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Old 02-22-2017, 08:26 AM   #1
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Road trip to Alaska pros and cons

For those that have made the trip - what advice can you provide. What kind of damage was done to your MH and could it have been prevented. Any recommendations for spare parts to have on hand. We just started planning our 2018 trip - looking at leaving the end of May and coming back in Sept.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:02 AM   #2
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We drove slowly when the road got bad with frost heaves. Take your time is the key. Several stretches I stopped and walked through a few difficult areas of frost heaves to plot my course. I had no problems with damage by taking my time. We constructed a pvc and hardware cloth shield for the front of the motorhome and secured it with bungee cords and twist ties. Easy to construct depending on your rig and then take apart and store. I took a couple of glass repair kits and never used them. Used them back in US and they work. Great trip. Enjoy.
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Old 02-22-2017, 12:34 PM   #3
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I traveled with 20 RVs to Alaska and 1 out of 20 got a cracked windshield, in spite of driving slow over gravel sections. These days, loose gravel sections in Canada is down to just the sections where road is being refurbished, perhaps only 50 miles of the whole trip.

Most frost heaves are marked and you will be able to slow down for them, so you should only take a few hard hits. On our trip 2 of 20 RVs had suspension or tire issues (one tire and one air bag).

Personally I got a small stone chip or two but nothing that required windshield replacement. You can't control others driving too fast and getting you.

I put heavy clear plastic tape around all the edges of my windshield as it seemed that within an inch or so of the edges was where rock hits had caused cracks in my past experience. Down side is that the residue is a pain to clean up when you remove the tape.

Over 350,000 take the trip each year now, so there are plenty of RV services along the route. In particular in Anchorage and Whitehorse.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:08 PM   #4
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Spare parts; fan belt, air filter, wiper blades, oil N fuel filters, extra motor oil for adding, tool box in case something comes loose, spare fuses, air compressor, etc.
Parts are hard to find unless you are near a large town/city, cities like Whitehorse have an RV dealer/parts store.
Of course in Alaska, everything must be flown in from Seattle but at most it's 2/3 days until you receive them.
I broke a spring on our 5er half way between Tok and Chicken AK., drove back to Tok(Good Sam ERS repair shop)and was back enroute to Dawson City 3 days later.

Everything will be great if you remember it's not a race to AK, it's a very exciting adventure that must be taken slowly after you reach mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway.

A few frost heaves are unmarked, I discovered I could detect them by watching the white line on the side of the road, it appears wavy where the road is disturbed.
BTW, a "frost heave" is actually a depression/dip in the road after it thaws completely.
Contact Alaska Tourism Dept. now to get on their mailing list. They have more information that you can find anywhere else.
Don't forget Canada, I think they have more to see/do than AK. actually.
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Old 02-23-2017, 12:37 AM   #5
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This trip is not bad just remote, there are 3 routes from the States all ending up on the Alcan (Alaska Canadian Hwy) at some point. There are stretches that are under construction every year just take your time.

Read the post from "Alaska 2015, 2016, 2017" you will get plenty of information.

You should also read from "roll call Alaska (insert year)" similar information.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:40 AM   #6
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I suggest you buy this magazine.
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Old 02-23-2017, 01:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by S Bradley View Post
This trip is not bad just remote, there are 3 routes from the States all ending up on the Alcan (Alaska Canadian Hwy) at some point. There are stretches that are under construction every year just take your time.

Construction is dictated by the temperature/weather. The permafrost causes frost heaves in the roads and these can only be repaired when it is warm enough, that oddly enough is when there are the most tourists, so sit back and just deal with it, you will get there.

Both sides of the border have gotten efficient at finding the frost heaves, if you see an orange cone or flag at the side of the road, SLOW DOWN, your camper will thank you. The first time you go airborne over a frost heave will teach you to listen, it may even cost you a few shekels.

Enjoy the trip, it will be the best trip of your life!!!
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Old 02-23-2017, 08:46 AM   #8
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We sustained a rock hit to the passenger side windshield somewhere in YT. After all the warnings about semi-trucks, that particular rock came from a pickup truck! I forgot and left my brand new Bunn coffee maker on the counter. It fell victim to a particularly nasty frost heave:( I carried spare everything (except a coffeemaker!)belts, filters, pump, pop out motors, step motor, fuses, adhesives, etc., all I used was a few bulbs. I'd still carry them again.

We went up just last summer. I still haven't gotten all of the bug stains off of the front of the MH. Still haven't gotten all of the dust out of the jeep either.

As mentioned above, you will get very good at reading the road and dodging frost heaves. It is a great trip. You will love it.
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Old 02-23-2017, 09:04 AM   #9
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It may be corny but I watch LoLoHo (Long-Long-Honeymoon) on YouTube. His rig is an Airsteam. He has several videos on Alaska. I'm not able to go until 2018, nonetheless, I found his videos helpful in regards as to what to consider when going (i.e., fuel cost, food, where to stay). I'm sure that the trip is as awesome as everyone says.
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Old 02-28-2017, 09:16 PM   #10
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The Alaska trip is a wonderful trip especially getting there. There is a lot to see and do so take your time. Milepost magazine is a must have item as it guides you for the whole trip.
I didn't have any problems with windshield as when roads were gravel you slow down and if an oncoming vehicle is coming at you move over to the right as far as you can and no problems. The frost heaves were marked and when they say 25 MPH they mean 25 mph.
We saw everything we wanted to see and did whatever we wanted to do including some great fishing.
Take your time and enjoy and stop if you see something nice.

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Old 03-01-2017, 02:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stiltner View Post
It may be corny but I watch LoLoHo (Long-Long-Honeymoon) on YouTube. His rig is an Airsteam. He has several videos on Alaska.
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Old 03-01-2017, 02:17 PM   #12
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I went up several times in a Class A and like others, slowed way down when I'd see those little flags alongside frost heaves. And on gravel roads. Planned it so I didn't have a schedule to keep. If there were paint chips, they were tiny. Did not find it necessary to repaint the nose of the RV. Did get two small rock chips in the windshield, neither was the kind that grow long cracks quickly. One was a scoop and I never did anything about that (they never grow bigger), the other was a potential star but I had that filled months later when it was convenient.

Only real problem I ended up having was on a road construction, there was a dip I didn't notice until too late and that caused a lift and compression. That compression ripped the area between the treads on the tires enough that I later developed a flat. If I'd bought new tires before I went up, that wouldn't have happened. I carry a spare so it only took a extra couple hours added to the entire trip.
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Old 03-01-2017, 02:31 PM   #13
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Never driven there (but I did rent a RV when in Anchorage). Spare parts is a tough one, where do you draw the line. A spare tire might be nice to have if you get too remote. I know that is not something easy to carry and you still need someone to put it on. Other items are fuel filters but I would just put new ones on before you go. I do suggest you goto the Freightliner site and get a hard copy of all the dealer locations and phone numbers in case you have trouble and can not get internet access.
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