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Old 02-26-2015, 07:31 AM   #1
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Going to Alaska: take the toad or not

DW and I can not agree on taking our toad(mini cooper) along on our trip to Alaska this spring. We have discussed the advantages and disadvantages and would like to hear from folks who did the trip with a toad and without.
We tow using a dolly and not using the ferry. Opinions please and thanks in advance.
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Old 02-26-2015, 07:46 AM   #2
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dbray, I would not leave home without it. First, without the toad you are really stuck when it come to running out for supplies, running of the main road for sightseeing, etc. However, on a trip like that, it is also your emergency vehicle. What if you breakdown? Stuck for a week someplace waiting for a part? Can your DW drive the MH if you break a leg or something tripping over a rock? What are the advantages of not bringing it? If you are worried about damage, buy a beater to tow instead.

If you are traveling with a group, then these arguments may change, but then you are dependent on others that did bring their toad. That could get old for all involved.

Good luck with your decision and trip,

Jeff
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Old 02-26-2015, 07:55 AM   #3
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we are also at that same cross road... we have a trailer that hauls our hhr...
I say.. what we gonna do with the trailer when it's empty,,, some places will barely fit the coach...

I'm say'n I wanna buy the tow bar and flat tow on the ground so we can un hook and not be bothered with the trailer..

I could buy a dolly , but already have a 2 trailers in the yard...

I would think... IMO.... flat towing would be the way to go...
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Old 02-26-2015, 08:01 AM   #4
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Take your car!!! You will not regret it. Keep all your travel options open when traveling far from home. We experienced a break down in Homer for 8 days while parts were delivered and problem repaired. Our car allowed us to continue our exploration while staying in motels. Remember trips usually have limited time schedules. Don't limit your options.

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Old 02-26-2015, 08:49 AM   #5
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we are also at that same cross road... we have a trailer that hauls our hhr...
I say.. what we gonna do with the trailer when it's empty,,, some places will barely fit the coach...

I'm say'n I wanna buy the tow bar and flat tow on the ground so we can un hook and not be bothered with the trailer..

I could buy a dolly , but already have a 2 trailers in the yard...

I would think... IMO.... flat towing would be the way to go...

Flat towing is the way to go. Easier hookup and you don't have the hassle of finding a place for a dolly or trailer. Only advantage could be the ability to back up some.

Jeff
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:29 AM   #6
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Flat towing is the way to go. Easier hookup and you don't have the hassle of finding a place for a dolly or trailer. Only advantage could be the ability to back up some.

Jeff
thanks whats the best way to go tow bar wise... and where do you go to buy it???
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:26 PM   #7
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thanks whats the best way to go tow bar wise... and where do you go to buy it???
The big three in tow bars are Roadmaster, Blue Ox, & Demco. There is also a company that makes tow bars with built in surge brake system. I think it is called Ready Brake, but not sure about that one. You will also need a baseplate on the towed car. This is what the tow bar attaches to.

You will need some kind of braking system. Both Blue Ox and Roadmaster offer several types and there are other brands like M&G and Air Force One.

Last thing you will need to do is allow someway to illuminate the towed vehicles brake lights, turn signals and tail lights. Or you can go with magnetic brake lights that attach on the back of your car.

Most RV service shops, including Camping World, can sell and install for you. These places can explain the variations in tow bars and braking systems and lighting systems and help you decide which is best for you.
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:48 PM   #8
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I've taken the trip many times with a tow dolly. You run the risk of some gravel damage in construction zones and on the stretch from Whitehorse to the border DON'T be in a hurry. Frost heaves can be bad!!!! As far as tow dollies....Acme seems good.
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:55 PM   #9
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I'd be interested in hearing your reasons for NOT taking a toad.
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Old 02-26-2015, 02:41 PM   #10
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I'd be interested in hearing your reasons for NOT taking a toad.

My Wrangler would cry!
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Old 02-26-2015, 03:47 PM   #11
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Did this trip last summer. Definitely take your toad. We had the same debate to toad or not to toad and very glad we did take it.

Which ever towing method you choose, make sure you have protection for the toad against stones. We used a BlueOx Kar Guard and a custom windshield cover and faired pretty well. Others in our group without had broken windshields, broken headlights.
I ended up taking the rear mud flap off in Whitehorse because it was dragging when going through some of the low spots and throwing rocks up on the toad. Sounds weird I know, but it is fact.
I also used this armorall product on the mirrors and front end with great success. After the trip it peeled right off and the paint finish was unharmed.

Custom Shield | Armor All
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:09 PM   #12
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DW and I lived in Alaska for 5 years and then worked summers for another eight. We have traveled the Alcan 22 times. Think Jeep. Buy a used Wrangler,(or Liberty) simple tow bar, and light setup. Very easy to tow and hook/unhook. You don't really need brakes with a jeep BUT RCMP does enforce towed vehicle laws. Jeep would be easy to resell after you return home. Many places you may wish to visit cannot be done in a motorhome but easy to do in a Jeep. And allow enough time to visit and sight see. Several months would not be too much. Visit the North Slope oil fields, but fly rather than drive if you can. You can drive the motorhome up the haul road to Deadhorse but you'll cry when the windshield goes.
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dbray View Post
DW and I can not agree on taking our toad(mini cooper) along on our trip to Alaska this spring. We have discussed the advantages and disadvantages and would like to hear from folks who did the trip with a toad and without.
We tow using a dolly and not using the ferry. Opinions please and thanks in advance.
We pull our Mini, which is an automatic, with the ACME dolly. After pulling the Mini about 8,000 miles there have never been any rock damage. I sort of figure that with the Mini raised in the front on the dolly, the rocks don't tend to hit it. However, going to Alaska I would want more protection. If your Mini has a manual transmission I have heard it can be pulled 4 down. A big disadvantage with this method and a Mini is how low the front end is going to be to the ground. Also, with a tow bar, to keep the bar level the hitch would be so low to the ground it would hit every so often.

The best option would be to pull something with 4 wheel drive.
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Old 02-26-2015, 04:20 PM   #14
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Bring a toad you can SEE the countryside.. (groceries are a bit challenging though)
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