Alaska Highway Trip - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-07-2016, 07:06 AM   #1
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Alaska Highway Trip

Thinking about a trip from Minnesota up the AlCan Hwy next spring. Has anyone here taken an older Trillium on such a trip? I'm particularly interested in any suspension related issues. Am somewhat concerned that the "stock" suspension may not be adequate for such a trip.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:17 AM   #2
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I will be watching this thread, as I am also planning a trip to Alaska next summer. In my case, with a 1999 Scamp. I have a new axle on it, hope that will help.

My question, while folks are talking Alaska trips, and if I can horn in on your thread: What is the preferred time to do this trip? As of now, I'm considering late summer into early Sept.

By the way, I am also a "Lyle" from Michigan.
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Old 09-07-2016, 08:27 AM   #3
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Hello we have made the trip twice 2012 & 2016 the roads once up toward the Yukon and some parts of Alaska will be the challenge. They tear up the areas of Frost Heave roads and level and gravel that these ares actually smoother than the regular roads but you have the mud and rocks to contend with. We covered the front of the Oliver with Thin closed cell foam. The areas that are not gravel you have to watch for the frost heaves and go slow because they will come up on you, most are marked by orange flags, signs, markers,etc. some are not. The time of year is a very good question but Sept is getting late some places close Sept 1st most by the 7th to 15th on the holiday. In 2012 we left the 28th of Aug and our waterline froze the first 2 nights in Tok & Haines Junction we returned down the Cassiar which we liked into Washington state and did the coast. I would want to be there during the Salmon runs as this is when the bears come down to feed and view as well as like in Valdez the bears, Sea Lions and Seals feeding as they come back to the streams. This is probably late June to beginning of Aug by mid Aug many of the runs have happened are completed. Just a few ideas yo might consider but it is beautiful, big wide open and check out the Forest Svc parks, State and Provincial parks never stayed in a bad one. Thanks Gary
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:00 AM   #4
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We made the trip to Alaska from upstate NY in June & July, 2015. I towed a 2011 Escape 17B with a RAV4 & friends towed a 2010 Scamp 16 with a Sienna van.

We had no problems with the roads, however it is important that you watch for the flags & cones that mark frost heaves. My friends missed one & got both wheels of the Scamp in the air! Some sections were gravel or dirt where they were repaving, but most of the conditions were good.

While many recommend the Milepost publication as a guide, I found Church's Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping more useful. The Milepost does have more information about things other than camping, but is filled with ads, etc.

Another useful guide is available at the Visitor Center at Dawson Creek (the "official" start of the Alaskan Highway). Ask for their campground & fuel list. It is free, handy & up to date.

I agree on taking the Cassier for the trip back to the US. Lots of wildlife, fewer towns (although no problems finding fuel or campgrounds). We hit Hyder (one of the places to watch the bears feed) July 24th and were very early in the season. We did see some bears, but a bit later would have been better.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:09 AM   #5
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Tentatively July 2017 for the trip. No details at all at this point. Just a couple of recent retires looking for a little adventure. The two choices were south to Costa Rica or north to Alaska. ( Hey! Sounds like a good song title! ). Costa Rica will have to wait. A bit too far outside our comfort zone for now.
There aren't that many of us Lyles around, hi!
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post

My friends missed one & got both wheels of the Scamp in the air!
Jon, that is my main concern. Heard stories about broken axels and frames and I don't want to go there if there is some suspension mod that would help. Have also been told that I can kiss my windshield goodbye. I'm ok with that kind of mishap. That's the biz. Not much for it but to stay home.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:58 AM   #7
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We did the trip to Dawson City in June last year. For the most part, the roads are good but as others have said, watch out for the warning cones for frost heaves. We did hit a few construction areas and had the pleasure of following a water truck which coated the truck and Casita with about 1/4" of muck. The worst section of road was sadly in Alberta around Valleyview southbound. The frost heaves there were terrible and almost had the trailer airborne on a few. The Yukon government campgrounds are a steal at $12/ night with free firewood and are very clean and maintained (no services). IN BC stop at Liard Hot Springs for some stress relief! Try to gas up in the towns or you will be gouged pretty bad. Enjoy the trip!

As far as your windshield, not a mark on ours but we did not go into Alaska.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:12 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by clyle View Post
Thinking about a trip from Minnesota up the AlCan Hwy next spring. Has anyone here taken an older Trillium on such a trip? I'm particularly interested in any suspension related issues. Am somewhat concerned that the "stock" suspension may not be adequate for such a trip.
Never fear. The Alcan is now a super highway. Mostly, if not all, paved.
A lot of the rough spots were bypassed with new grades. In 2004 when we drove up with our 16 ft Scamp and Honda Odyssey there were a few stretches of gravel
and pieces of the old road. But construction was underway. Have a nice trip!
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:57 AM   #9
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We took our 78 trillium 4500 to Alaska in 2015. Left Middle of July and returned middle of September. Started in BC. Here is the link to our tips from that trip. Alaska travel tips from 2015

When you go to Dawson Creek, stop at the Alaska Highway House. It is a museum of the history of the highway. The best one one the route in our opinion.

