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Old 02-28-2019, 06:03 PM   #1
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Driving MY rig to Alaska, Good or Bad idea?

Planning a trip to Alaska for the summer. We have a new (2018) 38' DP. In researching a wide varity of info, blogs, rv sites, travel articles etc. other than fairly cursory information about broken windshields on the coach and toad, I haven't seen much info on just how much damage might be done to the coach. If you're going to probably get big rock chips in your windshield if not break it, what about the rest of the front end, rear, sides and all? I really don't want to beat the crap out it and have rock chips, dents and scratches everywhere. Anybody who's done this have any comments, suggestions? Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:22 PM   #2
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I went to Alaska last summer and then east across Canada. I didn't get my one rock chip in the windshield until somewhere east of Dawson Creek. What surprised me was that it was an incoming truck that threw the rocks - several of them on a dirt construction section. I'd always though that it would be a passing truck that got me.

There were several places that were posted 'dirt surface, slow down for incoming traffic'. Some drivers did, some didn't, but now I knew why.

Although I'm in an inexpensive, used class C, I wouldn't skip the trip for fear of a chipped windshield. It was a great adventure for me and I'm already thinking of returning. Note that I didn't say 'planning' a return trip - I can't plan lunch. For me it's load up, head north, stop when tired, wake up, drink coffee, drive.
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:25 PM   #3
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Like any other rough road you travel on it depends on how you drive. Slow down and use common sense to minimize any harm. If you have to be in a hurry its best to stay away.
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:31 PM   #4
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I have been to Alaska several times with my trailer. The road is all paved except those small sections that are being worked on.


Trucks coming the opposite way will always be the biggest threat in terms of thrown up rocks.


But I know many people make the trip with NO damage at all.


Now your towed is the real issue. Put a protective front on it even if your rig has one of those big mud flaps that span the entire rear width of the vehicle. This is actually the only additon I would make in your case.


Keep in mind that MAY is one of the BEST months to visit. Late May the skies are usually clear your chances of seeing Denali increase a hundredfold and there are fewer tourists. The key is to get there in the latter half of May.


The cheapest Diesel fuel you will find will be out of the big self service Yellow Shipping container type of fuel stops...I cannot for the life of me remember what they are called. But you cant miss them. Don't be shy give them a try.


Fuel in Canada is breathtakingly and needlessly expensive and will be cheaper in Alaska. Some of the cheapest fuel in Alaska is at the Fred Meyer associated gas stations. If you buy all your groceries from Fred's (the best groceries in the state) you will get as much as a dollar per gallon off the fuel price.


Don't let the often overblown stories you may read often written by folks that last went 20 years ago put you off. You rig will be fine. Many hundreds of new ones make the trip every year and come out in fine shape.


I will be there this summer working for Holland America/Princess and staying at the Rivers Edge RV Park in Fairbanks for the season. It is a very nice park right on the river with some good reataurants in walking distance as is the Fairbanks Fred Meyer's.


I will be driving up in a few weeks beginning of April.


good luck and enjoy your trip.
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:27 PM   #5
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Thanks. BTFT,
As far as the toad goes are you talking about a solid shield from something like ABS that would attach to the tow bar or something along that line? I have a fairly heavy duty lined vinyl bra on the front of my car that covers the entire front with a small piece on the front of the hood that has a short upright ridge that acts mostly like a bug deflector.
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Old 02-28-2019, 08:37 PM   #6
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Without a doubt fast driving through CA and AK will attract rock chips and perhaps windshield damage. It's supposed to be an enjoyable trip, one can't relax and enjoy the scenery and sights when rushing. When we drove to AK I think my average speed was about 40 MPH, not including the stops and layovers. There were a few 10 hr driving days when we were driving the prairies but we still held our speed down.


I did get a rock chip in my windshield on the return home, in Oregon.


Someone mentioned your towed. Remove the wide mudflap from your MH. It will kick up more stone than it blocks, as many previous AK visitors with MH's will attest.


One couple in our group had an Essex MH with the wide mudflap. By the time we reached AK the cowl where the wipers were on their Ford was full of rocks, had to dig them out one-by-one until the wipers were unobstructed. Front of the Ford was protected by a Protect-All screen. He removed the wide flap in AK, when we got home there was no stone blocking the Ford towed wipers.
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Old 02-28-2019, 10:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BTFT View Post
I have been to Alaska several times with my trailer. The road is all paved except those small sections that are being worked on.


Trucks coming the opposite way will always be the biggest threat in terms of thrown up rocks.


But I know many people make the trip with NO damage at all.


Now your towed is the real issue. Put a protective front on it even if your rig has one of those big mud flaps that span the entire rear width of the vehicle. This is actually the only additon I would make in your case.


Keep in mind that MAY is one of the BEST months to visit. Late May the skies are usually clear your chances of seeing Denali increase a hundredfold and there are fewer tourists. The key is to get there in the latter half of May.


The cheapest Diesel fuel you will find will be out of the big self service Yellow Shipping container type of fuel stops...I cannot for the life of me remember what they are called. But you cant miss them. Don't be shy give them a try.


