Pass is a neat site providing you hit it on a clear enough day, plenty of turnout space for parking so no problem there.
Beware of the 12 percent grade on the south side of Atigun Pass which has a sharp hairpin turn towards the bottom, as my rpm's were too high (3500rpm in low gear) while trying to keep from riding my brakes (fully) while moving slow as much as possible...I almost lost a certain gasket located in my inner pants when the brake pedal hit the floor thus losing vacuum and braking power while approaching that hairpin turn but somehow regained braking power just in time....(speaking from the perspective of an older rig with extra camper weight equipped with average braking power anyways).
The highlight for my trip was a large caribou herd starting to cross the roadway at mile 276 Dalton Hwy :
This is where the weather started significantly changing for the worse as I did not proceed too much farther north before deciding to turn around as it fogged in and downpoured all the way back to Fairbanks, needless to say it was my final trip for the old original camper shell as it really took its toll on the Dalton Hwy. after the rough road had developed from the hard rain.
I also highly recommend topping off with fuel at the Yukon River Camp at the bridge (same gas price as Coldfoot back in 2006).
Also as far as restaurants is concerned...I have eaten at the Yukon Camp Restaurant three times and their food was always real good and the wait staff were very efficient despite with all the workload they deal with in between, and prices were very reasonable like you never left civilization.
There is another eatery just north of there too as all I hear is great reviews about that place but never stopped there.
As far as the truck stop at Coldfoot is concerned, I heard the service isn't all that good at times as a friend of mine that has a mining claim just north of there told me before he had a bad experience as the staff was not busy at all, (his first time and turned out only time he ate there)....Found out he was not exaggerating along my experience when I attempted to get gas there as the staff person took 20 minutes just to turn on the gas pump after waiting patiently and reminding her twice the pump must not be working right or something, as she was not busy at all either and finally the power to the pump was turned on...so I decided instead of topping off my one tank I calculated that all I really needed was 10 gallons of fuel from them and walked back in the building and got over half my initial deposit amount back as I carried extra spare fuel anyways.....it took my other friends over an hour just to get served two pizzas in a box cooked in a microwave from them also, so hopefully the Coldfoot Truckstop has improved their service since then.
The visitors center in Coldfoot however is real nice and quite the structure, as there are nice trails along the pipeline and Slate Creek to enjoy.
1970 Ford F250 2WD Sport Custom (Owned April 1996) 390 V8 (27K Rebuilt Mi) C6 Trans (211K Original Mi)
2000 Fleetwood Angler 8ft Cabover
Air Lift 1000(Front)
Air Lift Loadlifter 5000(rear)
Hellwig Front and Rear Sway Bars
Goodyear G171 LT Series(siped)
We've been the Dalton twice with no problems... once with a truck camper and last trip pulling a 35ft Fifth Wheel.. course we had the usual spare tire.. No chips, no flats, scenery totally awesome! Hope one day to make a 3rd trip up.. Take your time and enjoy~
I have made the trip twice. In 2005 we had a flat that destroyed the tire. I ran over a rebar stake that was in the roadway and put a large unpatchable hole in the tire. I put on the spare and had another tire that I was carring mounted when I got to Deadhorse.
In 2009 I ran over a rock but was able to extract it and using 2 string plugs patch it and air it up with a small 12 volt compressor without taking it off the vehicle. I was also carrying an unmounted spare but didn't use it.
On both trips I carried 2 unmounted tires and tools to mount them if no service was available. Will be going back in 2013 and will go with the same again.
Just because some have made the trip with incident doesn't mean everyone will.
As for broken glass, I haven't had any because when meeting another vehicle I pull over to the far right of the road and when following I stay back. If it is a car I am meeting I slow down to about 10 mph. If it is a truck I STOP. Trucks throw up larger rocks than cars.
You do not get broken windshields because of the rocks vehicles throw into the windshield - you get them by driving into the rock vehicles throw up. Go slow and enjoy.
Our Travels Lonnie and Sue
2007 HR Ambassador 40'
2008 Colorado Z71 4x4 Crew Cab
West Texas, Retired
Fulltimers. No more grass to cut, no more leaves to rake, and can move if we don't like our neighbors.
States we spent time in, drive throughs not marked.
Thanks, this is what I expect, no chip in the window, no flat tires. I have been on gravel roads for years and I take it very easy. Time is not a problem, I will take the time it takes.
I bring a canoe and expect to find some good fishing spot, cannot wait, 3 weeks to go and I am on the road.
Thanks for the picture. I might carry an extra spare tire just for peace of mind.
I once had a flat tire on a trip to Northen Quebec, then you are left with no spare. I was lucky, I had it repaired in a very small village, he charged me $5.00, amazing, I gave him $10.00, he was happy and I was VERY happy.
I did carry an extra spare once on a trip to the Baya because I had special 16.5 x 33 tires.
I imagine you can get repaired on the road, big trucks break down too, but it must be pricey.