We heard many tales of problems, but we believe it all comes back to driving the road, not the speed limit. Don't let people push you. Pull over and let people pass as often as possible so they don't get frustrated. We read somewhere that when it is safe for someone to pass you, pull to the right so that they can see around you, so they don't have to pull out to the left to see around you. Think of it as back road travel. We have rock pitting on the front of the trailer, but we were expecting that. Did meet a boler couple that had lost the back window of the tow vehicle from a rock that rickashayed. We had more trouble with the old tow vehicle than anything. Have fun

It took us 4 days just to get to the Yukon from Victoria. We went up the Stuart/Cassier highway. Our preferred route. It is big country with lots to see.
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Old 09-07-2016, 10:59 AM   #10
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Flew up to Anchorage a few years ago to meet my brother in his motor home. He told us that the OLD highway was much more interesting. Never mentioned the frost heaves but he was in no hurry. He came back partially on ferry. Sounded nice. When we were there, Anchorage was the cheapest gas but still a quite higher than here.
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Old 09-07-2016, 11:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clyle View Post
Jon, that is my main concern. Heard stories about broken axels and frames and I don't want to go there if there is some suspension mod that would help. Have also been told that I can kiss my windshield goodbye. I'm ok with that kind of mishap. That's the biz. Not much for it but to stay home.
We did have a couple of cabinet doors pop open, no axle or frame damage. In most cases either the indicators (flags or cones) or just looking at the surface lets you know if there is a "lump" in the road. Just don't push it to make high mileage.

We didn't make reservations ahead of the trip except for Denali. We did sometimes call ahead to see if there would be space when we had an idea of where we were going to stop. We only had one campground that was full, and found a space 1/2 mile down the road.

The Alaska trip didn't scratch either of our windshields. Wish I could say the same for Washington state!
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Old 09-07-2016, 03:48 PM   #12
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North to Alaska, were going to do the same but lucky for you all

Quote:
Originally Posted by LyleB View Post
I will be watching this thread, as I am also planning a trip to Alaska next summer. In my case, with a 1999 Scamp. I have a new axle on it, hope that will help.

My question, while folks are talking Alaska trips, and if I can horn in on your thread: What is the preferred time to do this trip? As of now, I'm considering late summer into early Sept.

By the way, I am also a "Lyle" from Michigan.
: the highway is now paved all the way except for the odd Frost Heave if early spring. Bugs in spring no bags in fall and much prettier but remember your up north and in the late summer early fall it can snow so dress warm and think of tires on Tow vehicle, if no snows pack chains for you safety. Might not need for a long ways only at short intervals, like going south from British Columbia when you get to southern Oregon and northern California one needs Chains or could get ticket and that is even if you never use them have them is the best policy. When I did these areas back in my younger years and stupid behind the ears by just going the roads were all dirt and some areas no bridges had to wait for single car ferries, mind u I' still a bit loose behind the ears.k I think it was more fun back in the day of dirt roads, but asphalt is better for all vehicles.
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Old 09-07-2016, 04:42 PM   #13
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check your brakes on the TV and trailer, some very big hills to climb and descend. If you see signs for tire chain pullouts, then its a big steep hill and they usually a 90 degree turn at the bottom. The one south of Fort St John is a huge.
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Old 09-07-2016, 05:05 PM   #14
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Well Worth It!

We made the trip this year as a “Trip of a Lifetime,” from Wisconsin, leaving May 16th and returning August 16th, pulling a 2013 Scamp 19 fifth wheel with a 2013 6 cyl Dodge Ram 1500. We drove the AlCan up and the Cassiar down putting on 12,412 miles. We found the roughest part of the trip was between Destruction Bay and ToK going up, though it was no “picnic” returning either. Frost heaves as described by others and construction zones up to 20 to 30 miles of all gravel/rock made life interesting, to say the least. The posts above by garyjona, Jon Vermilye, Dudley and IslandClaire are similar to our experiences. As far as excitement, two flat tires on the truck, one chipped windshield, and a fender panel knocked out of alignment. The tire problems were both between Palmer and Eagle River and were on a four lane highway! Not out in the “boonies” like I had expected. The first time heading to Anchorage we picked up a ¼ inch bold 4” long….luckily I was able to get off the road to change the tire and replaced it under a road warranty at a Sams Club 10 miles away…however I had to buy a second tire to match for the other side of the rear axle. The second flat was caused by a drywall screw on the same section of road, going the other direction a few weeks later, but that was a slow leak and I was able to get to the same Sams Club and get it repaired under the road hazard warranty. The window chip was because someone chose to pass and cut in front of us in a Yukon construction zone, while we were following a pilot car and tossed up a rock. It was minor and I haven’t had it repaired yet but insurance will cover it. I think the fender panel problem which occurred near Destruction Bay on the return trip, was because the mud flap hit a rut, heave or rock, in the construction zone somehow, torqueing the fender a bit, which caused it to catch the passenger door. Luckily I ran into a body mechanic at a campground that showed me how to solve the problem and in a few minutes it was like new.
Don’t miss Laird Hot Springs, by the time we arrived there I was ready for a bit of relaxation. We also used the MilePost but found it awkward to use. We found two other travel guides also useful: “Anchorage, Denali &The Kenai Peninsula” by Don Pitcher and “Traveler’s guide to Alaskan Camping” by Mike & Terri Church. I’d be sure to make Denali reservations well in advance, and we noticed that the campgrounds were busier after the 4th. We did see one older fiberglass trailer parked off the road with the trailer sitting in the air nose up on its back bumper and the hitch frame broken and hanging down touching its nose to the ground in a rest area along the AlCan. We ran into quite a few people who had driven the “Top of the World Highway,” through Dawson City and most, but not all, said it was a bad idea because of the long stretch of gravel highway. We ran into friendly people all the way up and down the highway on our trip, we’d do it again in a “heartbeat.” Easy does it is the key......feel free to ask any quetions you'd like and I'll get back to you with our experiences.
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