Fuel in Canada is breathtakingly and needlessly expensive and will be cheaper in Alaska. Some of the cheapest fuel in Alaska is at the Fred Meyer associated gas stations. If you buy all your groceries from Fred's (the best groceries in the state) you will get as much as a dollar per gallon off the fuel price.


Don't let the often overblown stories you may read often written by folks that last went 20 years ago put you off. You rig will be fine. Many hundreds of new ones make the trip every year and come out in fine shape.


I will be there this summer working for Holland America/Princess and staying at the Rivers Edge RV Park in Fairbanks for the season. It is a very nice park right on the river with some good reataurants in walking distance as is the Fairbanks Fred Meyer's.


I will be driving up in a few weeks beginning of April.


good luck and enjoy your trip.
we stayed there last August, very nice is an overstatement. there are a few good sites but about half poor, ours happen to be the latter. our neighbors sewer hose connection was almost under our picnic table and no place to move it. land scaping was lax . I wanted to use the rv wash station, it was cover with about 2"mud. I went to the office and got a shovel and cleaned it for them, 3 people in the office doing nothing. untangled the wash hose and picked up the garbage can that was over flowing and dumped it in a dumpster 20' away. oh and I went to see how much to wash my t//t, it was 15.00. very nice I don't think so!
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Old 02-28-2019, 11:20 PM   #8
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We took our 40' motorhome towing the Jeep and didn't receive any damage.

We left Arizona with a cracked windshield on the Jeep and decided not to fix it thinking we'd just get another on the Alaska trip. We returned to Arizona with the same crack.

We didn't have a rear, stiff mud flap - just flaps behind the tires. When we got to Whitehorse, Yukon we saw folks removing the big flap. We went over to their toads and saw large rock laying at the base of the toad's windshield. We didn't have the big, so-called 'rock guard' and didn't receive any rock at the base of our windshield.

There are sections of gravel areas of repair but then, you would encounter the same in the lower 48. Those sections aren't crowded and you can easily move way over to the right and drive SLOW - i.e. 25-35 mph, when an oncoming vehicle is coming. Many times we pulled over and came to a complete stop until they passed.

You'll see a lot of new/newer RVs along the roads.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:47 AM   #9
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1 broken windshield, a few chips on the mh and the toad, totally worth it. Can't wait to go back.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoHo Dave View Post
Thanks. BTFT,
As far as the toad goes are you talking about a solid shield from something like ABS that would attach to the tow bar or something along that line? I have a fairly heavy duty lined vinyl bra on the front of my car that covers the entire front with a small piece on the front of the hood that has a short upright ridge that acts mostly like a bug deflector.
Dave

Well I suppose you could use both but unless your toad is an Aston Martin I would just use the padded bra.


As for the remark by another poster that the big mud flaps throw up more debris than they stop...I Have one across the back of my pickup and the difference with it vs without it are dramatic. But it must be one that spans the entire width and is the correct distance from the ground.


Also individual mud flaps on the rear wheel are a MUST. The outside lugs of your tires will pick up gravel and throw it up and behind your rig. This the big mud flap cannot stop. Be sure those stick out beyond the outside edge of the rear tires.


Last year I only encountered a few construction areas with no asphalt. But there is still gravel on the asphalt in the spring from what is laid down during the winter for traction. (I went up in April as I said before)
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Old 03-01-2019, 02:17 PM   #11
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Alaska

We did the Alaska thing a few years back the only part that i would not do again is from chicken Alaska to the Yukon.stone road very narrow no guard rail wow. Did get one stone chip pretty bad but it was in Oregon on the way home.
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:53 PM   #12
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We did it last summer. No problems with chips but we have a broom-style across the back and no cover for the Jeep. We did slow down in gravel areas and kept to the right. Most truckers did too except for a few gravel trucks and pickup trucks.

The rubber hinge on our biggest bin door separated so had to remove it and replace with duct tape and cardboard until we got home. However our rig was 11 years old and the larger door hinges were all showing some wear. This was probably from hitting frost heave dips too fast in a few places. The biggest ones don’t seem to where the markers are.

The trip to YK, AK and northern BC is really worth it!
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:10 PM   #13
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I've never been to Alaska and if I do go it won't be driving (cruise/train/rental). That said, how about protecting your toad with a large full length piece of old carpeting. Just cover the toad with the nap side down and ratchet strap it around and under the toad in a couple of places? When you want to drive the toad, just roll up the carpet and slide it under the MH for storage.
As far as the MH damage, just get a quote for a replacement windshield and front clip repaint and budget that cost into your trip. If you don't need those repairs after the trip, then great.
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:45 PM   #14
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you could take it to a body shop or a good detail shop and ask about a clear bra. a lot of vehicles have it from the factory. after the clear bra you could get or have made a cloth bra that would cover the complete nose of the car it needs to fit snug. just the cloth bra will wear on the paint the stick on clear bra will stop this from happening. when you get home the clear bra can be removed. its not you that's the problem its the other people flying by you in the other lane.
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